Life Style

Halle Bailey’s Hairstylist Tinisha Meeks on the Secret to Transforming Her Locs

Halle Bailey Hairstyles

Only one word can describe Halle Bailey’s hair looks as of late: magical. The singer-turned-actress has been sporting beautifully intricate styles on red carpets and magazine covers, with each look showcasing the endless versatility of locs. For the Los Angeles premiere of The Little Mermaid, Bailey wore lengthy copper locs complete with cascading curls. For the Australia premiere, she opted for a sculptural “loctail”. And we’d be remiss not to mention the mesmerizing curly bob Bailey debuted at the Met Gala.

Tinisha Meeks is the architect behind Bailey’s ultra-cool hair transformations. The duo began working together while she starred in Freeform’s Grown-ish series and clearly have continued to collaborate a ton since then. As someone who started their loc journey nearly two years ago, I was eager to chat with Meeks about how she approaches styling Bailey’s locs. Ahead, she shares her tips and tricks and her thoughts on Black hair in Hollywood.

What sparked your interest in hairstyling? 

I just liked to do hair. When I was small, Cabbage Patch dolls were popular, and I used to braid people’s dolls’ hair for money. As a 10-year-old child, I said, “Wow, I’m making about $200 a week.” From that point on, I knew I wanted to do hair. I grew up watching shows like Moesha and wanted to imitate the different hairstyles when I went to the beauty shops on Fridays. Once I realized it could be a job, I wanted people to feel the same about the hairstyles I created.

When did you decide to take on styling Black hair in Hollywood? What were the challenges you faced?

It was definitely a journey. I didn’t have many Hollywood connections. Back in the early 2010s, social media wasn’t the biggest tool for artists like it is now, and Hollywood wasn’t hiring a lot of Black hair stylists. Since then, it’s gotten a lot better. We have made leaps and bounds to be recognized in the industry. After getting into the hair union, the first show I worked on was Scandal. Working on shows like Black-ish and Grown-ish, we’ve been able to see all the creativity that’s out in the world.

Hairstylist Tinisha Meeks


You helped Yara Shahidi and Chloe and Halle showcase beautiful natural hair looks while starring on Grown-ish. How did the opportunity come about?

I have to thank Kenya Barris for giving me the platform to do my thing and express myself through hair. I worked alongside the department head, Araxi Lindsey, on Black-ish and did Yara’s hair. When Yara moved over to Grown-ish, Barris asked if I could keep doing my thing on Grown-ish as the head hairstylist. I got to create the looks for the characters and put my vibe on them. I got to show people that just because you have curly hair doesn’t mean you can’t get the look you want.

It’s been said that Chloe and Halle were initially unsure of your abilities to style their locs. What solidified their trust in you?

Once I did their hair the first time, they said, “She gets it; she gets me.” As I do with everyone, I listened to their needs and wants. I was able to let them express who they were and also be the characters they were portraying. The more we worked together, they trusted me to put my little spins on things. That made the experience and the relationship amazing.

During her press run for The Little Mermaid, Halle has been dominating red carpets and magazine covers with innovative loc styles created by you. Where do you draw inspiration for your looks?

I like to do looks that involve hair manipulation. Just because Halle has locs doesn’t mean she can’t wear a style. I look at a style I like and do it with her hair. I never see it as a challenge.

What products do you typically use on Halle’s hair? 

Of course, we use products from my brand, Sparkle Hair Imports. I have a lot of products that help create the looks I do—[like the Diamond Drops and Hair Bomb]. I never forget the basics, though—like an edge tamer, gel, and water.

What’s one piece of hair advice you’ve given Halle since you started working with her? 

Healthy locs are the best locs. We always do a good detox, and I urge her to tie [her locs] up at night [in a bonnet] as well.

Halle Bailey Hairstyles


What’s been your favorite look you’ve done on Halle thus far? 

Her Met Gala bob, for sure. Halle wore a beautiful Gucci gown that reminded us of Old Hollywood, so we wanted the hair to emulate that.

What’s the secret to manipulating Halle’s locs to achieve her styles? 

First, start with clean, healthy hair, and then begin the normal process of tightening the root. When we decide on a hairstyle, I envision how to do that with locs. Whatever it is, whether it’s a ponytail down to the ground, I find a texture of hair that will mix with her locs and feed it in. I don’t ever go into my process thinking that just because she has locs, we can’t get the look. A piece of advice for anybody with locs: If you like a hairstyle, you can get it with locs.

Black hair is often subject to discrimination and stereotypes, but your looks have shown the beauty and versatility of Black hair. What are your thoughts on the state of Black hair?

It’s a privilege for me to do these styles and show the world the beauty of Black hair. It never feels like a burden challenging these stereotypes. I have the honor of doing this every time. So if anything, I challenge myself. I’m happy to do our hair. I feel lucky to do it. No matter whose hair I’m doing, it is a labor of love.

What is your hope for the future of Black hair? 

I hope that we get the spotlight. I hope people see how creative we are and know the effort we put into our hair. But, most importantly, I want our people to feel beautiful. Whether in a salon or on the red carpet, I want our people to feel beautiful in the styles created for them.


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