Though Rihanna is most famous for her music, fashion, and makeup line, she’s equally as much of a hair icon. The pop queen has rocked every hairstyle from red pixie cuts to bright turquoise wigs to a mountain of four-foot-long dreadlocks. She rarely goes more than a couple of months with the same hairstyle, each one as iconic as the last.
Rihanna may lean more towards long hair today, but in her earlier music days, she was well-known for her chic short hairstyles. During any red-carpet event, you could count on RiRi to show up in a stunning gown and a side-swept pixie cut.From bobs to voluminous curls, here are every one of Rihanna’s short hairstyles over the last decade.
Baby Rihanna! In December of 2006, when pastel blue eyeshadow was still popular, Rihanna was already dominating the mainstream music scene at the age of 18. Fresh out of Barbados, her top hits were “Pon de Replay,” “SOS,” and “Unfaithful.” In this picture from the Z100 Jingle Ball red carpet, the young pop star sported a dark brown shoulder-length bob. Her long bangs were swept to the side and straightened along with the rest of her hair. It’s a simple yet mature hairstyle that marked one of the first times Rihanna wore her famous locks short in public.
In this picture from the 2007 MTV Video Music Awards, Rihanna wore an absolutely adorable chin-length bob with iconic blunt bangs. Her hair color was no longer dark brown but jet black, giving it a clean, editorial look. Though almost a year had passed since her last short hairstyle, she miraculously looked years younger thanks to her new bangs. Unlike her past hairstyles, this cut gave RiRi a much rounder and more youthful face shape.
Not long after her bob and blunt bangs, Rihanna is back to long, sweeping bangs. Her sleek black hair was placed in a round, short bob with choppy bangs and a dramatic side part. Like her 2007 song “Don’t Stop the Music,” this hairstyle was more techno and futuristic than her typical ‘dos.
This photo from 2008 showcases the first of Rihanna’s many iconic pixie cuts. By the 2008 Grammy Awards (her first of many Grammys attended), she had chopped off most of her jet-black hair to create a chic choppy pixie cut. It must have been a good-luck charm because, during the show, Rihanna took home her first Grammy for her song “Umbrella.”
In the four months since her Grammys debut, Rihanna kept her pixie cut but changed the color to a deep auburn-brown. She also swept her bangs to the side and added more volume to her crown.
Back to black! In this image from November, Rihanna rocked a voluminous pompadour in a gorgeous blue-black shade. Her short sides combined with wavy locks on the top of her head combined to create a slightly vintage, super classy look.
On this rare occasion, Rihanna kept the same hairstyle for almost a year! She rocked a familiar hairstyle to her November 2008 one, but with more of a side-swept look. It’s a more casual style, but we love it just as much!
For this 2009 event, Rihanna donned a similarly short and curly style as her last two, but with a twist—blonde streaks! The unique dye job gave her a goth/scene look that paired perfectly with her all-black outfit at the Christian Dior fashion show. To top it all off, RiRi perched a tiny top hat on her newly dyed ‘do.
In 2010, Rihanna added a touch of edge to her hair by transitioning to a sharp undercut with gelled-back hair. She also dyed the top of her hair auburn while leaving the sides dark brown. Her new hair reflected Rihanna’s transition to a more rock-inspired, mature style of music.
By the NRJ music awards (a popular French awards show), Rihanna’s hair had nearly doubled in length (minus her shaved sides). She also decided to wear it curly, as opposed to her usual straightened looks.
For this hairstyle, Rihanna returned to her contrasting blonde-and-black combo, but this time with a more asymmetrical, chunky design. It’s unconventional, sure, but Rihanna somehow makes it work!
Rihanna goes full rocker-chic in this photo from June 2010! Her shaved sides and spikey bangs are the bomb, but the star of this hairstyle is her trademark firetruck-red hair. There’s a reason this remains one of Rihanna’s most iconic hair looks!
During the release of her self-titled photo book, Rihanna, RiRi was in the process of growing out her undercut. She wore her still-red hair swept to the side in an effortless-feminine style.
At the Billboard Music Awards in 2011, Rihanna showed up with newly grown-out locks styled in a wavy red bob. Her brightly-colored hair is the perfect accessory to an all-white pantsuit.
The classic black pixie is back! Rihanna ditched the red hair in 2012 in favor of her signature jet black pixie cut. This time, however, she decided to chop her bangs shorter and add a hint of waves.
The only person who can make a mullet work in the 21st century is Rihanna. And to pair it with teal lipstick? Again, only RiRi.
Rihanna adopts a chic Parisian look with a chin-length blunt bob and straight bangs. As Rihanna usually leans toward the edgy side, we rarely see her with this type of cute or girly hairstyle, but she rocks it as well as any other cut!
Bantu knots! At the iHeartRadio Awards in 2014 (where she both presented and won three awards), Rihanna paired Bantu knots with metallic forest green lipstick, oversized hoop earrings, and a lacy black gown.
In one of her most iconic hairstyles of all time, Rihanna donned a bubblegum pink wig to an NBA playoff game. Twitter went wild for her new pink pixie, and beauty influencers rushed to recreate her look. Unfortunately, this was the last pixie cut Rihanna wore, but we hope to see her bring it back in the future!
Rihanna took a break from pixie cuts to wear a straight, blunt, chin-length bob to this 2016 event. On this rare occasion, she ditched her typical bangs to finally show off her forehead!
In this historic look, Rihanna donned a sweeping yellow gown and a red bob to create a futuristic princess-like persona. She chose a more natural red as opposed to her usual firetruck red color, bumped out the ends of her bob, and wore an intricate jeweled headpiece. With this ensemble, she was the clear star of the 2015 Met Gala.
With these wispy bangs and beachy waves, Rihanna looked adorable and carefree! Her chin-length bob and slightly parted bangs were perfect for the semi-formal Billboard Music Awards red carpet.
At this Parsons benefit event, Rihanna chose to wear an oversized tan suit with piece-y curls and a red lip. Though it’s her last short hairstyle as of August 2019, we hope we’ll see RiRi with short hair again soon!