Kaley Cuoco's Gorgeous Hair Transformation - The List (2024)

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ByMia Huelsbeck

Kaley Cuoco's Gorgeous Hair Transformation - The List (1)

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Kaley Cuoco has been acting since she was a child, and over the course of her stunning transformation, she became something of a style icon. She's stayed current with the latest trends, from the time she had her big break in "8 Simple Rules" to the peak of her popularity on CBS, be it in fashion, makeup, or her hair. Even now, whenever Cuoco graces the red carpet or steps out with her husband Tom Pelphrey, eyes are always on the star's iconic looks.


In speaking with W Magazine in August 2021, Cuoco explained how her style has transitioned since she played Penny on "The Big Bang Theory," saying, "It was all about booty shorts and Juicy Couture zip-ups ... As the years went on, you know, Penny grows up. Kaley grows up. All of a sudden it's like, 'Can I have a long-sleeve shirt? How about a slack? How about a loafer?' I never want to see that high heel ever again. ... At 21 I was hot, I wanted to show that stuff off. You would not catch me dead in a sexy cat costume now."

In addition to her changing fashion, Cuoco's hair has gone through a number of changes. Throughout her career, she has become known for her chic blonde locks, but she's also experimented and the actor has truly tried it all. From platinum straightened styles to her groundbreaking pixie cut and even pastel hues, here is Kaley Cuoco's gorgeous hair transformation.


Kaley Cuoco rose to fame with super blonde hair in 2002

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From the time Kaley Cuoco made her acting debut as a kid, she's drawn attention to herself. Kids at her school were unkind, so she began homeschooling in fifth grade. However, this meant that she was at risk of missing out on some critical milestones, despite her soaring popularity when she landed the role of Bridget Hennessy on "8 Simple Rules" in 2002. Cuoco looked every part the typical American teenager at the time, with her pin-straight, platinum-blonde hair.


As she told Parade in January 2012, she did get to experience going to prom around this time, but it didn't go as expected. "Ashley [Tisdale] asked me to go to [her prom]. It was during my first year on '8 Simple Rules' and I wore something plain to be understated. But these horribly mean girls said, 'Oh, you think you're going to the Academy Awards in your classy black dress?' Honestly, it just made me happy to know I wasn't in that school," Cuoco explained.

As she played her iconic early noughties role on ABC, showcasing the distinct style of the time (hello, low-rise jeans and crop tops), the actor was in the early stages of her gorgeous hair transformation. It's a time that will live on forever, as even Cuoco watches reruns sometimes. "Once in a while I peek at it, and it brings me a lot of fond memories," she told Us Weeklyin May 2024.


She transitioned into layers and wispy bangs

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From chunky highlights to high pigtails and crimped hair, the mid-'00s was rife with memorable hairstyles. One such look was popularized by Kaley Cuoco's appearance in the first season of "The Big Bang Theory" in 2007: lots of layers with wispy bangs. At the time, she was coming into what would be her most recognized role to date, though she'd been acting for over 15 years at this point, and had been getting to know the cast.


During an interview with First for Women in 2007, during Season 1 of "The Big Bang Theory," Cuoco said, "I've never been so excited about a show before. In fact, we had a party over at my house, and I had the whole cast over last night with our significant others. We watched the show — it's so cute and we had such a good time." As the costume department emphasized her "girl next door" persona, the hair and makeup department really made Cuoco appear as if she could be any trend-following girl from the time.

It was when she rocked this layered hairstyle that she and her co-star Johnny Galecki began to fall for each other, too. In speaking with Vanity Fair in October 2022, Cuoco explained, "I had a very big crush on Johnny early on. I was so not even hiding it ... There was chemistry and we were crushing on each other. That was the whole first season until we actually got together for real."


Kaley Cuoco sported long locks with on-trend ombré ends

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In the early 2000s, singer Aaliyah popularized the ombré trend when she debuted dark roots that transitioned into lighter ends. The French term, which roughly translates to "shaded," began to take over Hollywood, with tons of celebrities opting for two-toned hair, including Kaley Cuoco. The actor had been starring on "The Big Bang Theory" for a couple years when she showed off her voluminous, wavy blonde hair that transitioned into a chocolate-brown hue at the ends in 2009.


It was around this time that Cuoco spoke with "Sidewalk Entertainment"about how much she'd been enjoying playing Penny on the hit TV show. "We have a blast. 'Big Bang [Theory]' is like this little show that could ... I feel like either people love it or they've never seen it before, there's nothing really in the middle. We have some crazy fans and it is a whirlwind to be on this show," she explained.

By 2010, ombré hair was all the rage with celebrities like Hilary Duff, Emily Blunt, and Hilary Swank sporting multi-color dye jobs. It was just one of many instances in which Cuoco hopped on a trend early and seemed to move into the next in the blink of an eye, as she reverted back to her classic long blonde hair shortly after.


