“The White Lotus” Season 2 Taps Into Italian Beauty Trends


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In season two of “The White Lotus,” a lot changes: we get a (mostly) new cast and a completely new location. Set on the beautiful island of Sicily, just off the southern coast of Italy, the new locale heavily influenced hair and makeup choices.

After vacationing in Hawaii during season one, Tanya (played by Jennifer Coolidge) and Greg Hunt (Jon Gries) are back for another memorable week in paradise. Then, we’re introduced to new characters at the Mediterranean resort, including Harper Spiller (Aubrey Plaza), who’s visiting with her husband, Ethan Spiller (Will Sharpe), and his friend Cameron Sullivan (Theo James) and his wife, Daphne Sullivan (Meghann Fahy). We also meet Portia (Haley Lu Richardson), Tanya’s young assistant; White Lotus manager Valentina (Sabrina Impacciatore); and locals Mia (Beatrice Grannò) and Lucia (Simona Tabasco) — in addition to a range of other people.

Still, we’re very clearly at a White Lotus resort. “Instead of season one’s more tropical beach overtone, the look of season two was created around a Mediterranean small-town vibe,” hair department head Miia Kovero tells POPSUGAR. “Yet again, parties of wealthy American tourists come to enjoy some time off at another luxurious White Lotus resort.” There are bouncy blowouts, shimmery eye makeup, tanned skin, and glossy lips as far as the eye can see.

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The location was definitely an inspiration. “We absolutely wanted to visually represent the new setting in the hair design by drawing from the local energy,” Kovero says. “A fan of such films as ‘Stromboli,’ ‘L’Avventura,’ and ‘A Bigger Splash,’ I wanted to capture the distinct essence of what it is like to visit Sicily.”

Makeup department head Rebecca Hickey says she believes Italians “put a lot of effort, or at least it looks that way, into how they appear,” which is the vibe she wanted this season to convey. “You’ll see that with the staff,” she says, such as Vanessa, the White Lotus manager. For the locals, they were inspired by “strong and sensual women” like actors Maria Grazia Cucinotta and Donatella Finocchiaro.

Both Hickey and Kovero were fortunate enough to have Italian beauty professionals on their respective teams, allowing them to tap into the local trends even more. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg — keep reading to learn more about what you can expect from this new adventure.

The White Lotus Season 2 Hair and Makeup Behind the scenes interview
Image Credit: HBO

Tell-tale signs that someone’s on vacation include tan and dewy skin (which could be from some R&R or the tropical, humid air). “For the most part, the guests have money, so they look put together,” Hickey says. However, in real life, the Mediterranean location posed a bit of a challenge. Even though getting a tan is often the goal of a trip, it wasn’t ideal for continuity in the show. Season two was filmed over six months, and nothing is filmed in chronological order. “I begged everybody to wear sunscreen,” Hickey says. To fake that sun-kissed glow, they used lots of bronzer instead.

The Holy Grails of Tanya’s Look

The White Lotus Season 2 Hair and Makeup Behind the scenes interview
Image Credit: HBO

Though Coolidge plays the role of Tanya in the series, Hickey says “she’s herself in so many ways.” Her look in season two is pretty much the same as it was in the first: “It’s a lot of contour, it’s bronzer, it’s a lip liner, it’s lashes. It’s a very full face of makeup, so that doesn’t change.”

And her manicure, according to Hickey, is undeniably a ’90s classic: “It’s always a french press-on nail.”

How Harper’s Look Differs From the Rest

The White Lotus Season 2 Hair and Makeup Behind the scenes interview
Image Credit: HBO

In a lot of ways, Harper stands out as a guest at the White Lotus. She doesn’t fit into the mold of the traditional patron, and that’s visible in her character’s look as well. “Hers was really interesting because I always think of White Lotus as [how] everyone should look on vacation, which means not a lot of makeup and natural, to an extent,” Hickey says. “But she had this idea that her character was someone who wasn’t doing that.”

Whereas many of the other guests are in glossy lips and dewy skin with rosy cheeks, Harper is very different. “She was using matte lipstick, she was using matte bronzers, matte eyeshadows,” she says. “[Plaza] was really specific about how she felt the character should look.”

Daphne Embodies the Typical Resort-Goer

The White Lotus Season 2 Hair and Makeup Behind the scenes interview
Image Credit: HBO

The biggest contrast to Harper’s glam beauty look is Daphne. “Their characters are so on opposite ends of the spectrum,” Hickey says. “Her nails are always done, her lip gloss is always on. She’s just fun and sweet and pretty.” Dewy blush, supermodel pink nails, and cream eyeshadow were must-have products. “I wanted her to just look fresh and [like] someone that cares, in a different way.”

The Unexpected Inspiration Behind Portia’s Gen Z Look

Portia is unlike any of the other guests at White Lotus — she’s a young, just-out-of-college 20-something-year-old assistant accompanying her boss, Tanya, on vacation. She’s clearly Gen Z, from her bucket hat down to her colorful eyeshadow moments and nose ring. “That was important, just to make her seem a lot younger than everybody else,” Hickey says. “She’s not married, she’s still trying to figure things out.”

Though not intentionally at first, “she looks like Urban Outfitters.”

Mia and Lucia’s Looks Evolve

The White Lotus Season 2 Hair and Makeup Behind the scenes interview
Image Credit: HBO

Mia has dreams of becoming a professional singer, while Lucia wants in with the wealthy clientele of the White Lotus. But despite wanting very different things, they end up influencing each other. “They kind of morph into each other,” Hickey says. “Every time that Mia’s at the piano, she’s got such a playful, childlike look, so we did a couple [of] crystals.”

The goal was to make Mia look like she was dressing up to play a part and fit in. “She doesn’t know this world,” Hickey says. “Her character is interesting to see the evolution of it.”

Standout Products Used on Set of “The White Lotus”

The White Lotus Season 2 Hair and Makeup Behind the scenes interview
Image Credit: HBO

There are a few products that Hickey and Kovero found themselves reaching for again and again. For makeup, they were the Danessa Myricks Colorfix Eye, Cheek & Lip Cream Pigment ($30), Clé de Peau Beauté The Concealer ($95USD), Wander Beauty Dualist Matte and Illuminating Concealer ($46), Westman Atelier Baby Cheeks Lip + Cheek Cream Blush Stick ($72), Stila Glitter & Glow Liquid Eyeshadow  ($36), Armani Beauty Luminous Silk Perfect Glow Flawless Oil-Free Foundation ($105), Anastasia Beverly Hills Strong Hold Clear Brow Gel ($42), and Saint Jane Beauty Luxury Lip Oil ($28USD).

For hair, Kovero’s team used a lot of Olaplex to combat the harshest of the salty sea hair, such as the Olaplex No. 4 Bond Maintenance Shampoo ($51), No. 5 Bond Maintenance Conditioner ($54), and the Olaplex No. 3 Hair Repair Perfector ($54).

The Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray ($68) was used regularly to refresh the hair, and a Temptu Portable Airbrush ($350) was “so handy to touch up grown-out roots between hair-coloring appointments.”

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