These Are the Beauty Secrets That Marilyn Monroe Swore By

Updated 10/06/17
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As much as we make it our mission to be on top of the new and the now, we also really love a beauty history lesson—especially when it comes to someone with a truly iconic look, like Marilyn Monroe. Which is why we were so pumped to see that Marie Claire went ahead and dug up the beauty commandments that Monroe and her makeup artist, Whitey Snyder, relied on for the actress’s look. Ready to see how that face came together? Keep reading to see how Snyder and Monroe sculpted her pout, made her lashes look so luscious, and contoured way before the Kardashians were around.

marilyn monroe beauty tips
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Lips

The secret to Monroe’s legendary lips? Contouring—with as many as five different colors. Snyder’s technique involved a darker red on the outer corners of the mouth followed by lighter shades in the middle to add dimension. He then added highlighter to the Cupid’s bow and bottom lip for pillowy flourish. Definitely a lot of work but probably (definitely) more worth it than the #KylieJennerLipChallenge. Want to get that deep scarlet in just one shade? Try MAC’s Lipstick ($17) in the universally flattering Ruby Woo.

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Eyes

Those come-hither lashes were the result of cutting falsie strips in half and just glueing them on the outer corners of the eye—Monroe thought they looked more natural that way. Snyder then used four different eyeliner colors—Elizabeth Arden’s Beautiful Color Smoky Eyes Pencil ($19) in red, brown, white, and black, to be exact—lining the waterline and extending out into a wing. He would then draw a little white triangle in the outer corner of the eyes to make them look bigger. Finally, to enhance Monroe’s hooded lids, he used a contouring trick that screen siren Greta Garbo also swore by: Snyder blended white shadow all the way up to the brow bone as well as into the inner corners of the eyes to add more dimension.

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Face

Thought glossy cheekbones and a contoured nose were newer trends? Think again—Snyder sculpted Monroe’s face by highlighting with Vaseline or coconut oil. He then used blush to enhance the hollows of her cheeks and to refine the tip of her nose. 

See a couple more of Monroe's beauty secrets at Marie Claire, and tell us: Do any of these tips surprise you? Are there any old-school beauty tricks you swear by?

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