As usual, we have to agree with the iconic words of Cher Horowitz: we live for a makeover. All across Instagram, multiple accounts have dedicated themselves to documenting the triumphs and hilarious failures of celebrity beauty looks from years past. When grimacing at the skinny eyebrow trend of the '90s or the over-bronzed going-out looks of the early 2000s clubbing scene, one can’t help but think about how far many celebrities have come in their beauty transformations. The fact is undeniable — many celebrities have gone through some serious changes.
Whether the beauty transformation is due to a trip to the tanning salon, a local Sephora, or even the plastic surgeon’s office (no judgment), these stars are looking better than ever. In fact, some celebrities’ looks from years ago are almost completely unrecognizable when compared to how they look in 2019.
Ariana Grande has come a long way since her Nickelodeon days, both in her career and in her look. The Grammy award-winner has certainly stepped up her beauty game in recent years by embracing gorgeous tan skin, an ultra-high ponytail in her natural hair color, and simple nude makeup. The “Thank U, Next” singer is also constantly updating her look with tattoos dedicated to her friends, symbols she likes, and an ex-boyfriend here and there. Although Grande is certainly more bronzed and sleek nowadays, her iconic red mane and slightly embarrassing orange spray tan will never be forgotten.
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Kylie Jenner, the youngest sibling of the Kardashian clan, has majorly updated her look since Keeping Up with the Kardashians first aired in 2007. The ever-controversial beauty transformation of Kylie Jenner is stumping fans to this day. How much can be owed simply to good genes, and which parts, if any, of Kylie’s new look are the result of the Kardashian family plastic surgeon? One thing is for certain — Kylie’s old look is practically unrecognizable compared to the glamazon we are now accustomed to. The richest Kardashian sister has always rocked bold makeup looks (she is a makeup mogel, after all), but has favored more airbrushed-looking face makeup and bold lips and brows.
From the early days of Hannah Montana to the Bangerz era, Miley Cyrus knows the power of a major beauty transformation. Cyrus initially emerged as America’s sweetheart, embracing her roots as the daughter of country legend Billy Ray Cyrus by rocking long brown hair, simple makeup, and sticking to a “good girl” image. However, as the singer matured, she began to experiment more and more with makeup and styling, edging up her look with darker locks and bolder makeup. Miley Cyrus’s beauty transformation reached its peak with the release of “We Can’t Stop,” “Wrecking Ball,” and her notorious VMAs performance with Robin Thicke. It was during this time that Miley chopped her hair into a bleach-blonde pixie cut and began experimenting with much bolder makeup and fashion styling. In the last year, Miley has once again returned to her roots, incorporating a country flair into her new music and going back to a more au-naturale look.
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It seems like a lifetime ago that Kim Kardashian was partying with Paris Hilton and organizing other people's closets. Despite not rising to A-list fame until after the premiere of Keeping Up with the Kardashians, Kim has always been known for her bold makeup looks. In the early 2000s, she usually rocked a pink lip, smokey eye, and loaded up on the bronzer. In recent years, the star and influencer has arguably toned it down and stuck to a more neutral look, while still incorporating her signature contour and bronze eyeshadow looks into her everyday makeup routine.
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The Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin has been through a number of ups and downs in the past twenty years. Following his breakout role as Kevin McCallister in the '90s holiday classic, Home Alone, Culkin seemingly fell on hard times. Rumors swirled of a possible drug addiction — which the actor has disputed — due to his long hair and very thin physique at the time. But in recent years, the actor has undergone another major transformation, opting for a shorter haircut and appearing much healthier and happier.
Many tout Kendall Jenner as the most “natural” Kardashian because her physical appearance hasn’t changed too dramatically in recent years. Her makeup style, however, has evolved greatly since her younger days as a reality star when she was only dreaming of one day walking in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Now, the supermodel opts for a striking yet natural-looking tan, nude makeup, long eyelashes, bronzer, and (allegedly) lip fillers to plump up her pout. When you’re the highest-paid model in the world, a little beauty transformation is to be expected.
Victoria Beckham launched her reputation as a fashion icon in the '90s with famed girl-group Spice Girls. As Posh Spice, Beckham embraced all things sexy and girly with an added flair of sophistication. She leaned into '90s makeup trends like skinny eyebrows, bold eyeliner, and hair styles that ranged from sleek and sophisticated bobs to ultra-voluminous curls. But nowadays, the British fashion icon has embraced natural styling, forgoing bold makeup and over-styled hair for a more androgynous look. Combined with Beckham’s signature monochromatic suits and dresses, her sophisticated style is a far cry from the over-the-top looks she rocked in her days as Posh Spice.
