The Sims Enlisted Black Hollywood’s Favorite Hairstylist to Create Its Latest Inclusive Hairstyles — See Photos

For black gamers, customizing avatars in video games is a, uh… interesting process. There are often limited or no styles to create accurate black characters. In the hairstyles department, you usually only have straight and wavy hair or, if you’re lucky, an afro-textured style or two that are, to put it nicely, pretty simple.

From time to time, we make a small profit when video game companies add more black hairstyles, like in 2020 when Animal Crossing released the top 6 stylish hairstyles made entirely of Afro textured looks. Now The Sims 4 players can rejoice because the latest Growing Together expansion pack includes five new black hairstyles created by Lacy Redway.

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As a hairstylist, Redway’s hands have graced the likes of Tessa Thompson, Zazie Beets, Sadie Sink and more. However, working on a human or mannequin head is very different than conceptualizing a hairstyle for a video game character, opening up new territory for which Redway had to remain “authentic” to real black hairstyling. “I was very specific about parting and baby hair and how things are or how the hair comes out of the scalp,” she says. And yet, she says, this challenge was her favorite part of the process.

Electronic Arts

Christopher and Celeste Michaelson

Immediately watching The Sims 4 gameplay trailer, a smile formed on my face when I saw the Michaelsons, a black family sporting the new hairstyles. The four family members are pre-made characters that exist in the game. Celeste, a mother of two, had the braids styled in a top bun with baby hair that was better set than mine even on a good day. Her husband, Christopher, had the short curly haircut.

Electronic Arts

The Michaelson family

Atlas, Celeste and Christopher’s son, had the “man box braid” style, which features a few braids on the shoulder – it’s one of Redway’s favorite styles because it reminds her of her own son. (The baby Orion Michaelson didn’t wear any of the new styles.) There’s also a glimpse of a character believed to be Celeste’s mother, with shoulder-length natural curls and a colorful headband. The last of the five new styles, two puffs with a beaded cornrow on either side, isn’t featured in the trailer, but you can see it below.

These hairstyles took a year to develop, with the collaboration starting in February 2022. During this time, Redway continuously provided feedback and photo references to EA, the company that produces the Sims franchise. “I feel bad for sometimes sending so many rounds of feedback back on certain styles or being very specific about hairlines and how the hair grew out of the head or how the braid came out of the scalp,” she says.

Electronic Arts

Random The Sims characters including one in the style of puffs and pearl braids

Electronic Arts

A group of The Sims characters including Celeste and a character next to her with the curly hair and headband hairstyle

Redway swears the hardest part was choosing the five styles that would make the cut. “I wish I could have brought 15 different styles to make everyone feel seen. But I think this is a beautiful place that we ended up in.”

While she’s not a huge player, this collaboration opened Redway’s eyes to another part of her career that she’d never really thought about. “I think that really led me to a love I didn’t really know I had and a passion to do more consulting in this world.” So it doesn’t look like the last time Redway will be creating black hairstyles for a video game, and we’re certainly grateful.

Read more stories about black hair styling:

Now watch how cosmetic chemist Javon Ford guesses the difference between expensive and cheap eyeshadows:

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