Yara Shahidi Is The Gen Z Beauty Star We've Been Waiting For

Photo: Amanda Edwards/WireImage.
To say that Yara Shahidi is one to watch would be an understatement. In fact, some may even go as far as to say she is the next big beauty star — for which the evidence is certainly mounting. There's her latest Diana Ross-inspired shoot, her ability to experiment with trends and still look sophisticated beyond her years, or that tiny little campaign for Beyoncé. (No biggie.)
Yara is just 16-years-old, but unlike many teens who opt for look-at-me makeup and trends that don’t quite flatter, Yara goes the opposite route. She grew up on the red carpet and has made a strong case for sticking to complexion-flattering, neutral makeup looks (see: pinky-nude lipsticks, minimal eye makeup, and subtle highlighting), while allowing her hair to take center stage.
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The Black-ish star’s approach to hairstyling is where she has the most fun, rocking bouncy curls, box braids, sleek updos — and just about everything in-between. The result is dozens of red carpet hits, all bearing a timeless quality that our own high school pics will never have. Not bad for a star celebrating her 17th birthday tomorrow. To mark the occasion, we've rounded up her best looks — starting way back when she was just 9-years-old.
Click through our slideshow for a look at Yara's beauty evolution, then keep an eye out for more — something tells us there's a lot more where that came from.
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Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage.
2009
At 9-years-old, a big smile and a giant thumbs up prove to be the perfect accessories for a Nickelodeon red green carpet
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Photo: Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage.
2012
Showing us all she had beauty game as a 12-year-old, Yara looks both age appropriate and cute as hell with glossy lips and a pile of curls on the red carpet.
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Photo: Imeh Akpanudosen/Getty Images.
Just two weeks later, the young actress walks the red carpet in a look that would make our middle school selves green with envy: tumbling curls, long lashes, and rosy lip gloss to match the flower in her hair.
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Photo: David Livingston/Getty Images.
2014
The star continues to wear natural makeup looks on the red carpet, here in glossy lips and loose tendrils — and always accentuated with a big smile.
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Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage.
For this 2014 American Music Awards look, a glowing complexion comes by way of light-reflecting highlights on the inner corners of the eyes, pearly eyeshadow, and a pop of blush.
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Photo: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic.
2015
Bouncy curls, dewy skin, and a flick of black eyeliner make for a perfect look at the 2015 BET Awards.
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Photo: Rebecca Sapp/Getty Images.
The actress attends a Teen Choice event, (seemingly) without a stitch of makeup and micro braids worn past the waist.
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Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images.
A few weeks later, the Black-ish star goes glam with her micro braids gathered into a high pony that progresses to an over-the-shoulder fishtail.
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Photo: JB Lacroix/WireImage.
Yara delivers a spin on her fresh-faced, dewy-skin signature with bright berry lips that match her dress.
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Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images.
The actress wears loose waves and barely-there makeup to the 2015 NAACP Image Awards.
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Photo: Amanda Edwards/WireImage.
At this 2015 event, Yara tries a look that’s both streamlined and classic: shiny hair worn with a center part, black liner, pinky-nude lips, and a touch of gold on the lower waterline to make her eyes pop.
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Photo: Michael Tullberg/Getty Images.
The addition of cobalt blue box braids add edge to the actress’ otherwise soft look.
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Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.
2016
A Golden Globes party in 2016 was the perfect time for the actress to expand her makeup game, thanks to a flick of black eyeliner and statement-making candy pink lips.
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Photo: Jason Kempin/Getty Images.
Have you ever seen a more perfect high bun? Us neither. We love how she paired the look with one of the year’s biggest trends, monochromatic makeup.
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Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic.
In 2016, Yara made a strong case for no-makeup makeup with just a flick of liner. (Of course, her glowing skin and defined brows don’t hurt her case.)
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Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images.
What better time to experiment with a new hair look than during NYFW? The actress shows a violet streak while attending the fall 2016 shows.
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Photo: Amanda Edwards/WireImage.
Once again, the actress nails soft makeup, wearing only delicate shades and fluttery lashes.
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Photo: Todd Williamson/Getty Images.
A gentle wash of metallic shadow goes a long way when paired with dewy skin and groomed brows.
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Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage.
Continuing her experimentation with colorful eyeshadow, here she tries a touch of shimmery green. Fun fact: Yara loves to match her makeup to her outfit, even if it's subtle.
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Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images.
Which came first, Yara's Diana Ross-inspired shoot or this natural hair look? Either way, we're here for it.
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Photo: Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage.
2017
Super long lashes and volumized curls give the actress star power at a 2017 red carpet event.
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Photo: David Livingston/Getty Images.
Perhaps her most experimental look to date, the actress wears a silver smoky eye coordinated to her outfit at a SAG Awards party.
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Photo: Todd Williamson/Getty Images.
It may be instinctive for some to match an eyeshadow shade to one of the vivid tones in such a statement-making dress, but with this look, the actress proves that complexion-flattering neutrals work just as well.
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Photo: Via @yarashahidi.
We're not sure if Yara's glow is courtesy of some clever inner-eye strobing, generous bronzer, and glossy lids...or if it's from the fact that she's headed to Harvard in the fall. Either way, she's slaying with her blown-out 'fro.
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Photo: Via @yarashahidi.
For a day of press, stylist Kendall Dorsey gave his client voluminous curls with Oribe Conditioner for Brilliance and Shine (used as both a co-wash and a leave-in) as well as The Ouai hairspray.
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Photo: MediaPunch/REX/Shutterstock.
At the BET Awards, Yara took home a YoungStars Award — and debuted a new set of bangs, too.
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