The Daily Grind Video

From top models to our very own First Lady, Yusef Williams has blessed the hair follicles of many important women. Born and raised in Miami, Florida, Yusef developed a love for hair at the age of 15. He moved to New York City and quickly created a name for himself.

Curling, blowing and sewing in some of the most exquisite hair weaves that the “hair world” has ever seen, Yusef has worked his way from top salons to styling on private jets as he sips champagne. Spreading hair beauty for the past decade has been quite an experience, he admits.

Yusef was my very first professional hairstylist during my J Record days. He kept me beautiful when I was promoting my album in 2005 and at one point, I swear I didn’t know how to live without his hands in my hair!

I’ve watched him grow tremendously from then until now. His latest, and one of his greatest, muses is Ms. Rihanna herself. I enjoy watching what he does with her. The layers, colors, textures, cuts and styles. He is an endless talent, a Picasso of hair.


Where did you learn how to do hair?

I learned how to do hair by watching my mother, who was a part-time hairstylist on the weekends. 

Who was the first celebrity you worked with – name a few of your other famous clients.

My very first celebrity client was Tyra Banks. It was a great experience working with one of the top models at the time. Other celebrity clients that I have had the pleasure to work with are Naomi Campbell, Kerry Washington, Jasmine Sullivan, Rihanna, Jordin Sparks and Michelle Obama.

How did you get your first real break?

My first real break into the business came about when I was working with celebrity hairstylist Lisa Mitchell. Through Lisa I was also able to foster a relationship with Odile Gilbert, who is a famous French hairstylist. Odile took me to Paris, which presented me with the opportunity to work for some of the most prestigious fashion houses and high-end fashion shows.

How long have you been working with Rihanna and how did you meet? 

I met Rihanna through Jasmine Sullivan, who was a client that I had been working with for some time. If I recall correctly, we met at a Gala at Cipriani’s in NYC. In 2009, I received a call from her to accompany her to Paris for Fashion Week and the rest is history. We have been working together off and on for about 4 years.

What’s your favorite Rih hair products? 

Some of my favorite hair products for Rih are Paul Labrecque Straight Finish Styling Spray, Oribe Dry Shampoo Spray and the Olive Oil Organic Products.

Does she let you create freely; where does your inspiration for her come from?   

Yes, she does allow me to create freely, but it’s mostly a collaborative effort when it comes to her hairstyles. I tend to get inspired by all things from traveling, to different places, different life experiences, magazines (preferably men’s magazines as odd as it may sound).

What are the 3 things you tell Rihanna to do as far as a hair care regimen?   

My top 3 care regimens that I always advise her are (1) always deep condition; (2) less is more when it comes to hair products, in other words use less products in the hair; (3) minimize the use of heat on her hair.

Why is hair your passion and what’s your advice to aspiring hairstylists? 

The funny thing about hair being my passion is that I never saw myself as being a hairstylist. Just watching my mom do her friends’ hair and trying it pretty much opened the creativity of styling, which is where I can say the passion began. With that, being my true self I had to be the best at it, which applies to all areas of my life. My advice to aspiring hairstylists would be to follow you heart and learn all you need to learn. Don’t half ass anything, do it to the fullest of your ability and things will fall into place.

How can someone get a style from Yusef Williams? 

They can call Paul Labrecque Salon and Spa on the East Side NYC and schedule a hair consultation if I am not on tour.

To win some of Rihanna’s favorite products, follow @YusefHairNYC and @TheLifeStyleHer on Instagram and Twitter. Send a picture of your favorite hairstyle from Yusef, along with one sentence that you feel describes his work to

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