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Yara Shahidi Takes Heatless Curls to New Heights

For most sixteen-year-olds, OMG moments include getting a driver’s license or a new piercing. For Yara Shahidi, milestones mean starring in a three-season-strong ABC sitcom (Black-ish) and frequenting the White House. Still, learning to tame her high-voltage curls and getting ready for prom make her like any other teen. But with her dedication to change the world via her platform, she transcends the role of normal teen and ignites national girl-power fire. An equally fierce outcome arose when we paired the charming soon-to-be-seventeen-year-old with Cesar Ramirez, celebrity hair stylist and Mizani Global Artistic Director. Keep scrolling to see the larger-than-life level Cesar took Yara’s curls to without using heat, plus find out how the starlet feels about embracing her natural texture and what she envisions looking like at prom this May.

Yara Shahidi voluminous curls

MANE ADDICTS: What do you think of the looks Cesar created for you? How did you guys come up with them and which was your fave? 
YARA SHAHIDI:  I can’t choose a favorite because they were all so different. What I loved is how Cesar was able to work with my natural curls and create totally different looks with no more than product and just a touch of diffused heat!

MA: Describe your signature hairstyle or the hair you feel most confident in.

YS: I am most “Yara” when my curls are doing what they do! I have never had the same hairstyle twice because my curls have their own personality.

MA: What’s your everyday hair routine like? 
YS: I gently cleanse and condition my curls every couple of days. My curls have been loving Deva Curl  Light Defining Gel along with Almond Oil from Mielle Organics. While they air dry, I clip them up in loose Bantu knots (for more defined curls and body). If I am in a bit of a rush, I will lightly diffuse as well.

MA: Name one specific hair product you can’t live without. 
YS: I can’t live without Mielle Organics Almond Oil.

MA: Do you have any hair regrets?

YS: Yes! I regret holding on to my damaged hair! I recently had over six inches cut off by @curlfactor and it was the most liberating moment!

MA: Craziest thing you’ve ever done to your hair? 
YS: I am strategically waiting to put some electric blue in my hair! 

MA: Dead or alive, who would you trade hair with? 
YS: Janelle Monae. Her bouffants are iconic. 

Yara Shahidi deep side part curls Cesar Ramirez

MA: You told NY Mag: “I know how culturally significant hair is because curls are representative of my people, but I’m also a teenager who wants to experiment with hair and see what it looks like in a different way without being viewed as a sellout.” If you could do anything to your hair next, what would you do? 

YS: While blue and some other colors are definitely in my hair future, I would love to play around with shape. Maybe some bangs?

MA: You never leave the house without___.

YS: A book and a podcast on my phone! Learning and being interested in the world around me never stops!

MA: You mentioned to W Mag you’ll be going to prom in May. What would your dream prom hair and outfit look like? 

YS: The slicked back pony tail with nice textured hair in the back was to die for, coupled with a funky dress, it would be the perfect prom look. As long as I can do the robot, I’m happy. 

MA: What’s one thing you wish people knew about you? 
YS: My curly journey has been a fun one, yet nonetheless difficult. It most definitely hasn’t been overnight and I know the struggle of throwing out the curling irons and flat combs.  Being an actress,  many times our hair is overworked, so it has been rewarding learning how to care for my curls whenever, wherever. And I’ve gone almost a year with no heat! 

MA: You’ve been on the big screen ever since you were a baby, you’re going three seasons strong on Black-ish, you started a major movement with Yara’s Club, and you’re even snapping pix with the First Lady—all at just 16-years-old. What can the world expect next from Yara?
YS: Well I’m almost 17 as of February tenth! I’m also looking forward to creating content (I have a couple things in the works), I’m a recurring voice on the Guillero del Toro cartoon Troll Hunters, and a TBA project. Overall, this is an exciting time to immerse myself in new projects as a creator and actor, as well as a philanthropist.   

Yara Shahidi slicked back ponytail cesar ramirez 

Talent: Yara Shahidi @yarashahidi

Photographer: Mike Rosenthal @mrmikerosenthal

Hair: Cesar Ramirez @cesar4styles

Makeup: Tasha Brown for Exclusive Artists Management using NARS Cosmetics @tashareikobrown

Wardrobe: Ade Samuel @adesamuel

Creative producer: Ashley Alanis @ashley.alanis




  1. I started on damp hair and clipped in damp extensions so that when dry, the texture from both her hair and extensions fuse together. I sprayed Mizani 25 Miracle Milk Leave-in Treatment from roots to ends to balance moisture with a very light hold.
  2. Next, I lightly diffused with my Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer since my goal was to use very little to no heat.
  3. Once her hair was dried, I created the shape that I wanted while using my GHD Paddle Brush.
  4. I brushed her curl to give the over all finish a dry and fluffy feel. This made the look edgy for a fashion editorial shoot.


  1. I switched Yara’s hair to a deep side part then reworked the curl using Mizani Restyling Spray. This reduced the large volume I originally created and allowed me to brush through her curly texture. 
  2. After I side parted and had the shape that I loved, I applied Mizani’s Twist and Coil Jelly.  
  3. Using a comb I created deep waves—since we didn’t use heat, I secured the waves in place with old school finger wave clips.


  1. I applied Mizani Foam Wrap section by section as I brushed everything back into a low pony tail while leaving a center part. Doing this section by section gives you a very flat, snatched look.
  2. Once everything was secured back into a low pony, I added two bundles of type 6 Indique Pure Curly hair.
  3. I brushed out the curl to give it a big, fluffy finish.
  4. Lastly, I slicked her hairline with Mizani Edge Taming Gel.  



2 minutes

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