18th century beauty, but make it 2021.

By Hana Hong
January 21, 2021
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Whether the setting is a mythical medieval world (see Game of Thrones) or angsty high school (see Euphoria), a show with some dreamy lashes, great complexion, or a killer lip color can draw us in just as much as a jaw-dropping plot twist. Bridgerton is the latest TV show to captivate both beauty enthusiasts and film buffs alike. The Regency era-inspired show isn't short of either great characters or beauty inspiration—and although it's...questionable how Daphne's hair and makeup looks so unscathed in the midst of intense emotional turmoil, we can't help but appreciate the magic of good television makeup. 

Just because the beauty is modeled after the 18th century doesn't mean that some of the looks (well, maybe not those perms) can't be brought into modern times. We chatted with the hair and makeup artists behind the brilliant Bridgerton beauty world—Marc Pilcher and Lynda Pearce—to learn the behind-the-scenes secrets on how they created some of the iconic looks. So, if you ever find yourself having to present yourself in front of the queen (a totally normal, relatable predicament), you can be sure to look "flawless, my dear."

How did you approach the hair and makeup for each character on the show?

Marc Pilcher: I usually find my approach by researching the period and reading over the scripts a few times. As I read, I started to formulate my ideas of how I can reflect their personalities through the hair and makeup. Every one of the beauty looks you see is unique to their personality. I was lucky in that all the actors loved my ideas when I pitched it to them in their initial fittings.

Did you take inspiration from anything?

Lynda Pearce: Marc really wanted the entire cast to be natural, fresh-faced, and elegant. For Daphne, we took inspiration from Audrey Hepburn, who always looked so flawless. It was all about fresh, dewy skin and naturally beautiful, minimalistic makeup.

The diversity was one of the best parts of the show—how did you incorporate that into the cast's beauty looks?

LP: The diversity on the show is absolutely wonderful—colorblind casting is the way forward. When it came to individual hair and makeup, we wanted to celebrate everyone's own skin tone and enhance their natural beauty.

MP: Agreed, an example was what we did with the queen. Her wigs were my favorite look to create. Celebrating the fact that Queen Charlotte was of African descent in real life, as well as the casting of the gorgeous Golda [Rosheuvel], I wanted to create styles that were of the period, but incorporating braids, locks, and Afro-textured hair. It hadn't really been done before, so it was so much fun creating that royal look from scratch.

How can we achieve the Bridgerton beauty look ourselves? 

LP: When recreating the Bridgerton look at home, remember to keep it fresh. Don't go too heavy on the makeup. In a world where makeup has become so heavy and we're all wearing masks, I really hope the show brings natural beauty back to the world again. Everyone has imperfections and they are what make us perfect! Use makeup to enhance what you have, not conceal it.

Oh, and always look after your skin. By the end of the day, it will have had quite a beating from the weather, pollution, and makeup you wear, so be sure to clean it and look after it. Don't forget to choose a good moisturizer and keep the skin hydrated.

Now that you know the inspiration behind the looks, it's time to put them into practice. Don't worry, Bridgerton beauty doesn't include toxic beauty ingredients that royals have historically used, like lead-based white foundation (not to mention that mysterious blush pigment the maids were applying). We asked Pilcher and Pearce which Bridgerton beauty looks they could actually see becoming big beauty vibes in 2021—plus how to recreate them. Below, the most approachable looks they think can be translated into modern times and are sure to make you the talk of the Ton.

1

Bridgerton might be responsible for bringing back the curled tendril, and TBH we’re not mad about it. “In episode 3, the script says that the whole room should gasp as Daphne walks into the Princess Ball. We achieved this by adding the tendrils and voluminous curls,” said Pilcher. “When I hear head-turning, I imagine Audrey Hepburn. Daphne’s whole look was based on Audrey Hepburn from the film War and Peace, from the 1950s. Short fringe and micro bangs were popular in the 50s, so I decided to keep it in for Daphne; we added the tendrils in later episodes to soften her look, which I really loved.”

2

Who knew the half-up hairstyle could look so...royal? Definitely one of the dreamier looks on the show, the world collectively gushed over Daphne’s famous ball look. “I created this look to keep her looking youthful,” said Pilcher. “Daphne is still only supposed to be 18, so I felt that if she had her hair up all the time it would be too stuffy. Although the looks are royal, I wanted young girls to relate to her.” 

