Glow Ups and Ugly Ducklings That Will Make Your Jaw Drop

Get ready for some glow ups that will make your jaw drop!


There are plenty of people who have gone through amazing transformations. From celebrities in bloom to instantaneous TikTok transformations, get ready to catch your chin, as you witness some truly jaw-dropping glow ups and ugly ducklings!

Expectation VS Reality TV

The obsession with perfection isn’t just a 2010s and 2020s thing. Back in 2004, Fox’s TV series, ‘The Swan’, would take self-confessed “ugly ducklings”, nip, tuck, and completely reconstruct them until they became beautiful ‘Swans’. It’s fair to say this show has aged worse than a carton of milk.

Appearing in the show’s 2nd season, before it inevitably got canceled, was 27-year-old, single mom, Amy Williams from Texas who believed her ‘big nose’, ‘loose stomach’, and bad teeth were holding her back from becoming a singer. But with the help of the show’s resident fairy-godmothers or rather surgeons, dentists, nutritionists, personal trainers, and therapists, Amy had a true Cinderella transformation.


But what exactly did they do to Amy? Besides the classic hair-down-glasses-off hot librarian transformation and good lighting and color-grading, Amy had a biblical amount of cosmetic procedures. Namely: a nose job, liposuction, veneers, and even jaw implants!

Featured in the same season was Marsha Meddleburg. With severe anxiety, Marsha felt invisible and didn’t want to be seen. Among many things, this was partly due to her facial hair issue. Marsha admitted she felt ‘disgusting and unfeminine’, and feared she’d be alone forever.

But those fairy-god-surgeons waved their scalpels and took Marsha from invisible to invincible! It’s pretty crazy what a nose job, some facial adjustments, an eyebrow pluck, some professional hairstyling, and a few hours in the makeup chair can do.


Too Much Makeup

While makeup in the Victorian age was seen as a sign of an immoral character, modern folks can’t get enough of it. And with the global beauty industry projected to grow to over $716 billion by 2025, it’s not going anywhere any time soon.

But one show, titled ‘Snog, Marry, Avoid’, which aired in the UK from 2008-13, tackled a perceived issue of people wearing too much makeup, and attempted to wean them off their face-paint addictions (FYI, ‘snog’ is British slang for making out).

The show’s basic premise was to ask men of the public whether they’d snog, marry, or avoid women who’ve taken cosmetics to the extreme, compiling percentages from that data. Peeling back the layers of makeup, the show aimed to prove that natural beauty surpasses all, in something they called a ‘make-under’.

In 2013, 21-year-old pink-haired, tatted and punk-styled Mel Wildman appeared on the show in one of the most dramatic make-unders. With her magenta mohawk and leather-studded attire, Mel was the very embodiment of ‘it’s not a phase, mom!’.


Trading in this ‘intimidating’ look that allegedly scared people off, Mel gave the whole natural beauty thing a whirl. And the results? She swiftly went from anti-social to ‘Lady Melanie, pleased to meet you’.

With her new look, a huge 70% of the public now wanted to snog her, and the other 30% wanted to marry her! But even with all these proposals, Mel’s inner punk made its way out, as she eventually went back to rocking her signature style, albeit with a little less mohawk.


The Power Of Botox

Many people want a sip from the fountain of eternal youth, and with modern medicine and technology, attempting to slow the hands of time has never been more popular. In fact, in 2020, over 6 million people worldwide indulged in Botox, an injection that relaxes the face’s muscles, smoothing wrinkles.


While its title might sound like a pop-up ad in some dark corner of the web, ‘10 Years Younger in 10 Days’, is a UK show that takes people who haven’t aged particularly well and gives them an age-reversing makeover. Guests are given non-invasive treatments, such as Botox, dental work, and skin care, with the hopes of reviving their youthful glow.

In 2020, 54-year-old farmer and mother of two, Gail, appeared on the show, who described herself as a ‘saggy old cushion’. The British public on the streets seemed to agree, as when surveyed, they guessed her age at 64; 10 years older than actually she was.

But that was all about to change after her makeover left her looking a lot younger. Thanks to dental work, Botox, and a stylish new do, Gail went from grandma to Hollywood star! The process shaved away 15 years, as the public put her new age at 49!



