Exclusive: Why Gabrielle Union Cut Her Natural Hair, According To Her Stylist

Photo: Courtesy of Larry Sims.
Most people experience a range of emotions before a big haircut: apprehension, excitement, and maybe even a little bit of regret. Gabrielle Union is not one of those people. "She asked me if I was nervous!" Larry Sims, her longtime hairstylist, tells Refinery29. (For the record, he wasn't.)
Though the actress and author surprised us with her new haircut — a flippy, layered bob — in the wee hours of the night yesterday, it's a style that she'd been wanting to do for quite some time. "Recently , Gabrielle was a little under the weather and is just coming out of it now. She said, 'I want to feel new and fresh and do something we’ve never done before,'" Sims recalls. "And she wanted to go short on her actual natural hair."
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Now, of course, Union has had short hair before... but those were only wigs and weaves. To cut your actual hair is a little different, so Sims warned his friend and client very candidly. "Slapping on a wig isn't the same," he says. "A real cut requires maintenance and upkeep."
Photo: Via @gabunion.
Union wasn't swayed: She had already been thinking of the change and came prepared with reference photos. One in particular was of Linda Evangelista, along with several shots of really good razor cuts done in Japan. With that imagery in mind, the stylist used an assortment of products from the Flawless by Gabrielle Union line, including a cocktail of the Hair Repair Masque, and Oil Treatment before her blowout. If you're wondering why Sims straightened Union's shoulder-length natural curls before the cut, he's got a great reason. "When you wear your hair in its natural state, a curl-by-curl chop is better. But for me, I straighten it for a precision cut," he explains.
As for the actual process, Union was as chill as can be. And with each snip, she grew comfortable with her new look. "We didn’t go super super short," Sims says. "It is a chop — like three inches — and she's never had her hair hug the back of her neck, done with the razors. Even with that, she didn't freak out. At all." Union's zen way of thinking is how Sims suggests everyone should be when it comes to switching things up. "It's just hair!" he says. "And the summer is the perfect time for a haircut like this. You don't have to worry about wearing a hot wig on your head." Three months without my 27-inch unit hanging down my back? Pardon me while I grab the scissors...
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