First Lady Michelle Obama is beauty, grace, and intelligence wrapped into one package. For the past eight years we loved her everyday cardigans and those jaw-dropping gowns. Could she be the most stylish and down-to-earth First Lady in modern history? Fashion aside, we’ll also miss seeing the awesome hairstyles she wore around the globe. Here, we celebrate Mrs. Obama’s most notable hairstyles before she leaves the White House.
The Old-Hollywood Lob
Obama’s mid-length bob featured lots of volume and somehow morphed into her go-to look. Her longtime hairstylist Johnny Wright says that in terms of easy cuts, he loves the bob. “There are short bobs, shoulder-length bobs,” he said. “If they are cut well, bobs are very easy to maintain.”
The Pinned-Back Look
In a stunning strapless Naeem Khan dress, Obama opted to wear her hair pinned back into an elegant do at her first State Dinner.
The Center-Part Lob
Obama looked radiant at the Neighborhood Inaugural Ball in a white Jason Wu gown with hair that appeared moisturized and healthy. Wright keeps her hair moisturized by using the Fekkai Shea Butter Conditioner, Glossing Cream, and Anti-Frizz Crème.
A Classic Cut
When you’re the wife of the president, having flawless hair at a moment’s notice is to be expected. That’s why Wright loves theFekkai Sheer Hold Hairspray
300×400 fekkai sheer hold hairspray
. “It’s sheer—very lightweight with no buildup,” he told Allure. “It holds hair in place like no other hair spray.”
The Half-Up, Half-Down Style
At a reception in Buckingham Palace, Michelle poses alongside her husband and Queen Elizabeth II wearing an Isabel Toledo dress. Here, her signature bob is swept up on the sides and pinned up in the back.
The Side-Part Bob
Wright revealed that, despite having worked on Obama’s hair before, the Democratic National Convention was the first time he styled it from start to finish. “Prior to that, I would only keep her camera-ready. Her hair was always shampooed, it was always dried, and it already had a cut but I was just keeping her camera-ready and keeping her fresh for the camera,” he told Styleblazer. “But, that night I did her hair from start to finish, and the next morning, everybody was talking about it. People did notice a shift in her hair. I called it a different stroke of the brush.”
Obama’s hair looks much shorter here, but it’s not a haircut. Hairstylist Wright says he’s a big fan of doing what he calls the up-tuck and the tuck-up. “The up-tuck is when I position a small ponytail somewhere on the head, and then I tuck the rest of the hair up under the ponytail,” he said. “Then, a tuck-up is when I take the hair and gather it all in the back, and I twist and I pull up and tuck.”
Obama’s loose, voluminous curls paired well with her blue, one-shouldered Peter Soronen gown at a State Dinner.
The Sleek Bob
At the White House Correspondents’ Association Dinner in Washington, D.C., Obama was all-smiles in a sleek, ear-length bob.
Michelle looked casual cool in shades and a slicked-back bun while boarding Air Force One with President Obama. Minimizing heat styling is important, but don’t use too much gel when you’re slicking back your hair. “When a woman uses heavy gel to comb her hair back like Dracula, the results can indeed be monstrous,” says hairstylist Garren of the Garren New York salon in New York City. “For some chic James Dean swagger, rake it back with a pomade or wax.”
Michelle wore her hair pulled back for a State Dinner at Buckingham Palace. Her elegance is further accentuated in a long, white Tom Ford dress and elbow-length opera gloves.
The Simple Ponytail
During the 2012 Summer Olympics, Michelle wore her hair in a simple ponytail while cheering on Team USA at the USA vs. France basketball game. Ponytails can be practical, fun, and unexpected.
The Flipped Bob
While addressing the Democratic National Convention in North Carolina, Michelle’s hair was in top bob form once again, but this time she added a fun flip. Wright revealed that he usually flat-irons her hair to give it a bend, and then uses a ceramic curling iron to flip the ends.
Bobs and Bangs
For President Obama’s fifty-seventh Inauguration, Michelle wore a Thom Brown coat and her signature bob with a new addition—bangs. Wright later told the Los Angeles Times that he loved the bangs he created for Michelle. “The very first time I cut the bangs was right after the second campaign. The campaign year was so intense,” he said. “We were all over the country, and her hair took a beating from blow-drying. Because you reach for the front when you start styling the hair—at least I do—that was the most damaged part. A lot of people were thinking she wanted to start a trend, and it took flight. I remember being in the salon a couple of weeks after the second inauguration when she showed her bangs, and I had about five clients wanting bangs.”
The Flipped Bob Part 2
At the Inaugural Ball, Michelle looks breathtaking in custom-made ruby Jason Wu gown with velvet details. The ends of her bob are flipped for a tousled yet elegant look. And the bangs add an extra level of style.
Obama’s voluminous hair went perfectly with her off-the-shoulder silk chiffon Marchesa gown she wore to the 2013 Kennedy Center Honors. Wright says that it’s important to know your style. “Some styles are made for hair only when it’s blow-out straight. You want a cut that’s made for both curly and straight look,” he said. “If you’re concerned with how your hair will look wavy, ask your stylist to cut it when it’s curly, and then blow it out and fine tune when it’s straight.”
A Lighter Hue
Aside from her glamorous waves and side-swept bangs, the most noticeable thing about her hair at the Anna Wintour Costume Center Grand Opening in New York is that it appeared to be lighter. Wright revealed that, together with Frederic Fekkai colorist Daniel Villano, he created a caramel hue to brighten Obama’s complexion and brown eyes.
For the 2015 State Dinner, Michelle’s hair, which is curled and swept over to the side, looked much longer than her everyday bob. The glamorous look goes well with her black Vera Wang off-the-shoulder dress, which she wore in order to pay homage to their guests, Chinese President Xi Jinping and First Lady Peng Liyuan.
For her last state dinner, Obama dazzled in a sparkly rose gold Atelier Versace gown. But, even more stunning was her straight, natural shoulder-length hair that featured a side-swept bang. Wright said the current move women of color are making from relaxed to natural hair is one-part trend, one-part revolution. “I think a lot of women are starting to see what type of damage chemicals have caused their hair over the years, and they’re really starting to embrace their curls and really embrace the fact that they can be versatile,” he told The Root. “They can wear it curly. They can wear it straight. They don’t have to really conform to any particular look. They can do it all, and that’s one thing that is going to stick.”