There are plenty of contemporary stars able to channel retro fashion and beauty themes into their own red carpet looks. But even among the A-list’s apex celebrities, few can nail the easy, from-within elegance of Old Hollywood like Nicole Kidman. Even as a young child back in her native Australia, friends and family recall Kidman’s poise and natural beauty — in fact, biographies even report that it was her burn-prone fair complexion that drove her from playing outside into dark theater halls in the first place. Now, decades into an illustrious career, Nicole Kidman’s best hairstyles, fashion moments, and endlessly versatile cinematic career position her far beyond most of her modern-age peers — she’s in an elite group of actors who will be remembered even decades after her final film wraps.
While most of Kidman’s reputation is built on her talent and hard work, there’s no denying her simultaneous status as a perennial beauty icon. Kidman’s hair colors and styles are particularly noteworthy — she opts for a different one to suit every individual red carpet and event, often selecting certain looks as homages to her movie roles.
Ahead, take a look back at some of Kidman’s all-time great hair moments, all so different but so completely her.
Natural ‘90s Curls
Kidman made her big American crossover right at the start of the ‘90s when she starred in Days Of Thunder alongside future husband Tom Cruise. In the film and on subsequent red carpets, Kidman wore her long, strawberry hair in its naturally curly state.
Polished Barrel Curls
By kicking off her stateside career with such a recognizable hair texture, the times that Kidman did wear it blown out or straightened always felt so novel. In 1995’s polarizing Batman Forever, Kidman looked especially sultry with huge, curled-under blonde waves and an eye-obscuring side part.
Pulled Back Pigtails
By the end of the ‘90s, Kidman had returned to her redhead roots, but started to favor sleek, straight styles on the red carpet. To add a bit of fun to her polished look at the U.K. Eyes Wide Shut premiere, Kidman pulled her hair up into two flat-laying pigtails, allowing the ends to seamlessly blend in the back.
The early 2000s were major for Kidman, who was living the definition of a mixed bag. While her career as an acclaimed leading lady exploded, her marriage to Cruise came to an infamous end. Kidman relied on glamorous, wisp-accented ponytails through the period, her long bangs spilling down to add an effortless element.
She would even do the same with her curls, like the corkscrew-framed updo she wore to the Deauville American Film Festival.
Sultry Side Bangs
Surprisingly, bangs are one area that doesn’t get much play from Kidman. Sure, she’s worn them before (including in Big Little Lies), but she typically prefers a more uniform length all around. However, when she does do bangs, they’re always a hit. Her super sultry side-bangs, seen here in 2006 as part of a voluminous, Bardot-esque half-up style, prove it.
Butterscotch Blonde & Blown-Out
By 2008, Kidman literally radiated happiness. Her career continued to accelerate while her marriage to country singer Keith Urban enthralled pop culture fans. As the two expected their first child together, Kidman combined her two favorite hair colors into a warm, red-tinted butterscotch blonde, often worn in glossy blowouts.
For all her glamour, Kidman loves a laid-back moment, too. Kidman’s thick, reddish-brown braid from 2011 was kept formal, though, by carefully-styled side-bangs and a clear elastic securing her curled ends.
Classic Center Part
All hail a classic. By pivoting to a confidence-charged center part in 2016, Kidman refreshes one of her best hairstyles to remain very much on-trend. Though her hair falls more on the blonde end of the spectrum, the color isn’t without those warm, red-adjacent tones so critical for the quintessential Kidman look.
Return To Red
The 2020s brought a full-on red resurgence for Kidman, who even portrayed fellow ginger icon Lucille Ball in the biopic Being The Ricardos. For the film’s premiere, Kidman got in touch with her roots, showing up on the red carpet in her natural tight curls and brilliant copper hair color.
Braided Side Bun
The best Kidman looks are timeless with a twist, best exemplified by her amazing updo at the 2022 Oscars. Created by celebrity hairstylist Mara Roszak, this side-positioned braided chignon was so elegant, but let her powder-blue peplum dress get some attention, too.
Kidman kept the Oscars A-game streak going in 2023, arriving at the ceremony with glam extensions styled into effortless waves. Celebrity hairstylist Adir Abergel exclusively told TZR that the style was partially inspired by Kidman’s natural beauty. “I loved the sleekness of the dress and I wanted to go with something that felt extremely unfussy yet French effortless school girl,” Abergel explained. “I was also inspired by images of early 2000s supermodels where hair was air-dried and healthy.”