If you're reading this during a break from organizing your cottagecore dresses, you'll definitely want to hear this. We're continuing the period piece-inspired, escapist whimsy of 2020's cottagecore but moving it back on the timeline a bit—by about 200 years, to be exact. Introducing regencycore, the newest trend in clothes, hair, and makeup inspired by the Netflix series Bridgerton and the Regency era it depicts. If you're unfamiliar with the show, think high-drama headpieces, empire-waist dresses, romantic makeup, and lots of opulent touches like pearls, shimmer, and gilded accessories all with an early 19th century twist. If you've seen more than a few people on your Instagram feed wearing a casual silk corset with jeans, this might be why.
Dressing the part is only a fraction of the regencycore look, though. Nailing the signature makeup is less obvious but of equal importance for your overall aesthetic, so we went straight to the expert. Makeup artist Tobi Henney, who's worked with celebrities like Megan Fox and Ashley Graham, gave us a professional's eye-view of the makeup in the series and how to replicate it in the real world.
Smooth your gloves and adjust your tiara, we're breaking down exactly how to get Bridgerton-inspired, regencycore makeup:
What Is Regencycore?
Regencycore is an aesthetic or trend based on signature pieces, silhouettes and looks from the United Kingdom's Regency era, which ran from approximately 1811 to 1820. The term is derived from the then-prince regent, later king, who ruled by proxy after his father was deemed too ill to lead. Marked by years of elegance and artistic achievement, the Regency era is one defined by gloss, gossip, an emphasis on culture, and relative sexual liberation.
Regencycore entered our collective conscious in the final days of 2020, with the release of the Shonda Rhimes-helmed series Bridgerton, which has been lovingly described as "Gossip Girl with jewels and royals" by more than a few viewers and critics. Netflix users were instantly taken with the addictive, dramatic storylines and hot romances but also the elbow-length gloves, intricate dress bodices, and creamy makeup on every character. Suddenly, regencycore was everywhere, with interest in things like corsets, pearl-encrusted headbands, formal gloves, and empire-waist dresses.
Regencycore Makeup: A Guide
From there, Henney suggests a light application of Dior Backstage Face & Body Foundation ($40), which can be built up to fuller coverage according to suit individual needs. The lightweight foundation settles into a natural finish and is waterproof, making it ideal for oh, say, passionately kissing your beloved on a castle balcony in the rain? To blend the foundation to an even more realistic finish, Henney likes to apply it with a damp Beautyblender ($20): "[It] makes the skin look like skin."
Blush is the tentpole of the regencycore/Bridgerton makeup concept, and Henney points out that coordinating your blush and lip colors with similar tones is key. For this look, a warm, pink-toned blush mimics the look of a soft, natural flush induced by a flirtatious comment or mild exertion. NARS Air Matte Blush ($30) adds a renaissance painting-style effect to cheeks, applying as a creamy mousse before instantly drying into a soft-focus, velvet finish. The cream can be used all over the face but when placed along cheekbones and when blended out gives a contour-enhancing, natural blush to the face for a boost of vitality. Careful not to carve out too much, though, as it could change the desired effect of your makeup altogether. "Avoid too much contouring," Henney warns. "The cheeks and blush were much more prominent."
For complementary lips, Henney singles out a classic, Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk ($34), which she describes as a pretty pink. The rosy undertones in both cheek and lip shades create one continuous color story on your face. For even more shade alignment, chase the NARS blush with its lip color counterpart, the limited-edition NARS Air Matte Lip Color ($26). Available in a range of shades that correspond with the line's cheek colors, the Matte Lip is creamy yet lightweight for natural application.
For true regencyheads (RegencyHive?), the makeup is as central to the look as the clothes. Bridgerton's depiction of Regency era makeup is all about emphasizing bone structure with cream-based products and rosy, romantic tones perfect for a clandestine meeting with your star-crossed lover. To get the dreamy look, Tobi Henney makes it clear that first step is a robust skincare routine for a smooth, clean surface. "I think the makeup is a simple, fresh youthful skin teamed with a very soft pretty eye and a touch of blush and lip in similar tones," she explains. Henney recommends Augustinus Bader The Cream ($280), a hydrating yet surprisingly lightweight moisturizer, as the final step before makeup.
In keeping with (relative) historical accuracy, highlight should look as natural as possible which means a light touch. Henney favors a gentle application of MAC Cream Color Base in Hush ($25), a hyper-blendable, nearly sheer cream that can be used all over the body and built into a lustrous finish perfect for inner eye corners, the tops of cheekbones, clavicles, exposed shoulders, and the tip of the nose.
