Celebs Who Were Completely Unrecognizable After Dyeing Their Hair

Hair color is a huge part of a person's identity, especially when you are constantly in the limelight, While some celebs are known for their signature hair color or style, others are known to constantly change their hairstyle. Although it might be a bit surprising for fans to see their icons without their signature hairstyle or shade, this doesn't stop them from not trying out fun looks or setting new trends.

Celebrities experiment with hair color and style all the time and for various reasons — roles, red-carpet events, or cover shoots. Sometimes it's to create authenticity for a role. Other times, it is to break away from the monotony of a role they have essayed for years. A few opt to switch up their hair shades for personal reasons like self-expression or boredom. Whatever the reason, we love to see new hair looks and here we take a look at some celeb hair color switch-ups that almost made them unrecognizable.

Reese Witherspoon

It is almost impossible to think of Reese Witherspoon and not conjure up an image of her flaunting her blond, beautiful waves. While she is definitely legally blond, in 2004, the actor switched up her hair color by going the brunette way. This transformation was for her film "Walk the Line" in which she played the iconic role of June Carter Cash, opposite Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash. While the process of turning brunette from blond and back to blond again might have been quite a hassle, it was probably worth it considering she won an Oscar for the role.

In an interview given to Elle, the "Sweet Home Alabama" star's colorist Lorri Goddard-Clark delved into detail about the trouble Witherspoon went through to go back to being a blond. "When I first met Reese, it was right before she won an Academy Award for 'Walk the Line' and her hair was in this ruddy state of color. Different colorists had tried to make her blond again without success."

Kate Hudson

Kate Hudson is definitely on the list of iconic blonds who rule Hollywood. But Kate is actually a natural brunette. In 2017, the "How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days" star shaved her head for a role in the Sia-directed "Music." When her hair grew back into a brunette pixie cut, the actor was almost unrecognizable.

In 2018, while talking to Harper's Bazaar at an event in London, Hudson shared that even though she thought she wouldn't like her new hairstyle because of the powerful connection she had with hair, the experience was helpful. "I wasn't prepared for that. It's so liberating," she said. She also encouraged her fans to get a buzzcut if they've "got the guts to do it." In an appearance on The Ellen Degeneres Show, the "Something Borrowed" star busted the myth that short hair is low-maintenance. "I'm starting to go through the first awkward stage of the growing out," she told the talk show host. "Because it's [the hair] sticking up and I have to put it down with product" (via YouTube).

Charlize Theron

While Charlize Theron is an icon with an Oscar win and two Oscar nominations under her belt, at the 2019 Oscars she turned many heads for a slightly different reason. It was the appearance that proved that even one of the highest-paid stars in Hollywood can become almost unrecognizable with a hair color transformation. After years of flaunting her legendary blond tassels, the "Atomic Blonde" star appeared on the Oscars red carpet in a beautiful brown hair look perfectly complimenting her backless cornflower blue Haute Couture Christian Dior dress.

Apparently, celebrity hairstylist Adir Abergel and colorist Tracey Cunningham were trusted with the task of chopping and dyeing Theron's hair right before the appearance. "Hair is your greatest accessory! Changing your hair is [the] best way to transform yourself. This week we changed @charlizeafrica look. We changed her color earlier this week and this morning we chopped off her hair," Abergel wrote on Instagram (via Harper's Bazaar).

Katherine Heigl

Katherine Heigl owns our hearts for three reasons — for her evergreen romantic comedies, for playing the role of Izzie Stevens on "Grey's Anatomy," and for her beautiful blond hair. In 2019, Heigl traded her signature blond hair for a dark, brunette look. The "27 Dresses" star shared her brown locks to the eyes of her shocked fans via Instagram. "If you haven't caught my stories this will be a shock for you.." she wrote.

Katherine Heigl's transformation was for her role as Tully Hart in the Netflix drama series "Firefly Lane." Heigl shared sneak peeks into the painstakingly long process with her fans via Instagram stories, and joked that she sipped a glass of champagne and read a good book during the session. "Well...it took three hours and three processes but...I'm a brunette!" she shared on Instagram (via Today). Although this transformation came as a shocker to many of her followers, this is not the first time Heigl has gone brunette. Previously in 2010, after rocking the role of a blond Izzie Stevens in "Grey's Anatomy" for half a decade, she had traded blond for brown.

