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DIY Princess Merida Costume // Makeup + Hair Tutorials

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

My first in the series was Cinderella, and 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).


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!


The first step was to turn my very straight and very 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. Then add a little length with bright red clip on extensions.

With Merida’s curls, in particular, since she doesn’t have a part in her hair, begin with damp hair and create rows of knots on the top of your head, then the sides and then the back. NOTE: The smaller sections of hair you use, the tighter your curls will be. This is good and bad because you want the tight curls, but it will also make your hair shorter and we’re trying to keep the length for this costume.

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 depending on how tight, shorter than your regular hair. As time passes, they will eventually fall and relax a little (and even more by day two).

Check out my Bantu Knot hair tutorials for further explanation:
1. Get BIG No-Heat SJP Curls with Bantu Knots
2. Big Curls with Tiny Buns

Getting Merida’s Look with Makeup…

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 to turn my light/blonde complexion into a cute ruddy one.


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).


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.


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


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!)


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.


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 avoid getting it on everything).


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.


Besides the peachy gloss top coat on my lips, this is my Princess Merida face {my eyelashes were a little long, but it’s a costume, right?} … and now it’s time to turn my blonde curls into red ones.

Finishing Merida’s Hair…


As my curls relaxed, they also became frizzy. But that’s okay, because Merida’s hair is insane! And I love it! But to add a bit more dimension, I used my 1″ hot tools curling iron to wave choice sections of hair around my face, the crown of my head, and a few in the back. Use a combo of a 1″ and 3/4″ iron to really pull out and wave any hairs that have gone straight or to add more texture, volume, and dimension to the front and top layers/sections of hair.


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 with that as well as added a bit more length.

I created these fine hair 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


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/middle, 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 nylon hairs.

NOTE: the tiny/fine sections on bobby pins slipped a bit, even in my mass of hair. I think for the fine pieces up front, sewing the wig hairs onto tiny jaw clips or velcro pieces may have worked a bit better.


Now to really get my blonde hair red, I created my own DIY Temporary Hair Color with red eye shadows… using 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.)

THIS WILL MAKE A HUGE MESS … just a warning, so lay down some towels and get to work! Also make sure you do this BEFORE YOU PUT YOUR COSTUME ON!!

I wasn’t too precise about it; I just dipped and brushed and dipped and brushed it on all my hair until the color was what I wanted.

NOTE: It all washed out (pretty much) on the first wash, but IT DID leave my hair a bit drab and ruddy. 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. Definitely don’t do this to freshly bleached hair or you may be stuck with it for a week or so. I was ready to go into the salon for a touch up anyway, so it all worked out.

And… Voila!


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. This could have easily changed how I did my makeup, but overall, the turnout was pretty great.


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.)

Click through links below for my full DIYS…

* DIY Princess Merida Adult Costume Tutorial

See all the photos of my final costume…

* DIY Princess Merida Costume

DIY Halloween Costumes // Princess Merida from Disney’s Brave

DIY Princess Merida Adult Costume Tutorial

Have Fun!

* Happy Costume Making!
Created originally for Babble Beauty // Princess Merida DIY Makeup & Hair

Maegan Tintari

LA native & lifestyle blogger Maegan Tintari writes daily at sharing beauty & style secrets, including fashion DIYs, how-to nail art manicures, hair tutorials, recipes & home decorating ideas, as well as a look into her personal life, her journey & battle with infertility & recent relocation to the mountains by a lake in search of a better life with her adorable French Bulldog brothers, Trevor and Randy.

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