Your Signature Beauty Style: The Marilyn
Marilyn Monroe is the ultimate vintage icon. Her signature red lips accompanied with oozing sex appeal made her look one of the most coveted on and off the red carpet.
“One thing we can say about Norma Jean -- she was an expert artist and knew how to accentuate her features,” says Beautylish. “With her trusted makeup artist Allan Snyder at hand, Marilyn cultivated a signature beauty routine that solidified her status as the queen of ’50s glamour.” Although most of her techniques are suited for the Hollywood lights, taking a cue from Marilyn Monroe’s beauty ritual is never a mistake; after all, she is one of the first beauty rebels. Marilyn was never afraid to be “just wonderful,” as she has said.
If you’re the type of girl who loves wearing bold lipstick and isn’t afraid to let people know you put time into your beautifully primped face, then you’re definitely a Marilyn. Remember, being a Marilyn isn’t about being a blonde or sporting red lips, it’s about being a bombshell. Although these steps are extremely elaborate, and some may say exaggerative, don’t become discouraged. Take what you like, and use it to your advantage.
1. Prep Your Skin
Like The Audrey Look, it’s essential to take care of your skin for a healthy complexion. Marilyn loved to wash her face with Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil ($31, shuuemura-usa.com), which is still available today. Marilyn used petroleum jelly as a moisturizer in her beauty routine; talk about insane! We strongly advise you not to do that, but instead opt for your favorite moisturizer.
2. Achieve a Glow
Marilyn’s makeup placed an emphasis on creating a glow from within. Marilyn was known for layering Active pHelityl Cream and a powder foundation to create a super glossy effect on camera. On the downside, as a side effect of using a hormone cream, “she had the heaviest peach fuzz beard of any actress in Hollywood,” Monroe expert Gene London told Vogue UK. “They [studio chiefs] wanted to remove the facial hair, but Marilyn absolutely refused. She said that when the light hit the fuzz it caused her face to have a soft glow, so they didn’t have to photograph her through special lenses, lace or Vaseline the way they did with so many stars.”
Now, we strongly advise you never to use a hormone cream, but if you’re concerned with dullness or dryness, reach for Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector ($41, Sephora). And if have oily skin, opt for your favorite primer to combat excessive oiliness.
3. Choose the Perfect Foundation
Although, we’re sorry to inform you dolls that Marilyn’s makeup artist NEVER revealed the foundation used on Marilyn, we have a couple of ideas on what works. To achieve the best glamour girl look, avoid matte foundations. We like Laura Mercier Silk Creme Foundation ($9.99, Sephora) for its luminous finish and medium coverage.
4. Conceal Imperfections
Cover up any dark spots, redness and dark circles with your favorite concealer. We like Physicians Formula Conceal Rx Physicians Strength Concealer ($8.99, Ulta).
5. Master Flirty Eyes in Five Steps
A. Sweep a pearlescent off-white color, like L’oreal Infallible Eyeshadow in Endless Pearl ($7.95, drugstore.com), from the inner corner onto the lid and brow bone to brighten the area. To contour your lids, use a matte brown, smokey color. Now that you have put on your lid color, apply your false lashes, preferably demi lashes, for that elongated, smoldering look. We like Ardell Fashion Lashes in 120 Demi Black ($3.99, Ulta). Adding false lashes are always optional, but you’re a bombshell, you can totally pull it off!
B. Contrary to popular belief, Marilyn never used a black liner -- she always wore a dark brown or brown liner. Line your top lash line from the inner corner to the end with a thin brown line, like Bobbi Brown Gel Liner in Sepia Ink ($23, bobbibrowncosmetics.com); give your eye a slight wing. With the same color, fill in your lower lash line, but avoid having the top and bottom lines meet.
C. So here is where it gets tricky. If you pay close attention to photographs of Marilyn, you will notice that her bottom lash line has an upper lash line shadow! Even though this isn’t a natural reflection, it’s a drawn one, it’s effective in making your lashes look extraordinary voluminous to the point of creating a reflection. “Next, use the same shade of eyeshadow [matte brown] or a soft pencil draw a fake ‘upper lash shadow’ (as shown in the video) and then blend it well with either a brush or a cotton bud/Q-Tip,” says Lisa Eldridge, make-up artist extraordinaire.
