You Won't Believe How Much The Cast Of PLL has Changed

Photo: Andrew Eccles/ ABC via Getty Images.
What was your go-to beauty look in college? Last night’s eyeliner and dubious bedhead? Us too — which may explain why Pretty Little Liars employed a time jump to skip right over that timeframe in the characters’ lives. Okay fine, so the storytelling trick probably had more to do with moving the characters further into adulthood, but for us beauty nerds, it’s a great case study in evolutionary beauty on the fly.

Before the five-year time jump (which took place at the start of season six), the girls of Rosewood stuck to beauty looks ruled by classic high-schooler archetypes. Aria (played by Lucy Hale) was the resident goth; Spencer (played by Troian Bellisario) the bookish smartypants; Emily (Shay Mitchell’s character) the jock; and Hanna, the hottie. But as the show progressed, so did their beauty looks.

“For the flash forward, we decided to make up the characters opposite of what they were in high school,” explains Cindy Miguens, makeup department head on the show. “If you wore a lot of makeup in high school, you tend to do less as you get older, or at least this is what happens in Rosewood.”

But just because the characters shed their high school identities for more professional personas doesn’t mean they settled into basic beauty looks. Throughout their evolution, the PLLs stayed on trend in any given year — and looking back at their evolving styles year-by-year serves as a stellar roadmap of this decade’s biggest makeup looks.

“When we started the show, some trends (like nail designs) were in and other makeup trends we're not in the picture yet (such as the heavy contouring and lash extensions), so as the years went by, we dropped the nail designs, but added the heavy contour and thicker longer lashes,” the makeup pro told us. See how your favorite residents of Rosewood have evolved, ahead, and get ready to time travel through contouring, bronzing, and statement lip trends in the flash of an eye.
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Photo: Jaimie Trueblood/ABC Family via Getty Images.
Emily, Played By Shay Mitchell
“Emily started out as sporty, so her look was always natural and clean,” says Miguens of Mitchell’s character. Her makeup may be minimal, but those loose waves make for bombshell hair.
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Photo: Eric McCandless/ABC Family via Getty Images.
As the show progressed, Shay’s character wore more contoured looks, Miguens says. The ombre hair and lived-in waves gave the character edge.
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Photo: Courtesy of ABC.
In season seven, Emily adds subtle touches of glam to her evolving beauty look — here, she wears out-to-there lashes — while staying true to her minimal makeup aesthetic.
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Photo: Jaimie Trueblood/ABC Family via Getty Images.
Hanna, Played By Ashley Benson
As Rosewood High School’s resident blond bombshell, Hanna’s makeup was about playing up the pretty. At the start of the show, she often, “wore liners to bring out her beautiful eyes,” the makeup artist notes.
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Photo: Adam Rose/ABC Family via Getty Images.
In season three, Ashley Benson’s character chopped her hair into a textured lob with a center part, paired here with her classic liner and a subtle lip.
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Photo: Courtesy of ABC.
Cut to the current season of the show, and Hanna’s beauty MO has evolved into what the makeup pro calls, “sophisticated, bronzed goddess fashionista.” True to form, this look seems ripped right from the Gisele playbook, with chiseled features and beachy waves.
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Photo: Eike Schroter/ABC Family via Getty Images.
Aria, Played by Lucy Hale
When we first met Lucy Hale’s character, Aria, a goth vibe ruled her look. “[She] who wore heavier eyeliner with plum stain lips,” the makeup pro points out.
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Photo: Ron Tom/ABC Family via Getty Images.
By season four, Aria’s aesthetic had evolved. Gone were the loads of liner that rimmed her eyes. In its place? Tightlined eyes and natural, flushed cheeks.
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Photo: Ron Tom/ABC Family via Getty Images.
Of all the PLLs, Hale’s Aria saw the most dramatic beauty change. The once goth high schooler grew into a look that’s all business. In addition to acquiring a smart bob, this meant lighter and more natural makeup.
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Photo: Jamie Trueblood/ABC Family via Getty Images.
At the start of the show, Spencer (played by Troian Bellisario) was pegged as “the smart one,” which in TV land meant she, “was too busy studying to be bothered with makeup, so a little cream cheek color with some tinted lip balm,” Miguens notes.
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Photo: Ron Tom/ABC FAMILY via Getty Images.
By season four, Spencer had started to wear a touch of face flattering makeup, including glossy balms, blush, and a smidge of liner.
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Photo: Ron Tom/ABC Family via Getty Images.
After the show’s time jump, the older and more sophisticated characters had beauty looks to match. Spencer had grown into the “classic, professional gal, with a Audrey (Hepburn) winged liner and lip balm,” the makeup artist notes.
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