15 Of Zendaya's Most Gorgeous Hair Looks

If there's one thing Zendaya does exceptionally well, it's serve a look. The actor has earned a reputation for going all out on the red carpet; often matching her outfit and beauty to the theme of whatever the event is. Who could forget her fabulous tennis ball dress for "Challengers?" Or her spider gown for the "Spiderman: No Way Home" premiere? It's Herstory. 


Of course, clothes are just one component of Zendaya's legendary looks. We've also seen some super memorable hairstyles over the years; many of which have gone on to become huge trends. The actor has opened up this, as well as the lengthy process it takes to achieve them. In a video shared on her website (which has since been taken down) the "Challengers" star revealed she likes to throw on a wig (just like a slew of other celebrities!) when she wants a dramatically different style (via People). It sounds like she has plenty of pieces to choose from as well. "She has hundreds of wigs and wig pieces and clips and extensions. She has an arsenal of hair," her stylist, Larry Sims, told Allure.

But perhaps her hair stylist Kim Kimble said it best when she told Refinery29, "[Zendaya] is not afraid to do anything with her hair. And she's a risk-taker. She takes chances." Well, it turns out those risks have given us some of our favorite celebrity hairstyles ever.


Her 2015 dreadlocks sparked a necessary conversation about representation

In 2015, Zendaya appeared at the Oscars with long dreadlocks that were pulled back on her right shoulder. Not only was the style gorgeous, it also inspired an important conversation. Former "Fashion Police" co-host Giuliana Rancic remarked on the now defunct E! show that she felt the locks looked as if they "smell like patchouli oil" before adding "or weed." And Zendaya, rightfully, hit back.


At the time, the actor shared a lengthy and poignant response to the comment on Instagram: "To say that an 18-year-old young woman with locs must smell of patchouli oil or 'weed' is not only a large stereotype but outrageously offensive." She then continued by suggesting how Rancic's comments could be considered harmful. "There is already a harsh criticism of African American hair in society without the help of ignorant people who choose to judge others based on the curl of their hair," she explained. Cue thousands of people coming for Zendaya's support, along with multiple outlets pointing out how Black women are often discriminated against for their natural hair. 

For her part, Rancic eventually issued an apology to Zendaya on "E! News". "This incident has taught me to be a lot more aware of clichés and stereotypes, how much damage they can do. And that I am responsible, as we all are, to not perpetuate them further," she said (via Entertainment Weekly). Rancic also shared that she had learned a lot amid the backlash.


Her blonde bangs grabbed our attention

While promoting her 2024 tennis-themed movie "Challengers" in London, Zendaya made it very clear she can pull off blonde hair just as well as her signature brunette. The actor had every head turning when she appeared a-top the world-famous Claridges hotel with her tresses pulled into a gorgeous golden ponytail with perfectly groomed blunt bangs. The mix of highlights and lowlights looked absolutely stunning against her complexion as well as her red, white, and blue outfit. To add to the glamour, the ends of the ponytail were curled, while slightly longer sections of fringe framed her face for an elegant look.


Zendaya's hair stylist Ursula Stephen opened up about the decision to go bold and blonde while speaking to Glamour U.K., explaining, "Zendaya has had blonde on her mind for quite some time, but wanted to wait until the right moment to do it." Stephen added that the actor changed up her shade in order to differentiate her look from the promotional cycle she'd done shortly before for "Dune: Part Two."

We love Zendaya's clap back over her voluminous '60s inspired look

Throwing it back to 2015, cinnamon makeup queen Zendaya made quite the statement with her '60s inspired mop top (which we're going to guess was more than likely a wig) at the Nickelodeon Teen Choice Awards. The look was straight out of a vintage magazine, with thick, blunt fringe and rounded edges curled in towards her face. It was pretty dramatic, and wasn't a style that's easy to pull off. Yet, of course, Zendaya rocked it like a pro.


Though this hair was pretty divisive at the time, we can't help but admire how Zendaya had the confidence to try something new. Her response to the divided opinion about the 'do is what really cemented its place on our list. After some critics made it clear they just weren't feeling the retro-looking style, Zendaya shared a photo of herself rocking it on Instagram alongside the caption: "Have I ever been scared of a look? Nah." Queen behavior.

Her natural curls are enviable

Although we're used to seeing her hair straightened and heavily styled for red carpet events, Zendaya's natural curls are seriously the stuff of envy. In 2017, the "Euphoria" star shared a candid mirror selfie on Instagram featuring her freshly-showered locks; which had subtle highlights and plenty of volume. 


