When Katie Holmes made her Hollywood debut, she was just 19. She quickly rose to fame in her iconic role as Joey Potter on ‘Dawson’s Creek.’ Holmes grew up in Toledo, Ohio, and in her early red carpet appearances, often embodied an All-American, girl-next-door look with vintage-feeling springy curls and youthful styles, like lace dresses and spaghetti strap tank tops. But, by the early 2000s, she was coming into her own, and Katie Holmes’ hairstyles grew edgier with various iterations of bangs and choppy layers. She experimented, at times, with highlights, but has mostly, stayed true to her hair’s natural — and signature — hue, a gorgeous chocolate brown. Holmes’s most dramatic hair change came in 2008 when she chopped her long locks into a severe bob with blunt, straight bangs. Since growing it out, she’s returned to a more classic look, sticking with her signature color and shoulder, or longer lengths. Now 42, Holmes looks better than ever — even in 2021’s requisite accessory — a face mask.
Below, revisit some of her best hair moments from the more than two decades she’s been in the spotlight.
Katie Holmes’s Hair Evolution: 35th Annual New York Film Festival Opening Night - "The Ice Storm" Screening, 1997
Holmes hit the scene with this twisted updo after she secured her star-making role on ‘Dawson’s Creek.’
Katie Holmes’s Hair Evolution: 50th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, 1998
The combination of these sweet ringlet curls and white lacy dress make a young Holmes look doll-like.
Katie Holmes’s Hair Evolution: "Teaching Mrs. Tingle" Westwood Premiere, 1999
Holmes’s hairstyle took a turn in a sleeker direction with this lob with face framing layers.
Katie Holmes’s Hair Evolution: "Tigerland" Century City Premiere, 2000
A year later, Holmes’s hair had grown longer and she’d chopped wispy side bangs.
Katie Holmes’s Hair Evolution: "American Pie 2" Westwood Premiere, 2001
This sleek and straight long-haired look was all the rage in the new millennium.
Katie Holmes’s Hair Evolution: Paramount Pictures Celebrates 90 Years, 2002
Here, Holmes has super light highlights — a rare move for the star who has typically stuck to her natural dark brown hair color.
Katie Holmes’s Hair Evolution: Special New York Screening of "Phone Booth,” 2003
Katie Holmes’s Hair Evolution: The Glamour Women of the Year Arrivals, 2004
Holmes kept a lighter color for a time, though she let darker roots grow in.
Back to a darker brown shade and a longer length, Holmes wore her hair in waves for this ‘04 red carpet.
Katie Holmes’s Hair Evolution: FIFI Awards, 2005
Holmes is giving off major Audrey Hepburn vibes in this classic white dress and polished updo.
Katie Holmes’s Hair Evolution: "Mission: Impossible III" Los Angeles Fan Screening, 2006
An edgier look for the actor, here she has waves with choppy bangs.
Katie Holmes’s Hair Evolution: Bambi Awards, 2007
One of Holmes’s most dramatic hair transformations — she chopped her hair in to a dark, angled, Anna Wintour-esque bob in ‘07.
Katie Holmes’s Hair Evolution: Madonna and Gucci Host “A Night to Benefit Raising Malawi and UNICEF,” 2008
Keeping the bob, Holmes softened the look with piecey bangs.
Katie Holmes’s Hair Evolution: 16th Annual Elle Women in Hollywood Tribute, 2009
Having grown out the bob, Holmes returned to a signature of hers — waves, with pretty sideswept bangs.
Katie Holmes’s Hair Evolution: Celebrities Visit “Late Show With David Letterman,” 2010
Even though this side-parted look was worn eleven years ago, it still looks classic and relevant today.
Katie Holmes’s Hair Evolution: Women In Film Crystal + Lucy Awards, 2011
Holmes proving that a sleek blowout with a little body is always on trend.
Katie Holmes’s Hair Evolution: Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Graydon Carter, 2012
The chic, blunt bangs Holmes rocked on the red carpet may have been clip-ins — either way, they look great.
Katie Holmes’s Hair Evolution: Holmes & Yang - Backstage, 2013
Holmes has long been a fan of a sleek and simple ponytail.
Katie Holmes’s Hair Evolution: “Charles James: Beyond Fashion” Costume Institute Gala, 2014
Holmes looked like the ‘Belle’ of the ball in this voluminous yellow gown and tousled, wavy shoulder-length ‘do.
Katie Holmes’s Hair Evolution: "Woman In Gold" New York Premiere, 2015
The slicked-back top portion of this otherwise classic style adds drama to the look.
Katie Holmes’s Hair Evolution: “Manus x Machina: Fashion In An Age Of Technology” Costume Institute Gala, 2016
This ultra-long, pin-straight hair looks gorgeous on Holmes, accentuating her sculpted facial features.
Katie Holmes’s Hair Evolution: “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garcons: Art Of The In-Between” Costume Institute Gala, 2017
This slicked back updo kept the gaze on Holmes’s moody eye makeup and this gown’s dramatic neckline.
Katie Holmes’s Hair Evolution: Zimmermann - Front Row, 2018
This wavy bob is the epitome of effortless style.
Katie Holmes’s Hair Evolution: American Ballet Theatre Spring Gala, 2019
A return to a Holmes classic — sleek and straight hair
Katie Holmes’s Hair Evolution: Ulla Johnson - Front Row, 2020
Long, dark waves are timeless as Holmes proves here.
Katie Holmes’s Hair Evolution: Celebrity Sightings In New York City, 2021
A look couldn’t be more quintessentially of-the-moment than Holmes’ high messy bun.