For Colored Girls: Kelis And Her Legendary Hairstyles

If you grew up during the wonderful era of the late 90’s – the early 2000s, you would probably remember a distinctively fabulous woman with large, colorful hair, singing “I HATE YOU SO MUCH RIGHT NOW!” A song that stood its time as the anthem of a woman being fed up with her lying ass man. And as memorable as the song may be the singer is just as hard to forget. Kelis Rogers, known simply as Kelis set the bar with her unconventional statements on stage with her music and off stage with her fashion sense and her hair.

Living up to the title of her debut album, Kelis’ hair has become a kaleidoscope of bright colors and combinations of both short and long styles. A testament of her evolution in music and in her personal life, Kelis primarily used her hair as a sign of her versatility in the game. From a highlighter pink bob to a neon green curly fro, Kelis’ vibrant hair dye has inspired many looks in the industry, including 6ix9ine.

2000 Playmate of the Year Gala Cocktail Reception

Last year, Kelis’ former hairstylist Anthony Dickey spoke to Fader magazine about creating the different looks of Kelis’ hair during her 19 years in the music game. Dickey shared that “every hairstyle that she [Kelis] wore was not only how she wanted to look for work, but that was a look for every day.” He explained that Kelis had actually stopped relaxing her hair before she shot the video of her single, ‘Bossy’. “She took really good care of it on her own and she never used shampoos that had suds,” He revealed. “Working with Kelis, they’re in her ear telling you what they want and she’s like, ‘No. I’m not doing that to my hair. We’re doing this because I need my hair to look cute and fresh for the next week.’ So we worked fast and flawless.

As a black woman, I know that my hair can be very fragile, if not vulnerable, to different hairstyles and techniques. As much as we love the idea of dying our hair to match our mood or our personal style, our hair is often naturally dry and it is important that we take the proper precautions to avoid hair damage and loss. It is true that our hair requires consistent hydration and moisture, and a hair dye can cost considerable damage.

Here are some ways you can achieve your own Kelis’ inspired look, without causing hair damage:


  • Color Rinses: is an alternative often recommended by naturalistas. Providing a more gentle approach to permanent color, color rinses offers dimension and color to your hair. However, the color washes over time and will need to be reapplied after a few weeks.
  • Semi-permanent Colors: Often compared to color rinses, Semi-permanent hair dyes adds longevity to the hair color. Sealed with heat from a dryer, the color only last between six to twelve shampoos.
  • Permanent Colors: This process is recommended to be applied by a professional hairstylist since it requires both ammonia and peroxide. The color only fades as the hair grows out and touch-ups are suggested for every four to six weeks to cover roots.

Kelis is a chameleon when it comes down to her music, her fashion and especially her hair. She has raised the bar for all black women who has ever wanted to freely expressed their individuality without the fear of being judged or worse. We don’t give Kelis the credit that she rightfully deserves. Changing the hair game for girls forever, she stands as a true definition of black girl magic.