In the caption of the upload, Zendaya told her followers that she was pleased to see her natural curls had returned after a long period of over-styling. "When you've spent the past however many years growing your damaged hair back, avoiding heat, wearing wigs and trying every natural product in the world and you finally see a little curl pattern comin back..." she wrote, adding two praising hand emoji to her upload.

Zendaya's honey blonde midi-bob got plenty of attention

There's a reason why Zendaya's video showing her honey blonde midi-bob (a super hot trend, by the way) has more than 10 million likes on Instagram. That reason? Because it's totally gorgeous and oh so wearable. The star shared a short video of her posing in a white t-shirt and waistcoat in 2021 as she proudly revealed her lighter locks.


In 2021, the star ditched her super dark hair and replaced it with a more '90s more inspired haircut, in-keeping with the '90s throwback trend we've been seeing a lot of. But it wasn't just the color of her hair that was different, as she'd also cut off a good few inches of her tresses to achieve the style.

In the clip, the "Dune" star tucked her new 'do behind both ears and gave a subtle pout. But, clearly, it wasn't just us who loved the look. "Love your hair short looks very flattering on you," one person commented on the upload. "Giving Rachel from friends vibe!" another fan wrote, referring to Jennifer Aniston's iconic '90s haircut.

Those super long box braids were a stunning sight to behold

How could we compile our favorite Zendaya hair looks and not flash back to when she rocked those super long box braids at the Critics Choice Awards in 2020?  The "Euphoria" star appeared to be having a fun time swishing her long locks, which stretched down past her waist. She wore the style with a slight side part to really showcase the hard work done by hairstylist Kim Kimble and Kendra Garvey.


We love the way Zendaya's box braids were totally eye catching but still fit with super modern, futuristic outfit. She wore a shiny metallic pink Tom Ford breastplate to the award show with a high-waisted maxi skirt in the same shade. And it was just another look this star has absolutely slayed.

The InStyle Awards afro was one of Zendaya's most important hair looks ever

Zendaya attended the 2017 InStyle Awards with a stunning afro that made a serious statement. Following the event, the star explained in a now-deleted Instagram post that she wore the look to pay homage to the inspiring Black women of today and yesterday. Alongside a family photo she wrote, "Last nights inspo... my stunning aunties (my daddy's all the way on the left) and a hint of [political activist] Angela Davis" (via Refinery29).


Hair stylist Kim Kimble, who created the look, shared more about Davis' influence while speaking to Refinery29. "Angela is strong and powerful, and she says what she means. In the seventies, the Afro was a statement and a movement for Black culture. The statement was, I can love myself, I can love my hair, I can love my texture," they explained. Kimble also revealed that the afro was a wig, as it would have taken too long to create the look using Zendaya's curls. "[It's] very seventies, psychedelic, and modern," Kimble added of the style.

Zendaya did her own slicked back hair and it was glorious

When Zendaya attended the GQ Men of the Year Awards in London in 2018, she made it clear that she can not only slay any hairstyle, but she doesn't even need a glam team to drop jaws. She rocked a super high-fashion wet and slicked back hairstyle for the British event, pushing her hair away from her face and letting what appeared to be her natural curls (saturated with product for the wet look) to cascade down her back.


Proving there really is no end to her talents, Zendaya confirmed on Instagram that the hair and beauty look was all her own doing. "Fun fact: I did my own h&mu tonight, hence the lipgloss still in hand," she captioned the upload, referencing one shot where she could be seen holding a tube of lip gloss. And fans totally ate it up. "Stunning! and makeup is very awesome. Sometimes it is best doing it yourself," one fan wrote in the comments section. "Flawless as usual," another commented.

Her 2017 Teen Choice Awards curls made an important statement

In 2017, Zendaya walked the red carpet at the Teen Choice Awards with a look that may well have been made up of her own natural curls. The just longer than shoulder-length dark brunette cut, which is somewhat of a trendy shag style, was full of gorgeous volume. The "Dune" star even sported bangs, which really framed her face for a super flattering (and glamorous) effect.


The thing we love most about this look though is how it represents how comfortable Zendaya has become with rocking curls over the years. In 2016, she explained to People that she felt self-conscious about her textured hair growing up. "It wasn't like the hair that girls around me had. And nobody really knew what to do with my hair. My mom is white and my dad is black — they have two very different hair types," she shared. "So we learned how to manage my hair together, and I also watched YouTube videos to find easy styles to do."

We loved when Zendaya matched her hair to her Smallfoot character

How adorable was it when Zendaya rocked a super sleek and chic braid to attend the premiere of her movie "Smallfoot" in 2018? We love this look so much because the star actually matched her 'do to the character she voiced in the animated movie, a young yeti named Meechee. Zendaya's dark brown hairstyle comprised of super slicked back tresses on her scalp, with a single extra long braid that stretched all the way down her back and  almost as far down as her legs.


