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 3x3 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!