Zendaya’s Beauty Evolution Is Basically 10 Years Of NYFW

Robert Hundley

Zendaya didn’t just become the style icon she is today overnight. In fact, she’s been growing into her current role as a fashion and beauty powerhouse since she started her rise to fame at just 13 years old. Over the course of her teenage years, Zendaya transformed from a Disney star into a heralded actor whose red carpet looks leave everybody breathless. She’s come a long way, but Zendaya’s beauty evolution over the years has never been boring.

At 26, the Euphoria star has more than earned her mononym status. Her singular name is synonymous with high fashion and daring makeup looks intensified by modeling skills that literally run in her blood. (She did, in fact, get it from her momma.) Nowadays, if Zendaya is attending a red carpet event, you know to show up hungry because you will be *served* a seven-course lewk. From fully committed to the bold matte lip craze of 2013 to wearing waist-length goddess-worthy locs to the 2015 Oscars, Zendaya’s beauty evolution started strong and only got stronger. From start to finish, this girl’s an icon.

Of course, because Zendaya is Zendaya, the power of her beauty looks goes beyond aesthetics (although don’t get me wrong, those are always on point). Zendaya is also known for bringing Black hair textures and styles to the most exclusive red carpet events in Hollywood and around the world. It’s been incredible to watch her prove, again and again, that braids, locs, and curls are just as high-fashion as updos and blowouts. Seeing her beauty evolution is like watching the stars come out, so scroll on and prepare to be dazzled.

Zendaya’s Beauty Evolution In 2011: A Pop Of Pink

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At 15, Zendaya upped her red carpet makeup, ever so slightly, and brought out the blush for a Teen Vogue party in Sept. 2011. It’s not an overwhelming makeup look, but it definitely shows a growing affinity for trying new makeup looks and playing with color.

Zendaya’s Beauty Evolution In 2012: BB’s First Bold Lip

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The year was 2012, and no one, not even Zendaya, could escape the power that colorful lipstick had on the culture. In July 2012, the Spiderman: No Way Home actor went super bold with a fuchsia lip. Compared to the lip drama, the rest of her makeup was subdued — just some mascara and a light, shimmery eyeshadow.

Zendaya’s Beauty Evolution In 2013: The Middle School Bangs

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Are you kidding me with this hair? I’m obsessed. Zendaya’s intense side bang is everything a middle schooler wanted in 2013. This was one of the first out-of-the-box looks Zendaya tried with her hair. It’s playful, unexpected, creative, and just a hint of who Zendaya will become on red carpets.

Zendaya’s Beauty Evolution In 2014: Vampy Glam

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2014 was the year Zendaya started being known as a red carpet icon, and her makeup began to reflect her more daring fashion choices. Just look at her vampy dark lip, bob, and super blushy cheeks at the 2014 BMI R&B/Hip-Hop Awards. It’s giving queen in the making.

Zendaya’s Beauty Evolution In 2015: Goddess Locs

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Not only was Zendaya’s 2015 Oscars look dripping in goddess-level glamour, but it was also important for women and girls of color. Pairing long locs with pearl earrings, a rosy pink lip, and glowing eye makeup proved to the world that locs are beautiful and luxurious. Yes, some fashion critics had mean things to say, but Zendaya remained unbothered by the ignorant and mortal.

Zendaya’s Beauty Evolution In 2016: Glam Chameleon

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Zendaya’s whole look at the 2016 Met Gala cemented her spot as Hollywood’s most glamorous style chameleon. That bowl cut wig and blended out smokey eye? Excuse me while I collapse on a divan and gently fan myself back to the land of the living.

Zendaya’s Beauty Evolution In 2017: Fantasy Frizz

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Proving once again that Black hair textures belong in the highest echelons of fashion and beauty, Zendaya’s brushed-out curls at the 2017 Met Gala actually convinced me to stop my lifelong battle with frizz. She turned frizz into a graceful, high fashion moment, and her red-haired halo paired with that matte flame lip made Zendaya look like a literal angel, which, of course, she is.

Zendaya’s Beauty Evolution In 2018: Sculpted Work Of Art

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Zendaya can’t come to the phone right now, she’s ascended to Heaven as patron saint of France, Joan of Arc. Honestly, I don’t know what fits the 2018 Met Gala’s theme, “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination,” more: her Versace suit of armor, her perfectly sculpted brows, or those incredible micro-bangs.

Zendaya’s Beauty Evolution In 2019: Old Hollywood Bombshell

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Hello, bombshell! Zendaya’s softly waved hair at the 2019 Emmys is exactly how one pays homage to the leading ladies of Old Hollywood without falling into costumery or camp. It’s also notable that she was able to full channel a vintage vibe without changing her signature glam: full (but not overly filled-in) brows, soft contour, a smokey, neutral eye, and a pink lip.

Zendaya’s Beauty Evolution In 2020: Barbiecore And Braids

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At the Critic’s Choice Awards in 2020, Zendaya gave us Barbiecore before we even knew we wanted it, tossed her gorgeous copper, waist-length braids, and sashayed away.

Zendaya’s Beauty Evolution In 2020: Gone With The Wind

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I’m blown away. For the 2021 Oscars, Zendaya’s signature glam was warmed up for a sun-kissed look in shades of peach and soft orange, but the obvious showstopper here are those mermaid waves. The center part brought a bit of ‘70s energy to the look and the wind tousling the ends of her hair was pure magic.

Zendaya’s Beauty Evolution In 2021: Intergalactic Princess

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It’s rare for Zendaya to pull back her hair on a red carpet, but when she does it’s to show off a bomb beauty look. This futuristic reversed cat-eye moment in shades of holographic violet and soft, matte plum is exactly such a look. Even with her hair slicked back, Zendaya managed to bring a bit of hair drama to an Oct. 2021 special screening of Dune in London. Look closely and you’ll catch a glimpse of her futuristic finger waves.

Zendaya’s Beauty Evolution In 2021: Curly Girl

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At a Dune photocall in Sept. 2021, Zendaya brought out her natural hair texture and my heart grew three sizes. I wanted bangs for my entire childhood and was always told that curly hair and bangs don’t go together. I have since added that lie to my very official list of myths about textured hair Zendaya has disproved on the red carpet.

Zendaya’s Beauty Evolution In 2021: Webby Or Not, Here She Comes

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This is one of my all-time favorite Zendaya looks and my absolute favorite since she became to mix up her signature, natural glam. At the LA premiere of Spiderman: No Way Home, Zendaya’s makeup was as bold as her spiderweb gown. Her liner look features three colors — black, white, and blue — and paired the now viral Siren eye look with a slash of graphic, floating liner that somehow forced you to notice how perfectly shaped her brows are. Bravo.

Zendaya’s Beauty Evolution In 2022: Business Barbie(core)

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Zendaya continued her journey into daring makeup *and* beauty looks at the Valentino womenswear show at Paris Fashion Week in March, 2022 with a thick, black cat-eye liner look that served major drama. Her sleek lob had the perfect amount of flip on the ends and her neutral, glossy lip was probably the only shade that wouldn’t have clashed with all that Barbiecore pink.

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