Complete Renaissance Costumes with Hair and Makeup Inspired by the 17th Century

With the ever-growing fan base dedicated to Game of Thrones, The Borgias and the like, Renaissance costumes and inspired looks are popping up everywhere.

Mr. Costumes has many outfits for the cultural era where realism and human emotion in art dominated, but to complete the look, one’s hair and makeup are crucial elements, too. From noblewomen to peasants, here’s how to capture each look.

The Borgias cast keeps it authentic with Renaissance-inspired hair and makeup.

The Borgias cast keeps it authentic with Renaissance-inspired hair and makeup.

Renaissance Makeup

The higher the social status, the more made-up a woman was, but in general, makeup from the 14th century to the 17th century was very minimal. Women strived to have pale skin; tan skin implied that they worked outside with the lower class. Eye makeup tended to be especially light, but emphasis was made to cheeks and lips with natural-looking red shades.

To get the overall look of the era, we suggest starting off with a foundation or powder that is a shade or two lighter than your actual skin tone. In a dark or rosy color, blush and lipstick should be applied liberally, especially for the role of an upper class woman. If you absolutely need something on your eyelids, an eye shadow in a neutral shade or just a smidgen of brown eyeliner can be used. Skip the mascara if you can.

"Game of Thrones" wouldn't be such a hit without Cersei Lannister, played by Lena Headey. Here, she shows off a simple makeup look inspired by the Renaissance era.

Game of Thrones wouldn't be such an HBO hit without Cersei Lannister, played by Lena Headey. Here, she shows off a simple makeup look inspired by the Renaissance era.

Renaissance Hair

Long hair, whether tied up, worn down or in a half-do, dominated womens hair back in the day. The long locks were worn in a variety of styles, from buns to braids to loose, curly waves. All Renaissance costumes should be completed with the proper hairstyle.

Wavy hair is probably the simplest Renaissance style to copy. (It also seems to be the go-to choice on Game of Thrones.) It also can easily be used for the look of a upper class or lower class woman.

Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell in HBO's "Game of Thrones" wears modest makeup to reflect the

Natalie Dormer as Margaery Tyrell in HBO's Game of Thrones wears her hair in a wavy updo.

The style can be replicated using a beach spray, curling iron, or by going to bed with braided wet hair. Bonus points: Place the front of your hair in an updo to complete the look.

Another peasant or lower-class look is the messy braid.

Hair can be worn in a messy braid for a peasant look.
Hair can be worn in a messy braid for a peasant look.

The tutorial for this relaxed look can be found here.

Braided looks were popular in the Renaissance era. The following look using three braids, one of them made into a bun and the other two pinned around it. Click here for the tutorial.

Braids were popular in the Renaissance era.

Braids were popular in the Renaissance era.

Hair accessories were worn with many of these styles, too. They included hair nets:

Hair nets can be used to loosely collect hair at the bottom or in buns.
Hair nets can be used to loosely collect hair at the bottom like a beanie.
Hair nets can be used to loosely collect hair at the bottom, in buns or in braids.

Hair nets also an be incorporated in braids.

Hair nets can be used to elegantly cover buns.

Hair nets can be used to elegantly cover buns.

Hair jewelry:

A jewelry headpiece can be worn with loose, wavy curls.

A jewelry headpiece can be worn with loose, wavy curls.

Hair jewelry and hair bands decorated hair during the Renaissance era.

Hair jewelry decorated long locks during the Renaissance era.

And head bands (Click here for the tutorial):

Wrap hair around the bottom of a head band for an effortless Renaissance look.

Wrap hair around the bottom of a head band for an effortless Renaissance look.

Don’t forget to pair these looks with your favorite Renaissance costumes from Mr. Costumes!

Do you have any favorite Renaissance looks? Tell us below in the comments! 

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