As anyone who reads my red carpet reports knows, I've got my celebrity beauty crushes... and then I've got my people like Ariana Grande.
With her perma-ponytail, heavy contouring and oversized false lashes, she has developed a very particular beauty aesthetic—which couldn't be further from mine. Her "sexy baby" persona also includes a wardrobe rotation of racy, lingerie-like outfits that wouldn't look out of place on a Bratz! doll.
Even still, those things don't really bother me. My issue has more to do with what I like to call her Resting Smug Face. Or, as Buzzfeed puts it: "Have You Noticed That Arianna Grande Always Looks Like She's Politely Listening To A Very Bad Joke?"
But things weren't always this way.
I, for one, suspect that cosmetic interventions may have played a role in 27-year-old Ariana's dramatic transformation. Here's how her look has changed from back in her Nickelodeon days until now.
Ariana in 2008
Our first pic dates back to 2008, when Ariana was just 15 years old. She looks like a totally different person, no? There's zero trace of the smug expression here, just a genuine, happy smile. Pre-ponytail years, she had naturally curly dark brown hair (with brows to match). Her skin tone is also much lighter, which looks so pretty with the dark hair. Take note of the nose, brows and lips, because I think these change as we move through the years.
Ariana in 2009
In 2009, Ariana became a redhead for her role on Sam & Cat, and it actually looks great on her. Although it's not a natural-looking red (and isn't meant to be), the shade gives her a very flattering, peaches and cream complexion. At this point, she also started straightening her hair. Notice how close her brows were to her eyes.
Ariana in 2010
Still with the red hair, Ariana wore it in a longer length here, with skinny ends. I still like what the colour is doing for her skin, and that she left her brows alone (which again, are sitting much closer to her eyes than they do now). I hate to say it, but I don't see this same sparkle in her eyes anymore.
Ariana in 2011
This is when Ariana (who was 18 years old here) started with the updos—no doubt because of damage from all the hair dye. It's also when she began spray-tanning; her new skin tone doesn't harmonize as well with the bright red hair. I'm surprised to see red lipstick, which would be very off-brand for her these days. It looks like she tried to dye her eyebrows, but they they're still ashy in the centres.
Ariana in 2012
From now on, we won't see Ariana without her signature half-up or fully-up high ponytail. To me, her lengths have the look of extensions, which we know she adopted because of her damaged natural hair. Even still, I think she looks pretty cute with the light makeup (way less than she wears now) and softly tinted brows. If you look at her upper lip, it does seem fuller than it was in 2010. Whether that's Restylane or simply lip liner, I don't know.
Ariana in 2013
I've got three shots to show you from 2013, because this was a pivotal year for Ariana. This is when her eyebrows started to migrate up her forehead and the Resting Smug Face began to take hold. Above, she ditched the red hair for a medium brown, but kept the spray tan (a shame because I think her natural colouring is so striking).
This event was the first time I'd ever heard of Ariana. You can see how her facial expression could rub a person the wrong way. Now we know that it's caused by her eyebrows sitting higher than they should be. I don't know about you, but I'm suspecting a brow lift. They've also been tinted an ashy colour that looks unnatural with her skin tone.
By this time, Ariana was 20, and here we go again. If she is raising her eyebrows to make this expression, then why aren't there any creases on her forehead? A brow lift would definitely explain this situation—go on and Google "brow lift before and after" and you'll see.
Ariana in 2014
The following year, Ariana really hit her stride, blossoming into a full-fledged pop diva. Everything is more exaggerated. Her hair is lighter and triple the size. Her lips are obviously over-lined (and maybe injected), painted her new signature brownish tone. Now, she never goes without the heavy false lashes, and her brows are still ashy and high. It almost looks like her half-ponytail is pulling them up!
Ariana in 2015
In 2015, Ariana darkened her hair, which suits her way better than the light brown from the year before. Immediately, her brows look better (although I still question their placement). I even like the baby cat eyes and soft pink lip gloss. But now it's time to address her nose. I can't pinpoint exactly when it happened, but this doesn't appear to be the same nose she had back in 2011.
Ariana in 2016
That brings us to 2016, and quelle surprise—Ariana is still going strong with the ponytails and spray tans. She is 24 now, so I get that she has lost a bit of baby fat, which would naturally change a face. But I still think her brows look very pulled up, which gives her an artificial-looking expression. Her upper lip seems to inflate and deflate, indicating injections, and I definitely think there's been some refinement and narrowing with her nose.
Ariana Grande Before and After
The most surprising thing about Ariana's Before & After is that she wasn't born with her Resting Smug Face. It appears to have been introduced via cosmetic interventions.
I always felt like something was "off" about her face, but I couldn't put my finger on it. Now that I've examined the photo evidence, my guess is that Ariana had a brow lift (forehead lift), rhinoplasty and possibly Restylane lip injections. Though I can't imagine why—I think she was incredibly adorable as a teenager, with her eyebrows right where they were. I suppose, like many child stars, there was pressure to transition from "cute" to "sexy." What a shame that her face has been permanently altered. I can't help but notice that the light has also gone out of her eyes.
How do you feel about Ariana's beauty evolution?
Which of these looks is your favourite?
What "beauty work" do you think she's had done?