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The Hair That Defined Each Taylor Swift Era

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Last week, Taylor Swift released her surprise album, Folklore, blessing us all with the stay-at-home soundtrack that we never knew we needed. Written entirely during her quarantine, her eighth studio album, with its heavy indie-folk influence, is a huge departure from the upbeat pop that we’ve come to associate with the singer. It’s not just a whole new sound that Swift is ushering in with this new record, but a whole new stripped-down beauty look. 

As we’ve seen previously, the star has a tendency to constantly reinvent her style and overall aesthetic with each album era – especially her hair. Since she first made her debut in 2006, we’ve watched Swift’s hair evolve along with her career, proving that she’s the ultimate hair chameleon. In honor of her latest album, we decided to take a walk down memory lane to share some of the iconic hair moments that defined each of Swift’s album eras.

Taylor Swift: 2006

Any OG Swiftie will remember the good old days of T.Swift’s signature big, blonde curls.

At just 16, the budding country star burst onto the music scene with her self-titled album, quickly winning over our hearts with her now iconic “Teardrops on My Guitar” corkscrew curls and good-girl image.

Fearless: 2008

Just two years later and her hair is just as long and curly as ever. The young starlet definitely brought the volume for her second album cover.

Around this time, Swift also began experimenting with how she styled her trademark curls. For the 42nd Annual Country Music Awards, the 18-year-old opted for a romantic low bun with a side-swept bang – a style that would soon become a go-to during awards season.

Speak Now: 2010

As time goes on, we start to see a much more grown-up and dare we say, sexier Swift. With her Speak Now album cover, she’s still embracing the curly hair but the ringlets we’re seeing now have a more defined, barrel-style look.

Not only did Swift discover a curling iron during this period but it seems like she found a flat iron, too. At the 2010 American Music Awards, the singer traded in her curls for some super sleek strands and eyelash-grazing bangs.

Red: 2012

By Swift’s fourth album, everything had changed with her look. She officially said good-bye to her natural curls in favor of loose waves and blunt bangs.

Style-wise, the singer really embraced this retro-cool vibe for much of the Red era with bowler hats and black fedoras becoming some of her favorite hair accessories.

1989: 2014

More than a decade after her debut, Swift had fully shaken off any remaining pieces of her country past and went full-blown popstar. It couldn’t be helped though as this was her first pop album.

With this new sound, we also saw a brand-new look for the star. For the first time ever, Swift got rid of her curls and chopped her luscious long locks into a shoulder-grazing bob.

Reputation: 2017

Look what we made her do. Reputation brought a dark new Taylor who was much edgier and grungier than we’ve ever seen before. I mean, just look at that wet hair she’s rocking on her album cover!

While she sings that the old Taylor is officially dead, her old curls are still alive and well – they’re just messier now.

Lover: 2019

The release of Lover saw Swift experimenting with so many unexpected new hair colors like these blue tips.

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Happy 2 weeks of Lover 💘✨!!

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But blue wasn’t the only color that she played around with. The starlet also dip-dyed her hair magenta to match her pastel-colored aesthetic and candy-colored music videos that were a big part of the Lover era.

folklore: 2020

With her latest album, folklore, Swift proved that we are apparently not out of the woods yet. While there is still so much to be seen about the new aesthetic for this album era, scrolling through the star’s Instagram, it’s apparent that our pop princess has now become an indie queen.

Just take a look at those perfectly rumpled, low braided buns that she wore during her music video for “cardigan”, which she also apparently styled herself.

Camille Nzengung
Camille Nzengung
Camille Nzengung is a Features Editor, based in Georgia, covering all things hair at The Tease. You can find her writing about the best hair products, the coolest hair trends, and all the exciting new hair launches.