Hilary Duff

Hilary Duff is another evergreen blond that we lost to the quarantine hair-dyeing frenzy during the early days of the coronavirus pandemic. In April 2020, the "Lizzie Mcguire" star shared the surprising transformation with her fans through an Instagram post.

In a live video stream hosted later, her husband Matthew Koma confirmed that the "Cinderella Story" star's new hair was his masterpiece. In the video, he was seen dyeing Duff's entire hair length blue, with the ends lightened more than the roots. "I also dyed her hair, I do a lot of stuff around this house," he spilled (via Insider). Koma, who was wearing a blue shirt, also joked that Duff tried to match her hair to his shirt.

Although we are familiar with Hillary Duff's blond locks, this isn't the first time the star has opted for blue hair. In 2015, the actor was spotted with light blue hair while promoting her TV series "Younger" and in her 2015 music video of her single "Sparks" (via YouTube).

Kim Kardashian

Kim Kardashian is no stranger to experimenting with styles and colors and setting trends in the fashion industry. In 2017, the "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" star appeared on New York Fashion Week red carpet debuting her icy blond hair — similar to Daenerys Targaryen's from "Game of Thrones." While the look was very recognizable, the silver-colored hair made Kardashian almost unrecognizable.

The look was shared with the world by Chris Appleton, the reality TV star's hairstylist. "Guess who? Seeing if blondes have more fun! Silver white hair vibes! It's NYFW! Colour and cut by me," Appleton wrote on Instagram. On another note, Kim Kardashian sported her white hair when she starred in "The Targashians Take Over Westeros" — a spoof of "Game of Thrones" prequel "House of the Dragon." The video also starring Kris Jenner and a guest appearance from Kylie Jenner was released by "The Late Late Show" host James Corden.

Kristen Stewart

It's not just iconic blonds going brunette that has caught our attention. Kristen Stewart, resident brunette from "Twilight," has made a surprising switch up too. In 2017, Stewart chopped off her hair and dyed the very little that was left blond.

Speaking with Today, the actor revealed that this was in preparation for a movie. "I'm doing a movie in a couple of weeks called 'Underwater,' and I play a mechanical engineer that's working in an oil rig that's on the bottom of the ocean floor," she said. "So for me, I was like, 'It's practical! I mean, I'm not going to be able to have touch-ups once I put the helmet on. I must shave my head.'"

Stewart also revealed that it was not a request from the makers or the crew and that she wanted to do it for a while. "I've been wanting to do this for a long time, just for novel sake — just because, at some point in your life, you want to be able to do that," she said rubbing her head. "It feels amazing. I just want to head bang all day."

Keke Palmer

Similar to Kristen Stewart, Keke Palmer is another celebrity who shaved their entire hair and dyed what was left a different color. In 2017, the actor and singer was seen spotting a violet buzzcut. She shared the look on Instagram with a matching t-shirt and everything.

In an interview given to Refinery29, Palmer got into the motivation behind the switch-up. "I cut my hair for a couple of reasons. The first being, I wanted to start over," she revealed. "My texture has changed quite a bit over the years from all the things I've done to it. I really want to be able to let my hair rest and become its own thing. I also really wanted to be bald! ... I dyed it purple this morning and I'm really excited to see how I can assist in this change with my wardrobe!" 

While most celebrities end up having to chop their hair off for bringing authenticity to the roles they portray, Palmer's decision was due to self-expression and authenticity to herself. "For me, style is all about self-expression. I'm in a place in my life where I realized I don't have anything stopping me from expressing myself in any facet, and that makes me happy," she said.

Ariel Winter

When it comes to giving one's hair a quick refurbishment, Ariel Winter is no stranger. The "Modern Family" star who we all remember as a brunette made her most dramatic switch-up in July 2020. During the coronavirus pandemic, Winter shared some dreamy pictures of herself on Instagram spotting a platinum blond look captioned: "Winter is coming". If the look itself is not enough to point toward the inspiration behind the look, the caption definitely is.

The pictures saw Winter in jeans and a cute sleeveless top channeling some Daenerys Targaryen energy while playing with her new hair. Previously, after wrapping up the filming for the last season of "Modern Family," Winter had traded her dark brown hair for a lighter strawberry blond shade. "I'm a strawberry and a shortcake sooooo new nickname?" She then wrote on Instagram.

It is not uncommon for actors to change their looks after long stints as a certain character. After more than a decade of living as Alex Dunphy, the super-smart middle kid of the Dunphy family in "Modern Family," it's natural that Winter might have wanted a break from being a brunette.

