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Here’s Exactly How to Be Merida From “Brave” For Halloween

We’ve already given you the easy rundown on being Belle, Cinderella, Aurora, or Rapunzel for Halloween this year — but how about an underappreciated fiery Scottish maiden for a costume? Merida, from the Disney Pixar movie Brave, doesn’t get enough credit most of the time. She’s courageous, she’s funny, she’s whimsical, she’s emotional, she’s resolute — we could wax poetic about this particular Disney princess for many more articles, but suffice it to say that she’s a Disney princess worth imitating (perhaps without drugging one’s mother, though). If you want an easy, direct, and surprisingly fun Halloween costume tutorial to follow for this likeable character, then read on!

Merida Magic Kingdom Merida

Most people will think that you need to buy a curly orange wig and a long blue gown to convincingly play Merida. However, Merida’s look is actually surprisingly flexible! She’s also a very easy Disney princess to emulate because she doesn’t wear much makeup. For this tutorial, we’ve decided to take our cues from the real Scottish maiden Karen Gillan, who is also reportedly in talks to play Pirates of the Caribbean’s next lead. This funny and good-natured actress is best known for playing Amy in Dr. Who, Nebula in the Marvel movies, and the beautiful but endearingly awkward video game heroine Ruby Roundhouse in the Jumanji movies. We already know that many fans want Karen to play the live-action version of Merida if a live-action Brave is made, and we agree that she’d be perfect for it! The Scottish actress, director, and screenwriter couldn’t be a better actress for the part, so let’s see what we can learn from her when it comes to looking like Merida.

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Some of the most distinguishing factors in Merida’s refreshing appearance are her well-proportioned facial features. Most Disney princesses have very disproportionate features, because they tend to have very large eyes mixed with very full lips. Merida does have fairly big eyes, but her lips, nose, and cheekbones balance that out to look more natural than most other Disney princesses’ facial features. Merida appears to wear no makeup, with pale lips and eyelashes as well as very fair eyebrows. But Karen Gillan has some great tips on how a pale red-headed Scottish girl can apply makeup that’s barely there!

We can learn from the video above that Karen’s “natural makeup look” is all about simple skincare (she uses the Counterstart Cococream Cleanser by Beautycounter, Rejuvi’s H Skin Healing Gel that’s mainly just aloe vera, and Rejuvi’s Q Flavonoid Complex that calms down sensitive skin) followed by some simple ways to accentuate the eyebrows, eyelashes, and lips. The Marvel actress, who is from Inverness near Loch Ness in Scotland, uses a very light touch when adding a little extra pizzazz to her eyebrows with a brow pen and a brow gel. The one that she uses is Full Brow Perfecting Gel by Chantecaille, which is an eco-friendly brand that Emily Blunt also loves! It will be easier to make this eyebrow look work if you have pale eyebrows, but you can still emphasize yours a little more even if you have darker ones. For eyelashes, she applied only a small amount of mascara to upper and lower lashes (let the mascara dry a little before you apply it, to keep the look natural). Some soft pink blush on her cheeks and foundation or concealer just where needed were her remaining steps–but the piece de resistance was her freckle pen, which is the Copic Sketch Marker in the shade E43 Dull Ivory by JetPens. This isn’t even meant to be for makeup, but Karen flouts the rules by liberally applying dots on her face where she naturally has freckles, using the ‘makeup’ to enhance them more. She then pats the faux freckles in a little to make them more well-blended, applies some lip balm, and that’s it! This is a very easy makeup look for a Halloween costume, especially when compared to the makeup for some other Disney characters like Maleficent or Lady Tremaine.

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For your hair, you can certainly invest in a good-quality Merida wig if you really want one. But you can also use a temporary hair color to make your hair look more red, or you can just curl your own hair with its natural color and forgo the red entirely! For extra curls, try the old-fashioned pin-curling techniques from this tutorial or from our Cinderella tutorial. Because they’re heatless, they’ll be better for your hair than using a curling iron! We’d recommend doing this process after a shower on the night before Halloween, so that the curls set while you sleep. Try to touch the curls as little as possible, too, so that they maintain their bounce!

The last steps are either a long blue dress, or anything dark blue. You could do a dark blue shirt and pants, a sweater and a skirt, or even go with something like a denim jean jacket or a Barbour jacket if you really wanted to look more like a modern version of this Disney princess! And the finishing touch is a Scottish accent; if you do the accent well, you’ll impress everyone. If you do it badly, you and your friends will get a good laugh throughout the night every time you talk! Be sure to bring up bears, arranged marriages, the wild Scottish moors, and mother-daughter relationships often. There you have it! Enjoy your Halloween as Merida, and check out the video below to get more quintessentially-Scottish inspiration from Karen Gillan!

About Sharon

Sharon is from New England. She's a writer, animal lover, and, of course, a Disney Fanatic! Sharon's two main focuses in her work are Disney's correlations with pop culture and the significance of Disney princesses (which was the basis for her college thesis). When she's not writing about Disney, Sharon spends her time singing, dancing, and cavorting with woodland creatures.