'Bridgerton' stylist reveals 8 secrets about the show's hair and makeup

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Nasha Smith
·7 min read
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bridgerton hair 4
Hair inspiration came from many different sources. Netflix

Netflix's "Bridgerton" is a Regency-era drama based on a collection of books by Julia Quinn.

Although much of the buzz has centered around the show's steamy love scenes, the exquisite hairstyling - including carefully constructed wigs and inclusive hair textures - drew quite a bit of attention, too.

The man tasked with crafting each stunning look, Marc Pilcher, has been in the industry for over 30 years and is "a purist when it comes to period stuff."

The hair and makeup artist spoke with Insider about putting a modern spin on Regency hair, creating the jaw-dropping wigs worn by Queen Charlotte, and listening to all the suggestions the cast had for their looks.

Read on for some behind-the-scenes secrets about the hair and makeup on "Bridgerton."

Pilcher turned to an iconic Hollywood actress for Daphne's hair inspiration

daphne and audrey hepburn
Daphne's first look was based on Audrey Hepburn in "War and Peace." Netflix; Paramount Pictures

According to the Bridgerton books, the drama is set in the early 1800s - but Pilcher looked to Hollywood icons from other periods while amassing his vision for Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor).

"When I did Daphne's first fittings she had these amazing eyebrows and the looks that we started doing reminded me of Audrey Hepburn," he told Insider.

Based on this inspiration, Pilcher drew from Hepburn's famous Regency drama "War and Peace" (1956).

"When I Googled the images of Audrey I just looked at the pictures and thought 'My god that's Daphne to a T,'" he added.

"They were elegant and they were simple. They just had these kiss curls here," he said, motioning to the temple.

Lady Featherington's look was also based on a midcentury Hollywood icon

lady featherington elizabeth taylor
Lady Featherington's look was inspired by Elizabeth Taylor. Netflix; Getty Images

Lady Featherington costumes on season one gave off a 1950s vibe, which called to mind another star from that Hollywood era.

"I know Ellen [Mirojnick], the costume designer, had been to the Christian Dior exhibition at the V&A so she had all these 1950s necklines and 1950s prints," Pilcher said. "So I made Lady Featherington into a red-headed Elizabeth Taylor."

Beyoncé's Foxxy Cleopatra Afro inspired Queen Charlotte's look

queen and beyonce
Queen Charlotte's Afro wig was based on Beyoncé in "Austin Powers in Goldmember." Netflix; New Line Cinema

Some of the standout looks from the first season were Queen Charlotte's (Golda Rosheuvel) many wigs.

Pilcher said his goal was to create a unique look for the queen that honored her African heritage.

"I wanted to celebrate that and not just give her the normal looks of the time," he told Insider. "I wanted her literally to show the world how good she could look."

One look in particular, the queen's giant Afro wig, brought period and modern hairstyles together.

"When she goes to one of the balls the giant Afro that she has was based on a look of that period called the Gainsborough wig," Pilcher said. "The silhouettes of the wigs went from being really tall to going much wider and looser, so I decided I wanted to do a version of that. But then I was like, I want to do an Afro version."

The final inspiration behind the wig came from a different kind of royalty, Queen Bey.

"And then I was going through images. I found all these fabulous pictures of Beyoncé as Foxxy Cleopatra in 'Austin Powers' and I was like 'That's it! That's the queen!' That amazing golden Afro," he added.

Queen Charlotte's Afro wig was actually five in one

Queen Charlotte wore 12 wigs throughout the first season that all took anywhere from one to three weeks to construct and set. But some were a lot more involved than others.

For example, Pilcher shared that the Beyoncé-inspired Afro was five wigs all sewn together.

"The ringlets at the base was one wig and then we had four wigs on top," he told Insider. "We actually bought shop Afro wigs but then straightened them out. We steamed them straight and then reset them with kebab sticks to get the tightest curl we can get."

He continued, "So then she wore one and the other three were sewn on top and then fluffed out."

Another one of Queen Charlotte's wigs had to be removed during breaks because it was so heavy

queen charlotte
This was the heaviest of Queen Charlotte's 12 wigs. Netflix

For the most part, Pilcher said that the character's wigs weren't very heavy, except for the tall, black braided one she wore to Simon and Daphne's wedding party.

"That was the heaviest one, I think because of the braids," he said. "We just made sure that whenever Golda had a break, we would always take it off because even though they're bigger they're actually quite easy to keep coming on and off."

Pilcher added that there was a little block just off set where they propped up the wig during those much-needed breaks.

Regé-Jean Page had a hand in creating Simon's signature swoon-worthy look

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Regé-Jean Page as Duke Simon. LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX

The introduction of Simon Basset, the Duke of Hastings, spawned thirst-inspired memes worldwide. And Pilcher shared that actor Regé-Jean Page was involved in creating his character's look.

"Actually the stubble was his idea," the stylist told Insider. "And even though it's technically wrong for that period for a wealthy man to be stubbly, you know, we're making 'Bridgerton,' and it's not like anything else. So I was happy to go with that and the producers were too."

He continued, "The whole thing with Simon, we wanted him to look hot and handsome - all the girls are swooning for him - so we kept it just for that aspect and he looked great."

Adjoa Andoh had a specific request for Lady Danbury's look

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Adjoa Andoh as Lady Danbury. Netflix

Page wasn't the only actor who had a clear vision for their character. Adjoa Andoh, who plays the straight-shooting Lady Danbury, was just as direct as the woman she portrayed.

"When we had our very first fittings with Adjoa she was very definite about how she wanted to look," Pilcher recalled. "In her eyes, Lady Danbury was an observer of the room so she didn't want any fuss. She didn't want curls."

When making her wigs, Pilcher said he gave her the choice between "Afro-textured hair" or "European hair."

"She chose to have the European hair so that was all Adjoa's choice," he told Insider. "Otherwise I would have gone with an Afro texture."

Freckles and curls enhanced Penelope Featherington's youthful look

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Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington. Netflix

Actress Nicola Coughlan transformed from a blonde to a fiery redhead to play the youngest Featherington daughter. And the makeup team also added a sprinkle of freckles to her look for a fresh, youthful effect.

"With Nicola, on the series she's only supposed to be 17 years old, so we wanted to make her look really young and really girly," Pilcher said.

"So that's why she was all curls and freckles and pretty flowers," he added. "We even added freckles to her complexion just to make her look sort of really young and sweet. She's such a vulnerable little character."

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