Zendaya confirmed the look was very much intentional in an Instagram post. She told her followers on the social media site that she took inspiration from Meechee, whose hair is pleated into a chunky light purple braid. "Today's hair inspo lol," the star captioned the upload, which included two photos of her at the premiere plus a shot of her character.

She went red for the 2018 Met Gala

We didn't exactly need further proof that Zendaya can literally pull off any and every hair color, but she made that very obvious in 2018 while appearing at the Met Gala. For the New York fashion event, the star rocked a blunt, chin-length red bob with micro bangs dyed a bright red hair color. The bold, warm tones in her hair really popped against her chain mail and literal body armor outfit, fitting with that year's theme of "Heavenly Bodies: Fashion & The Catholic Imagination."


Speaking about the out-there look to Vogue, Zendaya explained that she and her stylist were going for a Joan of Arc inspired look, but that she struggled to wear her outfit because it was so heavy. "I was like, 'I need to sit down.' But it was all worth it," she shared. As for what she thought of the colorful bob? "The hair also just completed the character," Zendaya said. And we totally agree. It also proved she was well ahead of her time when it came to the 2024 trendy fob (that's a fringe bob).

Zendaya proved she can even rock a mullet

Once again, Zendaya took it upon herself to prove there's no hair look she can't conquer and look drop-dead gorgeous with. And this one's not something we can all get away with and still look super chic, so she really deserves some extra props. Zendaya stepped out to attend the Grammys in 2016 rocking a very intense and very different style for her; a blonde mullet. Gone was her longer, dark locks, and in its place was a super choppy cut that perfectly complimented her stunning skin tone with tousled bangs with straight hair down her back.


There's no doubting this was one of the most talk about looks of the night, though Zendaya has admitted that not everyone was such a fan of her bold style. One thing we love, though? She stood by it. When asked about the look during a 2022 interview with InStyle, the actor admitted, "I got dragged for my mullet at the time. But kids love mullets now. I'm happy about my David Bowie mullet." She shared a similar sentiment about the look with Elle in 2016, admitting, "Some would say the mullet didn't work out. But to me, they were talking about it, so I'd say it worked out." And so would we.

Her 2015 (faux) pixie cut really highlighted her breathtaking features

When Zendaya tried super short hair in 2015, she really went for it. The star appeared to be channeling Toni Braxton when she attended the Grammy Awards with a dark brown pixie cut, complete with wispy micro-bangs for a vintage twist on the short 'do. But you probably won't be too surprised the woman with hundreds of hairpieces didn't actually need scissors to attend this very dramatic style.


Speaking to Entertainment Tonight at the event, Zendaya confessed that the look was only temporary, as the pixie cut was actually a wig. "I didn't really cut my hair so don't freak out. But I had to try it," she admitted (via Glamour). "I had to at least feel it out, you know what I'm saying? Try it on for size," she added, hinting she may try the style for real at some point. We'd certainly support her if she did, because there's no doubting this sophisticated and low-maintenance hair cut really helps to highlight her stunning facial features.

Zendaya's corn rows are one of her most complimented looks

We've seen corn rows on Zendaya multiple times over the years, though one of the most notable has to be when she wore them to the "Spider-Man: No Way Home" red carpet premiere in 2021. Looking every inch the movie star she is, the beauty pulled her style into  a low ponytail just above her neck. Her super-long tresses then dangled down past her behind, perfectly complimenting her stunning, open-back spider web dress.


As we mentioned, though, that wasn't the first time the A-lister has sported the protective hairstyle. Nor was it the first time she was complimented on the look. Writing on X, formerly known as Twitter, all the way back in 2015, the star admitted her cornrows are one of the hair looks her fans love the most. "People just love my cornrows...honestly its not the most original hair style I've had.... [Trey Songz] and [Omarion] been slayed that look," she joked.

A super blonde pixie cut had Zendaya fans doing a double take

It was at the iconic Royal Albert Hall in London in 2017 when Zendaya had the world doing a double take. The beauty stepped out at The British Fashion Awards with a striking straightened, platinum blonde cropped pixie cut that was worlds away from the longer tresses she shot to fame with. The hair was perfect for her outfit, which was a sheer black dress with panels shaped like horses across her chest. 


Zendaya later shared a photo from the event on Instagram, touching on her new style in the caption. "A platinum blonde pixie tonight cause why not?" she wrote. It's safe to say fans loved the dramatic new look. "Girl, Your hair is GORGEOUS," one person commented on her upload, which has more than 1.4 million likes at the time of writing. "You look good in literally everything," another person added. And, frankly, we have to agree.