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Beauty Icon: Esther Williams

Not one for the boho beach look? Turn to screen icon and award-winning synchronized swimmer Esther Williams for polished summer beauty inspiration.

  • Beauty Icon: Esther Williams
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    Photo: Getty Images
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    Photo: Getty Images

    World War II might have prevented Esther Williams from going to the Olympics in 1940, but that setback led her to Aquacade, the synchronized swimming group that in turn led her to famed producer Louis B. Mayer and an MGM contract. Her films and TV specials were amongst the most popular of the ‘40s and though Williams passed away last month, she’ll always epitomize poolside glamour.

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    As was de rigeur in the ‘40s, Williams opted for matte skin--even in the pool! Start with Sephora’s Mattifying Moisturizer Sunscreen ($22) before using a foundation brush to blend Hourglass’ Liquid Powder Mattifying Foundation ($55) all over your face.

  • Esther Williams Beauty Icon Highlighter
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    Tom Ford’s new limited-edition Illuminating Cheek Color ($58) in Bronzed Amber is a bronzer and highlighter in one. Dab onto cheekbones, down the bridge of your nose, in your cupid’s bow, and in the inner corners of your eyes.

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    Photo: Getty Images
  • Esther Williams Beauty Icon Eyes
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    Chantecaille’s new 24 Hour Waterproof Liners ($26) aren’t lying--they’ll stay put through cannonballs, highballs, or both! Draw a thin line of Orchid across the upper lash line before tracing over it with Oolong and using your finger to smudge up and into your eyelid. Finish with at least two coats of M.A.C.’s False Lashes Waterproof ($20) in Black.

  • Esther Williams Beauty Icon Nails
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    A classic look calls for a classic manicure. Use Wet n’ Wild’s Salon Nail Color ($2) in Red a Good Book on your toes and nails. Finish with Orly’s UV Protection Topcoat ($10).

  • Esther Williams Beauty Icon Lips
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    Layer Lavanila’s Healthy Lip Screen SPF 30 ($16) underneath Avon’s Extra Lasting Lipstick ($10) in Fiery Red.

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    Photo: Getty Images
  • Esther Williams Beauty Icon Hair
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    If you’re not going to jump in the water, set your hair with hot rollers. Use the largest curlers in Caruso’s Professional ProSet Steam Hairsetter ($50) and just barely comb the curls out with your fingers. Spray Garnier Fructis Anti-Humidity Hairspray with UV Color Shield ($5) all over your hair.

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    Rather wear it up? Tie Saturday’s Bandana ($30) in Small Squares around your head a la Rosie the Riveter, let the knot and loose ends lie to the side on top, and use Conair’s Firm Hold Bobby Pins ($3) to pull your locks back into a tight knot at the back of your head.

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