Vice President Kamala Harris shares her ‘hair-story’ — including her first signature style

 Vice President Kamala Harris reflects on her hairstyles through the years with Buzzfeed’s “Cocoa Butter” video series.

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Kamala Harris x BuzzFeed’s Cocoa Butter Hair Story (Photo Credit: BuzzFeed’s Cocoa Butter)

Before settling on her signature silk presses, Vice President Kamala Harris was like many other Black women, experimenting with a series of hairstyles. During a recent appearance on Buzzfeed’s “Cocoa Butter” video series, Harris took a trip down memory lane to reflect on some of her most notable hair moments. 

“As long as I can remember, my mother would part our hair down the middle and put it in two tight braids,” Harris said in the video interview, adding, “[but] I wanted to wear it out.” 

Looking at a picture of her 5-year-old self, Harris recounted the times her mother would send her to school in the classic style, decorated with “big bobbles” and colorful barrettes. Though Harris would sometimes have a say on the color of her hair accessories, she consistently wanted to wear her hair free and flowing. 

“It’s so funny because I’d go to school, and [my mother] would put it in the two braids, and then as soon as I got to school, I’d take the braids out,” the vice president recalled. “To get ready to go home at the end of the school day, my friends would braid my hair for me.” 

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Years later, as a Gen Xer attending Howard University in the mid to late-1980s, Harris opted for shorter hairstyles. Between classes, regularly protesting at the National Mall, and holding an active role in her HBCU’s student government, she remembers her schedule being too busy to invest time in her hair. 

“It was just easy, instead of having to deal with the amount of time it takes to do your own hair or get it done, which I really couldn’t afford to do,” she said, explaining her choice of a big chop. “When I was in college, I just didn’t want to have to put that kind of time into worrying about my hair.”  

It was only after college, while working as the elected district attorney of San Francisco, that Harris decided to grow out her hair again and began adopting her defining look — the silky blowout.

“I decided I wanted to grow out my hair; the blowdry was just to make it a little bit more manageable,” she explained. “I know a lot of people saw my interview with Keke Palmer, and yes, it’s the round brush, not the hot iron. That’s how I do it….” she added, referring to her June 2023 appearance on Keke Palmer’s podcast “Baby, This Is Keke Palmer,” where the VP revealed the secret behind her hair routine. 

“I don’t use a curling iron,” Harris previously told Palmer when asked how many times she gets a silk press in a month. “It’s too much heat; I use a round brush.” 

“Now, what kind of magical round brush?” Palmer asked, shocked by her response, “Your hair must be super-fine, Madame VP.” 

“No, it’s not. It takes a while [with a] boar-bristle [brush,]” the vice president responded, going more in-depth about the process. “It takes a lot of heat. But it’s too much heat to do that and do [a curling iron.]”

As Harris once again reflected on her hair journey for Buzzfeed, she also shared a piece of advice to her younger self. 

“Pay attention to what those incredible people were telling you — and I think I did without being conscious of it,” she said, remembering how popular Aretha Franklin’s 1978 album “Young, Gifted and Black” was during her childhood. “ Everything that was communicated to us told us that we were special, that we were loved, and that we had responsibilities — and that we should never let anybody tell us who we are; we tell them who we are.” 

Watch Vice President Kamala Harris’ full Cocoa Butter interview on YouTube.