With over 230,000 Americans reported to have had a facelift in 2020, it’s no surprise that stars, such as Cher, who is 75, seem to be evergreen. But even among the less temporally-advanced stars, another example of aging like a fine wine is pop star Adele.


Since 2019, the star has reportedly lost over 100 pounds, due to her radical exercise regime, which she does 3 times a day. And even while experts suggest losing 1-3 pounds per week is achievable, many suspect the singer has had a weight-loss procedure, such as gastric bypass surgery.

This involves bypassing most of the stomach, ushering food through a much smaller space into the small intestine, meaning the person consequently has a much smaller appetite.


As a result, fewer calories are absorbed, and weight-loss becomes easier. That being said, Adele has not confirmed any of these rumors.

Still, many would agree that Adele looks completely different from when she first appeared on the pop scene in 2008. And while age, weight-loss, and styling certainly go a long way, she’s also rumored to have had a rhinoplasty (AKA nose job). A subtle one, but just looking a comparison you can see the tip looks slightly less bulbous.


Plastic surgeon Renato Calabria suspects a ‘tip rhinoplasty,’ a minimally invasive procedure that reduces the width and positioning of the lower cartilage. And that’s just the ‘tip’ of the iceberg, as she’s also rumored to have had lip and jaw fillers, and even liposuction. But for now, there ain’t no gospel truth to it, so let's go easy on her.

Kelly Osbourne

Everyone has a unique face shape. However, people can have anything from a diamond to an oval-shape face, and it’s thought that different haircuts will complement these shapes and affect a person’s overall attractiveness.

One star who has certainly experimented with her ‘do over the years is Kelly Osbourne. From helmet-hair to ‘can I speak to the manager?’, she’s sported them all. Yet, these days, she arguably looks better than ever.

View post on Twitter

So, what is it? The hair? Surgery? The blood of children? Eating bats like her dad? Nope, she claims she’s had absolutely NO plastic surgery whatsoever.

According to herself, she took a few injections in her lips, jaw, and forehead, which has ultimately enhanced her beauty. Besides hairdos, great makeup, and those injections, which she seemingly doesn’t count as surgery, you’ll also notice that the star has shrunk a few dress-sizes.

This is thanks to the fact that, while plastic surgery is off-limits for her, other surgery isn’t. Kelly confirmed she actually had a gastric sleeve procedure in 2018, a similar procedure to a gastric bypass, which significantly reduced her stomach capacity and resulted in over 84 pounds weight-loss!

Matthew Lewis (Neville Longbottom)

Oftentimes, tweaking just one simple feature of your body or face can alter your entire appearance. One of the biggest factors in this regard can be teeth. In fact, studies have shown that people with straight pearly whites are not only seen as more attractive, but more intelligent and successful!

And if you need proof, then take a look at Matthew Lewis: the Neville Longbottom actor in Harry Potter, known for his characteristically large teeth.


Initially, those distinctive chompers were the real deal. However, as the movie series progressed and its young cast began to grow up, it wasn’t long before Matthew grew into his teeth, and subsequently had to wear prosthetic ones in order to maintain his distinctive goofy look.

Yet, even having grown into his teeth, they weren’t exactly the typical dazzling Hollywood grin, so Matthew had them corrected. And the result? Well, you’d think he’d had a face transplant!

View post on Twitter

But allegedly they’re entirely his own teeth, after braces and whitening treatment. Well, mostly his own teeth, as it’s also suspected that he’s had composite bonding, a dental treatment that uses resin to reshape, restore, and whiten teeth. Overall, it seems teeth really can change your face.

Josh Peck

On the topic of science-based attractiveness, research indicates that people generally find slimmer physiques more attractive. While at one time human preferences may have favored fat folk, due to their evidently ample access to food and resources, most people now associate obesity with increased risk of health problems.

Obviously, the variety of shapes and sizes humans come in is a beautiful thing, and skinnier doesn’t always equate to healthier. But, as we see time and again, society reveres weight-loss as the ultimate glow-up.

Perhaps none more famous than Josh Peck’s. The Nickelodeon child star first hit the big-time in 2004 when he starred in ‘Drake and Josh’. However, in 2006 he revealed he’d decided to take charge of his weight, reportedly shedding 90 pounds of puppy-fat.