She went platinum with faux bangs in 2013

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Every celebrity has had their fair share of style blunders, from nip slips to unflattering silhouettes. One of Kaley Cuoco's most regretted looks was for her appearance at the 2013 SAG Awards. The actor looked stunning as she matched the red carpet in ruby pumps and a strapless, scarlet dress that fit her beautifully, but it wasn't her outfit that brought negative attention; it was the faux bangs she wore.


While filming a fight scene for "The Big Bang Theory" with Johnny Galecki in 2013, Cuoco accidentally suffered a real-life injury, which resulted in stitches and a black eye. While on "Jimmy Kimmel Live!" (via The Repository) in April 2013, the sitcom star explained, "It was really, really bad so I decided to have the brilliant idea to get bangs. As you can see, I don't have bangs, so I had to get fake bangs. A bunch of [my stylists] said, 'Let's maybe not do the bangs,' but I wanted to wear them because it covered my eye, and I was really insecure about this huge black eye."

While the rest of Cuoco's straightened, platinum-blonde hair looked chic, her faux bangs just looked wrong. As she told People in December 2023, "I still think this is the worst thing I've ever done. ... Literally, I look at pictures and I'm like, 'That was the worst decision I have ever made.' It just did not work. It looked so fake."


She debuted her pixie cut in 2014

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"The Big Bang Theory" fans had mixed viewswhen Kaley Cuoco debuted her pixie cut on Season 8 of the show. The actor chopped her long locks for the indie film "Burning Bodhi" in 2014, and at the time, she was super happy with her new look. In speaking with Women's Health (via Entertainment Tonight) in August 2014, Cuoco referred to it as "the haircut heard around the planet." She explained, "When I wrapped Season 7 of 'Big Bang' a couple months ago, we cut it short that night. I haven't had my hair cut in over 20 years. I was ready for a change — I felt like I needed to reinvent myself and that cut was awesome ... I loved it, I didn't want to stop. I am surprised I did not shave my head."


Several famous faces had opted for pixie cuts in the '10s, like Emma Watson, Anne Hathaway, and Miley Cyrus, but not everyone was a fan of the short style. It seemed like Cuoco had to defend her decision at every turn, and during an interview for 2022's "The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series" (via Glamour), the actor said, "I don't know if I was being rebellious. I mean, I did do it for [a movie], which was my excuse to cut it. At that point we were heading into our eighth season and something needed to shake up."

Kaley Cuoco went pretty in pink in 2015

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While Kaley Cuoco's hair was short, she experimented more with her ever-evolving style. The actor shared that she'd added a pop of fun color to her pixie cut in a since-deleted April 2015 Instagram post, which she captioned, "Have wanted to do this for years! Finally went pretty in pink!" per the Los Angeles Times. She praised her stylist for "such a special color," adding that she was "obsessed" with it. The subtle pastel hue added a touch of rebellious flare to Cuoco's style and perfectly complemented her skin tone.


The following month, the "The Big Bang Theory" star went even bolder when she debuted a touched-up dye job, complete with bright-pink eyebrows to match. It was a temporary look that had been created for a photoshoot, and by June of the same year, Cuoco had ditched the pink altogether and returned to her signature platinum-blonde color.

She went through the awkward growing-out stage in 2016

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Anyone who has attempted to grow out a short haircut knows that the in-between stages can be the most awkward. A couple years after Kaley Cuoco chopped off her hair in favor of a pixie cut, she went through the same thing. Thankfully, she had her trusty hair stylist Christine Symonds by her side to make the entire ordeal easier.


In 2016, Cuoco maneuvered into a chic bob with bright blonde highlights for a while, often styled with beachy waves. As Symonds told Glamour in September 2017, "The trick to growing out Kaley's pixie has been trimming the back of her hair every so often to let the front and sides catch up. To mask a lot of the awkward lengths and stages, we would give Kaley's hair a ton of texture with the help of products like a texturing mist."

As much as she'd loved her pixie, the actor revealed in her interview for "The Big Bang Theory: The Definitive, Inside Story of the Epic Hit Series" (via Glamour) just how much more difficult the style became. "I was bored and sick of the hair, and what's funny is I thought by cutting my hair, I would spend less time in the hair and makeup chair ... In my attempt to spend less time on my hair, that decision bit me in the a** and it took way longer to do my short hair," Cuoco explained.


Kaley Cuoco hopped on the lob trend

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There's no doubt that Kaley Cuoco was eager to get her hair back to a more comfortable length, and as she grew it out, she continued to experiment with different looks. In a since-deleted Instagram post from May 2016 (via Good Housekeeping), Cuoco showed her followers the process she went through to get hair extensions. She captioned the post, "It's very important for me to change my look after wrapping each season. I love playing Penny, but it's good for me to bring it back to Kaley."


