Ariel’s iconic red hair is absolutely essential for any version of The Little Mermaid. In the new live-action remake of the 1989 Disney animated film, Halle Bailey brings a new spin to the mermaid we all love and know as the first-ever black Ariel. When it came time to design and execute the mermaid’s hair, everyone knew red hair was a must, but you’ll never believe how much it cost to do so.
Bailey normally wears her hair waist length and a dark shade close to her natural color. The goal of production was to get the little mermaid look without cutting or permanently dying Bailey’s hair. Because her natural hair is so long, a wig just wasn’t going to cut it.
Ultimately, hair department head, Camille Friend, decided to wrap Bailey’s existing hair with 30-inch strands that were then bonded to her hair for hold. This hair had to be custom-colored and installed. Friend told DailyMail, “I went to meet with Halle’s family. Her mother is spiritual and they’re a kind family,” she recalled. “I started to understand who she was and why the natural hair element was important to keep.”
Director Rob Marshall and executives from Disney were reportedly on board as well, giving Friend the freedom to experiment. The entire process took 12 to 14 hours including a few mess-ups and false starts, and all in all? It’s estimated to have cost upwards of $150,000 according to the on-set stylists.
The result gave the live-action Ariel the red color we know and love while still keeping the style and feeling true to Bailey and her culture.
Have you seen the movie yet?! Rock it like a Redhead!