50 Most Iconic Celebrity Hairstyles
If you need inspiration for your next hair transformation, look no further than the celebrity archives.
From Betty Grable’s pinup girl curls to Courtney Love’s just-got-out-of-bed grunge chic, you have decades of ‘dos to choose from.
Here are 50 of the most iconic celebrity hairstyles of all time.
Audrey Hepburn had many hairstyles throughout her career – long and short, with and without bangs – but her most memorable look is the one she wore to play Holly Golightly in the 1961 movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” She gave the classic chignon a twist with auburn streaks and super short bangs. The sparkly tiara was the finishing touch, worthy of this Hollywood queen.
Marilyn Monroe may have been a natural brunette, but her lively platinum blonde hair was an integral part of her image. Her characteristic, glamorous chin-length waves have been imitated by a number of modern celebrities, including Madonna, Christina Aguilera, Katherine Heigl, and Michelle Williams. In Monroe’s case, it wasn’t without effort – according to author Pamela Keogh, her stylists applied peroxide and bleach highlights every three weeks to maintain the blonde bombshell effect.
Backcombing has been embraced by many stars over the decades, but has anybody rocked it like Amy Winehouse? The singing sensation, who died age 27, was known for her towering jet black beehive. In 2016, London-based stylist and former friend of Winehouse’s told InStyle that “the big hair was inspired by Brigitte Bardot” and the overall look “was very much about the ‘60s thing.”
Although Nicole Kidman often colors her hair blonde and straight, she causes a stir whenever she shows off her natural red. In the recent hit HBO TV series “The Undoing,” Kidman’s hair is reminiscent of her early career – bouncy auburn curls. In an interview with Australia’s Sydney Morning Herald, the actress admitted that she wished she hadn’t “screwed up my hair by straightening it all the time.”
An early adopter of the rainbow hair color trend (long before its 2019 resurgence), Cyndi Lauper can pull off this multi-colored look like nobody else. The singer, songwriter, and actress started with green, telling Allure in 2017 that it was St. Patrick’s Day and she wanted her hair to match with her dress. “I’ve had all different colors,” she said. “I got my hair really light pink [before] I had to go on TV and then I realized nobody had colored hair. It was just that moment when nobody had colored hair all, so I was a little freakish.”
Julia Roberts always has great hair, period. But her breakout role as Vivien Ward in “Pretty Woman” had women all over the world asking their hairstylist how to get her luxe auburn curls. “There’s no doubt that Julia’s hair is iconic,” Serge Normant, the star’s longtime hairstylist, told Refinery29 in September 2020. Normant described Roberts’ “Pretty Woman” curls as “emblematic” of the 1990s, and revealed that she’s not afraid to experiment. “Her hairstyle has to be something that’s easy and effortless, not contrived,” he added.
Choosing Demi Moore’s most iconic hairstyle is no mean feat. There’s been the glossy bob in “Indecent Proposal,” the completely bald look in “G.I. Jane,” and the long, center-parted waves she’s favored in recent years. But arguably her most memorable – and imitated – style was the pixie cut she sported in “Ghost.” One fan of this particular look is Moore’s daughter Tallulah Willis, who paid the ultimate tribute to it in 2019. Willis recreated the hairdo and shared the result on Instagram, captioning the photo, “We did the Demi.”
There isn’t a hairdo Cher hasn’t tried. In the 1970s, her signature look was super look and super sleek - and jet black, of course. In the last few years, the style has been revived by Kim Karsashian West, who emulated the rock icon on the September 2017 cover of Harper’s Bazaar Arabia. Sharing the image on Instagram, Kardashian West called the "Believe" singer her style icon.
Diana Ross is another star who’s experimented with every possible hairstyle, plus a wide range of wigs during her time in The Supremes. But as incredible as the towering updos and intricate braids were, her most iconic look was a lot more relaxed. When she started touring as a solo artist in the early 1970s, Ross really embraced her natural curls, and by the time the 1980s came round, it was all about the volume.
