Bridgerton's Hair and Makeup Designer Reveals the Beauty Products Fit for Royalty

Erika Ökvist takes us behind the scenes of the Netflix hit.

Queen Charlotte hairstyles on Bridgerton season 2
(Image credit: Netflix / Marie Claire)

Dearest readers, the time has come for another season—of Bridgerton. In honor of the highly anticipated return of the Regency-era romp, we’re digging up all the sex, scandals, and secrets of the Netflix show. Sorry Lady Whistledown, Marie Claire’s “Bridgerton Week” is about to be the hottest read in town.

Bridgerton returned with a bang for its second season last week, and it’s filled with everything we’ve come to love from the Netflix show: scorching hot gossip, jaw-dropping drama, and a host of scandals. The Sharma sisters made their entrance in the newest episodes, captivating their milieu with grace, wit, and sophisticated beauty. They even found an ally in the ton’s literal queen bee, Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel), whose looks are somehow even more over-the-top this season than they were when fans were first introduced to the streamer’s version of the grande dame in 2020.

Says Erika Ökvist, Bridgerton’s hair and makeup designer, of dialing up the head-to-toe glamour this season, “We’ve got so many looks and the characters really show up differently across their scenes. A character could easily have three different looks in a day.”

Ökvist and her team worked closely with the legendary Pat McGrath behind the scenes to make sure all skin tones and textures were represented. The Queen’s makeup this season was all about balance: making sure her grandiose hair ‘dos and capital-f Fashion synced perfectly with the hues on her face. Ökvist leaned heavily on the Skin Fetish Collection from Pat McGrath Labs for Rosheuvel and all the show’s stars, usually starting out with Sublime Perfection Primer, layering more coverage with the Sublime Perfection Foundation, and adding color and shimmer with the Highlighter + Balm Duo and Divine Blush. Eyes were enhanced with different shadows from Muva McGrath’s Bridgerton collaboration palettes; because of the Queen’s array of ensembles, Ökvist and team used almost every shade in the Mothership palettes for her.

But the real pièces de résistance on the show were none other than Queen Charlotte’s wigs. “She is the theater”, says Ökvist of one of the Georgian Era’s biggest trendsetters. “She controls everything and she does that partly through her appearance. I wanted to make sure she never wore the same wig twice.”

Ökvist collaborated with the show’s costume department to ensure there was tonal harmony between the Queen’s outfits and her wigs. It was also paramount to her that different textures were honored in the hair choices, from tight curls to looser patterns to straight hair. “We used the twist and tuck technique that is commonly used on textured hair and then we built it up from there to reflect Georgian hairstyles of her time,” Ökvist says. “A lot of the creation happened on [Rosheuvel’s] head and our goal was always to make her wigs look balanced, but elegant. We tried really hard to make sure it wasn’t heavy for her because we wanted to make sure she could still hold her poses and move about during the shooting day.”

Queen Charlotte Bridgerton season 2

“She is the theater” Ökvist says of Queen Charlotte's looks on Bridgerton

(Image credit: Netflix)

The wig process was intense and helped along by hair supervisor Sim Camps who braided Rosheuvel’s hair to create the underpinning for her wigs. “Often executed in a swirl pattern or in straight cornrows braided from front to back, the shape of her braids were dependent on where the security needed to be for her wigs to stay in place and be balanced and comfortable,” Ökvist says. “We then had a slew of hair care products to make sure Golda’s hair health was maintained, including super-moisturizing Cantu products for cleansing and conditioning, Taliah Waajid Curly Curl Cream, and June Milnrow Black Castor Oil Edge Control. On top of the cornrows, we sometimes placed a wig sock for added security, but some days it would’ve been too hot with all the hair placed on her head.”

Once the braids were installed, Ökvist and her team stitched a wig on top to ensure it stayed in place. They even took plaster molds of Rosheuvel’s head so they could have her likeness nearby while they were working to ensure the wigs would fit perfectly—acting almost like a cloth helmet. Once the underpinnings were in place, they built a cage with the lightest wire Ökvist could find.

“The weight distribution was always on our minds at this point because the weight of the hair can make the structure collapse,” she says. “So we have to think about it the same way one would think about architecture. If we wanted to do a wig that shot straight up, we’d have to do crosshatching to accommodate for the cross weight, so it doesn’t fall down. It’s akin to the way you build a bridge with keystones.”

Adding another level of complexity: the Queen’s wigs were also adorned and bedazzled with jewelry and royal tiaras. Some of those came from the hair department and others came from the show’s costume designer, Sophie Canale. “[Sophie] had an entire team who just made jewelry for the Queen, so it would come as a set and the tiara, earrings, necklace, and buttons were put together with the same metal and stones,” Ökvist reveals. “We realized very early on that even Queen Charlotte’s tiaras had to be outrageous as well to go along with her wigs and fashion.”

Each of the Queen’s beauty looks required two hour-long fittings: one for her wig (which had to receive the Shondaland stamp of approval) and another for her makeup because the tones in her hair could dramatically shift the readability how the colors of her blush, foundation, and lipstick would look on screen. 

Queen Charlotte Bridgerton season 2

Queen Charlotte holds court in the second season premiere of Bridgerton

(Image credit: Netflix)

And though the Queen did suffer a few setbacks at the hands of Lady Whistledown and some stalled nuptials, the melodrama never translates to her hair choices. “Nothing would make the Queen admit a blowback and she would continue on bigger and better,” says Ökvist. “She is the party no matter what.”

And as for the other cast of characters and their hair proclivities? Ökvist says to pay close attention to the hair specifically as the season progresses. “Edwina, Kate, and Penelope have incredible journeys this season and those journeys are clearly shown through their beauty,” she says. “They start in one particular space and all branch out for different reasons. And it’s something we do in our personal lives; make beauty changes based on the ways our lives are changing.” Watch for loosened strands as the ladies let go and unravel from episode to episode.

Seasons three and four have already been confirmed, and Ökvist and her team are already planning to level up the series’ glam. “We have to look at the ton as modern day celebrities, like Julia Fox and the Kardashians, who would go to all of the equivalent parties of the time like Paris Fashion Week,” she says. “They would adopt the newest ideas to work within the DNA of their character’s looks. Last season was last season.” So if your current faves wouldn’t repeat a beauty moment, you can bet the Bridgerton ladies won’t either.