The Lionel Richie Hair Evolution

Written By Bakes

Avid writer on Men's Hair, Grooming, and Lifestyle!

From his iconic larger than life afro in the 1970s to his current versatile look, we embark on a journey through the Lionel Richie Hair evolution which include his,

  • Large Afro in the 1790s
  • Lionel Richie Jheri Curls (1980s)
  • Short Afro Twists in the 2000s
  • Current Look

The music legend known for his soulful voice and timeless hits, has not only left an indelible mark on the music industry but also on the world of black hairstyles.

Each style fundamentally tells a story which is congruent to the hairstyle choice of black America which makes this journey even more interesting.

The Lionel Richie Hair Evolution
(From the 70s to Today)

Large Afro in the 1970s

It’s the 70s & the afro is not just a hairstyle, it’s a political symbol and stance which is worn by the artists of the generation.

Large Afro in the 1970s

Take a look at Lionel Richie’s peers during that time, Stevie Wonder Hair for example, also worn as a large afro.

It was a visual symbol of solidarity with the civil rights movement and an assertion of black identity. This would blend well with the lyrics and subject matter of soul music.

The afro celebrated natural textures and became a bold display of cultural affirmation, resonating with many black individuals seeking to reclaim their heritage.

Lionel Richie Jheri Curl in the 1980s

As the 1980s rolled in, we would see various artists transitioning their afro hair into  Jheri curls, a hairstyle that defined an era of black pop culture.

Lionel Richie Hair in Jheri Curl

In interviews, Richie admitted to spending 30 minutes perfecting his Jheri curl, showcasing the dedication to looking effortlessly stylish.

Glossy, wet appearance and defined curls would be the signature look for many, Michael and Jermaine Jackson Hair also becoming prominent Jheri curl looks. Can I get a Shamone!

On the other side of soul and r n b music Hip Hop would begin to gain mass attention as it grew, NWA’s Ice Cube and Eazy E Hair were also seen in the style.

Short Afro Twists in the 2000s

As the 1990s came to a close, Lionel Richie shifted away from the glossy allure of the Jheri curl in favor of a more conservative yet stylish look.

Lionel Richie Twists

The short afro twists he adopted in the 2000s paid homage to his earlier afro days while embracing a more contemporary look.

It’s the new millennial and as the saying goes out with the old, in with the new, that means hair and fashion choices too.

At this length we can see a his true hair type we ranges between 3C and 4A.

Current Look:

Small Afro

Today, Lionel Richie continues to captivate audiences both on and off the stage with his ever-evolving hairstyles.

His current look alternates between a refined crew cut and a short afro, which showcases his distinctive s curl activator.

This choice of hairstyle exemplifies his ability to strike a balance between classic grooming and contemporary trends.

The crew cut exudes sophistication, while the short afro with defined curls maintains a connection to his cultural heritage. Richie’s current styles encapsulate his journey through hair fashion and mirror his multi-faceted personality.


Did Lionel Richie wear a wig during his career?

No! Lionel Richie never wore a wig during his career, it was his own natural hair.

Richie’s hairstyles, including his iconic afro and Jheri curl, were a natural reflection of the times.

What products might one use to maintain his curly hairstyles?

Hair products such as curl enhancers, moisturizers, and styling gels help to maintain and define curls. We doubt you’ll be rocking a jheri curl today but curls, definitely!

Final Words

Hair trends through the decades continue to change which certain individuals being poster child for the style, in this case it’s the 70s and 80s for Lionel

He’s left an indelible mark on both the music and style landscapes, showcasing that hair is not just a fashion accessory but a powerful tool for cultural expression.

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