P.S. You guys, Eldridge has THE BEST Marilyn Monroe tutorial in this universe! It’s basically a mini beauty documentary on Marilyn!
D. The following steps are additional and nonobligatory. Above Marilyn’s brown liner, Snyder always drew on a thinner gold line. And finally, this is a top secret step, as only people in the beauty industry know this: Snyder placed the smallest red dot -- yes you read right! -- in the inside corner of the eye for a brightening effect. Yep, we were pretty mindblown too! We don’t expect you to leave home like this everyday, but it would so fun to embrace the full Marilyn look as your go-to date night look.
E. Finally, don’t forget to coat your bottom and lower lashes! For an iconic woman, we love an iconic mascara: L’oreal Voluminous Original Mascara ($7.99, Ulta).
6. Don’t Skip Contouring and Blush!
Unlike The Audrey Look where contouring is rare, Snyder’s keen eye for beauty encouraged him to contour Marilyn’s face for definition and flattery, of course. For a full glamour girl effect, opt for a matte bronzer. “The exact method will be different for everyone as its dependent on your face shape, but aim for a heart shaped look with wide forehead, high cheekbones and smaller chin/jaw line effect,” says Eldridge. For blush, use your favorite pink shade.
7. And Highlight, Obviously!
Now this is something you cannot skip! As a bold beauty, don’t forget to exaggerate your best features. Make sure you pop some highlighter high on your cheekbones, on the bridge of your nose, on top of your cupid’s bow and center of your forehead. Trust us when we say this, you do WANT to invest in a good highlighter, as it will change your beauty routine! We love love Benefit Cosmetics High Beam ($26, Sephora).
8. Shape Sexy Brows
To widen her forehead, Marilyn arched her eyebrows. An arched eyebrow instantly gives you the illusion of an open eye and a smoldering look.
9. Perfect Your Pout
Now this is where it gets a tad bit complicated, but no surprise there! Marilyn’s lips are legendary. We are not saying that your job won’t be done with just a lip pencil and primer, but we are going to spill her secret either way. Like any lipstick aficionado, Marilyn used a mixture of two to three colors! This may shock some of you ladies, but all lipstick lovers are guilty of this beauty ritual.
If you’re curious about Marilyn’s elaborate lip routine: “First, Whitey Snyder would line above Marilyn’s top lip with a white pen (you can use the same as for eyes, provided you sharpen in between to prevent bacteria) -- this makes the top lip appear fuller,” says Get Glamorous. “Then, he would smudge it a bit to blend in and powder it, so the line wouldn’t be obvious. Then, the lips were lined with a red pencil (notice how the top lip is lined to come over the bottom lip). The outer edges were brushed with a darker red, the center of the mouth with a lighter red, to make lips look more voluptuous. Gloss was applied, with a thicker dollop in the center of the bottom lip. For film and photo shoots, they’d use Vaseline (a trick still sometimes used in glamour photography).”
Rumor is that Marilyn used Guerlain Rouge Diabolique, BUT you guessed it, it is discontinued! We love Mac Ruby Roo ($15, maccosmetics.com) for its true blue, old Hollywood hue.
10. Finishing Touches
Don’t forget to set your masterpiece with a loose, translucent powder. Off you go, don’t forget to spray Marilyn’s favorite Chanel No. 5!
It was rumored that Marilyn’s makeup routine took up to three hours to perfect! The thing about being a Marilyn is that makeup becomes your BFF and application becomes a perfected strategy. We are not saying you have to come out of your dorm room with every step completed to a T, but this gives you an idea of the type of look you’d like to sport everyday.
Take any step from Marilyn’s own make-up techniques, even if it’s just one, and find your inner beauty style as a bombshell!
Stay tuned, for we’ve got two more signature beauty styles to unveil in the coming weeks. Have you already found yours? Comment and tell us if you’re an Audrey or a Marilyn!
By: Ivanna Coello | Images: Source, listed retail stores