DIY Princess Merida Hair & Makeup Tutorial + Brave Costume

I’m in love with the movie Brave and Disney’s Princess Merida, so I thought it was the perfect costume to tackle next in my Disney character dress up series.

My first and most recent in the series was Cinderella, which you can see more of if you follow either of these links: Get a Modern Day Cinderella Look | Hair & Makeup Tutorial AND Modern Day Cinderella | Everyday & Evening Wear | Get the Look! Cinderella was fun, but other than figuring out how to get the perfectly large and rolling bun, the look was quite easy to pull off because I’m already blonde.

This time, I really wanted to do something fun and different, and Princess Merida was the perfect choice. I must have watched the movie Brave five times over the weekend just to get the look and and costume down, and I fell deeper in love with it each time I viewed it. It’s a different story than most of the Disney Princess Movies, and it’s really fantastic. You should definitely give it a watch if you haven’t seen it yet.

Attention red heads!! This costume is for you! But if you’re not red haired and fair skinned, follow the steps below to learn how to become Princess Merida for a day (or Halloween, of course).

  • DIY Merida Makeup and Hair 1 of 23

    Click through the following steps to learn how to create your own Princess Merida makeup and hair.


    Find my DIY Merida Costume Tutorial at Babble Style

  • Princess Merida 2 of 23

    Just in case you haven't seen the (amazing) movie Brave, this is what Princess Merida looks like in most of the movie and was the inspiration for my costume, hair, and makeup.


    DISCLAIMER: Of course I could have just worn a big red curly wig, but where's the fun in that?! And this way, there's no (or very little) expense!

  • Getting that BIG Hair! 3 of 23

    The first step was to turn my very straight long hair into very curly, even longer hair. And the best way to do this is with my favorite no-heat curls trick, Bantu Knots. With this one in particular, since Merida doesn't have a part in her hair, with damp hair, I created rows of knots on the top of my head and then the sides and then the back.  NOTE: The smaller sections of hair you use, the tighter your curls will be. When you first remove your knots, your hair will look like the second photo above. DO NOT USE A BRUSH. Simply and slowly separate your curls with your fingers, fluffing with your hands as you go. Begin with the knots closest to your neck, and work your way up to the top. Your curls WILL BE BIG and short. As time passes, they will eventually fall and relax a little (and more by day two).


    I have two Bantu Knot hair tutorials for further explanation: 1. Get BIG No-Heat SJP Curls with Bantu Knots and 2. Big Curls with Tiny Buns

  • Princess Merida Makeup 4 of 23

    While your curls are relaxing, let's get busy with makeup. Princess Merida is Scottish, fair skinned, red-headed, freckled, and adorable! And while she doesn't really wear makeup in the movie, I'm not a red-head, so I had to create the look with makeup.


    I used copper, orange, and red tones in blushes, eye shadows, and lip products.

  • Creating Merida’s Face — 1 5 of 23

    After applying my foundation, powder, and a bit of copper to my lids for depth (for more info, see My Beauty Routine), I began with bright, almost neon orange/red eye shadow by Make Up For Ever, and covered my lids from top to bottom, fanned out the edges, and even took it under my eyes (it's a bit bolder and brighter in reality).

  • Creating Merida’s Face — 2 6 of 23

    I used the same eyeshadow as blush and applied it to the apples of my cheeks, up the sides of my forehead, and under my chin and neck.

  • Creating Merida’s Face — 3 7 of 23

    I added depth with a deep red (an old shadow by Covergirl), fanned it out as well, and took it under my lash line. Since I didn't use any eyeliner with this look, I used the reds to enhance my eyes.


    Try Make Up For Ever Eyeshadow in Matte Cold Red

  • Creating Merida’s Face — 4 8 of 23

    I had to get my blonde eyebrows red ... First I used the red eyeshadow on a fine brush to add color. I then used the gold eyeliner pencil by Covergirl for lightness and shape. Then I went over them again with the red shadow as the moisture from the eye pencil picked up more red pigment than I had originally. (They were a bit darker in reality, and I LOVED them!)

  • Creating Merida’s Face — 5 9 of 23

    Then I used an all-over illuminating bronzer by Sonia Kashuk to take the red down to an orangier color and give my face a nice glow.

  • Creating Merida’s Face — 6 10 of 23

    For lips, I started with a neutral liner, then topped it with a peach lipstick, then an orangy gloss. Though in the photos seen here, I only have the liner on. I didn't add the color and gloss until after I was finished with everything (as to not get it on everything).

  • Creating Merida’s Face — 7 11 of 23

    I curled my own (very short, very light) lashes, stuck on my false eyelashes, and then finished them off with a coat of black mascara on the (under) top (to merge the faux lashes with my own) and to my lower lash line as well.

