She’s ruled through the 2010s and ‘20s, but it’s become increasingly clear that Ariana Grande would have been a star in any era. Her mind-blowing vocal range and commitment to her crafts aside, Grande’s one of just a few modern celebrities who can dip a toe into all sorts of experimental trends, but still manage to hang on to her instantly-recognizable signatures — her ponytail’s silhouette is so singular that it’s even become a good-natured meme. But as even casual fans know, there’s so much more to her aesthetic than just those increasingly voluminous updos, and Grande’s beauty evolution proves it.
Especially these days, the “7 Rings” singer is fond of incorporating some traditional diva favorites into her red carpet looks: some graphic winged liner there, a bold lip there, an arresting new hairstyle debuted at the most opportune moment. Most recently, she dyed her deep brunette hair a brilliant shade of golden blonde to portray Glinda in the upcoming Wicked film adaptation — that’s serious dedication. Grande’s Broadway upbringing is reflected in her beauty choices nearly as much as in her now-legendary voice.
Ahead, take a look back at Grande’s growth from spunky tween working to make it in the musical theater industry to the A-list musician-actor-beauty brand mogul she’s become.
Curly-Haired Broadway Star, 2008
At just 13, Grande’s powerhouse vocals were enough to score her the professional breakthrough she’d been waiting for: a role on Broadway. With her dark, naturally curly hair and fresh-faced blush, she’s every bit the ingenue.
Transition To Red, 2009
This is the Grande most young fans remember from her Nickelodeon days — her deep red hair would become her calling card, along with her cat-eye liner.
Extra-Long Extensions, 2010
Grande’s penchant for the overtly glamorous started to manifest in her red carpet looks around 2010, right around the time she became a tween household name with her role on Victorious. At the 2010 MTV Movie Awards, she’s a burgeoning style star.
The Ponytail Emrges, 2011
Though it’s a far cry from the super-sized updos she’d start wearing, Grande’s love for a power ponytail first emerged in 2011. Gently curled and positioned right at the crown of her head, it’s easy to see why the style struck such a chord with the star.
Back To Brown, 2012
As Grande prepared to transition over to a titular role in the new Nick series Sam & Cat, she took her waist-length hair back to a natural shade of deep brown and began experimenting with subtler eye makeup.
Jumbo Curls & Straight Brows, 2013
It’s around 2013 that the modern image of Grande starts to solidify, right in time for the release of her debut album. There’s her pumped-up hairstyles and dainty makeup, but this is also the period in which she seems to stop arching her brows and introduces a straight-across shape instead for a doe-eyed look.
Full-Fledged Pop Star, 2014
Grande’s graduation from child star to pop star seemingly happened overnight, and her aesthetics never lagged behind. For her first MTV VMA win in 2014, she’s wearing so many of the decade’s pop beauty trends: deep purple lipstick, an ombré hair color, and a bronze smoky eye.
Cutesy-Cool Coils, 2015
Grande incorporated her love for all things twee into every aspect of her aesthetic, especially her hair. She’d often stick cat ear headbands into her ponytails or split her long highlights up into cute pigtails, but her space buns were everywhere.
Blunt Bangs, 2016
When Grande showed up at the 2016 VMAs with a new set of bangs sprouting from her warm honey-brown hair, they were the real deal — no clip-ons here. The fringe was fairly short-lived, but they proved Grande’s willingness to experiment.
Towering Tour Hair, 2017
Grande hit the road for her Dangerous Woman Tour in 2017, making sure every aspect of the show was a supersized spectacle — her hair included. Heavy ponytail extensions were clipped on for each tour date, but that didn’t stop her from whipping them all around as she nailed all that complicated choreography.
Pivot To Platinum, 2018
In 2018, Grande entered a new album era and decided on a fresh hair color to match. Her cool-toned platinum blonde started a few inches back from her scalp, the rich contrast of her dark roots just driving home what a major and exciting change it was.
Classic Looks For Coachella, 2019
A headlining appearance at Coachella is always a huge deal, so it makes sense that Grande wanted to perform the show dressed up in all her most-recognizable signatures. There’s her towering ponytail, the 3D headband that looks more like a crown, candy-pink nails, and a razor-sharp cat-eye.
Back To Blonde, 2020
When Grande went back to blonde in early 2020, it wasn’t the same icy shade of platinum she first experimented with only a few short years earlier. This new shade was a pale shade of gold, far more neutral in tone and softly blended with her dark brown roots for a gentle gradient effect at the Grammys.
Makeup Mogul, 2021
In November 2021, Grande launched R.E.M. Beauty, a collection of curated cosmetics that would quickly grow from passion project to major industry player. In accordance with the launch, Grande often showed off sparkly, celestial makeup — and her more than 50 tattoos.
Back To The Screen, 2023
These days, like any truly committed actor, Grande’s aesthetics are largely influenced by what project she’s working on. Currently, she’s been favoring ladylike manicures and a soft shade of golden blonde hair as she films for the Wicked movie. Even on days off, like when she was spotted at the U.S. Open, Grande’s eyeliner is always immaculate.