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

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.

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.

Photo: Steve Granitz/WireImage.
At 9-years-old, a big smile and a giant thumbs up prove to be the perfect accessories for a Nickelodeon red green carpet
Photo: Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage.
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.
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.
Photo: David Livingston/Getty Images.
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.
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.
Photo: Jason LaVeris/FilmMagic.
Bouncy curls, dewy skin, and a flick of black eyeliner make for a perfect look at the 2015 BET Awards.
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.
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.
Photo: JB Lacroix/WireImage.
Yara delivers a spin on her fresh-faced, dewy-skin signature with bright berry lips that match her dress.
Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images.
The actress wears loose waves and barely-there makeup to the 2015 NAACP Image Awards.
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.
Photo: Michael Tullberg/Getty Images.
The addition of cobalt blue box braids add edge to the actress’ otherwise soft look.
Photo: Frazer Harrison/Getty Images.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
Photo: Amanda Edwards/WireImage.
Once again, the actress nails soft makeup, wearing only delicate shades and fluttery lashes.
Photo: Todd Williamson/Getty Images.
A gentle wash of metallic shadow goes a long way when paired with dewy skin and groomed brows.
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.
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.
Photo: Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage.
Super long lashes and volumized curls give the actress star power at a 2017 red carpet event.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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