Mary J. Blige Looks Back On Her Best Beauty Moments From Over The Years



Welcome to Legends Only, a look back at the best beauty moments from our favorite celebrity legends. Below, Mary J. Blige walks us through her archive of hair and makeup transformations— from the 1996 Grammys to accepting her Lifetime Achievement award. Here are the stories behind the glam.

Mary J. Blige’s beauty journey began in 1988 with a bit of help from Salt-n-Pepa’s “Shake Your Thang” music video. “Salt had a platinum bob, Pepa had a honey-blonde bob, and I wanted it, too,” says Blige over our Zoom call. “So I started dyeing my hair in eighth grade, and I’ve basically been blonde ever since. That’s also why I’ve always loved a bob haircut so much.”Shades of golden might just be Blige’s thing. (Along with eight multi-platinum albums, of course.) Her golden blonde tresses are now part of the Gold Bond #ChampionYourSkin campaign, aimed at calling attention to and celebrating Black stuntwomen who work in the entertainment industry.”I’m not seeing any progress for black women in entertainment,” Blige says. “Thank God I have a great team who fights for me to get roles and opportunities. That’s why I am fighting for these stuntwomen—I don’t really see any progress being made for black women in entertainment.”Below, Blige walks us down memory lane and explains each of her iconic beauty beats in her own words.

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The Grammys, 1996

“I was into a lot of black lipstick at this time—like in the ‘Not Gon’ Cry’ video—it was a funeral look. I was always hiding back then, which is why I was wearing glasses. I didn’t feel as open and free as I do now.”

The Grammys, 2000

“This was a Farrah Fawcett knock-off. Flips were always something I liked to do, and we kept it short because I was more boyish back then and liked a bob. I always love a smokey eye for an evening event, even back then.”

Vibe Awards, 2003

“I didn’t know how to do my own makeup, so I never went in asking makeup artists for certain looks. Instead, I would sit down and trust them. And as long as I looked good, I would walk out wearing the look they did.”

Radio Music Awards, 2005

“This Goddess braid is the exact same one I am wearing on the cover of my ‘Breakthrough‘ album. I wanted to be intentional at this point in my career. It’s a very powerful, queen look for me―I’m in control of my life and my destiny. I was also doing more minimal makeup during this time because I wanted people to really see me.”

BET Awards 2019

“This was a big night for both me and my fans. I was both performing and accepting a Lifetime Achievement award. I had never really done big hair my entire career because I had always been nervous, but I wanted to be bold. I felt free. I just wanted everybody to know that I don’t care what you think. This is what I’m doing.”

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