Vogue cover star and Oscar winner Lady Gaga is no stranger to beauty switch ups. But even as a trailblazing triple-threat, Gaga has never been afraid to admit she experiences self-doubt. “I’m so insecure,” she confessed in a recent interview, referencing her screen test in which co-star Bradley Cooper wipes off all of her makeup for the camera. “I like to preach, but I don’t always practice what I preach.” Nevertheless, with her performance as Ally in A Star Is Born, she continues to cement herself as a shape-shifting beauty icon who also happens to be an incredibly talented musician.
The songstress first splashed onto the music scene in 2009 with fantastic dance tracks, an icy platinum mane, and electric bursts of color on her face. Later on that year, she accepted an award at the VMAs decked in a cherry red lace veil that matched her crown, dress, and visible panties. The following year at the Grammys, Gaga rocked David Bowie-esque glitter-coated pink triangles around each eye, and after a wardrobe change, a massive silver geometric headpiece. In 2011, a few Madonna moments occurred, a favorite being the set of extra-short bangs paired with a thick side ponytail, extreme cat-eyes, and oversize black shades—worn inside, naturally. And Philip Treacy’s theatrical hats have made repeat appearances in Gaga’s appearances over the years, as have bold brows, red lips, and various shades of hair.
Just as her late idol Bowie’s extreme transformations eventually mellowed out over time, so, too, have Gaga’s. These days, she has settled into her status as an Old Hollywood–worshipping pop star, frequently sporting glamorous blonde waves and liquid liner that evokes vintage Barbra Streisand—which is fitting, given the icon won multiple awards for her portrayal of the same character in 1976’s rendition of A Star Is Born. But even when borrowing from her idols, she always finds a way to make it definitively Gaga, be it a sparkling pink streak of pigment across the lids, or a whimsical hair statement, like the dyed updo she wore to mimic her epic Valentino couture gown at the Golden Globes this year. Here, in honor of her birthday, a look back at some of Gaga’s most outrageous hair and makeup moments.