Not many stars can claim to have a hairstyle named after them, but the Farrah will go down in history as one of the most defining looks of the 1970s. Actress Farrah Fawcett’s long, feathered style went global thanks to her performance in the TV series “Charlie’s Angels.” Celebrity hairstylist Lucy Polko told The Zoe Report that people loved the Farrah “because of its ultra femininity and softness.” “It changed the way women wore their hair because it was a new soft hairstyle and worked on everyone in some shape or form,” she added.
When it came to her image, Grace Jones was as unpredictable as she was inventive. But of all her hairstyles, her high top fade was the edgiest. Jones made this traditionally masculine look all her own, as seen on the iconic publicity poster for a stop on her “Nightclubbing” record tour in France in 1981.
The Rachel was one of the most popular hairstyles of the mid 1990s, thanks to Jennifer Aniston’s “Friends” character Rachel Green and her shoulder-length style with long layers. It was the creation of hairstylist Chris McMillan, who told The Telegraph that he simply wanted to give the actress something “a bit different.” Nobody was more surprised by the craze than Aniston herself, who told Allure in 2011 that it was the “ugliest haircut I've ever seen."
Icelandic artist Bjork was as fearless with her personal style as she was with her work. She’s experimented with lots of hair and beauty looks since she first burst onto the alternative rock scene in the band The Sugarcubes. But who can forget her funky, futuristic looped braids and all-over crowns of Bantu knots?
Some of the British media mockingly called The Beatles “moptops" because of their mid-length hairstyles. But the band (who called the look “Arthur”) got the last laugh - this layered look became a symbol of youth culture rebellion. According to GQ, the idea for the cut came from a Hamburg art student named Jurgen Vollmer, whom the band became friends with in the early 1960s. Vollmer gave John Lennon and Paul McCartney the style in a Paris hotel room, and George Harrison and Ringo Starr soon followed suit.
One of Grace Kelly’s signature hairdos will never go out of style. The classic wave may be seen on the red carpet today, but nobody wore it like Kelly. And it wasn’t just about the wave – her color was a very particular blonde, as celebrity hair colorist Victoria Hunter told Vogue. “Grace Kelly’s hair was cool beige with a little silver in it,” she explained.
In 2017, Meg Ryan wrote an essay for InStyle about having famous hair, which began with her look in the 1995 movie “French Kiss” – a short, choppy shag cut. The actress revealed that it happened “mostly by accident,” when the hairstylist Sally Hershberger accidentally pulled off “a sizable chunk” of Ryan’s hair with a curling iron. “She was left to scissor away until we got what we got,” Ryan revealed.
The Queen of Reinvention, Madonna has had more than her fair share of iconic hairstyles, from her 1980s side ponytail to her brief nod to her natural brunette in the “Like a Prayer” era. But her most iconic style has to be her cropped blonde curls of the late 1980s, which harked back to the original blonde bombshell Marilyn Monroe, but was still 100 percent Madonna.
Halle Berry showed how the tousled pixie cut should be done in the early 1990s, and stayed true to this style for the next several years. Her appearance on the Oscars red carpet in 2002 (the year she won Best Actress for “Monster’s Ball”) will go down in history as one of the most iconic. Berry paired her signature pixie with a stunning Elie Saab dress when she made history as the first Black woman to win an Academy Award for Best Actress.
To play Bonnie Parker in the 1967 movie “Bonnie and Clyde,” Faye Dunaway rocked a pale-blonde asymmetrical bob with side-swept bangs. It’s a style that always manages to look fresh and modern – in 2017, 50 years after the release of the movie, Vogue described the look as “acutely of the moment.” And Parker’s beret was the perfect accessory.
Only Dusty Springfield’s voice was bigger than her hair. The 1960s singer was instantly recognizable thanks to her voluminous blonde beehive, which – teamed with her heavy mascara and column dresses – earned her the “Queen of the Mods” nickname. There’s no doubt that Springfield epitomized the style, as well as the sound, of her era.
Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis
Former First Lady Jackie Kennedy's hair was just as trendsetting as her clothes. Her 1961 inauguration hairdo, the bouffant, from the French word for “swelling,” is hair styled to stand out from the head in a rounded shape. According to Peter Lamas, who was Kennedy's makeup artist after she moved to New York, Kennedy often slept on a silk pillowcase or with her hair in an elegant silk scarf to help maintain the shape. “She would use a silk scarf to sleep and a silk pillowcase,” Lamas told Refinery29. “If you sleep on cotton, it roughs up your hair.”
Is there a man’s hairstyle cooler than Elvis Presley’s pompadour? In the music video for his 1957 release “Jailhouse Rock,” he showed off the impressive, voluminous sweep of jet black hair that would become his signature style. The pompadour is actually named after Madame de Pompadour, a mistress of the French king Louis XV in the mid-18th century. At that time, both men and women of the royal court placed great value on volume in their hairstyles.
Alicia Keys is known for her incredible braids, and in January 2020 she revealed a braid that was almost as tall as her. Alongside a photo of Keys on Instagram, sitting in a director’s chair with her back to the camera and her larger-than-life braid sweeping the floor, the artist wrote, “Braid as long as my list of things to do.”
The most famous high ponytail wearer in history, Ariana Grande does give her hair some down time, but she revealed on Twitter that the updo is her sweet spot. “My God, going back to a high pony after a few days of not wearing a high pony is a remarkable feeling,” she wrote. “I’m just supposed to have a high pony u know? Some things are just meant to be and this is jus one of those things. (sic)” Fact: Grande’s hair is naturally curly, which she showed off in a photo posted to Instagram in 2015.
Nobody wears a shaved head like Sinead O’Connor. The Irish singer/songwriter was initially a statement against traditional views of women. “They wanted me to grow my hair really long and wear miniskirts and all that kind of stuff because they reckoned I’d look much prettier,” she told Oprah Winfrey in 2014. “So I went straight around to the barber and shaved the rest of my hair off.”
Lady Gaga is another star who’s never afraid to experiment with her hair. From the very early days, she was pushing the style boundaries. When she made her breakthrough in 2008, she captured the world’s attention with straight, waist-length hair, blunt bangs, and a bow made of matching blonde hair. "This was all Gaga,” her hairstylist, Frederic Aspiras, told O. “I joined her team in 2009, but she had been doing this hair before me. It shows this is truly her art. [...] This was Lady Gaga creating her own iconography."
On the podcast Table Manners with Jessie Ware in August 2020, Twiggy revealed how she ended up with her famous pixie cut. When she was 16c she went to a fancy hair salon in London and the owner asked if he could give her a haircut. Too shy to refuse, Twiggy lost her long locks, but ended up with one of the most defining hairdos of the 1960s. The iconic portrait photo ended up being seen by a fashion journalist, who named the budding model “The Face of 1966,” and the rest is history.
Actor and cultural icon James Dean was the embodiment of disillusioned youth in his most famous movie, “Rebel Without a Cause.” And he was just as cool off screen, with his big, messy hair. By wearing it slightly longer and embracing his natural curls, Dean stood out from his pack of neatly cut and clean-shaven contemporaries.
Veronica Lake’s signature hairstyle came about by accident. While filming the 1940 movie “I Wanted Wings,” Lake’s hair fell over her right eye, and her peek-a-boo hairstyle was born. Her influence was so great that, when the U.S. entered World War II, she faced pressure to switch her long locks for a shorter, more practical ‘do in the hope that other women would follow her lead. (Long hair, elegant though it was, came with the risk of getting caught in machinery.)
