The Most Unforgettable VMA Hair Looks of All Time

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When it comes to awards shows, we can always count on the MTV Video Music Awards to bless us all with some truly iconic hair moments. From Lil’ Kim’s purple hair and pastie moment to Lady Gaga’s meat fascinator, year after year, the biggest names in music always bring their style A-game to the red carpet. Ahead of this year’s show, we’re taking a walk down memory lane to revisit some of our favorite hair looks of VMAs past.

Drew Barrymore, 1995

Actress Drew Barrymore let her inner flower child run free at the 1995 awards show. She showed up to the red carpet sporting a blonde bob full of daisies and some super thin brows.

Gwen Stefani, 1998

Gwen Stefani’s No Doubt era will forever be iconic thanks to looks like this one. Literally no one else could rock icy blue space buns with a matching furry bra and still look this cool!

Lil’ Kim, 1999

Few award show looks are as memorable or controversial as Lil’ Kim’s purple pasty and matching wig situation at the 1999 VMAs. This monochromatic moment made such an impression that many years later, Miley Cyrus even recreated it for Halloween.

Pink, 2000

There’s no doubt that Pink turned more than a few heads when she pulled up to the VMAs wearing this pink spiky hairdo.

Britney Spears, 2000

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Before influencers were crimping their hair on TikTok , our favorite pop princess, Britney Spears,  was wearing the ‘80s style to the VMAs. We bet this half-crimped, half-curled look inspired major fits of hair envy back in the day.

Jennifer Lopez, 2001

J.Lo can make just about anything look good – including a bedazzled bandana, which she wore to the 2001 award show. The white scarf was the perfect accessory to wrap around her braided pigtails.

Christina Aguilera, 2002

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2002 VMAs

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Who could ever forget the jet black hair extensions from X-tina’s “Dirrty” days? The pop star brought the vampy look to the VMAs stage, pairing the edgy hairstyle with a cool white newsboy cap.

Beyoncé, 2003

Back in 2003, Queen Bey performed  her very first solo performance at the VMAs and of course, in true Beyoncé fashion, she looked absolutely stunning. We’re crazy in love with these big, tousled waves that she wore on-stage.

Christina Aguilera, 2006

Christina Aguilera totally slayed the Marilyn Monroe look on the red carpet with these super retro curls.

Jared Leto, 2006

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We can’t be the only ones who are nostalgic for Jared Leto’s emo phase. Back when he was the frontman for Thirty Second to Mars, pin-straight, dip-dyed hair and guyliner were kind of his thing.

Justin Bieber, 2009

Back in 2009, a baby-faced Justin Bieber made his VMA debut rocking his signature side-swept locks. Just one flip of those swoopy bangs had the ability to make teenage girls everywhere swoon!

Katy Perry 2010

Katy Perry got our hearts racing with her candy-colored streaks at the 2010 awards show. They added such a fun touch to her black curls.

Lady Gaga, 2010

Lady Gaga and her infamous meat dress will always hold a special place in VMA fashion history. Yes, she really did show up to the 2010 awards show wearing a dress made entirely of raw meat. The statement-making ensemble even came with a matching meat fascinator which she wore on top of her silver and blue ombre mermaid waves.

Nicki Minaj, 2011

Nicki Minaj’s hair at the 2011 VMAs was truly a work of art. The rapper stuck to shades of pink and yellow, along with her signature blonde for this layered beehive.

Rihanna, 2012

We live for short-haired Rihanna and this short black pixie cut that she wore to the 2010 awards show was such a treat!

Riff Raff and Katy Perry, 2014

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Silhouette Of The Pinnacle

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Katy Perry and rapper Riff Raff pulled a Justin and Britney with their coordinating denim ensembles back in 2014. All eyes may have been on their outfits but check out Riff Raff’s neon orange braids and bizarre zig-zag beard.

Kesha, 2014

In 2014, singer Kesha looked radiant as ever with her long rainbow waves that gave off serious My Little Pony vibes.

Miley Cyrus, 2015

Miley Cyrus raised a lot of eyebrows when she hosted the VMAs in 2015, mostly for her zany outfits but also for her controversial hairstyle. The pop star was accused of cultural appropriation for sporting a high ponytail full of blonde dreadlocks throughout much of the night.

Frankie Grande, 2015

Frankie Grande showed up to the 2015 awards looking like a full-on glitter bomb exploded on himself with the amount of sparkle that he was rocking from head-to-toe. Between his sparkle brows, shiny rainbow mohawk, and glittery chest, there was A LOT going on.

Justin Bieber, 2015

In 2015, Justin Bieber showed off a brand-new haircut at the VMAs. It was blonder, shaggier, and very Kate Gosselin-like. Based on all the funny memes it sparked, it’s safe to say that people were not a fan of his new look.

Vanessa Hudgens, 2015

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The Queen of Coachella herself, Vanessa Hudgens, looked like a bohemian goddess with her pretty crown braid adorned with tiny flowers.

Kim Kardashian, 2016

Kim Kardashian made quite a splash in 2016 thanks to her wavy, wet hair. This beachy look was effortlessly sexy and pretty darn perfect for the California girl.

Beyoncé (and Blue Ivy) , 2016

Beyoncé looked heavenly in 2016 with her dreamy double-sided French braid. Her daughter, Blue Ivy also made an appearance with matching braids of her own.

Nicki Minaj, 2017

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We're obsessed with Nicki Minaj's outfit at the MTV VMAs ??

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Nicki Minaj had inches for days when she hit the red carpet sporting knee-length two-tone pink and blonde hair. Rapunzel could never!

Halsey, 2019

Singer Halsey showed up and showed out at last year’s awards show looking like a rainbow hair queen with her colorful peekaboo roots.

Are there any hair looks that we missed? Let us know in the comments section!

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.