By M. Sanders of

Halloween was quickly approaching and I didn’t plan on going to buy a costume. Trying to avoid the madness of the Halloween costume store rush and spending money on something that I would only wear once, I was determined to make_it_work with something in my closet.

Halloween is hands down the least judgmental day of the year thus it is the perfect  time to try out that thing that takes you a bit out of your comfort zone. So I thought I’d go for a two-fer: sky-high hair and red lipstick á la Janelle Monae:


1. So I busted out a white button down shirt and a pair of black dress pants and knee high boots. To give the true menswear feel that Janelle typically rocks, I had to take it to the next level with a unique tie and a cumberbund.

2. I used a satiny blue head band and tied it into a floppy bow around my neck.

3. Now the cumberbund…I simply used a satiny black head scarf and tied it around my waist. I scrunched it a bit in order to re-create the ruching effect of a real cumberbund.


1. Start off with stretched dry hair. Bend your head forward and begin rolling from the base of your head making sure that the first inch of the roll from the base is tight and secured with a few hair pins.

2. After having a secure base, continue to roll the hair with the right hand as the left hand smooths the hair on the left side of your head. Try to tuck the hair on the left side of the head underneath the roll (this helps to create a tighter and neater roll). For every 1-2 inches of hair rolled and tucked, insert about 1-2 pins. Do this until most of the hair is secured in a roll, and you have about a 3×3 square inch patch of hair loose right at the top of your head.

3. To have a secure base for your pompadour, insert a flat pin on either side of the loose hair at your crown. This will help to define the base of your pompadour and keep it from flopping to the side. For an in-your-face pompadour, insert a (black or whatever color best matches your hair) sock. This will keep the shape and height of the pompadour all night. Roll the hair around the sock all the way to the head and arrange and shape hair around sock.

My sock actually had some silver decorations on it…a no-go, but I managed to have my hair fully cover the pattern.

4. Secure base of the pompadour with a few hair pins. Give a little shake to make sure it is completely secure.

And you are left with hair á la Janelle Monae! To get slick sides, add a dime to quarter size amount of aloe vera gel to either side and gently brush. Tie head with a satin scarf until hair dries (about an hour depending on amount of gel added).

Cost of this costume? $3 for the red lip liner that I bought from Walgreens to brighten up my lips. Who says you can’t look great for Halloween for cheap?! And the red lips? Might have to break that out on a regular night….

Ladies, what do you think of the finished look?

Black Girl With Long Hair

Leila Noelliste, founder of Black Girl with Long Hair (April 2008). Social media, pop culture and black beauty enthusiast. bell hooks' hair twin...

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26 Comments on "Recreating Janelle Monae"

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Meriem ?

OMG thank you for this tutorial! I have a chorus concert in a few days and I’m thinking about wearing my hair like this for the concert thanks so much ?


Love Janelle Monae, and your costume was spot on!!!! Maybe you can recreate the hair on a video so I can actively see how you did it?! That would be great!


MIEKA you look gorgeous!


I love you Annie! Thanks boo!! 🙂


You totally rocked the look. Very creative!


Thanks Jessica!


I absolutely love it! As someone else commented, you are equally lovely!


Thanks so much Alethia!


i like!


I’m glad you like it Eve-Audrey!


Ooh good job, very creative without busting the budget!


Thanks Sophie! I was determined to not spend money! LOL


I was her for Halloween last year! 🙂


Great minds think alike 😉 I would love to see a pic of your costume if you have one!


You look awesome!!


Thanks Wanett! I appreciate the love!

Queen of the Pen

I love this look! She’s definitely rockin’ it!


Thank you so much Queen of the Pen!


Love it! I just this past weekend I would try to find a tutorial of this online. Cute costume ideal as well.


Nice! I hope the tutorial here was helpful!


cute but i would have rolled the sock in the opposite direction.


I hear you Nylse! I was trying to figure out what direction to roll the pompadour but after looking at a ton of pictures, rolling to the front seemed to match her style the most.




I’m glad you like it NoirCerise! 🙂

au napptural

I just saw the real Janelle and you are equally lovely! How creative.


Thank you so much! You are too sweet!