What’s pouty, feminine, passionate, and imbued with an inner strength like steel? The answer: Elizabeth Swann, played by Keira Knightley in the Pirates of the Caribbean films! Keira played the part of Elizabeth (a wild-hearted but well-trained governor’s daughter who, through love and death-defying adventure, finds her inner recklessness and goes on to become both a fiery wife to Orlando Bloom and a fearsome pirate captain) to perfection, and many fans could never tire of seeing her character in more stories.
Unfortunately, Knightley seems to be done with playing the British beauty after playing the pirate-captain-turned mother one more time in the end credits of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. “I think it was wonderful and an amazing opportunity and those films were just extraordinary and I was extremely lucky to be a part of them,” the actress has said. “But no. I think my pirating days may be over.”
While we’re really hoping Keira is wrong about that, and that we’ll see more of Elizabeth, you can still celebrate the piratic heroine for her previous achievements (notably mastering the art of a good jaw clench, learning quickly when it came to handling a sword , and adapting to look beautiful in every seafaring outfit known to man). If you want to be Elizabeth Swann for Halloween, read on for her exact makeup from the Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl and the exact guide to styling your hair like her!
First up, the makeup. Keira is wearing very little makeup in Curse of the Black Pearl, and it looks like she sticks with that in the following films as well (except with self-tanner, bronzer, and a more ruddy blush). For the original film, makeup artist Ve Neill started with something very sensible for a Caribbean movie: sunscreen! They apparently alternated between Dermalogica Solar Defense Booster, Peter Thomas Roth, Skinceuticals, and DDF Therapeutic Skincare sunblock. Next up was the ever-popular Kryolan Dermacolor concealer (this is strong stuff, so use it very sparingly; it was also used to give everyone subtly-enhanced skin on Game of Thrones), which was only used around the eyes and if Keira had any blemishes to cover.
For eye makeup, there is none! No eyeshadow, no mascara, no eyeliner–there are just natural shadows defining Keira’s eyes. Ve Neill didn’t use any color on the eyes at all; all she did was curl Keira’s eyelashes! For cheeks and lips, Ve Neill sometimes used the Benefit Benetint Lip Balm; she liked “the creamy consistency and the natural color it gave to cheeks”. But usually, the makeup artist would actually just pinch Keira’s cheeks right before the cameras rolled! This is a time-tested trick that’s worked since period drama times, making it fitting for a movie set back then. You can blend a simple matte taupe or tan eyeshadow all over your eyelids if you want (such as the one below), but it’s not necessary!
Obviously, this makes for a very easy Halloween costume in terms of makeup (and you can see a similar makeup look in the first video above, which features Keira’s character from Pride and Prejudice). However, if you have very different features from Elizabeth Swann, you can always play around a little with contouring. When it’s Halloween, you can go a little heavier than usual to play up your cheekbones, like famous cosplayer Alyson Tabbitha did below!
For Elizabeth’s hair, you have several options. There’s her half-updo in her first adult scene, when she wakes from dreaming about Will Turner; there’s her pillowy bouffant hairdo from the night of the pirate attack, when she boards the Black Pearl; there’s her sunkissed and distressed look while stranded on an island; and there’s her formal updo (with one elegant curl escaping) from Norrington’s Commodore ceremony. Tutorials of the three more formal looks are all below! To look more like you’ve been stranded on a desert island with Captain Jack Sparrow, keep reading. And if you don’t have brunette locks, try some good-quality wigs!
Elizabeth Swann looks a lot more tanned and wild when she’s marooned on the island with Jack (even though it’s temporary); to achieve this look, buy a simple white shift or nightgown, spray some sea salt in your hair while it’s wet, and do a few good hair tosses as it’s air-drying. Lastly, apply a little blush or bronzer right across your nose and the tops of your cheeks to look like you’ve really gotten some sun. Using a few choice quotes from the movie would work here, too!
If you’re trying to be Elizabeth Swann from the Dead Man’s Chest and At World’s End, then you’ll need a good tinted SPF (Sunbum’s has a slight tanning feature) or a self-tanner that’s specifically meant for your face. Apply it liberally, then add cream bronzers and powder bronzers on top. The more, the better, because Elizabeth gets much more tan as she adapts to the pirate lifestyle! Keira is already known for her amazing eyebrows, so thicken yours a little bit with eyebrow pencil if necessary, and make them fairly straight as opposed to arched. Next, apply either some cream bronzer or a more brown-toned blush right on the apples of your cheeks. The more tan and ‘weathered’ you look, the better! For hair, a shine spray or some lemon juice will accentuate your hair’s highlights. As far as your hairstyle, copy the previous island look, but top it off with a man’s shirt and a tricorn hat! Avoid adding lip balm; Elizabeth’s lips are meant to look more pale and ‘salty’ at this point!
Congratulations! If you’ve been typing in “keira knightley exact makeup pirates of the Caribbean” or “elizabeth swann exact makeup pirates” ever since the first movie’s release, you now know exactly what makeup products were used on Keira, and can head out in your own Elizabeth costume! However, if you want to be Keira Knightley herself, you might have to hone some new skills. You’ll need a self-deprecating and cheeky sense of humor, an endearing laugh, an observant mind, and a fondness for both indie music and the genuine art of acting! Having cheekbones like cut glass and an incredible jawline certainly don’t hurt, either. Are you going to try this relatively easy Halloween look, or are you going to be too busy celebrating Halloween at Disneyland?