Journey Back Through Lady Gaga’s Coolest-Ever Beauty Moments

Just in time for a new era?

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Lady Gaga silver hair

Lady Gaga is the most singular type of superstar. From the earliest days of her career, back when she was lugging her keyboard through the Lower East Side to play for bar crowds and college kids, she was doing so with the kind of confidence and aesthetic vision often reserved for only the most seasoned performers. Hair, makeup, and fashion have always been as critical to her music as the melodies themselves — and Lady Gaga’s beauty evolution is a testament to just how versatile it all can be. With her notoriously dramatic red carpet looks, groundbreaking music video visuals, and a commitment to embodying the Gaga persona both on-stage and in her real life, she’s cemented her status as one of the most recognizable celebrities of her entire generation.

What makes Lady Gaga’s beauty choices so interesting — and her fashion, too, for that matter — is now matter how dramatically different they might seem, there’s still that palpably personal undercurrent that feels so distinctly her. Regardless of if she’s in an electric blue wig with a full face covering or a glamorous, Old Hollywood-style updo, she brings a sense of self to all of her looks, and it’s part of why she’s so beloved.

Ahead, scroll back through some of Gaga’s most career-defining beauty moments of all time.

Club Kid Edge In 2006

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When she first started embodying the Lady Gaga persona, she was channeling a ton of ‘80s influences — remember the Bowie-esque lightning bolt makeup she wore for a while? Her platinum blonde hair was often styled with heavy bangs, adding dramatic, dynamic shape.

Finding Her Aesthetic In 2008

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Just in time for her debut album’s release, Gaga worked several variations of what would become her defining aesthetic that era. She still had the heavy bangs, but would weave futuristic, exaggerated elements into her look, like these larger-than-life lashes.

Playing With Color In 2010

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This year will always be remembered as a mammoth one for Gaga, and it was all framed by a backdrop of colorful wigs. She performed at the VMAs in pink-tipped curls, posed in her infamous meat dress with a blue-streaked gray hairpiece, and walked the Grammys red carpet with this electric yellow number.

Exaggerated Glamour In 2012

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One of Lady Gaga’s favorite tricks in the early days was popping up at an event with a relatively “normal” hair and makeup pairing — but her look always featured a high-fashion twist. She wore a long, voluminous brown wig to the release of her first fragrance, but capped her nails in these custom MORDEKAI by Ken Borochov rings and finger cuffs.

Comic Book Camp In 2014

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Wait a minute — was Gaga laying the groundwork for her role in the upcoming Joker movie sequel way back in 2014? With her giant green wig and bright purple suit, it certainly doesn’t seem like a stretch. She’s known to lean into the powers of manifestation, after all.

Country Chic In 2016

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Lady Gaga’s album Joanne was a reset in many respects. She returned to her rock roots with a guitar-heavy, country-influenced sound, and her look that era reflected it. She was often seen in denim cutoffs and the album’s signature pink hat, which she paired with long, straight hair and pared-down (for her) makeup choices.

Movie Star Mode In 2018

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She’d experimented with television acting to great success, but 2018 was the year Gaga became a full-fledged movie star. At the Venice Film Festival premiere of A Star Is Born, she looked every bit the red carpet regular with her prim, high bun and delicate pink lipstick chosen to match her feathered gown.

A Return To Form In 2020

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Just because Gaga can seamlessly slip into Hollywood mode for her acting projects doesn’t mean the camp-loving theater kid pop star stays on the sidelines. Celebrating the return of her electronic sound with the release of her album Chromatica, Gaga embraced classic elements of her persona, including an ombré blue wig and hot pink makeup.

Retro Glamour In 2022

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Lady Gaga’s always had a penchant for vintage everything — explore her series of traditional jazz albums with Tony Bennett if you haven’t already. That love for a throwback extends to her beauty choices, too. At the 2022 BAFTAs, she complemented her emerald-green gown with some Old Hollywood waves and a timeless cat-eye.

Embracing The Unknown In 2024

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When Gaga arrived at a screening of her HBO concert film with a radically different look — including nano-bangs and bleached brows — fans jumped to one major conclusion: A new era is coming. It’s been four years since she released a new album and, with a new movie coming to theaters later this fall, the time is certainly right.