Celebrities Who Were Unrecognizable With A Shaved Head

Whether you're entering into a new chapter of life or are simply wanting a change from the same-old same-old hairstyle, there's something life-changing about getting a new haircut. If you're one of the few who is feeling extra brave, you may even opt to shave it off altogether for a fresh start.

When actor Kate Hudson took a razor to her head for the first time, her perspective on her hair — and her life — completely changed. "I didn't realize that it would've been as much of an awakening as it was," she admitted of her famous 2017 hairstyle on the "Rachael Ray Show."

She, along with countless other female celebrities over the years, left all of us doing a double take when they first debuted their barely-there 'dos. Many of these iconic cuts have even inspired other women to wave goodbye to their long locks and embrace the bald-is-beautiful look. Read on for a list of celebrities who became unrecognizable after opting to shave their head.

Florence Pugh debuted her new 'do at the Met Gala

Over the years, actor Florence Pugh has made herself into a Hollywood staple, securing roles in massive movies such as "Midsommar," "Don't Worry Darling," and "Oppenheimer." Yet, throughout her ever-evolving career, one thing has always remained constant: "Even at the beginning of my career, I was always fighting to control my image," she shared during an interview with Radio Times (via The Daily Mail).

At the 2023 Met Gala, the young actor chose to completely change her image, stunning fans when she debuted a drastic new 'do. She had buzzed off all of her hair in hopes of creating a powerful statement that any woman can be beautiful with or without any hair. It all started when a new role for a film called "We Live In Time" came along. Pugh jumped at the opportunity to not only star alongside Andrew Garfield, but to have the opportunity to shave off all of her hair. "I purposefully chose to look like that," the actor said. "I wanted vanity out of the picture."

In fact, for many of her on-screen roles, Pugh has also persuaded production to let her wear makeup as little as possible. "It helps me when I'm wearing less makeup, because then I'm less of a sparkly thing on screen," she explained, which is why she was drawn to a role where her character wasn't required to showcase the stereotypical long locks.

Demi Lovato hinted at shaving her head months beforehand

Before Demi Lovato buzzed off all of her hair in December 2021, she had dropped hints that she was interested in having a completely new hairdo. In fact, after debuting a pixie cut earlier that year, she told Glamour that she'd eventually like to rid her head of hair altogether.

Over the years, the musician has admitted that fans would always freak out whenever she did something drastically different to her hair. From pink hues to the pixie cut, everyone always had an opinion about what she looked like. By cutting her hair, she wanted to cut ties from what anyone out there had to say about her appearance. "I cut my hair because I wanted to free myself of all of the gender and sexuality norms that were placed on me as a Christian in the South," Lovato ultimately explained on "The Drew Barrymore Show." "And when I cut my hair, I felt so liberated because I wasn't subscribing to an ideal or a belief placed upon me to be something that I'm not."

Ever since, Lovato hasn't been afraid to try out some of the most daring fashion trends — as long as they make her happy. "Now that I'm owning who I am, I feel the happiest I've ever felt," she said.

Jessie J. cut off all of her hair for charity

On Jessie J.'s second album "Alive," audiences will hardly be able to recognize the musician without any hair on her head — and there was a special reason she decided to rock this specific 'do on the cover. Not only did the new look draw attention to her, but it also drew attention to Comic Relief charities.

In 2013, the musician shaved her head on live television in hopes that people around the world would donate to the cause. The Comic Relief charities help out various individuals who find themselves in vulnerable situations. "[It] is the smallest thing that I could do to give back to these people that need it so much," the musician shared with E! News.

After personally meeting with the many people who had been helped by the organization — from individuals who had contracted HIV to women who had escaped sex trafficking — Jessie J. even opted to keep her buzz cut around for a few months. In fact, she had to shave her head every three days to maintain the appearance of her new mane. "I'm enjoying the statement of it," she told Glamour at the time. "It's doing good for the right people."

Keke Palmer wanted to reset her head by shaving it

Bald is beautiful, and Keke Palmer proved it when she showed off a shaved head in 2017. "I'm in a place in my life where I realized I don't have anything stopping me from expressing myself in any facet," she told Refinery29 of her new look. "And that makes me happy."

In addition to simply admitting that she had always aspired to be bald one day, Palmer had another important reason for wanting to rid her head of any hair: Over the course of her career, the actor has shown off all sorts of different hairstyles, so buzzing it all off was her way of giving it time to regrow before deciding which brand new 'do would be next. "My texture has changed quite a bit over the years from all the things I've done to it," she explained. "I really want to be able to let my hair rest and become its own thing."

