5 questions about Scottish face makeup (as seen in Braveheart)

Braveheart Face Paint Chances are, you’ve seen quite a few faces painted in the distinctive Scottish colors (as made famous by Braveheart). That’s why we’re answering the top questions about that mysterious look.

The basics

Q: Why do they wear blue or blue and white makeup?

If you didn’t know, these are the Scottish colors. You can see them on Scotland’s flag.

Q:  What is that paint?

It’s called woad. It’s a plant and the blue dye is produced from the leaves.

Q: Did Braveheart really wear that paint into battle?

Probably not. Most historians think the paint was an earlier phenomenon (Wikipedia has a lengthy section on historical inaccuracies in the film). We also like the nit-picking produced on this blog’s Braveheart tag.

The movie

Q: Who did the makeup for Braveheart?

Lois Burwell, who won an Oscar for her work (shared with Peter Frampton and Paul Pattison).

Q: Was the iconic design always in place? No. Originally, star Mel Gibson was going to have St. Andrew’s Cross on his face, but Burwell went with a different design instead.

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