Behind The Makeup: Pitch Perfect 2

Photo: Courtesy of Universal Pictures.
If a double dose of trailers packed with biting one-liners and powerhouse riff-offs isn't enough to get you excited for Pitch Perfect 2, well, you’re made of stone. Just kidding (sort of). But, seriously, if you need a couple extra incentives to see the movie, then the Barden Bellas’ on- and off-stage beauty looks should do the trick. That's because the hair and makeup help provide solid backup as the Bellas rise to the top, face unforeseen challenges, rule the stage, and, well, deal with college.

For proof, the movie’s head of makeup Melanie Hughes-Weaver and hair department head Cheryl Marks were more than happy to share some spoiler-free teasers and fun behind-the-scenes scoops. Ahead, the most aca-mazing beauty moments from the upcoming movie, to get you even more aca-cited for May 15.      

Beca’s grown-up, less angry eye makeup and waves.
Gone are the subversive smoky eyes of her freshman days. “[Beca has] matured; she’s grown up and she’s a little more secure with herself,” Hughes-Weaver says. “She’s stronger in her character, and she’s happier in general.” Nonetheless, the makeup artist wanted to play up the lead Bella’s stunning blue eyes. Along with closely lining and smudging them with a Bobbi Brown Long-Wear pencil in Mahogany and layering on a similarly-hued shadow, Hughes-Weaver used her secret weapon: false eyelash trios by Kiss. A swipe of CoverGirl Bombshell Volume by LashBlast mascara completed the look.     

As for Beca’s hair, say goodbye to the messy, braided updos. “We went for waves, but not too controlled because Beca really doesn’t care that much, but she still cares,” Marks says. The T3 Whirl Trio, with a trifecta of interchangeable barrels of varying size, came in handy to create her strategically tousled curls.      

The return of Amy’s bombshell-blonde 'do and glossy lips.
Amy’s signature ponytailed coif and bubblegum glossed lips are back, but with an upperclassman update. Plus, “she has boy crushes [in] this [film],” teases Hughes-Weaver. (Bumper?) She finally gets to wear her hair down, sometimes — but still with her pinup-girl fringe. But, damn those bangs are high-maintenance. “Every cut, every second, every minute she wasn’t on camera, we had a roller in her hair,” says Marks.     

Amy wasn’t about to give up her gloss for matte lipstick in round two. The shine is back, but in a new, to-die-for lilac shade: NARS Larger Than Life in Années Folles. But, with all the intense dancing and hair-whipping, there was no way to avoid getting strands stuck in the goopy gloss. Rebel Wilson didn’t seem to mind, though. “She loved that lip gloss so much that there was no way she was going to complain about it,” says Hughes-Weaver.      
Photo: Courtesy of Universal Pictures.
Freshman Emily Junk's cornrows.
The Barden Bellas initiate new blood into the crew, including Oscar-nominated Hailee Steinfeld, who plays the unfortunately named frosh. “We start her out more innocent,” Hughes-Weaver says. “She’s new to campus, and her confidence starts to build.” Expect a beauty evolution featuring the universally flattering favorite NARS Orgasm blush. Once Emily is one of the Bellas, though, she enjoys a plethora of stage hairstyles, including a cornrowed updo that makes for a perfect summer look (and feels like Beca 2.0). Marks first sectioned the top part of Steinfeld’s hair, and then plaited two parallel, horizontal French braids on each of the side sections, starting from the forehead to behind the ear. To finish, she brought the rest of the hair into a high pony.

The Barden Bellas’ harmonious manicures.
Also gone is Beca’s chipped, malaise-signaling black nail polish. She’s lightened up in the sequel, wearing brighter colors or bare nails. Hughes-Weaver used a rainbow of hues by CoverGirl to coordinate with the ladies' performance looks. “We had [Copenhagen] blues to black polish with silver and gold glitter, to bright-orange reds,” she says. (Don’t worry, though, Beca’s tats and piercings still make appearances.)

The Bellas’ matching, humidity-resistant updos.
Now that the Bellas reign supreme, no more novice buns for them. “They are rock stars,” Marks says. “They go to Washington D.C., and we have them all in high ponies — they look like Rockettes. They look really polished, because they’re performing for the president.” (We know from the trailer how that ends, but anyway.) It took a team of 13 hairstylists, plus Marks, to create coordinated, sleek high ponytails for each Bella. Marks would style one girl to set the pony-height standard, and the stylists would follow suit for the remaining Bellas using T3 SinglePass straightening irons — but there’s a trick in how to flat-iron. “Take small sections and work the hair up with where you’re going,” Marks explains. “We took a section, sprayed; took a section, sprayed. Everything up to the crown of the head.” She suggests opting for a styling spray with ingredients that are low on water, because it expands with humidity.  
Photo: Courtesy of Universal Pictures.
The genius way to cocktail foundation, sunscreen, and bug spray.
Bombshell: Barden University is in hot, sweltering Baton Rouge. And, filming took place during the summer, not the school year. “There was rain and mosquitoes, and the sun was so intense,” recalls Hughes-Weaver. “Here are the girls with hair extensions, false eyelashes...and a lot of the performances are outside.” Sunscreen, bug spray, and a really good, sweat-proof foundation were in order — specifically, a concoction of Stila All Day Foundation over Aveeno Protect + Hydrate Lotion Sunscreen, with a spritz of insect repellent on top, when necessary. Hughes-Weaver swore by this non-greasy combination to keep the Bellas’ skin looking flawless and protect it from the sun, without causing breakouts.       

Blotting paper is for amateurs.
Yes, even Barden Bellas sweat A LOT, especially considering the sticky weather and kickass song-and-dance numbers. So, Hughes-Weaver imported a genius trick she learned from her days working on another musical favorite, Glee. She and her team turned blue paper towels from auto-body shops — you know, the ones mechanics use to wipe industrial grease and oil off their hands — into face blotters. Huh. The sturdy, absorbent squares could soak up buckets of sweat without disintegrating, but wouldn’t disturb the meticulous makeup jobs. “It doesn’t sound very glamorous,” Hughes-Weaver says. “But, let me tell you, it works.”     

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