Unlike what feels like every other makeup look, the eyes are the easiest part of the Regencycore vibe. Henney skips eyeshadow and color altogether in favor of some natural-looking, lash-enhancing brown mascara (she loves Armani Eyes To Kill Lengthening Mascara ($29) followed by a quick brow brush-up. Eyebrows are another area that's kept relatively simple, with Henney suggesting a simple coat of clear gel for a "natural brow."
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What Makeup Are They Wearing on Bridgerton?
Just like Henney, Pearce is vehement that a prepped and prime skin base is crucial for proper makeup application. She first armed Dynevor with a slew of BeautyPro Brightening Sheet Masks ($7) and Eye Therapy Under Eye Masks ($7) to take home for added radiance and freshness. Dynevor would wear the under eye patches on her way to set each day until it was time for makeup, which Pearce says helped "to keep her skin looking like she had 12 hours of sleep, even though this was not the case."
When the time came for makeup, Pearce primed Dynevor's skin with Ole Henriksen Banana Bright Face Primer ($40) before buffing on a layer of Chanel Vitalumière Aqua ($50), a water-based, light foundation with SPF. For areas that needed more coverage, Pearce applied the thicker Bobbi Brown Corrector Concealer ($32) to the face and eye-brightening best-seller Yves Saint Laurent Touché Éclat ($38) under Dynevor's eyes. The face was set with a light dusting of Chanel Natural Finish Loose Powder ($52) but the real trick to Daphne Bridgerton's dewy-not-shiny complexion comes courtesy of MAC Matte ($24), a matteifying cream. "This product is great for taking shine off the skin without getting the caked look you can sometimes get from too much powder," Pearce explains on Instagram. "It also allows the natural dewiness of the skin to come through."
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With the face's base secured, Pearce and the team move on to color. For blush, a most important product for the character, Pearce chose one to suit Dynevor's individual skin tone. Stila Convertible Color Dual Lip and Cheek Balm ($18) in the shade Lillium "can be built up for a heavier look or buffed for a soft, natural look depending on the finish you're after," Pearce shares. "The texture is so silky!" While Pearce didn't use a true highlighter on Dynevor, she did use ultra-luminious MAC Strobe Cream ($36). The cream can be used under foundation for a lit-from-within glow or on top of it to catch more light. On Dynevor, the cream was applied sparingly and strategically for pivotal scenes. Typically, it was used just on her collarbones but Pearce says for the show's ball scenes, "I did also use a very tiny amount right under the arch of her brow, on the brow bone."
Just like in our recreation look, eye makeup used on Dynevor was extremely subtle and gently applied. First, Pearce set the lids with Urban Decay Original Eyeshadow Primer Potion ($25), which she says delivers great coverage and color. From there, Pearce used two MAC Single Eye Shadow ($19) shades, first in Malt all over the lid and socket, then in Brun on the outer top lashline. "This was done very slightly and in a smudged [manner] so it didn’t look too intense," Pearce says. For natural yet striking lashes, Pearce first curled Dynevor's lashes with a $2 Primark curler (available in the UK) she says Dynevor would use on herself before mascara. "Phoebe would use the tool to curl her own lashes, starting in the middle like a normal curl and then adding extra emphasis on the outer edge," she says. From there, a brushed-on coat of Clinique Lash Power Mascara ($15) in Dark Chocolate completes the barely-there eye look. Finishing off the final look are lips, which Henney actually guessed with her recreation recommendations—Charlotte Tilbury's Pillow Talk was layered under Dr. PawPaw Multipurpose Soothing Balm ($9), was used on-set for pivotal scenes like the wedding and most balls.
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Considering long, consecutive shoot days, keeping Dynevor's skin in shape meant makeup removal was done with the same care as application. First, Pearce removed all products with Bioderma Micellar Water ($11). Then, she and her team cleansed the skin with Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanser ($42) and Skin Tonic ($16) to "close the pores." La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra Face Moisturizer ($32) was used as a daily moisturizer, supplemented by Drunk Elephant Virgin Marula Luxury Face Oil ($68) every other day for added hydration. "It is important not to over use facial oils and to find the right amount for your skin type," Pearce cautions.
With every product application, a light hand is best when recreating your own regencycore full face. All in all, regencycore might just be one of the easiest trends to try—well, with makeup, anyway. We can't help you with that corset.
University of Warwick Knowledge Centre. Five rules of love in Regency England. Updated February 11, 2021.