While she waited a few years for her longer locks to come in, Palmer spent her time experimenting with colors that made her unrecognizable from her previous looks. At one point, her buzz cut was pink, and a month later, she opted to make it purple instead.

Gina Rodriguez buzzed both sides of her head for a sci-fi role

In the midst of a starring role on the successful series "Jane the Virgin," actor Gina Rodriguez shook up her image by taking on a completely different type of project: a sci-fi movie called "Annihilation." The role required her to go to the extreme, and that included debuting a brand-new hairdo by buzzing both sides of her head.

When Rodriguez was first told she needed to part ways with half of her hair, she was afraid that she might break down in tears considering she hadn't had short hair since she was a teenager — and, as she anticipated, the entire process turned out to be quite an emotional one for the actor. Even after seeing herself in the mirror after receiving her new hairdo, she didn't feel confident in her new cut — at first. "[Shaving my head] was transformative because I came out stronger than I ever thought I would," she admitted to People. "But I went through a journey that probably made me the weakest I'd ever been."

Once she wrapped the film, the haircut left Rodriguez walking away with a completely new perspective on what it meant to have — or not to have — long locks. "There is nothing more freeing [than] realizing your beauty exists from within," she wrote on Instagram soon after receiving her new haircut in 2016.

Evangeline Lilly shaved her head 'just for fun'

In 2019, actor Evangeline Lilly decided that it was "a beautiful day" to shave her head. Shortly after letting go of her locks, she posted her after photo to Instagram, where fans were quick to compliment her for the new look.

Things got tricky a few years later, however, when she began filming a second installment of her Marvel movie, "Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania." "About four years ago I shaved my head, just for fun. And I had then grown it out into a pixie," she explained during an interview with Yahoo Entertainment. Yet, while she was loving her new 'do, the character she played in the comic-turned-films had a completely different haircut. "So when the film came up, like we were going to be doing it, the question was, 'Do I put a wig on, and match the previous film or do something different? Or do we just go with what I have and just dye it dark?'" she recalled.

As fans of the film know, her character ends up with a pixie cut for her special second appearance, which actually ended up working out perfectly in the end. In fact, the actor's short haircut matched the comic book version of the character that she depicted in the sequel.

Olivia Cooke buzzed her hair after a bald cap didn't hide her locks

Surprisingly, Olivia Cooke was never told that she had to shave her head when she was cast to play a young girl with cancer in "Me and Earl and the Dying Girl." It was all the young actor's idea to do so. "Bald caps look awful. You can always tell," she even said at the time during an interview with MTV News.

When it did come time to cut off all of her hair, however, Cooke didn't realize how differently the world would treat her without any. Even while she was still growing it back, she began noticing that strangers were acting in an entirely new way whenever she walked by them — which left the actor walking away with a new perspective on the expectations that are placed on women everywhere. "[Shaving my head] didn't make me feel liberated or free or anything like that, which people said it would," Cooke shared with Nylon. "It made me feel really angry that beauty standards for women are just so inaccessible."

Over time, Cooke's confidence did grow alongside her hair. "I think my people skills developed a lot because of the shave," she told Into the Gloss. "When a woman with a buzz cut comes up to you, you have to start a conversation with her. It was kind of fun breaking that barrier with people."

Karen Gillan cut off all of her hair for Guardians of the Galaxy

Out of all the characters that Karen Gillan has depicted, there's one in particular that took much more time to prepare for. "Definitely the craziest thing I've had to do for a role is shave my head," she told Vogue.

In order to play Nebula in the "Guardians of the Galaxy" franchise in 2014, Marvel Studios required the actor not to have any hair. Yet, even after a studio hairstylist gave her the big buzz, they didn't want her to have to part with her hair altogether. "They shaved my hair off, and then they were like, 'We're going to make this into a wig for you so that you still have it,'" Gillan revealed to Yahoo UK.

The same team responsible for all of the special effects audiences see in the "Star Wars" films were the ones who made Gillan's prior mane into a memorable wig. Funny enough, the hairpiece was later set on display next to all of the alien and monster heads in the studio warehouse.

Demi Moore waved goodbye to her long locks when she became G.I. Jane

Demi Moore's decades-long acting career has included several roles in films such as "Ghost" and "G.I. Jane" and even the soap opera "General Hospital." They've also required her to have a number of hairstyles. 

"I've done everything to my hair. I've shaved it. I've dyed it. I've had a bob," she told People. "When I'm not working, I try to do as little to it as possible."

