Rihanna Hairstylist Yusef Williams on Creating Her Diana Ross & Donna Summer-Inspired Grammy Hair: Exclusive

Rihanna, 2018
Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for NARAS

Rihanna performs onstage during the 60th Annual Grammy Awards at Madison Square Garden on Jan. 28, 2018 in New York City. 

"I love this look and hope to see more women, especially African-American women, be more free with their hair and less afraid to have natural curls," he tells Billboard.

Ever the style innovator, you'll be hard-pressed to discover a fashion trend Rihanna hasn't rocked -- think her diamond-encrusted Gucci bodysuit at Coachella and her instant-classic Met Gala floral confection last spring -- and has entirely made the style moments her own. "She’s very open to trying things with fashion. She knows exactly what works for her style and her body type so she’s not scared to try new things and she’s very involved with her styling. Once her outfit is set, it’s easy for me to come in and create something based on what she’s wearing," says hairstylist Yusef Williams who has worked with the singer for the past eight years. "We’ve never done this hairstyle before on Rihanna, and last night we were wowed with the final look." 

Inspired by the "super big, dreamy disco diva hair” of '70s music and fashion icons Diana RossDonna Summer and Bianca Jagger, Williams relied on an arsenal of ghd and Matrix Biolage products while designing Riri's long-flowing and voluminous mane for her "Wild Thoughts” performance at Sunday's Grammy Awards.

Williams started by prepping Ri's hair with Biolage R.A.W. Frizz Control Styling Spray, noting that he "always uses a hair serum because it makes it easier to work into the hair during blow drying" with the new ghd air hairdryer and ghd air diffuser attachment. To create killer volume, Williams blew out the hair with her head upside down, and then he backcombed and smoothed it out afterward. 

He then applied Biolage R.A.W. Heat Styling Primer as a heat protectant and reached for the soon-to-be-released (Feb.1) ghd gold professional styler at 365 degrees to help smooth out her hair and tame flyaways, adding that it "evenly distributes the heat which let me style the hair without eliminating any of its natural volume." The multipurpose hot tool was also used to add waves and curls of varying sizes to create a messier texture to Rih's luscious locks. After letting the hairs cool for about 10 to 15 minutes, Williams brushed them out using the ghd oval dressing brush a few moments before she hit the stage with collaborators DJ Khaled, Bryson Tiller and their army of backup dancers.

The final touch that pulled together her Spanish flamenco dancer-inspired hot pink Adam Selman dress was none other than a Rihanna original -- a single orchid tucked behind her ear while she alluring danced on stage. "It was Rihanna’s idea. We had a florist come in, and they created these beautiful arrangements for us to put in her hair. It was really beautiful, and it made the hairstyle more dreamy and natural." 

Watch DJ Khaled, Rihanna & Bryson Tiller Perform 'Wild Thoughts' at the 2018 Grammys below.

2018 Grammy Awards


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