  • Creating Merida’s Face — Finish! 12 of 23

    Besides the peachy gloss top coat on my lips, this is my Princess Merida face ... and now it's time to turn my blonde hairs into red ones.

  • Creating Merida’s Hair — 1 13 of 23

    As my curls relaxed, they also became frizzy. But that's okay, because Merida's hair is insane! But to add a bit more dimension, I used my curling iron to wave choice sections of hair around my face, the crown of my head, and a few in the back. If you have a really tiny curling iron, that would be optimal. This 1" is the smallest I have, but it did the trick. See the dimension it's adding?

  • Creating Merida’s Hair — 2 14 of 23

    The next step was adding hair extensions. Sure I have enough hair to work with, but I wanted even more dimension in color, and adding the red pieces helped. I created these fine extensions on bobby pins, as well as medium sections and larger sections by cutting up a cheap Halloween wig. You can see how I did it here: How To Make Clip On Hair Extensions ...from a Halloween Wig


  • Creating Merida’s Hair — 3 15 of 23

    I added a large hair extension piece to my neckline to get a bit more length at the ends. I added the medium clip-in sections throughout the back, placing them under sections of my own hair, and finally, the small bobby-pinned sections around the front. I would have preferred to curl them, but I worried about ruining the cheap hair. They worked okay, but slipped a bit, even in my mass of hair. I would have preferred them on tiny jaw clips to stay in better.

  • Creating Merida’s Hair Color 16 of 23

    Now to really get my blonde hair red, I created my own DIY temporary hair color with the same eye shadows I used on my face, along with a coral shadow, a gold shimmer loose powder, and baby powder. My original plan was to spray on Halloween temporary red hair color (which would work splendidly), but I read everywhere that it would stain my bleached blonde hair ... then I thought about hair chalking, but read horror stories of that as well, so this was my solution AND IT WAS AWESOME! (There may be other tutorials on this, I didn't look for any when I came up with this idea.)


    What you need:

    1. A place to mix, use, and store it (I used an old wipes container, which worked really well and I saved the left overs to use again)

    2. Eye shadows of your color choice (If you're like me, you NEVER throw away your makeup, so you have a ton of random old eye shadows on hand)

    3. Baby powder (This is what we all used as "dry shampoo" before dry shampoo was invented)

    4. Knife

    5. Old blusher or stiff powder brush

  • DIY Temporary Hair Color — 1 17 of 23

    Begin with the shadow you care about the least and wish to use all of. Scrape it out of its container and into your box with your knife and chop it into a fine powder.

  • DIY Temporary Hair Color — 2 18 of 23

    Continue adding colors and then powder (but not too much powder because the powder gets "cakey" and really stiffens your hair up — I only used it once, as seen here) until you've created the color of choice and you have enough to coat your hair with.

  • DIY Temporary Hair Color — 3 19 of 23

    It should look like this ... specs of gold shimmer were a nice touch since this is a dry sort of look.

  • DIY Temporary Hair Color — 4 20 of 23

    THIS WILL MAKE A HUGE MESS ... just a warning, so lay down some towels and get to work! I wasn't too precise about it; I just dipped and brushed and dipped and brushed until the color was what I wanted. NOTE: It all washed out (pretty much), but did leave my hair a bit drab. I think one more wash and maybe with a blonde/purple shampoo and I'll be back to normal. Still a hint of strawberry in my blonde isn't offensive — it's not BLUE.

  • Princess Merida Hair 21 of 23

    I really LOVED the way it turned out (DO NOTE that it was a bit lighter in person than in the photos, but just as red). You can still see some of the blonde through it, but I think it worked well enough. More extension pieces would have been a better option as well.

    Also note: Once my hair was red, my face became quite red as well 🙂

    Find my DIY Merida Costume Tutorial at Babble Style

    See more photos of both costumes at DIY Merida Costume from Brave + Hair & Makeup

  • Princess Merida Hair (with wisps) 22 of 23

    While my hair didn't turn out quite as long as Merida's or as big, I still prefer it over a wig. It was really fun to be her for a day! She's my new favorite Disney character (and when I mentioned that to my husband, he answered, "Of course she is, she's the most like you," which was a total compliment.)


    Find my DIY Merida Costume Tutorial at Babble Style

    See more photos of both costumes at DIY Merida Costume from Brave + Hair & Makeup

  • DIY Merida Costume 23 of 23

    Find my DIY Merida Costume Tutorial at Babble Style

    See more photos of both costumes at DIY Merida Costume from Brave + Hair & Makeup

Article Posted 5 years Ago

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