The Evolution Of Kim Kardashian's Looks

Kim Kardashian has been a cultural figure for almost two decades. "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" kicked off in 2007, and 20 seasons later, the family decided that it was time to stop. Thanks to the transparent nature of reality TV and the invasion of privacy that social media inevitably creates, fans have had constant access to Kim K. through the years. As such, we've seen not only the changes in her personal life, but also the evolution of her look.

Kim went from a complete unknown to a major force, and in many ways, pioneered the phenomenon of the Instagram influencer. She's also become largely responsible, along with her sisters, for shaping the changing aesthetic in our culture, and this is becoming more and more apparent. In 2018, Kim won the Influencer Award at the CFDA Fashion Awards, quipping: "I'm shocked that I'm winning a fashion award when I'm naked most of the time." What a great response.

It happened again in 2021. Kim won Fashion Icon at the People's Choice Awards in early December. "I started off as a closet organizer and a stylist, so the fact that I am winning a fashion icon award [is] like a pinch-me moment," Kim said upon receiving her award, according to Fashion magazine. "I have those every single day that designers are willing to work with me. There was a time when they weren't," she said. It's been an incredible evolution for the reality star.

How Kim's dad influenced her makeup

Kim Kardashian has come a long way since she first started popping up in tabloids. And she's the first person to point this out. "I have a million cringeworthy moments," she said to Us Weekly's "Stylish" in 2019. "Like I die when I see like me in an Ed Hardy shirt with the Ed Hardy hat. I mean, it's so funny." To be fair, Kim, we all thought Ed Hardy was cool back then.

While Kim is a force to be reckoned with, she's also been open to influence and suggestions along the way, just another piece of evidence that it's okay to ask for help. Who was Kim's first source of support? Her dad, lawyer Robert Kardashian. In December 2018, Kim shared a video for Vogue, and while she was contouring her forehead, she said: "For Christmas one year, my dad got me and Kourtney [Kardashian] makeup lessons when we were 14, because he was like, 'If my girls are going to start to wear makeup, I do not want you guys to look like clowns.'"

Just because she got lessons didn't mean that Kim skipped the '90s horror of the ultra skinny eyebrow. "In the 90s," she said in the video, "I would, in high school, make my brows so thin. Drew Barrymore was my everything inspiration." Clearly, Kim grew out those brows to be the thick, expressive, arches we know and love today.

Kim K. and the fake tan

One thing that Kim Kardashian has insisted on is the spray tan, and that devotion hasn't waned over the years. It might be the one part of her evolution that has remained the same, but she's shared some useful tips. "No matter what time of year it is, I always love a good spray tan," Kim wrote on her website in 2018 (via Metro). "After so many years of having them done, I picked up an unusual trick that makes all the difference. I always ask if I can have the part in my hair sprayed, as well as my body! I normally have a center part, so if it's not sprayed, it becomes obvious and appears really pale." Good to know.

Kim also shared her most embarrassing spray-tan moment on "The Ellen DeGeneres Show" in 2014. At the time, while she and Kanye West were having their home renovated, they were living with mom, Kris Jenner. Kim had a spray tan artist come to the house to apply the tan in a tent. Unfortunately, the tent didn't fit in her bedroom, so she did it in the front hallway. "You go in the tent, but you're naked," Kim explained, and said that little sisters Kendall and Kyle Jenner were home with all their friends and walked in on Kim. When she's not getting spray tans, Kim said on her app (via Page Six) that her favorite at-home product is the St. Tropez Self Tan Express Bronzing Mousse. Now we know.

We can thank Kim Kardashian for the revival of contouring

The makeup trend called contouring, where an individual enhances the angles of their face through lighter and darker creams or powders, by no means originated with Kim Kardashian, but she certainly made it commonplace for makeup lovers. It's hard now to find makeup tutorials, even those lauded as quick and simple, that don't involve some degree of contouring.

In June 2017, just as Kim was launching her cosmetics brand, KKW Beauty, she spoke about its significance. "I have my makeup bag — it takes me literally five minutes to do my full makeup and I would always start with contour," Kim told Elle. "Contour has always been my thing." Kim made contouring ubiquitous and also lucrative for herself. The first item she sold under KKW Beauty was a contour kit that sold out "in a matter of hours," USA Today notes. This was the foundational item (pun intended!) from which she launched the rest of her makeup line.

But contouring is an age-old practice, popular in the theater world and very common in old Hollywood movies when films were being made "[w]ithout high definition or color," The New York Times reported. Drag queens picked up the aesthetic trick throughout the 1980s and '90s. The torch was then carried by Kim and her sisters, who set the world ablaze with fierce cheekbone cuts.