Child star Shirley Temple’s signature curls were the work of her mother, Gertrude Temple. For every feature film Temple appeared in, her mom styled it in pin curls – exactly 56 of them, no more, no less, reported the Los Angeles Times. However, Temple reportedly wasn’t a fan of the hairstyle, although she appreciated its significance. According to Mental Floss, she even turned down an opportunity to go swimming with First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt in 1938 "because of my hair."
Mia Farrow’s super short crop in the 1968 movie “Rosemary's Baby” has an interesting story behind it. According to Hollywood Reporter, director Roman Polanski invited reporters to Paramount to witness renowned hairstylist Vidal Sassoon cut Farrow’s hair for her role. Sassoon was paid handsomely for his work ($5,000), but one person wasn’t happy. Frank Sinatra was rumored to be furious with how short her hair was, and he served Farrow with divorce papers after the got the chop.
Queen of grunge Courtney Love had one of the most iconic hairstyles of the 1990s. Its appeal lies in the fact that it’s completely un-styled – untamed, unbrushed and probably unwashed. Combined with last night’s blurry eye makeup and masses of attitude and you have the messy chic trend nailed.
Tina Turner’s gravity-defying spiky hair fits with her image – a powerful woman who overcame huge challenges to become one of the world’s greatest music icons. She’s had many other hairstyles throughout her career, of course, but it’s hard to find a better match for her dynamic on-stage performance than those spikes.
Debbie Harry's platinum shag is the ultimate rock chick look. "This is the 'rules are made to be broken look,'" hairstylist Matt Fugate told Refinery 29. "It's a mid-length shattered shag that's tousled with reckless abandon." Many women copied Harry’s effortless 1970s vibe, and it remains a hugely popular cut and color today, proving that great hair never goes out of style.
One of the most important icons of 1960s popular culture, The Doors frontman Jim Morrison was known for his wild, bohemian curls. Before he became famous, most men favored a far more conservative look, with more than a generous helping of gel to keep every strand in place. But as GQ points out, Morrison’s hair “had freedom and it perfectly matched the free-spirited philosophy of the age.”
Model Bettie Mae Page, known professionally as Bettie Page, was known for her pinup shots in the 1950s. She was known for her long, jet black hair and short, neat, U-shaped bangs – a look that’s been replicated time and time again by fans of the rockabilly look. In 2012, Time named Page one of the 100 most influential people on fashion.
Brigitte Bardot put her own twist on the beehive, opting for a more “bed head” version of the style. She often paired it with long split bangs for an even more relaxed, feminine look. And when Bardot wore her hair down, she still spent time making sure it had plenty of volume. (Volume was one of the golden rules of 1960s hair, if you hadn’t figured it out.) By back combing, Bardot managed to create lots of lift for much fuller looking locks.
“Amelie” star Audrey Tatou gave the hairstyle of another famous Audrey (Hepburn) a modern twist, bringing the gamine style right up to date. Vogue was full of praise for Tatou’s crop in 2014, writing, “The grown-out pixie may be summer’s sleeper hit, but this week, Audrey Tautou and her eternally chic short crop have us contemplating a dramatic cut. The French actress radiated classic gamine style at a recent premiere in New York with a glossy, piece-y chop that conveyed a hint of Parisian muss.”
The glamorous 1920s movie star Louise Brooks had one of the most famous haircuts in Hollywood history. Her sleek, jet black bob wasn’t a huge departure for her – she grew up in Kansas with a similar style. According to the British Film Institute, Brooks got a “Buster Brown” cut - a chin-length bob with brow-skimming bangs - at the age of 10, at her mother’s request. She believed it would help her get a career as a performer… and she was right.
When the world got its first glimpse of the future Princess of Wales, teenager Diana Spencer, she had a short shag cut. Diana stayed true to the short do, and it led to her most iconic cut in 1990. Hairstylist Sam McKnight met Diana on a Vogue shoot, at the end of which Diana asked him what he’d do to her hair if he had free reign. “I said, ‘Well, I’d just cut it all off and start again,’ because it was 1990,” McKnight told Vogue. “I said, ‘Cut it off, get rid of the ’80s frou-frou and start again with a minimal, short haircut.’ Which is what we did.”