When Moore shaved off her mane in the 1997 film "G.I. Jane," audiences took notice of her new low-key haircut. Yet, while this famous hairstyle required very little maintenance, it's a look that the actor will not be seen sporting again anytime soon. "I think now that I'm older, I also know, I don't have anything to prove," she has since said. "So if they really need my hair different, they can give me a wig."

Maisie Williams showed off a shaved head just in time for summer

Actor Maisie Williams spent the majority of her childhood on the successful series "Game of Thrones." For all of those years, not only was she expected to act like Arya Stark, but she had to look like her too. "I've battled my whole adolescence with trying to put a stamp on my appearance, but also be a blank canvas as an actor," Williams once shared during an interview with Rolling Stone.

When the hit series eventually did come to a highly-anticipated close in 2019, Williams finally had the freedom to completely change up her look. After experimenting with many hair colors and lengths over the years, she eventually settled on a shaved head just in time for the summer of 2022. Her new hairstyle was perfect for the hot weather and also brought about an easy styling routine while she was on the go that year, being busy living an off-screen life she never had the time for while working on the HBO series.

Kate Hudson believes her buzz cut 'was awesome'

When Kate Hudson signed on to star in singer and songwriter Sia's film "Music," she knew she'd have to make a drastic change to her look. The role required her character to have a shaved head, and luckily, the actor was all in. With the help of her 6-year-old and the singer/director, Hudson handed over a razor and let them get to work on her new hairstyle — and Hudson had no hesitations about it until they were halfway through with the haircut. "I didn't think about it until it started," the actor recalled on "Jimmy Kimmel Live." "Like, 'Oh, what is the shape of my head going to look like?'"

Luckily, Hudson walked away loving her new look as well as the shape of her head. Looking back, the 2017 hairstyle has actually been one of her favorite 'dos to date. "The shaved head was awesome," she later told Harper's Bazaar.

As a matter of fact, Hudson believes that every woman should let go of all of their hair at least once in their life. "If you've got the guts to do it, do it," she said.

Danai Gurira was nervous about going bald for Black Panther

Even after sporting short hairstyles for years, actor Danai Gurira was nervous to go completely bald in 2018 for her role in "Black Panther." "Dolphin-smooth short, that was a whole other story. It was a new thing," she shared on "The Morning Show."

The crew asked the actor to shave her head quickly after being cast as Okoye, and getting adjusted to her new 'do wasn't easy. There were many days when Gurira saw herself in the mirror and had to double-take before realizing that she was the bald person looking back at her.

Day after day, however, every woman playing her co-stars from Wakanda would come onto set debuting a bald head too — and that's when Gurira began realizing how incredible these action stars looked. "Then, after a while, it grew on me," she said. "It was really empowering, actually, and I started to just rock it."

Kellie Pickler shaved her head to support her friend

Back when Kellie Pickler was growing up, it was her grandmother who had been the one to raise her. However, when her grandmother unexpectedly died from cancer, it was Pickler's BFF who took her in and gave her a family to turn to.

When Pickler's BFF was later diagnosed with breast cancer in 2012, it was a no-brainer when it came to shaving her head alongside her. "We made a pact that we'd shave our heads together," the singer and television personality explained at the time on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show." "I think the last thing you want anyone that you love to feel like is that — you don't want them to walk through the valley alone, you know? I think it's important to have a cancer buddy."

Standing alongside each other during such difficult times in their lives is something that the two have continued to do, and cutting off all of their hair together was something that left a big impact on both of them. "That is probably one of the most beautiful moments of my life, just being able to do that with her," Pickler said.

Tiffany Haddish became 'jealous of every bald-headed man'

In the middle of lockdown during the COVID-19 pandemic, actor and comedian Tiffany Haddish hopped on Instagram Live and did something that many other women are afraid to do: She shaved her head. "The most alive I ever felt," she described of her bald head during an interview with Byrdie. "And then I was jealous of every bald-headed man I've ever seen."

To keep up with her new 'do, Haddish had to take the razor to her head every two weeks — but it was totally worth it to the actor, who had discussed shaving off all of her hair for years before actually doing it in 2020. "This whole quarantine and everything made me think, like, 'Well, why not now?'" She explained on "The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon." "I'm not going to be on any red carpet, and if I do have to be on something, they always put me in wigs, anyway."

The actor has since embraced keeping a razor-close haircut and soon after went on to debut another short 'do: a blond pixie cut.