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She’s given us ombre, platinum, pixie and a daring deep side part. When it comes to hairstyles (among, uh, other things), Rihanna likes to keep people talking. And during her April 8 Staples Center stop as part of her Diamonds World Tour, the singer didn’t disappoint with her latest trendsetting coif — a glamorous, wavy side swept mane that, in a spirited twist, revealed the other side shaved down to the skin.
And of course, it looks cool. So cool, in fact, that we’re expecting to see swarms of Bad Girl RiRi fans trying out the side-shave for summer.
And the man responsible for the modern on-tour mane, along with many of the singer’s looks for the past four years, is her longtime hair stylist, Yusef Williams.
Now that the Rude Girl is finishing up her SoCal run, we caught up with Williams to find out how he gets inspired, stays organized and keeps the megastar’s hair perfectly punky despite a grueling schedule.
The Hollywood Reporter: In a word, describe Rihanna’s approach to hair:
Yusef Williams: Fearless. She’s the type of person who goes with the flow and is never scared to switch it up. I love that about her.
THR: What was your inspiration for the hair looks we’ll see during the Diamonds World Tour?
Williams: The look for the tour is kind of a modern take on an ’80s rock chick. It’s very rock star-meets-modern day. Rihanna’s the new age rock chick.
THR: You must have a lot of products and hair tools to tote around to each city. How do you stay organized?
Williams: (laughing) I have a very, very large suitcase, and to be honest, I have to give credit to The Container Store because they truly keep me organized. I have OCD so everything has to be in its place. I don’t play when it comes to that. When I need something, I need to know where I can find it.
THR: A man after our own heart. How does the hair you’ve designed contribute to the feel of the show?
Williams: It’s a rock show. It goes from pop to rock, and I think that the youthful, fresh look of her hair translates throughout the show. It’s young, effortless and it just works.
THR: Rihanna’s hair must really take a beating after being under those lights and heating tools night after night. What are some of the key products you use to keep her hair healthy while undergoing all of the styling?
Williams: I really like Paul Labrecque Repair Conditioner and Organic Root Stimulator Olive Oil. I use a lot of deep conditioners and olive oil treatments. But truly, less is more. The less product the better.
THR: Rihanna’s hair has really run the gamut over the years, with each look seemingly more daring than the last. How do you you continuously create styles that break new ground?
Williams: By traveling the world with her and experiencing different countries and cultures. A lot of my influence comes from men’s fashion and the images you see in men’s fashion magazines. That’s where a lot of the inspiration comes from, and she’s always down to try something different, no matter what it is.
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