Kim Kardashian begins baking

No, this isn't about muffins or time spent in the kitchen. One of the many makeup techniques popularized by Kim Kardashian was the concept of baking. To achieve baking, an individual applies a layer of powder, preferably loose, over one's under-eye concealer. Employ "a damp sponge to allow the loose powder to sit under your eyes for 5-10 minutes," Charlotte Tilbury recommends, before blending and dusting off the excess.

Thanks to Instagram and the phenomenon of makeup tutorials, this technique spread like wildfire, and Kim's longterm makeup artist, Mario Dedivanovic, posted a throwback photo of Kim on Instagram, teasing everyone about the phase. "Who remembers this?! And who's been following me since these days?" Mario asked in 2018. Clearly, based on his nostalgic line of questioning, baking is no longer a major fad, but man, was this ever huge when Kim started sharing the technique. For those who can't let go, Mario added a piece of advice: "Also if you have Fine lines/ wrinkles under eyes, don't do this."

The technique, like contouring, goes back to the drag community. As Editorialist points out, initially the application of excess loose powder under the eyes was useful to catch "eyeshadow fallout" from darkening the under eye concealer. But once the brightening effects became obvious, therefore killing two birds with one stone, baking became a tried and true hit. Of course, it was a milestone in Kim's glam evolution, too.

Artist and muse: Enter Mario Dedivanovic

Makeup artist Mario Dedivanovic was a game changer in Kim Kardashian's beauty world. Mario began his career by working at Sephora in Manhattan, and he climbed his way up as a freelance artist. Mario spoke to Maria Hatzistefanis on her podcast, "The Overnight Success," in November 2018 about how he first met Kim: "A friend of mine, Sebastian, was doing a shoot for 'Social Life Magazine' cover and he called me the night before and said, 'Hey can you do this girl? Her name is Kim Kardashian, she has a show on E! that just came out. Can you do it?'" Mario initially said no, because he had another gig in the morning, but decided to do it anyway. Clearly, Kim and Mario really hit it off.

Mario has stood by Kim's side during her glam evolution. "We think the same exact way and we have a very similar aesthetic and our aesthetic has evolved together through the years," Mario told People in 2017. "We both kind of naturally evolved our style of makeup. We feel the same thing always, so when she decided she wanted to go natural, I was so ready, I was so happy." Mario also gushed, "She just feels her most pretty when I do her makeup." While Mario has consistently made Kim feel pretty, the exposure she's given him has skyrocketed his career and launched his own brand, "Makeup By Mario." Now that's a symbiotic relationship.

Her look isn't always high maintenance

We're used to seeing Kim Kardashian in all of her red carpet glory, in full glam and looking like absolute perfection. Also, based on her documentation on social media of her glam team of makeup artists, it's fair to assume that Kim's look is often labor-intensive.

This isn't necessarily the case, though, certainly as she's grown older and more comfortable with her fame. She told Elle in June 2017, on the eve of the KKW Beauty launch, that she could do her own makeup in just five minutes. Her budding brand was reflective of this new relaxed attitude toward her look. "I knew that I wanted to do a line that was really representative of the makeup that I wear now which, I think, is a little different than I've worn over the years: It's just a little bit more minimal, about your skin," Kim said. "Especially now that I'm a mom, I don't have that much time."

This penchant for quick makeup has only amplified over the years. In April 2021, Kim shared a video to her YouTube channel offering an everyday, no-makeup tutorial for busier times. "I just want really quick makeup and I want to look defined but not fully done up," Kim explained. The routine consisted of foundation, a lightly contoured eye, an over-lined lip, gloss, and mascara. That certainly seems simple enough!

No-makeup Kim

Kim Kardashian really shook things up in Paris in 2016 when she attended the Balenciaga show wearing absolutely no makeup. This wasn't a "no-makeup makeup look." She was literally not wearing a drop of makeup. Artist Mario Dedivanovic told People how her aesthetic had been changing. "We've been doing cleaner looks in the past month," Mario explained. "I'm not sure why the switch happened, it's just refreshing and something different. I thought it was time."

Mario explained how that particular day went. "She got dressed, and we thought she looked so beautiful the way she was, just like that," he said. "She had a spray tan done, and her skin just looked so beautiful, and so we just decided, 'Let's go for it! No makeup.'"

