Inside People

updated 05/12/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/12/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Change is good—though sometimes it can throw you for a loop. This year, just when we were sure that the photographers and stylists behind our pictures had captured 2003's 50 Most Beautiful People at their freshest, a few of our youngest picks decided to make some radical changes. Perhaps to determine once and for all whether blondes really do have more fun—or maybe to test-drive a new look before her upcoming summer concert tour with Justin Timberlake—pop diva Christina Aguilera, 22, dyed her long platinum hair jet black. "I'm always experimenting," she says. "I like to take chances and be daring and different." The next week, Britney Spears, 21, followed suit by trading her golden locks for a clipped bob closer to her original brunette roots (familiar to those who caught her as a tyke back in the early '90s on The Mickey Mouse Club or Star Search). "We'd been talking about making a big change for a while," explains her stylist Kevin Mancuso. "She's growing up, so this is a natural progression. It's hot and dramatic, hard and edgy." If all this tress stress (which got plenty of press) wasn't enough, two days later, former towhead Mary-Kate Olsen joined Aguilera and Spears on the dark side, sporting a color described by her L.A. colorist Lorri Goddard-Clark as "milk chocolate with some caramel-honey highlights." Meanwhile, her twin sister Ashley had already gone in the opposite direction—blonder—and lopped off a full 10 inches. "It was sort of an impulse thing. Sixteen-year-old girls like short ponytails now," explains Ashley's haircutter Corey Powell. Says Goddard-Clark of the Full House alums: "They're just having an adventure right now for themselves. It's a perfect time to have some fun." Fair enough, but blonde or not, you don't have to be a freewheeling teen or twentysomething to hear spring's irresistible call for renewal. Take a look at all 50 fabulous faces in full bloom.

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