In 2016, Keira Knightley dropped a beauty bombshell when she admitted she’d been wearing wigs for years. While we generally have a strong inkling when a celebrity trades in their real hair for a wig (the fact that they go from brunette to blonde then back to their natural hair within a matter of days is usually a dead giveaway), we didn’t see Keira’s confession coming. Mostly because her decision to wear a wig had nothing to do with trying out a dramatic hair makeover - the actress has been pretty loyal to her long brown hair for the last few years. Keira opted for natural-looking wigs because her hair had become so damaged she experienced hair loss.
“I have dyed my hair virtually every colour imaginable for different films,” she revealed in an interview with InStyle UK. “It got so bad that my hair literally began to fall out of my head,” she added. “So for the past five years I’ve used wigs, which is the greatest thing that’s ever happened to my hair.”
While the wigs gave Keira’s natural hair a break from extreme colouring and heat styling and helped it to become healthy again, it was after she gave birth to her daughter Edie in 2015 that her hair finally bounced back.
“I have naturally crazy, curly hair and since I’ve had the baby, it’s become ten times thicker,” she shared.
Healthy hair or not, Keira hasn’t let that get in the way of a lot of great hairstyles. Tousled, centre-parted, down hairstyles are Keira Knightley’s hair signature, but she’s not afraid to change things up on the red carpet either. From her pixie cut and short hair days to her love of a romantic updo, these are Keira Knightley’s best hairstyles over the years - and a couple of her worst hairstyles, too.
The Bend It Like Beckham lob
When: 11 April, 2002
Where: Bend it Like Beckham After Party in London
Keira has a solid track record of setting hair trends. In 2002, she debuted a honey-blonde bob cut for her breakout role in Bend It Like Beckham.
When: 30 June, 2003
Where: Appearance on the Late Show with David Letterman
Showing off what we suspect is her natural hair, Keira’s combo of bouncy curly hair and wispy bangs gave the 18-year-old a sweet, girl-next-door vibe.
The edgy crop
When: 28 February, 2005
Where: The Jacket Los Angeles Premiere
Of all of Keira Knightley’s hairstyles, this would have to be her most iconic. She was one of the first female celebrities to embrace a daring pixie cut before they became mainstream. She made the chop for her role as Domino Harvey, a model turned bounty hunter.
The grown-out pixie
When: 25 July, 2005
Where: Pride & Prejudice Photocall in Germany
Not Keira’s best hair look, between the brassy hue and choppy mullet-like layers, her hair is starting to show signs of damage.
Long barrel curls
When: 11 September, 2005
Where: Toronto Film Festival Pride and Prejudice Press Conference
2015 was a year of big hair transformations for Keira Knightley. Likely for her role as Elizabeth Bennet in Pride & Prejudice, Keira got long hair extensions.
When: 3 July, 2006
Where: Pirates of The Caribbean 2: Dead Man’s Chest London Premiere
Putting the tousled bob on everyone’s radar, Keira’s bleached hair colour and dark roots added to the sultry bedhead vibe.
Sun-kissed beach waves
When: 29 August, 2007
Where: 64th Venice Film Festival Atonement Photocall
Before balayage became the go-to colouring technique it is today, Keira made a strong case for sun-kissed highlights.
The side-swept fringe
When: 27 January, 2009
Where: CHANEL Haute-Couture Spring-Summer 2009 Fashion Show in Paris
Another year, another fringe. This full fringe is more striking than her side-swept bangs - and still works for her face shape thanks to her amazing bone structure. We love that she’s gone for a darker brunette shade to complement her new sophisticated look.
When: 13 October, 2010
Where: London Film Festival Never Let Me Go Photocall
Proving she really is a hair chameleon, Keira once again went short, but this time she kept her natural brunette shade and opted for a sharply angled bob.
A sloping lob
When: 10 September, 2011
Where: Toronto International Film Festival A Dangerous Method Press Conference
This is one of the few times Keira’s hairstyle looks like it may be the handiwork of a wig. But we love her Pob-inspired haircut regardless.
The horizontal French twist
When: 14 November, 2012
Where: Anna Karenina Premiere in Hollywood
Keira opted for a horizontal twist on the classic French roll and gave her hairstyle an undone vibe by letting her fly-aways run wild.
Tousled low bun
When: 7 September, 2013
Where: Toronto International Film Festival Can A Song Save Your Life? Premiere
Keira raked her tousled waves back into a low knotted bun and left her long curtain fringe loose to frame her face.
Sleek and straight
When: 8 November, 2014
Where: Academy Of Motion Picture Arts And Sciences' Governors Awards
A welcome change from Keira’s usually wavy tresses, she went low-maintenance with this tucked-behind-the-ears down style and grown-out hair colour.
When: 8 February, 2015
Where: EE British Academy Film Awards
Keira deeply parted her medium-length hair to one side, giving the illusion of a side fringe. Her brushed-out curls nailed that vintage feel.
Au naturel curly hair
When: 6 September, 2016
Where: CHANEL Fine Jewelry Dinner in Honour of Keira Knightley at The Jewel Box, Bergdorf Goodman
Post-baby, Keira’s hair is looking healthy and shiny with envious loose curls.
A side plait
When: 10 September, 2018
Where: The Hollywood Reporter And Hudson's Bay Celebrate Colette and What They Had at TIFF
We love Keira’s playful rope plait, which she swept to one side.
When: 30 October, 2018
Where: Harper's Bazaar Women of the Year Awards
When your hair is damaged, there’s nowhere to hide with a sleek, straight hairstyle. We’re having serious hair envy over how glossy Keira’s hair is.
When: 3 May, 2019
Where: CHANEL Cruise Collection 2020 Photocall in Paris
Pregnancy clearly agrees with Keira. Pregnant with her second child, her hair looks thick, luscious and we would do anything for perfectly undone curls like that!
When: 9 March, 2020
Where: Misbehaviour World Premiere in London
Keira Knightley is the queen of elegant updos. She loves leaving wisps of hair out to keep the look romantic and soft.
Image credits: Getty
Chelsea is BEAUTYcrew’s Contributing Editor. She has a sweet spot for anything that claims to make skin glow and won’t leave the house without a slick of mascara. Chelsea has 10 years of experience as a beauty editor and her words can be found on BEAUTYcrew, Women’s Health, Daily Addict, The Joye and Primped.