• Entertainment

All About Ariana Grande's Hair

From Michael Bolton's power-ballad locks to Diana Ross's towering tresses, from Dolly Parton's teased-to-the gods bouffant to Lyle Lovett's swaggering pompadour, there is no shortage of singers known for their hair. And Ariana Grande's hairstyles rank up there with the best of them, just as Grande ranks high on the list of top music artists

It feels like Grande single-handedly brought back the ponytail, and not just as a symbol of '80s-era retro charm, but as something truly cool and stylish. And she wears her legendary hairdo proudly, even though it's far from comfortable. "[I]'m in constant pain always," she once tweeted about her ponytail, "and don't care at all."

Grande has been turning hair lewks since her breakthrough role in the Nickelodeon series Victorious in 2009 before she became known as one of the best female singers. At just 16 years old, Grande was laying the groundwork for her future role as a hairstyle trailblazer.

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  • Through 2008: She Sported Natural Corkscrew Curls

    Photo: Jim Spellman/Contributor / WireImage/Getty Images

    Grande was cast in the Broadway musical 13 in 2008. She wore her natural hair for the part: thick, corkscrew curls. This was the look she had worn her entire life up to that point. In 2019, Grande posted a picture to Twitter of herself at 5 years old sporting those same curls. She wrote:

    [I]f I'm honest... this is still exactly what I look like without lashes and my pony... I was five here. [T]he only difference now is that hand... says bbq grill finger. 

    The last sentence refers to Grande's infamous tattoo fail when she mistakenly got the Japanese symbol for a barbecue grill tattooed on her finger.

  • 2009: She Went Cherry Red

    After earning her first major television role as Cat on the series Victorious, Grande had to start coloring her hair cherry red. The executive producer of the series reportedly wanted to mix up the all-brunette principal, and also felt red hair better fit Cat's personality.

    In 2014, Grande revealed in a Facebook post the damage the show did to her hair, explaining she had to bleach her hair and dye it red every other week during the four-year run of Victorious, and for part of its spinoff series, Sam & Cat:

    My real hair is back to brown, and I wear extensions, but I wear it in a ponytail because my actual hair is so broken that it looks absolutely ratchet and absurd when I let it down. I tried wigs - they looked RIDICULOUS. Tried a weave because I am working on a new project and want to try some different looks and literally wanted to rip my scalp off. So as annoying as it is for y'all to have to look at the same hairstyle all the time, it's all that works for now (AND I'm comfortable for the first time in years)... And trust me, it's even more difficult for me to have to wait forever for my natural hair to grow back and to have to wear more fake hair than every drag queen on earth combined. So PLEASE gimme a break about the hair (or just don't look at me lol). IT'S JUST HAIR AFTER ALL.

  • 2010: The Pony Became Prominent

    Photo: Frazer Harrison/Staff / Getty Images Entertainment

    It's hard to pinpoint precisely when Grande debuted her now-legendary ponytail, but an early appearance came in 2010 when she attended Variety's Power of Youth event. She pulled back her auburn Cat Valentine hair into a low pony. Grande later told Byrdie:

    It’s how I’ve always liked my hair. Picture me in fourth grade with a little half-up side-pony flopping around my head. I never expected it to become such a thing. This is what makes me comfortable, and I feel like there’s a thousand different ways to do a ponytail. A million!...

    It brings me so much joy, honestly. Every time I put my hair up, it’s like a surprise. Like, I forget how much I love it, and then I tie it back and I’m like, "I love this look! Ooh, girl!" Every time I tie it up is like the first time. It’s like true love.

  • 2013: She Became A Blonde

    Grande has gone blond a few times in her career. One of the first was for the 2013 American Music Awards. Her long, honeyed curls were a dramatic departure from what fans were used to seeing.

    "Ariana Grande debuted a new [blond] 'do while wearing a sequined red Dolce & Gabbana dress paired with Sergio Rossi heels and a Jimmy Choo clutch," Billboard wrote, with stylists naming hers one of the best looks of the night.