View post on Twitter

He explained how he’d made a conscious effort to lose weight because he knew he could be happier as well as healthier. He started dieting and got a personal trainer, and that health and happiness arrived right on cue.

It’s no surprise as countless studies have shown that regular exercise increases overall happiness, due in part to the increased production of endorphins, which result in positive feelings and confidence.

The World Wide Web of Lies

With over 59% of the global population using social media, the internet has never had more of an influence on us, which has incidentally given way to people who we now call ‘influencers’. And while they may many present themselves as completely flawless, it’s often nothing more than smoky-eyes and well-lit mirrors.

Thankfully, to balance this out, we have the likes of Jessy Volk. This 26-year-old Canadian TikToker isn’t afraid to share her natural looks in contrast to her at her best. With almost 1 million followers, she shapeshifts from bedhead to beauty in her glow-up videos.

View post on TikTok

Having struggled with her acne-prone skin, Jessy claims she is a ‘proud catfish’, meaning someone who isn’t naturally attractive, and embraces the transformative powers of makeup. From pale and pimply to golden and glowy, Jessy uses her makeup magic to enlarge her eyes, slim down her nose, and smooth-out her skin.

Also using the platform to show the power of a contour, meaning the use of shading and highlighting with makeup to change the perceived shape of the face, is British 21-year-old Jocelyn Claire.

Going bare-face, Jocelyn shows her ‘just-woke-up’ look, with messy hair, slightly blotchy, pimply skin, until she reveals a seemingly whole new face.

View post on TikTok

With outstanding make-up skills, Jocelyn contours, blushes, and de-blemishes her acne-prone skin. With glossy lips, shaped brows, cat-eyes, and styled hair, Jocelyn is textbook glow up! Furthermore, Jocelyn is actually a trans woman and uses the platform to show how transformative makeup can be for the LGBTQ community.

It’s the 2020s and, as a general, though not conclusive rule, the world is more accepting than it’s ever been. And while frontrunning feminists are sprouting out their body hair, as many as 1 in 14 women struggle with facial hair.

For many, it’s a sworn secret they work tirelessly to conceal, but others are calling time on this feminine ideal, bearing their 5 o’clock shadows for the world to see.

Jordyn Lyne is a 22-year-old British TikToker, who too has a bit of stubble. She proudly shares her prickly chin to over 600,000 followers, but when she does need to cover it, Jordyn shows how she does it with the help of cosmetics, and the difference is pretty crazy!

View post on TikTok

With the help of a close shave and makeup foundation, she conceals her facial hair, as well as her under-eye bags. She’s also used strategic techniques and shade contouring to make her nose and face look visibly slimmer, and her lips and eyes look bigger. And hair styling always helps too!

There are certain features that most folks agree typically decrease a person’s attractiveness. Whether it’s unkempt hair or acne-prone skin, there are unfortunately some things that just seem to take away from the beauty of the full picture.

With that in mind, various TikTokers have taken to making themselves look intentionally unattractive, so that their glow up seems all the more shocking. And someone who’s quite the pro at this is 20-year-old Russian, Valeria Voronina. Embellishing her face with pimples, wrinkles, and discolored teeth, her rags-to-riches act will leave your jaw hanging!

View post on TikTok

Impressive! And weirdly, the most impressive part is how she manages to make herself look so old! She uses makeup shading and highlights to carve wrinkles into her skin, which, paired with pursed lips and a scowl, provides the perfect recipe for an old hag.

Comparing that with her bedazzled eyes, chiseled cheeks, jaw, and nose, and dramatic front lighting, and it’s clear that Valeria is a cosmetics chameleon!

In the same category as Valeria is French TikToker, Pewiyard. This Tiktoker dons a pair of nerdy glasses and exposes uneven, pimply skin, showing themselves in as much of an unattractive light as possible. And the transformation is unreal.


Incredible! Who’d have thought wigs, blusher and contour could completely defy the laws of physics?! As you can see, Pewiyard has dramatically highlighted and contoured their nose, which creates the illusion of a much slimmer profile. And besides their overlined pouted lips and immaculate skin, the wig certainly transforms the whole look too.

