"I've never had any plastic surgery," says Katy Perry. "Not a nose, not a chin, not a cheek, not a tit. So my messages of self-empowerment are truly coming from an au naturel product," she told GQ in 2014.
But that hasn't stopped rumours from following the 34-year-old singer and American Idol judge to this day.
It doesn't help that a recent Instagram post showed Katy looking almost unrecognizable:
I could have SWORN that was Lauren Conrad!
Maybe it's a case of lighting, angles, or hair and makeup wizardry. Or, maybe some more permanent enhancements were involved?
Let's take a look at Katy's beauty evolution over the years to see if we can find out!
Katy in 2002
Our first pic dates back to 2002, when she was known as Katy Hudson, not Katy Perry. At age 17, she'd already been dyeing her naturally blonde hair for two years. ("The whole reason why I dyed my hair black, actually, was because when I was 15, I chopped it all off," she told Vogue. "I had it bleached blonde like Madonna in Who's That Girl, but it didn't look right. So I bought a box of colour and went black and have never gone back.")
Katy in 2004
By 2004, her jet-black hair had grown past her shoulders into a shaggy mullet, which she rocked with ultra-pale skin and minimal makeup. Without much lip colour, we can see she had a naturally thinner upper lip and a very full lower lip. This is also her natural nose.
Katy in 2005
This was SUCH an unfortunate era for hair, wasn't it? Katy kept going with the mullet through 2005, even though all the razored layers make her hair seem thinner. Red lipstick, heavier eye makeup and gold earrings give her a more grown-up look, despite being only 20 at the time. Also note the over-tweezed tadpole brows. Few escape the early '00s without some sort of brow snafu!
Katy in 2006
Then, she leaned into her California roots in 2006—all sun-kissed skin, soft makeup and long, beachy hair. SO pretty (and she has a point about the black hair looking right!). Her complexion is also incredibly clear and glowy here, and luckily, her brows started growing back out.
Katy in 2007
Her beauty look didn't change much in 2007, the year before she became a household name, other than a slightly shorter haircut. At this point, her makeup was still on the natural side, with only a little liner, brow pencil and mascara to bring out her blue eyes. Obviously, this was before she could command an A-list styling team, so it lacks the polish of her present ensembles.
Katy in 2008
Everything changed for Katy when her first single, "I Kissed a Girl," hit the airwaves in 2008. Suddenly, she adopted a "pin-up girl" persona with cutesy accessories (like this oversized flower) and heavier makeup (like these cat eyes, berry lips and flushed cheeks). If you look closely, you can see evidence of breakouts underneath her foundation. "I got acne at the start of my career—it was a stressful time," she later told Cosmopolitan.
Katy in 2009
What a difference a year makes. In 2009, a fresh bob cut and glossier, healthier colour gave Katy's hair a huge upgrade. She also stepped up the stage makeup with colourful eyeshadow, false lashes and high-coverage foundation—not an everyday look, to be sure, but totally pop star-appropriate.
Katy in 2010
Around this time, she developed a penchant for retro baby bangs, whether in black or this vibrant blue wig. Keep in mind, this was when Lady Gaga was wearing things like the meat dress, so Katy's looks were relatively tame in comparison! Notice her whiter teeth, and clearer skin (apparently because of Proactiv, for which she became a spokesperson in 2010).
Katy in 2011
By age 26, Katy was an old pro at walking the red carpet, and had evolved from her early pin-up looks into full-fledged Hollywood glamour. The two-toned glitter eyeshadow, pink lipstick and lush waves are eye-catching and fun... but her foundation was becoming ever more mask-like. As for her features, her nose appears a little smaller from here on out.
Katy in 2012
Remember how pastel hair was all the rage in 2012? Katy got in on the trend with a short rose gold bob that looked fresh then and still does now. The matching makeup with tones of warm pink and shimmery gold is a radical departure from her usual colour palette. And dare I say it, her skin seems a lot smoother, too.