By 2017, Cuoco had hopped on the "lob" (long bob) trend, which stars like Kim Kardashian, Margot Robbie, and Selena Gomez were sporting. During a September 2017 interview with Us Weekly, Cuoco joked about her always-changing hair: "Just blink and it might be blue or something." She went on to discuss her mid-length hairstyle, saying, "I'm happy with this length. I have no extensions in, it's all me, which feels really good." In the same interview, the actor revealed more about her beauty routine, and while Cuoco looks stunning bare-faced, she enthused about how much she loves wearing makeup along with experimenting with her locks.

She showed off her beachy waves in 2019

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There was a point in 2018, right after her wedding with former husband Karl Cook, that Kaley Cuoco had very little control over her hair. Four days after tying the knot, the actor underwent shoulder surgery to correct an old injury, which she had been putting off. While on "The Late Late Show with James Corden" in September 2018, Cuoco explained, "It was not an easy surgery. I did not realize my arm would be so immobile, like I thought 'Oh, I'm going to be fine,' but I could not lift my arm at all. [Cook] did my hair, he did a lot of top knots."


Luckily, Cuoco had been growing her hair out, making it easier for her husband at the time to style for her. By 2019, Cuoco's time as part of"The Big Bang Theory" cast was over, giving her the opportunity to work off-camera as she gave her voice to the animated series "Harley Quinn." It was during this time that she was rocking long, layered beachy waves in her signature blonde color. Not only was she back to a longer style, but Cuoco's hair seemed like it was at a stage that was much easier to style than it had been for the last few years.

Kaley Cuoco went back to bangs in 2022

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Kaley Cuoco and bangs go together like peanut butter and jelly. It seems like she's had every style over the years, from side bangs to wispy and full-on blunt bangs, but it was in April of 2022 that she made a big return to the look, and bangs had never looked better on her. Cuoco's stylist Christine Symonds spoke with E! News at the time about the inspiration behind the hairstyle the actor sported at the Season 2 premiere of "The Flight Attendant."


She explained that they were going for a "summer fresh" look, saying, "Do you know how Dakota Johnson always has that cool girl hair and has the fringe? Her name was actually a name that we threw out ... We were like, we want kind of that vibe and nothing too contrived. And if I do say so myself, I think we've really achieved it and there is such a moment when you see your look on the red carpet and you're like, 'Yes.'" Cuoco walked the red carpet looking effortlessly radiant with her loose waves and vibrant blonde hair with darker roots, dressed in a floor-length black gown.

She became a full-on brunette in 2023

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Kaley Cuoco debuted more than a few changes at the 2023 Golden Globe Awards when she walked the red carpet in a gorgeous lilac gown, pregnant with her first child Matilda, alongside her husband Tom Pelphrey. "The Big Bang Theory" star had the pregnancy glow, but she also seemed to radiate from her new hair color, as she had become a full-on brunette.


Cuoco showed off her new hair color in a stylish bun with bangs that framed her face, and in a January 2023 Instagram post she shared of the event, many fans praised her hair transformation. "That hair color was made for you," one wrote. Another commenter added, "I love you as a brunette."

In 2023, Cuoco kept her dark hair when she starred in "Based on a True Story" alongside Chris Messina. During her interview with Awards Radar in June 2024, she spoke about the series, saying, "A lot of boxes were checked for me in this show. The writing was fantastic. I love true crime. I literally fall asleep to 'Dateline' every single night." The actor added that taking the role allowed her to be closer to home, since it was shot in LA.


Kaley Cuoco's bronde hair turned heads

Given her incredible success, undeniable beauty, and desirable lifestyle, it's no wonder that Kaley Cuoco's fans want to emulate her as much as possible. From articlesabout what "The Big Bang Theory" star eats in a day to her exercise routine and what Cuoco's skincare regime entails, the public has wanted to know it all. The actor has become a huge style icon, so when Cuoco's hair salon The Blondery shared her latest hair transformation in a January 2024 Instagram post, fans were loving it.


The video, which was captioned, "A whole hair surgery over here! Thank you @kaleycuoco for trusting me and my process," documented Cuoco's shift from medium blonde hair to a darker, bronde style. Fans flooded the comment section with how much they loved the actor's new 'do. The bronde hair trend, which is a blend between blonde and brunette, has been popularized by stars like Zendaya, Gisele Bündchen, and Jennifer Lopez, and now that Cuoco is rocking the look, there's no doubt that it'll remain a staple color of 2024. That is, until the "Role Play" actor embarks on yet another hair transformation.

Kaley Cuoco's Gorgeous Hair Transformation - The List (2024)
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