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Get the Downton Abbey Look

If your summer vacation plans include riding around in a vintage convertible visiting Britain’s historic castles and manors, we can think of no better beauty look than that inspired by the hit television series, now taping its final season. The lush period drama has captured the imaginations of fashion designers like Ralph Lauren and makeup artists. More than a few limited edition colour collections have based their soft, romantic shades on the show. Even better, this particular makeup approach eschews any hint of a tan making it very popular with dermatologists and anyone who has had a scare with a sun spot or malignant mole.



Downton Abbey: a lush British-American period drama television series that follows the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their servants after the post-Edwardian era.

downton abbey

Golden Globe Award Winner: The series was named Best Miniseries or Television Film and nabbed a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Miniseries

Record viewership: Downton Abbey is the most watched television series on ITV in the UK and on PBS in North America.

Highclere Castle in Hampshire: The historical building is used for exterior shots for the series.

Runway inspiration: Ralph Lauren’s Fall/Winter 2012/13 collection took inspiration from the series.

The ingénue: Michelle Dockery plays Lady Mary Josephine Crawley, eldest daughter of the Earl of Grantham. She’s become a fashion star of late modeling for Harper’s Bazaar and British Vogue.

Jazz siren: Dockery occasionally performs with Sadie and the Hotheads, a band formed by Elizabeth McGovern who plays her mother in the series.

downton abbey


Get the Look:


“Lady Mary has a very subdued and romantic look thanks to her subtly flushed cheeks and pale complexion,” says Dior’s Angie Semple. “It’s a look where the hair and brows take center stage. What’s more, it’s a look that translates beautifully to anyone who has only minutes to complete their makeup in the morning.”

downton abbey

Chanel’s Julie Cusson suggests starting with the complexion. “The skin looks natural but with a certain luminosity. My tip is to use a powdery illuminator: It’s less glowing than a fluid but still provides a satiny texture.” She says to use a neutral foundation and then sculpt the face with the illuminating powder paying particular attention to the cheek bones. “You’ll notice that the powder will give you that satin, luminous porcelain complexion that the characters have on the show.”

downton abbey

Once you have the complexion complete, focus on the brows. “Take the time to define the brows with a brow pencil,” adds Semple. “You want them natural and defined so they frame the eyes.” She says eyeshadow shades are very skin toned for this look. Choose a shade close to your natural skin tone and begin at the center of the lid, pressing and sweeping the colour to cover the entire lid to the brow.” If you are tight for time, you can apply a thin layer of foundation to your eyelid. Next, take a black or brown waterproof pencil and line the upper lash line. Finish the eyes with a natural mascara formula.

downton abbey

Cheeks should be swept with a subtle tone of peach or rose blush. It adds a wash of colour.


“You absolutely need colour on the lips,” says Cusson. “I’d use a satin finish in a rosy-brown shade. Lip colour is important because it is the only way not to look ghostly.” You’ll notice that the more confident the matriarch in Downton Abbey, the more colour you’ll see on her lips. That was one way to show a woman’s strength and power. Hence Shirley Maclaine’s deep crimson lip.”

downton abbey


The Essentials:

chanel rouge allureChanel Rouge Allure in Captivante (an amber/brown/copper)

ysl poudreYSL Poudre Teint Radiance

dior brow stylerDior Brow Styler Universal Brown

dior shadow incognitoDior 5 Coleurs Eyeshadow in Incognito

chanel no 5Chanel No. 5, 50 ml


  • Reply
    Elizabeth C
    June 29, 2015 at 11:17 am

    Thank you for this post Dave! I am a HUGE Downton fan and am always inspired by Lady Mary’s fashion and beauty. Such a simple look is beautiful on everyone

  • Reply
    Jasmine Callender
    June 21, 2015 at 4:43 am

    This is a great post – The makeup on Downton is so classic and ,as you’ve shown, easy to achieve! It is a beautiful production and one of my favourite programmes! Definitely trying this one out!

  • Reply
    Maria Medeiros
    June 17, 2015 at 9:27 pm

    So beautiful!!!

  • Reply
    Lori Humphrey
    June 17, 2015 at 5:40 pm

    I would love to surprise my best friend, Staci, who lives more than 3 hours away and who I haven’t seen in over a year. We have been friends for more than 20 years. We have had good times and bad, we have had fights and then made up. We may not always see each other or talk to each other as much as we would like, but when we do it is like no time has passed at all. This would be a great excuse to get away from our lives and spend a girls day together.

  • Reply
    Muriel Michael
    June 17, 2015 at 10:37 am

    The article is very informative.. love it!.. the products shown are the Best.. love them all..

  • Reply
    Mary Avedon
    June 17, 2015 at 7:59 am

    I remember a while ago Lisa Eldridge had the actress how plays Edith on her YouTube channel. They talked about a little about the makeup on Downton. Such a beautiful show to watch. I really hope I get to visit the estate someday…imagine hosting a wedding or an event! So fantastic!

  • Reply
    June 17, 2015 at 7:40 am

    WOW These Chanel makeup products are just so lush!! I love the packaging…

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