Let Oprah’s Beauty Evolution Remind You What A Living Legend She Is

As if you needed the reminder.

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Oprah natural curls in purple jumpsuit 2023

The United States is a democratic republic, of course, but if there were ever a candidate for queen, you’d already know who’d cinch it: Oprah Winfrey. She’s the rare legend who, despite her years in the spotlight, feels so immediately familiar to the fans who grew up alongside her and those who were raised on her alike. Exploring topics many leading news figures wouldn’t even touch, she’s been breaking down barriers, profiling the biggest stars, busting up taboos longer than some of her most dedicated devotees have even been alive. Accordingly, Oprah’s beauty evolution is a journey through several decades, a testament to the power of personal style and the fun of keeping up with new trends alike.

She’s been a central media mainstay since her eponymous talk show first aired in 1986, but that’s hardly where Oprah’s story begins. Overcoming her traumatic upbringing, she quickly ascended through the ranks of local television news, with audiences drawn to her empathetic nature and expressive delivery style. Approximately 10 years into her career, she segued into her very own talk show — and the rest, as they say, is history. Dubbed the Queen Of All Media, there’s not an entertainment industry arena that she hasn’t thoroughly mastered.

Ahead, get inspired by Oprah’s legendary life by journeying back through her beauty evolution, from her earliest days on-screen through the present.

Fresh-Faced Anchor, 1978

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With her baby face and pretty ‘70s curls, Oprah became the youngest news anchor at her Nashville station, and was nearly immediately snapped up by the larger Chicago market.

Quintessential ‘80s Glam, 1986

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The mid-’80s were perhaps the most pivotal in Oprah’s entire career. In 1985, she starred in The Color Purple, widely considered to be her big pop culture breakthrough. She’d go on to win a Golden Globe for her role, shining in very a decade-appropriate blush-lipgloss combination, as well as a feathered hairstyle.

High-Drama Updo, 1990

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Though The Oprah Winfrey Show kicked off in 1986, by 1990, she was a household name with national syndication. Accordingly, she started favoring more overtly glamorous looks for high-profile events, like this bang-accented bun and glistening red lipstick.

Power Couple Charm, 1995

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Oprah and her longtime beau Stedman Graham have been going strong since the mid-’80s, but it’s always been a treat to see the pair make a major public appearance together. At the 1995 Academy Awards, he stuck to a classic tuxedo while Oprah embraced all-over warm tones with her golden lipstick color — and tons of hair height.

Crisp Classics, 2000

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Oprah cherishes a lot of things — red lipstick and voluminous hairstyles among them — but longtime fans know it all paled in comparison to her beloved cocker spaniel, Sophie. Pictured together in 2000, the pair celebrated the new millennium with a classic black-and-white color palette.

Golden-Toned Curls, 2005

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Around the early 2000s, Oprah fans were treated to the resurgence of her natural curls. Always so full, glossy, and perfectly-shaped, the ringlets were a gorgeous glazed bronze color in 2005.

Lots Of Layers, 2010

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Like a more modern take on her hair from the ‘70s, Oprah’s go-to look in 2010 was all about those lush layers. Long, well-blended, and in the shiniest shade of raven, it’s still a personal favorite of so many fans.

Wow-Factor Ringlets, 2015

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Showing off even tighter curls in 2015, Oprah’s hair was flawless as ever. When dry, they fall just past her shoulders with plenty of strategic height and movement concentrated around her face. Her subtle yet shiny lip color completes the sleek look.

Caramel-Colored Highlights, 2020

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Though back to loving the layered look in in 2020, Oprah shook things up with warm, caramel-colored highlights expertly applied around her face and the edges of tier of hair.

Trendy & Timeless, 2023

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These days, Oprah flits back and forth between her favorite makeup classics — a strong eye and juicy lip combo — but still loves to play and experiment with trendy hairstyles like this half-ponytail in 2023.