If you haven't yet watched Shonda Rhimes' Netflix show, "Bridgerton," which takes place during a 19th century London society wedding season, let me clue you in to what you're missing: Daphne Bridgerton, a debutante, strikes a mutually beneficial deal with the Duke of Hastings, an extremely handsome, eligible bachelor, to pretend they're heading toward an engagement. Meanwhile, rumors abound, thanks to an anonymously written scandal sheet that's basically "Gossip Girl," circa 1813 (in the best way possible). But the real reason to watch the show, in my opinion, is to bask in its beauty. The set design, costumes, and Daphne Bridgerton's glowy cheekbones are all stunning to look at.
In the middle of my day-long binge of the show, I found myself down a rabbit hole of makeup tutorials that ultimately led me to the show's Makeup Artist, Lynda J. Pearce. After sending some (extremely fan-girly) DMs her way, I spoke with Lynda about the show's iconic inspiration, her favorite looks from the show, and the products they used. Read on for how to achieve a fresh-faced, Bridgerton-inspired glow:
It all starts with skincare—Lynda used Ole Henriksen's Banana Peel Primer on Phoebe Dynevor, who plays Daphne Bridgerton, before applying a lightweight foundation, Chanel's Vitalumière Aqua (I used the shade '12' and Lynda used '10' on Phoebe). When it comes to foundation, Lynda emphasized, "Less is more. My top tip for foundation is to buff it. I use a Zoeva Buffer Brush and it allows the foundation to sit nicely on the skin and hold well, but also keep it light and fresh."
Next, add color to your brows! Lynda used MAC's Eyebrow Styler (for reference, Phoebe used shade 'Fling,' but I went a bit darker with 'Stylized'). It made perfect sense when Lynda told me that Makeup Designer Marc Pilcher drew inspiration from Audrey Hepburn, "He wanted her to be fresh and flawless, like the icon." Channeling Audrey, apply the brow pencil in short, quick strokes for a bold, yet natural-appearing, look. Lynda then set Phoebe's brows in place using the clear brow gel, No. 7 Brow Perfector*.
"Highlight for under the eyes again holds the same principle as foundation... less is more," Lynda told me. She used YSL's Touch Éclat Radiance Concealer under the eyes, "in dark areas only." You can apply it with a finger (as I did, using shade 'Sugar'), or do as Lynda did and use the Mishel Flat Eyeshadow Brush*, which she prefers to a concealer brush because of the flatness and how it moves across the skin. "There are no rules with brushes... use what works for you," she reminded me.
Curl your lashes and add mascara—Lynda used Clinque's Lash Power Mascara on Phoebe. Just be sure to use a light hand. As she explained to me, "The 'no make up, make up' look is one of the hardest I think to achieve and get right. And, to make the audience fall in love with it, in a time where 'more is more' [is currently trending], is always the challenge. It was important for us to make even imperfections, perfect. I think that what makes it so beautiful is it is fresh and inviting to the viewer."
"Daphne’s lips were kept simple," Lynda told me, "Some scenes (in the house in the day) she only had Dr. PAWPAW Original Lip Balm on. For balls and more dressy occasions she has on Pixi Lip and Cheek Stain in 'Flushed' on, which I applied using a lip brush, but only in the centre of the lip top and bottom. For the odd ball she also had Charlotte Tilbury 'Pillow Talk' liner on the Cupid’s bow and in the middle of the bottom lip line," applied directly onto the lip.
To help everything stay in place, Lynda uses a finishing powder ("Liquid highlight under the eye can move and collect mascara and you don’t want this."). On Phoebe, she used Chanel Poudre Universelle Libre loose powder (I used shade '12' on myself), which catches the light for a subtle glow. Use a powder brush to apply a light layer over your foundation and highlighter.
Lynda spent everyday at Phoebe's side, touching up her makeup, but for those of us who don't have our own personal Lynda, she recommends that that one product you should keep in your purse is lip balm, "Don't let your lips get dry... keep them moist and kissable at all times." Words to live by, Lynda!
[Spoilers ahead!] I spoke a bit with Lynda about the progression of Daphne's looks from debutante to married woman, and loved what she said about the hair: "To help Phoebe with this progression, we had two wigs for her: One with a shorter fringe and one with a longer fringe. As the character of Daphne progressed so did the softness of her fringe. The fringe softening reflected her sexual awakening." Did you notice??
"Play with makeup," Lynda encouraged me, "Use what works for you and feel confident in your own skin. Beauty within translates into pure beauty. Let your imperfections be your perfections and love yourself. I hope 'Bridgerton' has shown people that a thick and heavy make up isn’t always necessary."
And, obviously I had to ask Lynda for her favorite look from the show...
"Marc and I both agree that when Phoebe descended the staircase and dropped her fan in front of the prince she looked breath-taking. It was scripted that her beauty stopped the room and I hope we achieved this for the viewer. I love how the curls feel down her back but left her décolletage exposed... so simple, but beautiful."
"I also loved Daphne’s look at the 'Hastings Ball.' It was similar but a shortened version. It fell around Phoebe's face and when the rain came it became such a beautifully sexy style. I loved it and I loved Phoebe's performance."
Thank you Lynda and Marc!
*Some products may be difficult to find outside of England and Europe!