Michelle Pfeiffer has modeled numerous covetable hairstyles throughout her career as a Hollywood leading lady, one of which is the sleek bob she had for the character of Elvira Hancock in the 1984 movie “Scarface.” With its brow-grazing bangs and tucked-under ends, it oozes glamor. Since then, the look has been recreated by everyone from Gwen Stefani to Taylor Swift.
Bob Marley’s hairstyle was all down to his Rastafarian faith, which dictated that he never cut his hair. His perfectly-shaped dreads were a key part of his look, and they were so iconic that one of them sold for £2,585 ($3,495) at London auction house Christie’s. According to The Telegraph, copious amounts of beeswax kept Marley’s dreads in tip-top condition.
The ultimate 1940s pinup star, Betty Grable was known for her blonde curls, piled high on her head. During World War II, she modelled the popular victory rolls, which were associated with the maneuvers performed by military fighter planes. One of the most memorable images of the time is of Grable with her back to the camera, turning her head and shoulders back to flash a grin – with her signature tower of blonde curls, of course.
Some stars set a trend whenever they change their hairstyle, and Gwyneth Paltrow is no exception. Aside from a couple of brief stints as a brunette, the actress has stayed loyal to blonde, but has experimented with various lengths. She went super short for the 1998 romantic comedy “Sliding Doors,” but her signature look is long and center-parted, worn either straight and sleek or in beach’s waves.
A true hair chameleon, Katy Perry clearly gets a kick out of trying out new styles – and knows how to rock a wig. It’s tough to pick her most iconic look, but her blue, pink, and purple streaks in her raven black locks at the 2010 MTV Music Awards stands out for all the right reasons. Unfortunately, all the hair experiments came at a price for Perry – she told The Ellen DeGeneres Show in 2017 that years of bleaching had taken its toll, leading to a dramatic short cut after her platinum hair started falling out by the handful.
Almost as famous as the man himself are Johnny Depp’s hairstyles. From the slicked-back “Donnie Brasco” look to his bohemian beach waves for “Blow,” he’s tried them all. But he may be best remembered for the long, dark, loose style he showed off in “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?” His naturally textured waves perfectly represented the 1990s grunge look that was everywhere at the time.
Plenty of stars have ensured the staying power of bangs, but it was Jane Birkin who first put them on the map in the 1970s. She flirted with short, wispy bangs and longer, blunter ones, inspiring Dakota Johnson, Taylor Swift and a slew of other trendsetters. There’s no doubt that Birkin bangs will never go out of fashion.
Florence Welch isn’t a natural redhead, but the shade suits her so well you’d be forgiven for thinking she was born with it. "I'm a lifer now," the one-time brunette told Marie Claire of her vibrant choice. "I've tried going back to brown, but I don't recognize myself." Of course, there are many different shades in the red spectrum, and Welch has tried them all, from soft ginger to bright poppy red.
One of iconic hairdresser Vidal Sasson’s signature geometric styles was seen on British fashion designer Mary Quant. The “five-point cut” was a cropped helmet with a spike of hair at each ear and a “w” at the nape of the neck. Quant told BBC News that "Vidal was an inspiration to everybody and always got at the vital point and was so explicit. You only had to think about his haircuts and shapes - he revolutionized the look and way of life for everyone."
The platinum blonde icon of the modern age is undoubtedly Gwen Stefani. The singer has rocked the shade for what seems like forever, since she first became a household name as part of the pop group No Doubt in the 1990s. However, she hasn’t always been pure platinum. Stefani was partial to dip-dyed ends in her early career, and in December 2020 she brought them back, during a performance on a live episode of “The Voice.” “It’s not a comeback, I’m recycling me,” she sang - perfectly complementing hair revival.