Uma Thurman, Before and After

The beauty evolution of the 'Kill Bill' and 'Pulp Fiction' star.
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Michelle Villett
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The beauty evolution of the 'Kill Bill' and 'Pulp Fiction' star.
Uma Thurman before and after

As you'll see in a minute, when Uma Thurman showed up to the premiere of her new show 'The Slap' in 2015, she looked... nothing like Uma Thurman.

Some chalked it up to simply "aging." Uma is 44 years old now, but has been in the spotlight since her breakout role, age 18, in 1998's 'Dangerous Liaisons'—and even before that had modelled for Glamour and British Vogue. Of course she's not going to look exactly the same over a 30-year career span.

Others attributed her new look to the makeup artist, who went more than a little off-brand for Uma with red lips, bold brows and a complete absence of mascara and eyeliner. 

Me? I say it's the same old cosmetic interventions that we see celebs going for time and time again. (But thankfully, just temporary!)

Let's examine Uma's beauty evolution.

Uma in 1990

Uma Thurman, 1990

Uma Thurman in 1990.

Now this is a '90s look I can totally get behind. Uma was 20 years old here. Notice the swooshy style of her hair—which has that ashy non-colour I so covet. She was such a natural beauty.

Uma in 1995

Uma Thurman, Golden Globes 1995

Uma Thurman at the 1995 Golden Globe Awards.

By 1995, her hair was blonder and her style had a bit more polish: glam waves, lashings of taupe eyeshadow and the original marsala lipstick. None of this would look out of place today, 20 years later (well, except for the outfit...). I do believe she has a slightly narrower nose today than she did here.

Uma in 1998

Uma Thurman, 1998

Uma Thurman in 1998.

In 1998, Uma traded in the blonde for red. The new hair colour was short-lived—just for her role in 'The Avengers'—but I think she pulled it off well. She was 28 in this photo.

Uma in 2004

Uma Thurman, Oscars 2004

Uma Thurman at the 2004 Oscars.

In this one, she was 34 years old and back to the au naturel look that suits her best. I love her hair colour here (blonde but not too blonde), the undone style and the tone-on-tone makeup. She looks SO effortlessy sexy.

Uma in 2006

Uma Thurman, Jivamukti yoga school opening, 2006

Uma Thurman at the 2006 opening of The New Jivamukti Yoga School.

Two years later and she went significantly lighter with her blonde. It's okay... but I love the darker, subtler colour best. At 36 here, she is gorgeously glowing—and I believe, still intervention-free. Note how one of Uma's eyes is naturally smaller than the other.

Uma in 2007

Uma Thurman, Women of Discovery Awards, 2007

Uma Thurman at the 2007 Women of Discovery Awards.

The following year, Uma was still working the blonde Boho thing. She looks great here, too. Notice that she's not wearing much makeup at all—there is barely any eye definition, just healthy skin, blush and a slick of lip gloss. If you look at her nose, it does seem more refined now versus the early days.

Uma in 2011

Uma Thurman, Midnight in Paris premiere, 2011

Uma Thurman at the 2011 premiere of 'Midnight in Paris'.

She went a bit more dramatic for this premiere—but she still looks like Uma, you know? (And a very gorgeous 41-year-old at that.) Her hair is slightly darker/warmer, and she's done a soft smoky eye with flushed cheeks and rosy lips. I think she probably did Botox by this point (notice the smoothness between the brows and on the forehead), but not much more than that. Enjoy it, because...

Uma in 2013

Uma Thurman, Carolina Herrera Spring 2014 show, 2013

Uma Thurman at a 2013 Carolina Herrera show.

By 2013, it becomes clear that Uma's face is a-changing. Her cheeks were never her most prominent feature, but they sure are now! I can't quite put my finger on who she reminds me of here—maybe it's just a composite of all the women I've seen who take on this masculinized appearance after getting too much filler. Talk about Restylane gone too far...

Uma in 2014 

Uma Thurman, Wings WorldQuest Women of Discovery Awards 2014

Uma Thurman at the 2014 Women of Discovery Awards.

Fortunately, the injections either "settled" or somewhat dissolved by the time of this 2014 photo. Yes, her cheeks are still inflated, but aren't as prominent—and with the natural hair and minimal makeup, she looks a lot more like herself. I do suspect there is some lip action going on, and still the Botox around the brows. Well, fair enough. 

Uma in 2015

Uma Thurman, The Slap premiere, 2015

Uma Thurman at the 2015 premiere of 'The Slap'.

This has got to be one of the most shocking transformations I've seen. Who is this and where have she taken Uma Thurman?! The makeup artist, Troy Surratt, explained it as "effortless Parisienne chic" that us mere civilians are too out of the loop to understand. "Frankly, I’m quite surprised by the conversation," he says. "By now I would have thought that we were all open to and knowledgeable of the role that makeup plays in the world of fashion and particularly celebrity, as a medium for creative self expression. I think that women should feel open and free to experiment with different beauty looks—it’s only makeup, at the end of the day it all washes off. I wanted to give Uma a statement lip balanced by a more feathered brow. Uma and I discussed creating a look that was more editorial with soft natural lashes. As a makeup artist I’ve grown a bit tired of all of the lash-y looks and fake eyelashes that we’ve been seeing on the red carpet for some time now."

Puh-leeze! I loathe false lashes, and I'm all for makeup creativity. But makeup isn't THIS transformative,and going without mascara at age 44 doesn't mean you suddenly start looking like a Sphinx cat. (That said, I do think Troy took way too many risks here. One should never skip mascara on a red carpet, and it's unwise to give your client bold brows, bold lips, bronzer and bare eyes all at once when her usual makeup involves none of those things.)

Update: Uma in 2016

Uma Thurman, amfAR New York Gala, 2016

Uma Thurman at the 2016 amfAR New York Gala.

MUCH better! I'm so relieved to see Uma's cheeks back to a normal size. Her makeup is pretty, simple and flattering: berry lips and smudgy charcoal around the eyes. What a relief!

Conclusion

Uma Thurman before and after

Uma Thurman in 1990 (left) and in 2015 (right).

I wonder if the cray makeup look of 2015 was actually intentional, designed to distract us from the other things going on—intervention-like things. Which in this case would be fillers to the max, Botox, chemical peels and possibly an eyelid lift. 

According to cosmetic surgeon Mark Norfolk: "I would say that she's probably had a recent course of strong chemical peels as well as some dermal filler injected into the cheeks and nasolabial area; which is all contributing to this swollen-looking finish, as it can have this effect immediately after undergoing these treatments. The thing that strikes me most is that her eye area looks very different. It looks as though she's had a recent lower blepharoplasty treatment, also known as eye bag removal. She isn't wearing any eyeliner or mascara, probably in order to avoid infection from the new surgery."

I don't know about the eyes—like I said, one always was smaller than the other—but I can definitely, definitely see the filler. To me, that alone can make a person look weird. Remember Megan Fox circa 2010?

Then there is the matter of this blind item, which sure does sound like it's about Uma. Let this be a cautionary tale! If you're gonna do cosmetic interventions, do 'em slowly (and just one thing at a time), go easy on the filler, and don't let a makeup artist convince you to trade in your signature look for a radically different one.

How do you feel about Uma Thurman's beauty evolution?
Which of these looks is your favourite?
What "beauty work" do you think she's had done?