Lucy Liu

Beautiful, silky, jet-black tresses — that is what comes to our minds when we think of Lucy Liu. But not now we have an alternate image. A few years ago, the "Charlie's Angels" star decided to switch it up a bit. Liu traded her signature long, jet-black silky-smooth hair for a blond look. The color that got the beauty industry talking was debuted at the 2018 Obie Awards.

In an interview with PopSugar, Victoria Hunter, the colorist behind the actor's look, delved into the details of the process that dramatically changed the "Elementary" star's hair color in just a day. She revealed that she used a special lightener and not normal bleach. "Lucy thought she'd have to cut her hair short if she wanted to go blond. If I used normal bleach, her hair would probably have ended up on the floor." She also said that after a week, she painted over the top to make it look more natural and not come off "as an obvious double-process blond."

Leighton Meester

We all know Leighton Meester as the gorgeous and tenacious brunette, Blair Waldorf, from "Gossip Girl." What most people probably don't know is that she is a natural blond. 

After switching to brunette to align with her on-screen character — the Constance Billard student who does anything to get the job done — she slowly started experimenting with her hair shades after the show ended in 2012. While she was spotted with a beachy ombre in 2016 and bangs in 2017, it was in 2018 that she surprised all "Gossip Girl" fans. In April 2018, the actor shared an unrecognizable platinum blond look via Instagram captioning: "Having a blonde moment." According to Elle, the process took her six hours.

In a walkthrough of her iconic looks for Elle, Meester commented on the platinum blond look. "I have this platinum hair now which is the opposite of natural. I have not gone platinum before. It's definitely a shock every time I see it in a mirror, but in a good way — it's a makeover, it's really fun."

Elle Fanning

Elle Fanning is one of the popular blonds among young Hollywood stars, but this didn't stop her from joining the pandemic pink hair bandwagon. The actor is often a fashion icon with her bold makeup looks and wild hairstyles that few can pull off. In March 2020, the "Maleficent" star shared her new pink hair through Instagram stories. According to Teen Vogue, it is "safe to assume she did it herself in the comfort of her own bathroom."

This is not the first time that the "All the Bright Places" star has switched up her hair color. Previously in 2016, she had gone for a beautiful dusty rose look (via Teen Vogue), and in 2014, she had to turn brunette for her role in the film "Trumbo." During her time as a brunette, Fanning had confessed to E! News that being a brunette felt "very strange" and that she felt "more serious" with darker hair color.

Jennifer Love Hewitt

The early days of the coronavirus pandemic saw many folks switching up their hair color with many celebrities including Dua Lipa and Ricky Martin opting for pink. "There's a lot going on right now, but a few celebrity trends have still managed to emerge among the chaos — mainly, celebrities collectively losing it on social media, and on a slightly less unhinged note, celebrities dyeing their hair pink," reads an opinion piece from The Cut about the pink hair trend.

Jennifer Love Hewitt is one of the iconic brunettes that we lost to the colored hair pandemic. In the early days of the coronavirus lockdown, the "Heartbreakers" actors debuted a bold and bright pink hair color on Instagram. "The smile of a girl who just did at home hot pink highlights because what else can I do right now!" she captioned the picture where she is seen smiling with twinkling eyes. While the hair job looks home-done, the star did not forget to apologize to her long-time colorist Nikki Lee. Tagging Lee, Hewitt wrote in the caption: "Don't be mad, lol. I really miss you!"

Shania Twain

Shania Twain turned quite a few heads with her new hair at the 2023 Baileys Hosts Cocktails with Republic Records Artists event in Los Angeles. It seems like Twain has traded her signature brunette waves for straight, icy-blond tresses. The singer in her "Queen of Me" era chose an orange silk jumpsuit and a black leather overcoat to debut her new look (via SheKnows).

In an interview given to InStyle in January 2023, the "Man! I Feel Like A Woman!" singer talked in detail about a newfound confidence that might have been the motivation behind this look. "I'm way more fearless than I would've been [before]. Years ago, I would've been more conscientious about, 'Is this too over-the-top?'" she revealed. "I'm more adventurous now and I'm just excited about what is new and what I can experiment with. I just love fashion for that. Just when you think there's nothing left to be created, somebody creates something new. I'm so inspired by that. When you can transform a living person just by putting something on, it's spectacular."