Famous Blondes Who Look Unrecognizable As Brunettes
What a difference a dye job makes.
Whether it’s for a film role, a red carpet appearance or just for fun, most celebrities have switched up their hair color at some point (and some get a kick out of doing it on the regular).
You might have to do a double take at some of these famous blondes who’ve gone brunette, though, because they look so different!
We’ve included some stars who’ve made the opposite move, too, going from dark to light. The big question is … what suits them the most?
Margot Robbie is most recognizable with golden blond tresses, but she’s experimented with various hair colors over the years, and in 2014 she went a dark chocolate-brown for her role in “Z is for Zachariah.”
But it wasn’t her first trip to the dark side; she told InStyle that she had brunette hair all through high school, adding, “I’ve always really loved this color.”
California girl Sofia Richie has been fair-haired for most of her modeling career, but in 2018 she swapped her signature ashy-blonde for a rich, mahogany brown — and she looks like a completely different person. However, she went back to blonde after a few months.
Jennifer Lawrence started her acting career as a blonde, but for her role as Katniss Everdeen in “The Hunger Games,” she went brunette and stayed dark to play Tiffany Maxwell in 2012’s “Silver Linings Playbook.” In recent years, Lawrence has gone back to blonde, rocking every shade from icy platinum to sun-kissed.
Sarah Jessica Parker
Most of us associate Sarah Jessica Parker with the long blonde curls of her “Sex and the City” character Carrie Bradshaw, but she’s actually a natural brunette, and since 2005 she’s switched between fairer and darker shades pretty regularly. She also likes to combine the two with gorgeous balayage looks and experiment with straighter styles. An A-list hair chameleon, for sure.
Golden-haired Scarlett Johansson has pulled off some stunning brunette styles over the years, making it hard to pinpoint her natural hair color. According to PopSugar, she had light brown hair as a child — a good starting point for going lighter or darker. The actor has also tried just about every hair length during her career, including a bleached mullet in 2003 and an undercut in 2015.
The star of “Legally Blonde” is naturally fair-haired, but she’s gone to the brunette side for acting roles, including June Carter in the 2005 Johnny Cash biopic “Walk the Line” and in the 2014 drama “The Good Lie.” Witherspoon has also been pictured on the set of her upcoming Apple TV+ series “The Morning Show” with chestnut brown hair, but as she’s still blond on Instagram, it’s likely to be a wig.
After shaving off her long blond hair in 2017 for her role in “Sisters” (prompting a flood of comments about the “perfect” shape of her head), Kate Hudson let her hair grow back in as its natural brunette color. It didn’t stay dark for long, though — within weeks Hudson was sporting a blond pixie cut. The actor revealed that she loved her shaved head, describing it as “so liberating.”
Charlize Theron has always been firmly in the “blond” camp in most people’s minds, but she’s no stranger to a little hair experimentation. In 1999, Theron worked a dark Louise Brooks-style bob for the film “The Yards.” She went brunette again in 2005, this time with an asymmetrical cut, for “Aeon Flux.” In February 2019, just hours before walking the red carpet at the Oscars, she asked her hairstylist for a sleek, dark brown bob and then slayed the red carpet.
Another star known for her signature blond hair, Britney Spears is actually a natural brunette. She’s been blonde for most of her career but has surprised the world with a darker mane on a couple of occasions, such as Elton John’s Oscars party in February 2013. But perhaps her most infamous outing as a brunette was for her wedding to ex-husband Kevin Federline.
After longtime blond-haired model Cara Delevingne shaved her head in 2017, she started experimenting with different hair colors, including painted silver for the Met Gala and a rich brown for the London launch of her debut novel, “Mirror Mirror.” Dark blond may be Delevingne’s signature look, but she’s always up for a change, so we can expect more brunette (and possibly every other color under the sun) from her in the future.
Cameron Diaz is an iconic modern blonde, but she can pull off a darker color just as well. She went very dark for the January 2000 cover of Vanity Fair, and again in 2006.
In 2007, Diaz told People, “In my mind’s eye, I feel like a brunette. It’s funny, because my family and friends all feel the same way … they prefer me as a brunette.” However, that didn’t stop her going back to blonde, and she’s spent more time at the lighter end of the spectrum ever since.
Another actress who favors blond locks is Drew Barrymore, but now and again she hits the red carpet as a brunette. From her full-on Gothic look in 1995 to her chocolate-brown Oscars up-do in 2005, Barrymore looks just as fabulous with darker hair. In 2010, Barrymore’s then-hairstylist Giannandrea called her “a chameleon, constantly evolving.”
Dakota Fanning is definitely a loyal blonde, only going brunette for movie roles, such as “Hide and Seek” in 2005 and “Night Moves” in 2013. The year 2012 was her most experimental as far as her hair color; she was blond, brown and highlighted in pink over the course of 12 months. But let’s face it — we all still remember her as the little fair-haired girl from films such as “I Am Sam” and “Charlotte’s Web.”
