Creating Ariel’s signature red hair look didn’t come cheap.
In fact, according to Oscar-nominated hairstylist Camille Friend (best known for her work on Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and more), Halle’s iconic red locs cost a whopping $150,000!
In an interview with Variety, Friend explained the process of achieving the final hair look for Halle, who plays Princess Ariel in The Little Mermaid.
The original character is famous for her signature long, red hair, and trying to honor that in the live-action re-make while also maintaining Halle’s natural hair and locs was crucial to the production.
The 23-year-old, who is known for her drop-dead gorgeous long locs, wanted to stay true to her heritage, and maintaining them without a wig would herald an important moment for representation and Halle’s identity.
“I went to meet with Halle’s family. Her mother is spiritual and they’re a kind family,” Friend shared. “I started to understand who she was and why the natural hair element was important to keep.”
Once she penned down her process, Friend focused on ensuring Halle didn’t lose even an inch of her locs. And wigs were out of the question.
“Halle’s locs are down to her waist, over 24 inches. And putting her in a wig was going to look crazy,” she continued.
Friend figured out though, “If we take hair and wrap it around her locs, we don’t have to cut them and we don’t have to color them. We can change her color without changing her internal hair structure. Her structure and her hair are her.”
Then to get it Ariel-right, Ms. Friend used custom-colored 30-inch hair and fused it with Keratin tips so it would seem as if the hair was “dancing in the water.” She ultimately used a combination of three varying shades of red to create the picture-perfect Ariel shade.
As far as the cost of Ariel’s hair in the film, Friend revealed, “I’m not guesstimating, but we probably spent at least $150,000 because we had to redo it and take it out.”
You couldn’t use it and we’d have to start again. It was a process,” she added. They worked on it for 12 to 14 hours to ensure it was picture-perfect for the film.
And that’s not it.
Halle’s locs had to evolve as her character Ariel, did onscreen.
So, for the water scenes, the team added extra loose pieces of locs to stick out from the original layer of Halle’s hair because “locs don’t float” and they had to ensure it could “dance” when Halle was beneath the water’s surface.
Imagine thinking Halle Bailey is anything less than stunning. I mean, my god, her hair in The Little Mermaid is literal perfection. pic.twitter.com/o8bsbuoWbT
— I’m Batman (@have_likes) June 1, 2023
I need to know which kind of hair they used for Halle Bailey’s locs in The Little Mermaid it’s looks so sleek and silky when wet
— Tema Beyoncé (@realkokochanel) May 30, 2023
i haven’t watched the little mermaid yet (& i’m probably not gonna) i just wanna say they did ariel so wrong like u can’t look at this and tell me halle bailey wouldn’t look STUNNING in bright red hair
WHAT IS THIS DARK BURNT ORANGE FADED BULLSHIT she’s so cute & deserves better pic.twitter.com/WHbS9Ncp1I
— AELIA ⚠️? HEXCODE (@AeliaCGP) May 27, 2023