You know you've made it in Hollywood when you're the star of Marvel Studios' first-ever superhero movie with a solo female lead.
That's what Brie Larson has achieved with this year's Captain Marvel, already the highest-grossing film of 2019.
But long before she was waging war on aliens as Captain Marvel, the 29-year-old was a child actress and teen pop singer. And she has been walking the red carpet since the tender age of 12!
In recent years, Brie has often appeared in our celebrity beauty reports, but she never struck me as an obvious candidate for a Before & After. (Not like Khloé Kardashian or Ellie Goulding, where you just KNOW their faces have been tweaked.)
However, when I learned that she'd been acting for such a long time, I couldn't resist tracking down her early photos... and I was surprised at what I found!
Let's take a look at Brie's beauty evolution from 2002 to 2019.
Brie in 2002
Our first shot is a 12-year-old Brie, rocking long ringlet curls with the short, piecey bangs that so many of us had back in middle school (!!). If this was her natural hair colour, it's gorgeous. But hairstyles in general were just BAD in the early 2000s... and I've got an even worse example next!
Right?! It's all happening here—the stiff curled bangs, the knotty updo, the faux flower, the one red streak of hair. Plus body glitter, a very important part of anyone's early 2000s look.
Brie in 2003
The following year, Brie went blonde, and actually, these highlights are pretty good. Plus, most importantly, the bangs were growing out! She was 14 by this time, so her features were starting to look more grown-up. Two things stand out for me here: her nose, and her hooded eyes. Keep an eye on how they change.
Brie in 2004
In 2004, Brie channelled a cowgirl with braids and a bandana tied around her neck. She looks so fresh-faced with just the lip gloss. (Although already, she was plucking her brows—such was the trend!) Fun fact: Brie was one of the Six Chicks in 13 Going on 30 that same year!
Brie in 2006
Two years later, Brie made a radical change to her look with a wavy blonde bob and side-swept bangs. Isn't this hair colour so 2006?! Hairdressers loved the brassy tones back then. She was only 16 in this shot, but somehow looks far more mature than her years. We can also see her original nose here, which was obviously wider than it is now.
Brie in 2007
Then, another completely different look in 2007. (This will be a theme with her!) Suddenly, Brie's hair was long again, perhaps from extensions, with a new sandy, ashy colour. The problem is, she's wearing a totally wrong shade of foundation—it's too dark and too yellow—to camouflage some breakouts.
Brie in 2009
Brie was more put-together for this United States of Tara event in 2009, at age 19. No, her makeup doesn't have the polish that it has now (if you look closely, there are blending problems with both the foundation and the eyeshadow). But she still looks really pretty... in a different way than before. Why? I'm going to venture a guess that she had the first tweak to her nose, and perhaps even her eyelids!
Brie in 2010
The red carpet struggle is real! For this event, Brie's eyeliner and lipstick were on point, but she didn't have the glossy hair and perfected skin finish that we're used to with A-list celebs. She was also still dealing with some breakouts. Do you see what I mean about her nose? The width hasn't changed much, but the tip looks like it's been refined.
Brie in 2011
Then came this inexplicable wavy 'do, with a frizzy texture and random straight and kinky pieces. I will say that I like the mint green eyeliner... just not with this hair. Her skin is looking much smoother here, and her brows have grown out nicely after the '00s over-plucking.
Brie in 2012
And then Brie became a redhead! Who knew? It's really pretty on her, although the styling is perhaps not the most sophisticated (I'd have ditched the bedazzled headband, at least). With little foundation on, we can see how much her skin has cleared up. Maybe she grew out of it, or maybe she had a little help from medication or a procedure like Levulan.
Brie in 2013
Now, here's the most au naturel look of all, when Brie was 23. Gone is the red hair, replaced by a warm brunette with lighter ends. And for once, there's nothing contrived about her makeup—all we can see is a slick of red lipstick.
Brie in 2014
It was around 2014 when I first took notice of Brie, and I can still remember commenting on this hair. Just when she'd transitioned to a natural-looking brunette, she goes back to this streaky, ashy, grey-looking blonde! Also, the knots have returned from 2002.
Brie in 2015
Finally, in 2015, it looks like Brie began working with a top styling team. It always happens—when celebs get cast in bigger movies, the studio has the budget for better hair and makeup people. Hence, her face is flawless, and she's sporting an expensive "bronde" hair shade that flatters her skin tone. But do I think this is the same nose she has today? Nope!
Brie in 2016
For her Academy Award for Best Actress, Brie had never looked better. Compare and contrast this smooth hair and perfect makeup to her red carpet style a few years before. It's a huge improvement! But I don't think it's JUST hair and makeup. I suspect she had a second procedure on her nose to make it even narrower than before.
Brie in 2017
Whoomp, there it is! It's Brie's newest nose, after what I believe was a second rhinoplasty procedure. It's a baby nose now... and see how it makes her eyes and lips stand out more? She looks every inch the Hollywood star, with the perfect tousled waves and sophisto makeup. If you zone in on her eyelids, I do think she had some of the excess skin removed (called a blepharoplasty).
Brie in 2018
Brie kept the same hair colour through 2018 (she was 28 here). And her makeup keeps getting softer, a phenomenon I've observed time and time again with celebs. Is it their newly chiseled features that give them the confidence to be seen with less? I think so!
Brie in 2019
But Brie is a woman who likes to change her hair colour, so in 2019, she switched things up with this platinum blonde. I can't say I'm a fan, although it helps that her roots and brows were kept darker. (Isn't it amazing how well her brows have grown back?) Besides her overall sculpted look, notice how her smile is brighter and wider than ever before, suggesting a little cosmetic dentistry work.
Brie Larson Before and After
I don't know about you, but I think Brie's before and after is one of the most surprising we've seen. She keeps such a low profile (and is basically the opposite of a Kardashian), so I NEVER suspected this!
There's no doubt that hair and makeup played a major role in these changes. We can all relate to her many styling faux-pas, and it's strangely satisfying to see her blossom into the polished beauty she is today.
But it's also very obvious that a rhinoplasty procedure (or two!) played no small part in this transformation. In addition, I suspect a blepharoplasty, teeth whitening, porcelain veneers and some type of acne treatment. Who knows, there could even be a little Botox and filler happening too, although if there is, it's extremely natural.
Brie looks beautiful, of course, but I couldn't help but notice something she said in a 2015 interview with The Hollywood Reporter. Talking about all the rejection she faced early on in her career, she revealed, "I wasn't pretty enough to play the popular girl, I wasn't mousy enough to be the mousy girl, so I never fit in. And so I'd get close [to the end of the audition process], but I never got anywhere, and it was really painful."
It's no coincidence that her career took off after having these cosmetic procedures. That's Hollywood for you... don't hate the player, hate the game!
How do you feel about Brie's beauty evolution?
Which of these looks is your favourite?
What "beauty work" do you think she's had done?