Ashley Graham's Met Gala Hair Symbolizes Her Triumph Over Post-Partum Hair Loss

Her sultry look is the product of a strict hair growth regimen.

Ashley Graham at the 2024 Met Gala
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Every year, our favorite stars show out for the Met Gala in unforgettable beauty looks and fashion ensembles. This year, one of those stars is model Ashley Graham, who hit the red carpet in a form-fitting black dress complemented by a slick bun with spiky bangs. The updo, which had a wet effect at the bangs but included dry, wispy strands pulled loose at the back, showed off Graham's thick, full hair—a significant feature, considering Graham's well-publicized journey with post-partum hair loss. Ahead of this evening, she took a moment to explain to Marie Claire how she settled on the show-stopping style and how she's taken care of her hair in the lead-up to tonight.

"As it refers to just my hair, we had mood boards sent back and forth and approved by agents and managers and sent back with notes about my comfort level and this and that and how it's going to breathe and live through the night," she says of the long journey to the final style. Even in the final days before the event, she admits that the style still wasn't "100 percent settled.

"Every year for the Met, I've kind of had a big 'do and it's been kind of glued or set or has not moved," she says. "My dress is hot—like sexy, sexy hot and it looks wet. So there was an idea to just go with the wet hair look. Then there was the idea of having it super dry and wispy, with extensions down to my butt. Then there was another vibe that was about putting things in the hair, and there was very clean, French girl, air-dried look."

Ashley Graham poses at the 2024 Met Gala

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Regardless of the exact execution, she explains that her hair was a particular concern for her this year because of her journey with post-partum hair loss—a symptom exacerbated by the years of wear and tear that modeling has had on her scalp.

"I have been modeling for over 25 years, so it's consistent blow-drying, heating, all different kinds of creams and gels—and that's just the external," she says. "I'm also always in a different time zone, and I'm either eating great or I'm eating like crap, all of which is linked to hair loss. And nobody warned me about post-partum hair loss. It didn't happen to my mom, it didn't happen to my mother-in-law, it didn't happen to my friends. In my little group, I was the first, so I got to experience it all by myself along with social media, and thank God they understood, because I got recommended so many different things."

Graham says she currently takes six supplements per day, her favorite of which is Nutrafol, whose exhaustive regimen includes a scalp serum along with dietary supplements. Graham also decided to wear tight, pulled-back hairstyles less frequently, a philosophy that she admittedly took a break from tonight.

Ashley Graham poses at the 2024 Met Gala

(Image credit: Getty Images)

"I'm not going to not do a hairstyle just because of my hair journey," she says. "There are so many avenues to regrow your hair, to strengthen your hair, and to keep the hair that you have on your head looking gorgeous. You don't have to sacrifice a hairstyle that you've been dying to do. Regrowing my hair is not affecting how I'm doing my hair on a red carpet, but what it is doing is helping me remember my days off. I always do love a back look, because I don't have to worry about one random strand hanging out or whatever. The ease of having an up or a back 'do is always there, even though a down 'do is hot."

Graham's ornate bun, which curves up the back of her head like a shell, certainly marries ease with elegance and shows off the progress she's made in her growth journey.

"At the end of the day, I know that when my hair feels and looks healthy, I gain confidence from that alone," she concludes.

In addition to Nutrafol, Graham's red carpet essentials include dry shampoo (Amika, Oribe, and Bumble and Bumble are her favorites), along with Aquaphor, which she says she "smothers" on her legs on the way to events and even uses in her hair as a last-minute gel. With how glamorous her updo and her slick bangs look, we just might have to stow the drugstore gem in our to-go bags, too.

Ashley Graham, from behind, waves at the 2024 Met Gala

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Ashley's Staples

Gabrielle Ulubay
Beauty Writer

Gabrielle Ulubay is a Beauty Writer at Marie Claire. She has also written about sexual wellness, politics, culture, and fashion at Marie Claire and at publications including The New York Times, HuffPost Personal, Bustle, Alma, Muskrat Magazine, O'Bheal, and elsewhere. Her personal essay in The New York Times' Modern Love column kickstarted her professional writing career in 2018, and that piece has since been printed in the 2019 revised edition of the Modern Love book. Having studied history, international relations, and film, she has made films on politics and gender equity in addition to writing about cinema for Film Ireland, University College Cork, and on her personal blog, Before working with Marie Claire, Gabrielle worked in local government, higher education, and sales, and has resided in four countries and counting. She has worked extensively in the e-commerce and sales spaces since 2020, and spent two years at Drizly, where she developed an expertise in finding the best, highest quality goods and experiences money can buy.

Deeply political, she believes that skincare, haircare, and sexual wellness are central tenets to one's overall health and fights for them to be taken seriously, especially for people of color. She also loves studying makeup as a means of artistic expression, drawing on her experience as an artist in her analysis of beauty trends. She's based in New York City, where she can be found watching movies or running her art business when she isn't writing. Find her on Twitter at @GabrielleUlubay or on Instagram at @gabrielle.ulubay, or follow her art at