So many times with the Before & Afters, we've seen how a small amount of cosmetic work—say, a subtle nose re-shaping or a few jabs of Restylane—can bring out the good looks that were already there.
But some celebs just do not know when to stop, and the interventions start to detract from instead of enhance their natural beauty.
This is what I feel has happened to Ellie Goulding.
The 29-year-old pop star's appearance has changed dramatically in the years since her breakout album was released in 2010. She may have started out as a fresh-faced indie rocker, but as her fame rose, she began to adopt a glamorous red carpet style that I can't help but compare to the Kardashians—with features to match.
Let's take a look at her beauty transformation:
Ellie in 2010
So this is what Ellie looked like at age 23. Freakin' adorable! Her skin is all flushed and naturally radiant, with defined (not false) lashes, and soft brows. Yes, she was already dyeing her hair at this point, but the blonde isn't super-light and has a warmth that flatters her complexion. Then, of course, there are the au naturel, pink-stained lips. What was wrong with these cute lips?!
Here's Ellie's side profile from the same year. Not only can you see the undercut she was sporting at the time, but also (what I think was) her original nose. She had cute style back then!
Ellie in 2011
The following year, Ellie kept her undercut but flirted with an even lighter, grey-blonde hair colour. I actually quite like it with the cool pink lipstick and matching blush—not a lot of people can pull these shades off. Her brows are on the thinner side, but look fine when kept soft like this. She began wearing heavy black liner and false lashes at this point.
Ellie in 2012
Here's the same hairstyle, just wavy and piecey. Ellie's skin still looks fresh and flawless (she was 25 here), and her makeup was on the lighter side, except for the liner and lashes. This was when she started filling in her brows, with a pencil that looks a bit too warm. I think filling them in actually draws attention to their skinniness, which I'm sure was not the intent. With just a sheer tinted lip balm, you can really see her natural lip size (which was fine!).
Ellie in 2013
In 2013, Ellie had grown out the undercut, probably getting some assistance from hair extensions. The major thing that looks different here is her nose—is it just me or is it more pinched and narrow? You can also see her evolving out of the “indie girl” makeup into a more sophisticated palette and application: soft lashes, bronzey-brown shadow and nude lips. Lastly, take a look at her ears here and in 2012, because I think they may have changed by 2015.
Ellie in 2014
Now we're in 2014, and Ellie is all grown up! Gone is the edgy haircut and colour, replaced by this glamorously tousled blonde mane. I also think, looking at her profile, that her nose is straighter than it was before. The makeup is the best it's been since 2010, except for the drawn-on eyebrows. I love the understated shadow and lashes, and her bare-looking lips. But speaking of lips…
Suddenly, Ellie's pout has doubled in size! Yes, I can see that she's wearing lip liner, but I don't think that can account for the dramatic inflation of her upper lip. With the bold pink blush and heavy lashes, she has a doll-like look that I will admit is pretty cute (despite me not normally liking false lashes). Her hair is looking a bit dry, and her brows are still drawn on in an inexplicably rounded shape.
Ellie in 2015
This has to be my favourite Ellie photo of all time. Chopping her hair off into this straight, swingy lob was the best move—it looks so much healthier, and helps add width to her long face shape. I also love the makeup, which is a modern update on her signature heavy liner and pale lips. Notice the flash of green along her upper lash lines! Brows are softer and ashier, and the soft, light, matte stain on her lips downplays the Restylane.
Later that same year, Ellie was back to drawing on her brows, and bringing even more attention to her plumped-up lips with obvious lip liner. However, I like the rest of the makeup (including the tasteful lashes), and she pulls off the slicked-back roots quite well. Sure, the lips are too much, but she still looks good. Compare and contrast her ears with the 2013 shot. Do you think she perhaps had them pinned back?
Ellie in 2016
Now we're in 2016, the year Ellie went too far. Suddenly, she has started to morph into an extended blonde member of the Kardashian family. Her glossy, stiff, pillowy lips look freshly injected (and very uncomfortable!), and again, I see a straighter nose than she had in the past. I do actually like the fluttery lashes, soft shadow, and über-straight hair.
The Restylane injections have given her a duck face expression, no? Ellie's mouth still looks unnaturally full, and the painted-on eyebrows are back, although the rest of the makeup is good. I'm not a fan of the tousled, '80s hair. It looks healthier when she wears it smooth, with crisp ends.
Update: Ellie in 2023
Just when you thought her lips couldn't get any bigger, Ellie shows up on the red carpet like THIS! I don't understand… can she even sing with such an inflated mouth?!
Based on this photo evidence, I'm confident you'll agree with me that Ellie has clearly been tinkering with lip injections (and maybe got a nose job and ear-pinning surgery, too).
Which is fine, except she tried to pull a Kylie Jenner on us. When asked about the growing size of her lips, she attributed it to makeup:
“I don't know what it is. I hadn't done anything to them. Any of my friends will tell you, I don't like needles, I don't like doctors—it's impossible for me to have anything done like that. [My makeup artist] Lisa does 3D lips and it makes your lips look massive. You add like three layers of lip liner.”
Riiiight. Kylie wasn't being honest, and I don't think Ellie is, either.
The thing is, she has admitted in the past to feeling insecure about her appearance:
“At one time, I was getting all this musical success, but I wasn't getting all the things that went with it, like magazine covers. I was convinced for a long time I wasn't aesthetically pleasing enough. I would have to angle my face to hide the side of my nose, or my chin. [She then went on to say that she finally overcame her self-image issues, which turned her world around, and her opinion about herself.] Then I stopped caring. I let go. Put a different energy out there—then [the magazine covers] all started to happen.”
I think we can all relate to these feelings! But rather than “letting them go,” it appears that Ellie DID and DOES still care, and has gone the cosmetic intervention route, after all.
Of course, it's her choice and she can do what she wants, even though I don't think her latest round of injections are flattering at all. I just can't be the only one feeling slightly disappointed that yet another celeb's “self-love” message was just empty words! Your thoughts?
How do you feel about Ellie's beauty evolution?
Which of these looks is your favourite?
What “beauty work” do you think she's had done?