Tonight at the Super Bowl halftime show, Mary J. Blige dazzled nearly 100 million viewers as she took the stage alongside her fellow hip-hop heavyweights Eminem, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, and Kendrick Lamar. The nine-time Grammy winner performed her iconic hit “Family Affair,” wore a one-of-a-kind silver bodysuit and thigh-high boots combination by Peter Dundas, and—true to form—served up a show-stopping hair look worthy of the history-making opportunity.
“Mary is the Queen of Hip-Hop Soul, so I wanted to let that show in her hair,” says her hairstylist Tym Wallace, who crafted her cascade of “Rapunzel”-like waves with hair extensions from Upgrade Boutique for the big night . “It’s ghetto fabulous.” If it was up to Wallace, it would’ve been even longer: When he and Blige discussed their vision for the night, her only stipulation was that her hair wasn’t too long for her to comfortably move around the stage. “We reached a compromise,” laughs Wallace. “I’d originally requested 50 inches, and we settled at 40 inches!” It wasn’t just Blige’s length and texture that was modified for the occasion, but her platinum blonde. “I darkened the roots up and ended the shadow a little lower than usual because the hair is so long,” Wallace says. “It’s super edgy, but still so beautiful.”
To achieve just the right amount of texture and volume for the waves, Wallace used two different irons. First, a 1 ½-inch marcel iron, then a 1 ½-inch flat iron to create alternating waves before breaking them up with his fingertips and his go-to wide-tooth comb. “It makes it really piece-y, gives the hair more volume, and adds a lot of movement,” he explains. “I also use it to backcomb, to tease the hair without it going too big.” To accentuate the texture and add volume, Wallace misted the hair with Tresemmé One Step Texture 5-in-1 Texturizing Mist and Volume Spray, before setting everything into place with just the right amount of Extra Hold Hair Spray. “I want the hair to keep all of its movement, so I didn’t use too much product,” he says.
Of being part of this moment, one word sums it up for Wallace: Surreal. “I never would have foreseen being a part of the Super Bowl,” says Wallace, who was first introduced to Blige by Taraji P. Henson four years ago in his hometown of Chicago, and then further connected by stylist Law Roach. “You imagine the Grammys, red carpets, editorials, covers….You aspire to have those opportunities, but the Super Bowl is something else…my adrenaline is finally kicking in and I just can’t believe it,” he continues. “I’m doing the Super Bowl! It’s a really, really joyful moment for me right now.”
But more than anything, Wallace is reveling in the significance of what it means to see Blige and her peers on the world’s biggest stage. “It’s a historical performance we haven’t seen and it’s happening during Black History Month,” says Wallace. “It’s an amazing moment for the culture.”