She might look like a natural blonde, but Katherine Heigl actually started her acting career as a brunette. However, by the time she bagged the role of Izzy in “Grey’s Anatomy,” her hair was golden blond — and stayed that way for five years until she went ultra dark and dramatic for her role in 2012’s “One for the Money.” Thereafter it was back to blond for the likes of 2013’s “The Big Wedding.”
“I wanted my color to be darker, more mysterious,” Aguilera said of her 2004 transformation into a brunette. “It made me feel vixenish.”
By the following year, Aguilera was back to her usual platinum shade. Since then, she’s tried out various dip-dyed combinations with her blond (including pink and purple) and went red briefly in 2016 but has only dabbled in dark brown once more — for her role in the TV series “Nashville.”
You may not know that “Fifty Shades of Grey” actor Dakota Johnson started her career with wavy golden blond hair. It wasn’t long before her signature look was established, though: glossy dark-brown locks paired with long bangs. She can definitely pull off either look and recently opted for a little of both — bold blond highlights on her usual brunette base color.
Kim Kardashian West
Longtime brunette Kim Kardashian West famously went platinum blond in just a day (the blondest it had ever been, in March 2015) but went back to her signature dark brown after only a few weeks. Since then, she’s kept us all guessing as to what color her hair will be — jet black, golden blond, candy pink or silver? There may be one reason Kardashian West goes blond at least once a year: Her husband Kanye West prefers it.
“Kanye’s favorite is blonde, so I did it for our anniversary,” she said in 2018.
Another member of the Kardashian/Jenner clan has also gone from very dark to very blond. A year after experimenting with golden blond, Kylie Jenner revealed a platinum look in 2016. Like big sister Kim Kardashian West, she achieved this unbelievable transformation in just a day. Jenner’s colorist Priscilla Valles told Glamour that this was possible due to the bond multiplier Olaplex and a “really low peroxide volume.” She also pointed out that Jenner’s color lifted really quickly, which doesn’t happen for everyone.
Christina Ricci made her big-screen acting debut in “Mermaids,” is best-known for playing Wednesday in “The Adams Family,” and had her first lead role in “Casper.” For all these roles she had jet black hair, but she’s also tried fairer looks over the years. Her most dramatic hair transformation was in 2015 for her role as American socialite and writer Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald in the period drama “Z: The Beginning of Everything,” for which she embraced a blond bob.
Keira Knightley has been brunette for so long that it’s hard to imagine her as a blonde, but she started her acting career with golden blond hair. In 2016, the “Atonement” star revealed that she had dyed her hair “virtually every color imaginable” for different films, resulting in damage so bad that her hair began to fall out.
“For the past five years I’ve used wigs, which is the greatest thing that’s ever happened to my hair,” she told Elle.
Selena shocked everyone at the 2017 AMAs with her platinum blonde bob, and it seems that the singer herself prefers dark hair, as she only stayed light for a couple of weeks before reverting to her usual brunette look. Her stylist, Riawna Capri, revealed on Instagram that the end result took “9 hours, about 300 foils, and 8 bowls of bleach, all with 2 stylist [sic] working together simultaneously.”
It’s hard to believe blonde Zooey Deschanel, circa 2003, is the same person as brunette Zooey Deschanel. It’s often falsely reported that Deschanel is a natural blonde, something she was quick to set straight in a recent interview with StyleCaster.
“My hair has been the same color pretty much my whole life,” she said. “My hair is naturally dark brown. If you look at my family, my dad has dark brown hair. My mom has dark brown hair. My sister (actress Emily Deschanel) has brown hair. All signs point to brown hair.”
Ariana Grande’s hair is a big part of her image, so when she’s not rocking her signature high brunette ponytail, it’s big news. (The truth behind her iconic high pony is pretty mundane, however — she explained on Facebook in 2014 that her real hair was “so broken” that it looked “absolutely ratchet and absurd” when she let it down and that a high ‘do was “all that works for now.”)
It’s not clear whether her occasional icy-blond looks are genuine dye jobs or wigs, but they certainly create a buzz in the Ari fan camp.
Her hair has been jet black, platinum blond and every color of the rainbow. She suits them all – and truly looks like a different person each time she switches it up. Recently, she’s stuck to lighter shades but has changed the length — from pixie crop to flowing waves — with a little help from extensions.
It’s not just women who dabble in hair dye, of course. Orlando Bloom showed off a bleached ‘do in 2016, and we already knew it would suit him, as he’d donned a long blonde wig for his role as Legolas in the film adaptations of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit.” This time, his more permanent blonde look was for the 2017 HBO mockumentary “Tour De Pharmacy,” and he held onto it for his subsequent 2018 thriller “S.M.A.R.T. Chase.”