It’s the end of an era: Ariana Grande seems to have said “thank u, next” to her signature hip-length high ponytail, putting to rest the look she’s sported since at least 2013. On Thursday, the pop star took to Instagram to share a selfie in which she sits in a car and shows off a brand new haircut. If you can look past the flowery bunny filter, you’ll see that she’s now wearing her chocolatey brown locks in a straight style that reaches down to her collarbones, with slightly curled-in ends and a deep side part.
Seemingly in the mood to toy with her avid fans’ emotions, Grande didn’t acknowledge the drastic chop in her caption, writing only, “this filter took my eyebrows away but i promise they’re there.” (She later deleted and reposted the photo, this time with no caption.) Since the filter probably didn’t have the power to take several feet of hair away, too, Grande presumably made the choice to take out her mile-long extensions and, more than likely, got a fresh new trim and blowout while she was at it.
The major change may come as a shock to those who felt sure, bolstered by some quips from Grande herself, that she’d never totally ditch the pony. In May, around the time when Grande debuted a slightly lower, silver version of the ponytail on the cover art for her single “No Tears Left to Cry,” she told The Fader, “The pony has also gone through an evolution, and I’m proud of that. Old pony? I don’t know if she’s that girl. But new pony? I like her.” She continued, “I mean, it’s like a Victoria’s Secret angel without angel wings. It’s still her without them, but when she’s with them it’s like, ‘Ohh, I get it, she’s an angel.’”
Though Grande did let her hair down a little around the time of the release of her new album, Sweetener—besides that lower iteration in May, Grande also (gasp) took her extensions completely out of the ponytail for a few appearances—this is the shortest ’do we’ve seen on her since her days as a teenage Nickelodeon star. It was that onscreen tenure, in fact, that prompted Grande to pull her hair back, since, as she’s since revealed, playing her character Cat Valentine on the shows Victorious and Sam & Cat required biweekly dye jobs that severely damaged her natural hair.
“My real hair is back to brown, and I wear extensions, but I wear it in a pony tail because my actual hair is so broken that it looks absolutely ratchet and absurd when I let it down. I tried wigs, they looked RIDICULOUS. Tried a weave because I am working on a new project and want to try some different looks and literally wanted to rip my scalp off. So as annoying as it is for y’all to have to look at the same hair style all the time, it’s all that works for now (AND I’m comfortable for the first time in years),” she explained in a 2014 Facebook post. “So PLEASE gimme a break about the hair (or just don’t look at me lol).”
Related: A Visual Celebration of Ariana Grande’s Signature Ponytail Going from Side to Side