Leighton Meester Critiques 11 of Her Most Memorable Hair Moments
You could say a dye job changed the course of Leighton Meester's life. The natural blonde famously colored her hair brown during her Gossip Girl audition process to help the creators envision her as Blair Waldorf. Now, she's forever remembered as one of the most iconic brunettes of TV history. 10 years after the show first aired, it's still impossible to think of Meester without imagining her in a headband (more on that later).
The actress has now undergone a drastic change that signals how far she's come from her days at Constance Billard: She's officially platinum blonde for the first time. She took the plunge at New York's Nexxus salon yesterday thanks to in-demand colorist Aura Friedman (who's done everyone from Lady Gaga to Jennifer Lawrence). The whole process took six hours.
Anyone who's bleached their hair knows how damaging it can be—Meester says she avoided it by using the new black rice-infused Nexxus Keraphix Masque and Reconstructing Protein Treatment. "My hair is amazingly shiny and soft considering how much it was just processed and I think that’s a real testament to the treatments I’ve been doing to replace the keratin protein in my hair," she told ELLE.com when we caught up with her after her salon appointment.
In honor of her new look, we decided to have Meester walk us through her archive of hair transformations—from pre-Gossip Girl crimp to her Blair Waldorf barrel curls and right on up to today.
2003: Blonde and Crimped
"I kept going back and forth at that time between brunette and blonde and, obviously, blonde was winning. Because I grew up with blonde hair and it turned ashy light blonde around 13, 14, I wanted to recapture it as a teenager. I don’t think that I did it as successfully as I would have wanted. I think my cousin did my hair [here] and, potentially my makeup. I really went to town on my eyebrows! I didn't realize it at the time—that's the amazing about youth. You don't realize how terrible things are going."
2007: Brunette for Blair Waldorf
"I dyed my hair during the audition process! I had been dying my own hair blonde out of a box over the last year before this and then went in and was told, 'Well, this character in the books has brown hair. Do you want to dye it?' I wore a wig and they were like, 'You need to actually dye it.' So, I got a box and I colored it and it turned green! All different shades of green throughout. My roommate at the time was going through cosmetology school and she was like "Let me help you!" so, she fixed it for me for the audition. Then, I did a lot of extensions in the show. [Gossip Girl] was definitely a hair show where everyone had these long, flowing locks."
2008: The Blair Waldorf Headband
"I think in my personal life, I was never that into headbands. I never wore them but I wanted to wear them before we started [shooting]; I was talking to the stylist [Eric Daman] and we decided that it would be good for [Blair] to wear them because it was like a crown in a modern-style way."
2009: Chestnut Chop
"After all the blonde and everything that I’d done to [my hair] in the previous years, it was just so damaged that I wanted to chop it off. So, I did. It’s definitely a lot easier just as far as maintenance goes, it’s easier to style, it’s faster to blow dry. I just had extensions on the show until my hair grew out naturally."
2011: Ultra Straight
"This [hair] was inspired by the dress, which was really modern and sleek. I was letting more of my natural color come through instead of that really dark color. I always liked the more straight look, but nowadays I like more bend in my hair."
2011: Piecey Bangs
"I like bangs! This is when they’re just cut fresh and kind of short. I was really into short bangs for a while but they’re really hard to disguise, so you have to just be able to rock them. My issue with bangs is that I just don’t want to style them all the time. It’s a lot of work and I’m just not in that season of life at the moment. There’s always that really painful stage between the eyebrows and the chin where that whole area is really dangerous and you have to figure out how to work it."
2012: Blair's Last Headband
"This is more of a crown. I don’t remember the specifics, but I will say looking at it, I like it. I think it’s very pretty. It’s very 'finale feeling'-like. She's just getting married, she’s wearing a blue wedding dress. I think she looks more mature."
2014: Caramel Silky Waves
"I like this a lot. It’s a very grown-out bob that I cut and then I added ombré. I had just done some red and the ends are grown-out highlights. It was sort of this updated, retro look I was going for and I really liked that—I have to try that again."
2016: Beachy Ombré
"Oh my God, it’s so long! I think I even cut a few inches off that day. I just got back from being out of town and not working for ages—and not even looking in the mirror for quite a while. So, I wanted to clean up the ends but it was a lot of grown-out highlights. It’s a bit messy. This is as close to my hair in its natural state as I think I’ve seen so far."
2017: Return of the Bangs
"This is definitely me trying to blend my side bangs in. Looking at all of these photos, I like all these styles. I don’t know if I’ll try all of them again but thus far, I’ve done a pretty natural look. All my hair colors and styles have been natural, not super harsh and edgy."
2018: Platinum Plunge
"I have this platinum hair now which is the opposite of natural. I have not gone platinum before. It’s definitely a shock every time I see it in a mirror, but in a good way—it’s a makeover, it’s really fun. Now, I try to steer as clear as possible from pink and real saccharine-looking floral, anything that’s too 'feminine' because for me, it starts to look a little bit Barbie. I feel like with makeup I can play it up a little more. It's certainly fun for myself to experiment and have fun, but it’s also fun to reveal it to people that are close to you like...surprise!"