For any doubters, Mario stressed: "We said, if we're gonna go for it, let's really go for it." While the spray tan was key, Mario added that he used Tatcha Supple Moisture Rich Silk Cream, Glossier's '' lip balm, and he curled her lashes.

Kim had been of that mindset for a while, breaking away from the glamorous look fans came to expect. At the Vogue Festival in 2016, Kim spoke about this and made reference to Kanye West. "I think right now it's more about nontouring, like real skin with less make-up on it," she said. "I'm trying to wear less... and my husband loves me without make-up." At the festival, Kim mentioned the early days of her reality show with her "crazy hair and bad make-up." Hey girl, everyone questions some of their decisions.

Things changed when Kanye West came into the picture

Kanye West had a huge impact on Kim Kardashian's changing look. Fans will remember the 2012 episode of "Keeping Up With the Kardashians" when he went through her closet with stylist Renelou Padora. "Kanye's definitely inspired me to want to like, be a little bit more of an individual," Kim said in a confessional for the episode. "I think my style is just evolving and changing, and I think it should because that's what life is about."

Kanye's influence stuck, and throughout their marriage, he had an ongoing sway over what Kim's look said about her. "He definitely loves when I'm dressed up, but he likes the whole look," Kim told Us Weekly's "Stylish" in 2019. "It's not just about one thing. It has to be the best hair, the best makeup and the best accessories. He likes the whole vibe together... he won't just be like, 'Your sweats... they look great.' ... He likes whatever is done to the fullest, whether it's sweats to the fullest, pajamas to the fullest, anything... not just super lazy."

Kanye wasn't always easy on Kim about these specifications, either. At The Business of Fashion's summit in 2018, Kim said (via W): "I always thought I had really good style — until I met my husband and he told me that I had the worst style. He was really nice about it and cleaned out my whole closet." Ouch!

Kim's influence on the athletic leisure and sweats movement

With the combined power of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, the whole world was inspired by Kim's new, unexpected shift toward casual wear. When she first kicked things off as a reality star, all we ever saw her in were heels, dresses, chandelier earrings, and those signature chunky belts that were so desired in the early 2000s. As she evolved, she kept the glamour and took it to a more sophisticated level, until fans started seeing her in sweatpants and hoodies, alongside Kanye West, who was in similar attire. It didn't hurt that Kanye's clothing brand, Yeezy, was featuring sweatsuits in tans, beiges, and muffin. While we can't quite credit Kim and Kanye with inventing sweats, it's obvious that if they wear something, it has a massive impact on fashion around the world.

Kim spoke about her gratitude for the explosion of comfortable clothing. "I never wore flats before. ... I never even wore sneakers out before, besides working out at that time and then the athleisure vibe started and I would always wear Kanye's sneakers and that got me into it," Kim told Us Weekly's "Stylish" in 2019. "I wish that casual sweat style was cool when I was pregnant because I would have had life so easy!" She certainly would have. Thankfully, it doesn't look like athleisure and sweats are going anywhere.

Kim's hairstyles

We can't talk about Kim Kardashian's look without mentioning her hair, which seems to be perpetually changing. She's gone blonde several times, even bleaching her eyebrows the odd time to match. In April 2021, Kim tweeted pics of her look, which was orchestrated for a photoshoot for her SKIMS loungewear brand. Fans were all over the futuristic style. "Can we all just agree that this woman always looks like an absolute queen no matter what she does. So pretty," one fan tweeted.

We also know that Kim is a major fan of the '90s when it comes to aesthetic influence. In her makeup tutorial for Vogue, she overlined her cupids' bow and said, "I love '90s glam!" Unsurprisingly, the era also influenced many of her hair choices. In 2019, when launching her KKW Beauty Matte line, she opted for thick highlights. The stylist responsible for this, Andrew Fitzsimons, told Allure, "The color was inspired by '90s supermodels, so we referenced photos that featured hair with very beautiful, very '90s chunky, sandy, blonde highlights against contrasting brown lowlights." Fitzsimons also posted the look on Instagram with the caption: "Obsessed with these beige-brunette chunky 90's-a** highlights I created on [Kim Kardashian]."

Kim has also rocked wigs, extensions, and clip-in hair. Stylist Chris Appleton spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about working with Kim and Jennifer Lopez: "It's always a collaboration of ideas and moods and inspiration.'s about 'Who do you want to be?' Is it a sexy look or a cold look?" A lot of thought goes into this.

Her love of makeup has impacted her finances

While Kim Kardashian clearly loves hair, makeup, and glamour in general, the passion has also turned into a huge paycheck. Her companies include her SKIMS shapewear line, KKW Fragrance, the Los Angeles Times points out, and, most significant for our scope here, KKW Beauty.