Katy in 2013
But it wasn't long before she was back to her signature long, dark hair, styling it here in '60s-inspired, Priscilla Presley-esque waves. For her, the false lashes, taupe smoky eyes and nude lips are downright understated. (Later in 2013, she would become a face of CoverGirl.) But she wasn't injecting her lips here, since the top one still has its natural shape.
Katy in 2014
Katy's bob and bangs made a chic return in 2014, when she was 29 years old. Compare and contrast with 2009—everything is a lot more sophisticated now (right down to the Chanel necklace that I'm coveting!). Matte red lips, winged liner and defined lashes complete the look.
Katy in 2015
Then, Katy stepped out with her most low-key hair and makeup to date. With her dark hair scraped back off her face in a high bun, luminous skin and a punch of lilac lipstick, she is fresher and prettier than ever. (I think she's wearing her own Kitty Purry shade!)
Katy in 2016
I don't know how I missed this at the time, but I did a double take when I saw this shot of Katy from 2016. Not because of her glowing skin, glossy lips or smoky eyes, which are all lovely. No, it's the gold Nike swoosh affixed to her upper left canine. (Why though?!?!)
Katy in 2017
Pretty much the only hairstyle left to try was a pixie crop, and that's exactly what Katy went for in 2017. It wasn't by choice, mind you—"I don't know if you've ever dyed your hair blonde... but sometimes, your hair falls out when you go too blonde and that's the way I handled it," she revealed on Ellen. It happens! In another interview, she mentioned Scarlett Johansson's short hair as her inspiration... but this "Mom" cut should inspire no one (no offense to moms!).
Katy in 2018
And just when you thought Katy would be toning things down and growing her hair out... she gives us this! I can't say I'm a fan of the purple eyeshadow and blue liner with 80's pink blush and red lipstick (which also landed on her chin). Maybe she was spending too much time with fellow CoverGirl ambassador James Charles? Oh, and there's a new piece of tooth jewellery, a diamond on her right canine. Apparently that is a thing.
Katy in 2019
Now we're in 2019, and here's Katy's most recent beauty change-up: a platinum blonde lob. Since she was photographed with her pixie only a few months before this, it's safe to assume she got a little help from a wig or extensions. Even with the orange foundation, it's a welcome change after nearly three years of that same short haircut!
Katy Perry Before and After
Usually, I find the photo evidence in these Before & Afters quite clear cut, but not in Katy's case. Comparing her early photos to more recent ones, it's a tough call!
To me, her nose does seem smaller and more chiseled now, her lips more evenly proportioned, and her face perhaps more sculpted. But you could definitely make a case for weight loss, angles, lighting and makeup tricks, rather than rhinoplasty or Restylane. Or even different facial expressions—I couldn't find any recent photos where she's smiling the way she did as a teenanger!
So far, the only enhancements she has admitted to are non-surgical. "I've done lasers and got [filler] injections under my eyes for the hollowing, which I'd recommend for everyone who wants a solution for their dark circles," she told Refinery29 last year.
But some plastic surgeons don't believe that's all she's had done.
"It appears that [her] nose is different now than it is in older photos. That would suggest to me she may have had rhinoplasty. In addition, [her] cheeks are also more sculpted now than they were," Dr. Adam Schaffner told Radar Online.
"It looks like Katy's had fillers in her lips, around her mouth for her smile lines, underneath her eyes, cheekbones and jawline contouring," adds Dr. Zara Harutyunyan. "Considering how smooth her upper face is, she has most likely had Botox injections around her eyes to eliminate crow's feet and between her eyebrows for her frown lines, and across her forehead for horizontal wrinkles."
Fair enough, but consider this. Katy has also said she believes "we're getting away from that negative stigma about physical alterations." So if she did go under the knife, wouldn't she be open about it? I'd like to believe she would!
How do you feel about Katy's beauty evolution?
Which of these looks is your favourite?
What "beauty work" do you think she's had done?