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The last member of the Kardashian clan on our list, Khloe Kardashian went through a major beauty transformation in the last couple years. Following her dramatic divorce from Lamar Odom, Khloe threw herself full-force into creating a healthier lifestyle for herself, culminating in her self-described “revenge body.” Not only has Kardashian completely transformed her body through healthy diet and exercise (and a bit of surgery, according to rumors), her makeup and facial features have similarly gone through a major transformation. Instead of her bold but often-overwhelming bronzed makeup from the early 2000s, like many others, Khloe decided that bolder wasn't always better when it comes to cosmetics. Her plumped lips act as the main focal point of her face. The new mother has never looked more fabulous, proving that the Kardashians are like fine wine — they get better with age.
Nicole Richie is most well-known for being Lionel Richie’s daughter and Paris Hilton’s BFF. The two party girls appeared on the hit TV show The Simple Life in the early 2000s, where they both rocked a number of out-there looks. Nicole’s signature hairstyle included blonde and brown highlighted extensions, often complemented by an ultra-short club dress or mini-skirt. Though this look was certainly the height of It girl fashion in the 2000s, styles have definitely changed since then and looking back is slightly cringe-worthy. Nicole chooses a more subtle look now, wearing less makeup and more mature, sophisticated fashions. Even her face appears to look much more angular and striking, making this one of the most obvious beauty transformations in pop culture.
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Since her Twilight days, Kristen Stewart has gone through a transformation both in her image and her looks. The star traded in her long brown locks for a much shorter ‘do in 201 when her new movie Still Alice premiered. Though she still rocked her natural hair color for a while, that all changed when she unveiled platinum blonde locks at the 2016 Met Gala. Ever since, K. Stew has been known to have her hair blonde and edgy. In 2017, Stewart got a trendy buzzcut and bleached her hair almost white. This Hollywood starlet isn’t afraid to experiment with a new look, proving she can pull off basically anything.
Let’s be honest — Justin Timberlake has always been a total hottie. However, it was more of a '90s kind of hot. We’re talking platinum highlights, baggy jeans, and every terrible '90s fashion trend you can think of. You name it, JT and the other boys of *NSYNC probably rocked it. There's a reason "Ramen hair" and throwback photos of "Sexy Back" are a thang. The Grammy award-winner and longtime heartthrob looks better than ever these days, trading in his boyish curls for a much sleeker, sophisticated style and clothes that are effortlessly cool and modern. Even twenty years into the business, Justin Timberlake still has our hearts.
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Ah, Lindsay. Linday Lohan has been gracing our screens since her early days as a child actress in movies such as The Parent Trap, Life-Size, and Herbie: Fully Loaded. Though the actress has certainly gone through a transformation since her childhood, her beauty transformation in recent years has been just as striking. In the early 2000s, Lindsay went through a number of different looks, trading in her natural red hair for brown and even blonde hairstyles. Now, Lindsay is practically unrecognizable when compared to every iteration of her. The premiere of her new reality show on MTV proved her lips to be plumper than ever, though she has returned to her signature red locks.
One of Hollywood’s most documented beauty transformations is that of Lady Gaga. When Gaga first came onto the scene with her debut studio album The Fame, she was well-known for rocking out-of-the-box looks that grabbed everyone’s attention — and for good reason. From attending awards shows in a giant egg to the iconic meat dress at the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards, Lady Gaga’s showstopping looks were not for the faint of heart. Even her more demure looks featured dark makeup, strong brows, and striking platinum hair. Now, Lady Gaga prefers to wear much more subtle makeup and classic fashion looks. Many have viewed this transformation as Gaga coming into her own as an artist and not feeling like she needs to dress in crazy outfits to get attention for her art. If the blockbuster film A Star is Born is any indication, the new Gaga is her best era yet.
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Nicole Polizzi AKA “Snooki” is most well known for her appearances on the MTV show Jersey Shore, which premiered in 2009. Though the TV show was notorious for its drama, fights, and sexual escapades, each cast members’ looks were equally iconic. Snooki’s signature look included a high “pouf” hairstyle that was flat-ironed to hell and back, along with bold, can’t-miss makeup and a lot of spray tan to boot. Since having two children (and one more on the way!), Snooki has favored a less dramatic look. The spray tan may remain, but that's pretty much the only remnant of the old Snooks.
Since the last time we saw Matthew Lewis grace our screens in the Harry Potter movies, the actor has had a serious glow-up. Once known as the nerdy but forever loyal wizard Neville Longbottom, the actor has proven he can also be a total heartthrob. Lewis’s dramatic transformation goes to show that with a little time, and perhaps even a little bit of magic, you can go from nerdy sidekick to leading man.