Luckily, this hairstyle is one of the easier hairstyles to replicate at home. Tease the hair at the crown for max volume, and add some easygoing waves at the end for a more elegant, ethereal take.

RELATED: How to Do a Half-Up Twist Hairstyle

3

Skinimalism is set to be one of 2021’s biggest beauty trends, so it’s only fitting that Daphne’s face makeup was kept simple. If you found yourself marveling at Daphne’s poreless complexion (even with your television’s ever-increasing HD definition!), that’s the magic of good skincare. 

“Good skincare is key! If you look after your skin, your skin will look after you,” she said. “I instructed the cast to drink lots of water and follow a good skincare routine at the end of the day. For you trying it at home, keep the base light and buff it to allow the compression to stay dewy—nobody likes a caked-on look.” 

As for the products, Pearce recommends Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Face Primer ($38; sephora.com) to prep the skin and a good light foundation or tinted moisturizer for daily wear. “We used Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua Foundation ($50; nordstrom.com) on Daphne—it’s a fresh, lightweight base that allows the skin’s natural complexion to shine through.”

4

Pippi Longstockings could never! Many people stay away from braided hairstyles as an adult (partly because they remind us of our cringey childhood beauty choices), but these aren’t your typical pigtails. “With Cressida’s braided crown, my idea was that she has plotted with her mother to catch the prince, so she styles her hair into a crown, hoping that he will look at her and realize that she should be his princess,” says Pilcher. “The braids were wired and then I sewed minute pearls along every strand to heighten the crown look.” While Cressida Cowper’s enviable Grecian head of hair is a bit trickier to create without a skillful hairstylist, that doesn’t mean you can’t recreate a similar braided updo at home. In fact, here’s how to create a rope braid updo (it’s easier than you think).

RELATED: 3 Braided Updo Hairstyles That Are Actually Easy (Seriously)

5

Following the concept of natural complexions and tinted lips (Pilcher opted for tinted lip balms that gave the characters a more youthful appearance), brows were also given the natural treatment, only lightly filled in and brushed up for a more kempt look. Perhaps the most memorable of arches were Lady Danbury’s perfectly groomed brows. 

“We kept Adjoa’s own eyebrow shape and just enhanced it,” said Pearce. “They aren’t period-correct, but it was lovely to add this modern element to her look. I personally love the high arch shape, not only because they work beautifully with Adjoa’s bone structure, but because I think they show the constant watchful eye, judgment, and power Lady Danbury has over the Ton.”

To achieve the look, Pearce stresses a light hand. “Fill where needed but don’t feel the need to completely draw them in. We used Mac Eye Brows Styler ($19; ulta.com) on most of the cast. “I love this product—it has great shades and the small pencil end allows for small, quick strokes, so the brow looks more natural, rather than block-like.” 

6

Eloise’s mullet probably isn’t for everyone, but there is inspiration to be had from her ample hair accessories. “Eloise's look was a normal fashion of the Regency period—some young girls sported mullets,” says Pilcher. "I chose this look because she was a feminist and a tomboy, but since her mama would want her still looking girly, I added the Grecian ribbons. All period looks reoccur through time and the Regency look was derived from the looks of ancient Greece, including that style of head decoration.” If you don’t have a hair accessory on hand, you can also DIY one by upcycling scrap ribbons.

7

The most universal beauty look applied to all characters was probably the use of blush—even the bachelors were flaunting a killer coral flush. But while pigmented powders were the makeup of choice for men and women back in those days, the Bridgerton signature was achieved with advanced cream formulas

“For our cast’s flushed cheeks, we used Stila cream blushers,” said Pilcher. “I wanted the girls to look young and fresh with glowing dewy complexions, and the Stila ones ($25; ulta.com) are perfect for this. For the boys, we used darker shades—it was typical for men to wear rouge during this period.” Pilcher recommends scouting formulas that blend easily, and applying from the apples of the cheeks towards your cheekbones. Use your fingertips to blend, tapping across the skin in circular motions to create a more natural feel.