2019 was a meteoric year for the flute-playing rapper-singer Lizzo. The inescapable chart-topping single “Truth Hurts” helped the artist garner the most nominations at the 2020 Grammys with eight nods, and she took home three awards: best pop solo performance (“Truth Hurts”), best traditional R&B performance (“Jerome”) and best urban contemporary album (Cuz I Love You: Deluxe).
Inspired by Lizzo’s nominations and the start of the new decade, her longtime hairstylist Shelby Swain looked to the “sophisticated elegant way” of the 1920s. The beauty memo was Old Hollywood with an edge; Cher was also a “huge inspiration” for the evening’s glam.
“I wanted her to feel sexy, confident, and like the baddest chick on earth at the Grammys,” Swain told Billboard over the phone after Lizzo won her third trophy of the evening. “Just being able to create any kind of hair look, she can create a character — that is something we like to play off of. One day it’s long with huge curls, and the next day it’s super short sleek hair.”
While Swain shampooed, conditioned, then deep conditioned her hair with products from the Matrix Total Results collection, Lizzo played everything from the City Girls to Beyoncé and “Waiting for Tonight“ by Jennifer Lopez. To create the “elegant vintage wave,” Swain used the Matrix Total Results Curl Please Contouring Lotion on damp hair with GHD‘s blowdryer to add volume.
After using the GHD Curve Curling iron, she used a mix of the Matrix Total Results High Amplify Proforma Hairspray and High Amplify Flexible Hold Hairspray for more volume and to keep her hairstyle in place, minus the stiffness. Swain had two hours to complete the sophisticated hairdo for the Grammys red carpet, but reveals that sometimes she needs to switch up Lizzo’s look in as little as ten minutes.
The creative partnership between Lizzo and Swain has been going strong for over three years after they met on set for 2016’s “Good as Hell” music video. “She thought I was a model, and pretending to do hair,” Swain said with a laugh. “I did all of the girl’s hair, and I didn’t start her hair, but I did touch-ups and maintained it throughout the video. I had no idea it was going to become this three-year relationship that is amazing and growing.”
Swain believes their “personalities mesh very well together,” and their mutual love is another factor that enables them to challenge each other to try fresh and exciting hairstyles. “We work so well together, and there is nothing that I wouldn’t do for her — we talk about everything.”
“Lizzo has quite a vision of her own is that she allows me to play and be creative and come up with looks, and I don’t have to stay in the safe zone,” she continued. “That is another thing that really adds to my ability to create for her because knowing what she likes, what she wants, what she probably wouldn’t want, and just being able to offer her looks that work so well for her.”
To further play up the screen siren vibe of the 1920s, the artist’s fashion stylist Marko Monroe dressed her in an elegant strapless white Versace gown, a tonal stole, jewels by Lorraine Schwartz, and René Caovilla heels. This year marked Lizzo’s first Grammys red carpet, and interestingly enough, she had us seeing double.
Britney Spears also previously wore a white dress with a stole to her first Grammys reveal two decades prior in 2000. If Lizzo’s three Grammy wins, successful chart history and her highly enticing red carpet track record are any indicators, then this new decade will a bountiful one for the Billboard cover star.