As we've seen earlier, teeth are pretty central to a person’s appearance. But if you needed more proof, then look no further than 35-year-old Canadian makeup artist, Sarah Andres, who lost her front teeth in 2017, due to a quad-biking accident.

The makeup mogul creates TikToks where she goes from toothless to gorgeous and the transformation will truly take your breath away!

View post on TikTok

Sarah looks unrecognizable and it’s thanks to her self-esteem that she’s able to post these videos. She claims she doesn’t care about how she looks naturally and rightfully knows looks aren’t everything, explaining that she posts the videos to inspire women and remind them they’re beautiful with and without makeup.

The belief that makeup enhances beauty in some ways is nothing new. Ancient Egyptians pioneered the idea some 6,000 years ago as a way to appeal to the gods and show wealth. But how have we evolved to perceive a cocktail of chemicals, oils, and pigmentation as ‘beauty’?

Studies show that perceived attractiveness, particularly that of women, is based around prominent cheek bones, large eyes, smooth skin, and small noses. While smooth skin is indicative of health, research shows that ‘youthful-faced’ features in women, such as large eyes and small noses, can be biologically more attractive to men.

Before you freak-out, research claims this is because youthfulness, above a certain level of course, biologically tends to indicate fertility, which, from an evolutionary standpoint, is obviously quite handy. And while these features, naturally, are down to age and genetics, they can be enhanced, or even faked with the ol’ greasepaint.

One TikToker who’s no stranger to makeup’s illusory properties is 40-year-old American makeup artist, Krystelle Lee. She’s a true master:

View post on TikTok

If that isn’t a glow up, then I don’t know what is! But what exactly is going off here? First of all, let’s talk about the wig! Historically, longer hair in women increases attractiveness due to its association with youth, which, as we know, indicates fertility.

Aside from the wig, Krystelle evens out her skin with concealer and foundation, achieving a healthier look, and gaining those youthful features by wearing false eyelashes, and contouring to enlarge her eyes and shrink her nose. With makeup magic like that being increasingly possible, plastic surgeons should be getting worried about their job stability!

Puberty Glow Ups

With the arrival of hormones, hair and zits, the transformation from child to adult can be pretty turbulent. In fact, for most people, around age 16-18 is when their faces fully develop, and the features don't necessarily mature at the same rate. Once everything grows into place, however, it’s not uncommon for ugly ducklings to flourish into beautiful swans.

Yet there are some people who seem to have changed more dramatically than usual, which is why there’s a user-created-section on Reddit called ‘uglyducklings’. It’s a place where people share their most severe childhood pictures compared to how they look now. And if anything, it gives hope to all you squeaky-voiced, pimple-probing teens out there!

First up is user ‘_gabi2g’, who went into puberty looking like Steve Smith and came out looking like a golden god.


While growing into his teeth, facial features, jawbone, and that luscious hair certainly helped, those glasses weren’t doing anyone any favors! And the cast of The Swan who we've seen earlier in the article realized that too.

But if we’re going to talk about bad glasses, then look toward user ‘Veronikafurgis’, who went through platform 9 and ¾ looking like Hagrid and came back having clearly experienced some magic first-hand!


Saying expelliarmus to those goggles, slimming out, letting the braces run their course, and taming that wild hair turned out to do just the trick! And last, but certainly not least, Elisha Hood. While she isn’t in Reddit’s uglyduckling club, she certainly is in the ‘thank god for puberty’ club.

The TikToker began puberty looking kinda goofy and carrying a little extra weight, but weight-loss, good hair, makeup, and stylish clothes have enhanced her beauty tenfold!

View post on TikTok

But the truth is, nobody’s perfect, and it’s what’s on the inside that counts; what’s really important is finding your own ways to feel beautiful and confident. It’s doable, through the gradual process of realizing that you’re pretty darn great, no matter how you think you look.

icon Top Picks For You

Top Picks For You

darwin poster
Ridiculous Devices People Patented
The Weird Connection Between Mary Poppins and Pennywise
Video Game Theories That’ll RUIN Your Childhood
icon Popular


icon More From Culture

More From Culture

icon More From Entertainment

More From Entertainment