In April 2021, Forbes officially announced that Kim was a billionaire, and KKW Beauty was a huge factor in that jump. The financial outlet estimates that Coty purchased 20% of the brand for $200 million. She retained 72% of the company, which Forbes values at $500 million. Celebrity Net Worth then updated Kim's overall fortune, with the announcement that she sat at an estimated $1.4 billion, so obviously things are growing.

Much of Kim's success has come from her accessibility thanks to Instagram and Twitter, where she reigns supreme as one of the major influencers of all time. On "60 Minutes" in 2016, Kim said: "I totally attribute my career to social media." She added, "It is a talent to have a brand that's really successful off of getting people to like you for being you." Kim goes on social media almost every day but keeps her time on the apps limited. She told Vogue that she interacts on Instagram for about 30 minutes a day and doesn't worry too much about what she posts. She doesn't overthink it.

Kim Kardashian's relationship with plastic surgery

Kim Kardashian is transparent about some of her more intense beauty regimes, remaining secretive about others. Previously, Kim was seeing dermatologist Dr. Simon Ourian but later began seeing Dr. Jason Diamond, according to Us Weekly. Dr. Diamond is a "facial plastic surgeon" according to his website, where he also shares articles listing what Kim gets when she seeks him out for treatment. Her favorite is the Diamond Microneedling & PRP combination. As Us reminds, these are the famous "vampire facials" that Kim made so famous, where plasma is separated from the patient's blood and injected back into the face.

This doesn't exactly sound "harmless," but it certainly doesn't seem as invasive as some plastic surgery options. Whether or not Kim has had other work done is speculative. Plastic surgeon Dr. David Shafer offered his hypothesis. "Her cheeks appeared filled — likely a product such as Voluma or Vollure," he told Us. "Around her eyes also looks filled, which gives a smooth and youthful appearance. She likely has dermal filler in her lips."

Significantly, Dr. Shafer pointed out how Kim's more muted, natural makeup has changed her appearance. "We also have to note that her makeup has become more sophisticated and professional compared to her earlier images." If anything, this points to the power of makeup to either age or rejuvenate the face.

She respects her kids' evolving styles, too

While Kim Kardashian has had a clear evolution when it comes to her look, she lets her kids grow and evolve, too. Her daughter, North, has especially shown interest in fashion, and Kim gives her the space to explore. "We make all of the kids' clothes and it's so fun and so much fun for me to see how North's personal style is evolving and what she's into," Kim told Us Weekly's "Stylish" in 2019. "She fully picks out her outfits!"

North also loves makeup, which is convenient since it's plausible that the founder of KKW Beauty has a lot of it lying around. "[North] loves brighter colors and she wore a purple lipstick [on her birthday]," Kim told Elle in 2017. "She came in the room yesterday with one of Kylie's blue lip kits from the Fourth of July — all over her entire face. And I was freaking out. She looked like she had chicken pox. She did little dots everywhere, like chicken pox, but covered in blue. And it was just really hard to get off!"

In a beautiful story of maternal influence, Kim was likewise drawn to makeup by watching her mother, Kris Jenner, live her own glamorous life. At the Vogue Festival in 2016, Kim shared how she explored her mom's makeup as a kid. In her makeup tutorial video for Vogue, Kim said that momager Kris always rocked red lips and red nails. Like mother, like daughter!

Things have changed since Kanye

Just as style changes, so does life. Kim Kardashian filed for divorce from Kanye West in February 2021, per People, after being married since 2014. Together they welcomed four children and were an inspirational team in the fashion industry, once Kanye cleaned out her closet and got Kim's new style rolling.

But now, in the post-Kanye era, fans are noticing a new Kim emerging. She's her stronger, confident self, but there's a little of the OG Kim popping out. In July 2021, Kim went to Rome, and photos and videos spread everywhere of her wearing a tortoise shell mini dress. "[S]he looks like old Kim K here, so hot," one person tweeted. Another person commented, "She's allowed to smile in public again lol." Someone else got cheeky and said the mom was "finally freed from the bondage of kanye's tan coloured cycling shorts."

Kim's also been sharing sexier pics on Instagram, rocking bikinis and sultry sleepwear. By all accounts, she's sticking with her new, sleek makeup look that emphasizes a more natural glow. This change is not lost on fans. "I'm in love with this new kim I can't wait to see what else she brings us," someone tweeted. In a long era of transformations and style innovation, Kim is having her hot girl summer, and we love this Renaissance.