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Singer Candice Hoyes on the Joys of Changing Her Hair as Much as She Changes Her Music

Photo: Courtesy of Carolyne Lorée TestonTexture Diaries is a space for Black women across industries to reflect on their journeys to self-love, and how accepting their hair, in all its glory, played a pivotal role in this process. Each week, these women share their favorite hair rituals, products, and the biggest lessons they’ve learned when it comes to affirming their beauty and owning their unique hair texture.

If you’re looking to add to your work-from-home playlist, look no further than Candice Hoyes. With her chill-inducing range, the New York–based jazz singer is branching out from her 2015 E.P., On a Turquoise Cloud, and into new territory with her latest song, “Zora’s Moon,” a preview of her new album which will be released at the beginning of next year. The single—which now has a nostalgia-evoking video to go with it (roller skates and all)—is inspired by her childhood self and a young Zora Neale Hurston, who both believed the moon was following them. “It’s this whole idea that Black women are not following the moon but the moon is following us,” she says. “I’m all about this whole empowerment image, that’s not around struggle and suffering and trauma.” Her voice and music—which has been heard at the Public Theater and Jazz at Lincoln Center—aren’t the only aspects of Hoyes that offer up major inspiration: Her signature teased-out curls are a beauty note worth taking. 

Growing up, Hoyes didn’t always understand her hair. “My mother’s hair was straighter and my dad’s hair has always been cut so close that I never fully knew his texture,” Hoyes says during a Zoom call from her apartment. Still, she was supported by the women in her family who spent time doing her hair. “Just the tender affection of parting [my] hair and oiling my scalp, taking a tail comb and dipping it in hot water and pulling it through my hair, and all the snacks and comics and cartoons that you watched to get through those times,” she remembers. “Just to sit in between your mom’s legs and have her comb your hair, that’s so much affection. It’s a different kind of embrace. It’s so saturated with love.” Hoyes has had her fair share of trial and error too. “I remember trying to wear bands in the eighth grade and that did not work out,” she says with a laugh. “Seeing it natural helped me love it, though; and now being a singer, I’m able to embrace it even more, while I take up space on the stage.”

Photo: Courtesy of Marissa MullerPhoto: Courtesy of Marissa MullerHoyes had a relaxer at 11 years old, all the way through her teenage years, when she began to grow it out. “I think that that was a huge discovery for me, and it happened at a great time, to my mom’s credit, to let me grow the chemical out as I was discovering my body and sexuality,” Hoyes says. “To feel what my hair really feels like was really important.” When she got to college at Harvard, she began experimenting with twist styles, head wraps, and hats. “I like to change my hairstyle, the way I like to change my music and my sets and everything. I wake up one day, I want a different hairstyle,” she says.

Hoyes—who takes inspiration from Naomi Campbell (as a true Gemini would), Minnie Riperton, and Sade—has a simple hair routine she swears by. DevaCurl shampoo is a must, then she reaches for Camille Rose’s Algae Mask for hydration and Shea Moisture’s Hemp Oil for finger detangling. She usually lets her hair air-dry. If she wants more defined curls, she opts for a leave-in spray from Taliah Waajid. She loves switching up her looks, from cornrows to ponytails and long braids. “We always talk about how much work our hair is, but I think we have a lot of options as far as low-maintenance styles go,” she says. “I think that’s one of the beautiful things I’ve learned about having natural hair.”

Photo: Courtesy of Carolyne Lorée TestonAll products featured on Vogue are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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