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, 32, achieved with Captain Marvel, a box office sensation that catapulted her to A-list fame.
But long before she was waging war on aliens—or winning an Oscar and a Golden Globe for her role in the indie movie Room—she was a child actress and teen pop singer. And she has been walking the red carpet since the tender age of 12!
From The Skincare Edit Archives
With her rising profile, she’s been in the public eye a lot in recent years—but she never struck me as an obvious candidate for a Before & After. (Not like Chrissy Teigen or Kylie Jenner, where you already know their features have been altered.) However, when I learned that Brie had 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 her beauty evolution from 2001 to the present.
From 2001-2002: Brie as a Tween
At the 2001 Los Angeles Premiere of ‘Jimmy Neutron’
Our first shot is a 12-year-old Brie—and if this was her natural hair colour, it’s gorgeous. But I’m not sure what’s up with the random curly bits, or the super-piecey bangs (consisting of only four pieces!). Hairstyles in general were just bad in the early 2000s... and I’ve got even more examples coming up!
At the 2002 Los Angeles Premiere of ‘The Time Machine’
The next year, she really committed to the piecey bang look, rocking the rounded, too-short style that so many of us had back in middle school (!!). As for her facial features, you can see that her nose was more prominent back then, and she had noticeably hooded eyes.
At the 2002 Los Angeles Premiere of ‘Hey Arnold!: The Movie’
Yes, this hair was actually considered fashionable in 2002. Brie really went for it here—the stiff curled bangs, the knotty updo, the faux flower, and the one dyed red streak in her updo. All essential elements in anyone’s early 2000s look!
From 2003-2009: The Teenage Years
At the 2003 Los Angeles Premiere of ‘The Cat in the Hat’
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.
At the 2004 Los Angeles Premiere of ‘Home on the Range’
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.
At the 2006 Los Angeles Premiere of ‘Snakes on a Plane’
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.
At the 2007 Los Angeles Premiere of ‘The Beautiful Ordinary’
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. Her foundation—which isn’t quite the right shade—is camouflaging some breakouts.
At the 2009 Showtime Winter TCA Party
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, but she still looks really pretty... in a different way than before. Why? I’m going to venture a guess that she may have had the first tweak to her nose, and perhaps even her eyelids.
From 2010-2014: Seeking a Signature Style
At the 2010 London Premiere of ‘Scott Pilgrim vs. the World’
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. As for her nose, the the tip doesn’t seem so bulbous, suggesting that it was refined.
At the 2011 Elle Women in Television Party
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 seems a little clearer here, and her brows have grown out nicely after the ‘00s over-plucking.
At the 2012 Art of Elysium Heaven Gala
And then Brie became a redhead! It’s cute on her, although the styling is perhaps not the best (I’d have ditched the bedazzled headband, at least). With barely any 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 dermatologist procedures.
At the 2013 Los Angeles Premiere of ‘The World’s End’
Now, here’s the most au naturel look of all, when Brie was 23. Gone is the red hair, replaced by a natural light brown with blonder ends. And for once, there’s nothing contrived about her makeup. With dewy skin, flushed cheeks and a slick of mascara, she looks fresh and healthy.
At the 2014 Critics’ Choice Awards
It was around this time when I first took notice of Brie, and I can still remember commenting on her hair here. Just when she’d transitioned to a natural-looking colour, she added these streaky highlights. Also, the knots have returned from 2002!
From 2015-2018: The Hollywood Upgrade
At the 2015 Los Angeles Premiere of ‘Room’
In 2015, Brie seemingly began working with a 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. But do I think this is the same nose she has today? Nope!
At the 2016 Oscars
For her Academy Award for Best Actress, Brie had never looked better. Compare 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 styling. Is it just me or does her nose seem even narrower now? Also see how white and even her teeth are compared to, say, 2007.
At the 2017 Women in Film Pre-Oscar Cocktail Party
Whoomp, there it is! Post-Oscars win, Brie stepped out with an even more chiseled, smaller-looking nose. Could she have had a second rhinoplasty? If you zone in on her eyelids, that area has changed, too. It could be Botox that is lifting up her brows, or she may have had some of the excess skin surgically removed with a blepharoplasty.
At the 2017 Los Angeles Premiere of ‘Kong: Skull Island’
Here, she looks every inch the Hollywood star, with a face-framing retro wave, sophisticated makeup and a brighter smile (again, notice the cosmetic dentistry work). But again, it’s her sculpted nose that makes the biggest difference versus her earlier red carpet appearances. (It’s normal for your nose look wider when you smile, but hers is still much narrower than before!)
At the 2018 Los Angeles Premiere of ‘Avengers: Infinity War’
By this time, Brie was 28, and she went even darker with her hair colour (or at least for the top half!). I have to say, I like the brunette on her a lot—it really makes her eyes pop. It seems that she’s finally found her groove with this straight hairstyle and simple makeup.
From 2019-2022: Blonde Ambition
At the 2019 Los Angeles Premiere of ‘Captain Marvel’
But Brie is a woman who likes to change her hair colour, so then she switched things up and went bright 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?)
At the 2020 Oscars
Just before red carpet events went on hiatus in 2020, she attended the Oscars in a sleek updo with minimal makeup. While I don't love the hair colour (it’s those 2014 highlights!), I do like how her makeup keeps getting subtler, a phenomenon I’ve observed many times with celebs. Is it their newly chiseled features that give them the confidence to be seen with less?
On Instagram in 2021
In 2021, we had to rely on Instagram for glimpses of Brie—like this shot, where she’s sporting a new mane of blonde, ‘70s-style waves. I swear, I thought this was Cat Deeley for a second! In this shot, her lids look flatter and her brows look higher, with more lid space than ever before. Is there some strategic eyelid tape happening here, or could she have done a surgical procedure during quarantine?!
At the 2022 Daily Front Row Fashion Los Angeles Awards
When events resumed in 2022, Brie returned to the spotlight with a lit-from-within glow. Maybe it’s her new hair colour, an ashier shade of blonde with dark roots and a face-framing “money piece.” Or maybe it’s her skin, which is looking super-healthy—and might I add, natural. Her forehead is still wrinkle-free at age 32, but she has natural lines around her eyes, and they’re back to a more hooded appearance.
Brie Larson Before and After
Brie in 2001 vs 2022
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 were responsible for a lot of 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 if we examine how her nose has changed over the years—particularly the tip—it seems likely that a rhinoplasty procedure played a big part in this transformation. Not only is her nose less prominent in relation to her other features, it also has a distinctly refined, less bulbous tip.
What else might she have done? Clearly, there’s been some cosmetic dentistry (such as teeth whitening or even porcelain veneers), and she may have had professional acne treatments to improve her skin quality. Rather than an eyelid or brow lift, I suspect that she used Botox to lift the area—and that’s why her eyes seemed less hooded for a while there.
Brie looks beautiful, of course, but I couldn’t help but notice something she said in a 2015 interview. 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 right after her facial features changed. That’s Hollywood for you... don’t hate the player, hate the game!