When you have the combined genetics of Lenny Kravitz and Lisa Bonet, unwavering self-expression is rooted deep within your DNA. (Plus, you know, the whole being gorgeous thing.) Still,
Zoë Kravitz admits that she's had a rocky road when it comes to locking down her own personal look. "The struggle's always been real for me and my hair," the YSL Beauty brand ambassador tells us. "The options can seem limited when you have a kinkier texture." Keep in mind that the operative word is seem: Ever since she began transitioning from relaxed to natural hair in 2014, the Lolawolf frontwoman and actress has managed to try out an impressive number of styles with her box braids. For her, it's a labor of love. "I really prefer my hair being natural," she says. Big Little Lies Celebrity hairstylist Nikki Nelms, who's worked with Kravitz since 2013, has noticed the spike in confidence as well. "She's super open to change and not that attached to anything," Nelms says. "She's open to length or cutting it, darkening or bleaching. When you’re open, you can experience more." The same goes for makeup, too. "It shouldn't be something you use to cover up. And I feel like YSL Beauty isn't asking me to cover myself up or be something I'm not," Kravitz says. "Makeup should highlight your individuality." While Kravitz's beauty philosophy is a good one, even she can admit that she has a blast experimenting with the line she reps. "Their foundations are great," she says, adding that "Touche Éclat is like 24 hours of sleep in a pen that you can put in your pocket." It turns out that her experimenting is all part of a lifelong lesson. "You just have to learn what works for you, and learn what doesn't," she advises. Duly noted. Ahead, see some of Kravitz's most standout beauty looks — and what she thinks about each. "I'm February 2008 pretty sure I was doing my own makeup back then. I wasn't going to events very much, wasn't working very much. It looks like I'm wearing some blush and maybe some eyeliner. "This isn't the shortest my hair has been. I feel like I've had three short haircuts in my life, and this was the second. When I was 12, I had a buzzcut! I was relaxing my hair here, for sure. I probably used some oils and serums to keep it soft, because relaxers are so hard on your hair. I went natural when I started the braids, in 2014, when I started filming Dope." More "Highlights and bangs! I went for it. Just trying something different, I guess. I'm sure there are some extensions going on in this situation, too. But it's a little bit of a preppy, conservative vibe with the long bang and the long bob. This is very girly for me." February 2011 Photo: Gary Gershoff/WireImage. More February 2012
"I'm pretty sure I did my own makeup for this, too. I enjoy doing makeup, actually. I was really into this Nars eyeshadow called
. That was the only eyeshadow I wore for a long time. I have a little liquid liner, wing action going on, some mascara on the bottom. This is a vibe I was doing on a daily basis for a while, give or take the liquid liner for daytime.
"I wasn't using foundation [all over]...more to brighten my eyes and cover my spots."
Photo: Michael Buckner/Getty Images. More "The hair was for a movie I was shooting at the time, called July 2013 The Road Within. My character had choppy bangs and purple hair, but I was into it as well. It looks like I have a little color on the eye, like a grayish color that went with the hair vibes. And I have a pimple, that's great. I don't even think I have anything on my lips; it was a moment for the eyes and hair." Photo: Imeh Akpanudosen/FilmMagic. More "A lot of bronze going on in this photo. I have a smoky brown eye and a pinky lip, and like a dewy brown blush. I'm really into tonal colors highlighting the natural color of your skin. Sometimes it's nice to use different tones of the same color. I think that can be really beautiful. I also think I was trying to grow my hair out, hence the straight part." March 2014 Photo: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic. More "Blonde hair. Red eyes. Red lip. The eye is really cool for this look, I like it a lot. Kara Yoshimoto Bua, who does my makeup often, who I love with all my heart, did this look. She's kind of great at working off of what I'm wearing. I don't know if we kept with the theme [for the Met Gala], but we wanted to work with my dress and my hair at the time. May 2014 "This is a weave too, and this was for a film that I was working on. It was for the character. I bleached my eyebrows for the film, so I kind of looked like an alien." Photo: Larry Busacca/Getty Images. More "This is when I had the braids. I like being able to feel my head. Having all those things in my head kind of bummed me out. Once I discovered the braids and was able to touch my scalp, I loved it. It looks natural and ultimately looks better because it's growing out of my head." May 2015 Photo: Andrew H. Walker/FilmMagic. More October 2015
"Kara did my makeup again for this. Pretty gray and blue colors going on in my eyes. She's great because the foundation is pretty, but not overbearing. I like my freckles to show, and to still see my skin.
"These braids are bigger, too. They're thick. And I have the one going down the back in the middle. I was doing that for a while. I usually redo them once a month and [sometimes] in between. We'll get them touched up sometimes. To maintain them, I'll use some coconut oil. Bumble and Bumble has really good sprays, too, like
. It moisturizes but doesn't leave your hair feeling greasy."
Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage. More "I had a really short undercut for this one, and some baby hair. The front of my braids are cornrowed a little into a swirl thing. I had a nice cheek and pouty pink lip, since the dress was really girly. But the black eyeliner added a punk vibe. July 2016 "I originally did the undercut so I could fit my hair in a wig for Divergent and ended up going higher and higher with it. I've had it since 2015." Photo: Marc Piasecki/WireImage. More "I went blonde for a film called February 2017 Kin, but I had been wanting to do it for a while. It was a way for me to keep the braids but still kind of change the look a little bit. When I get it done, I'll do an Olaplex treatment. It's important to keep dyed hair nice and moisturized. I also dye my braiding hair. "Nick Barose was the makeup artist for this. Since the outfit was very dark, we wanted to make it feel brighter and girlier with a pink lip." Photo: Sean Zanni/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images. More "We went for this old Hollywood vibe, which is kind of different for me. With the braids, it can be kind of hard to think of new things to do with the hair. But because my dress and makeup felt '50s, I wanted to find a way to blend it all together. February 2017 "My brows are pretty dark, and I wanted a bright orangey red lip. The color combo made a pretty palette. And there's a little shimmer... almost nothing on my eyes. I don't even think I'm wearing mascara." Photo: Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images. More September 2017
"It's really cool and carefree and funky," Nelms
of Kravitz's pixie. "You can do a lot with it. It's versatile. When she was blonde, you were able to see the texture in it because there was more length. Now it's sleek and darker. It's still pixie and cute and short, but the blonde gave it a little more."
Photo: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic. More May 2018
We never knew one single hair accessory could deliver us from evil until Kravitz showed up to the 2018 Heavenly Bodies Met Gala in an
oversized velvet bow
Photo: Kevin Mazur/MG18/Getty Images. More February 2019
These days, you'll rarely catch Kravitz without a
moody nude lip
, but the braided bouffant at this year's
Oscars party? Further proof that she's anything but predictable.
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