8 Beauty Lessons We’ve Learned From Marilyn Monroe
While we reject entirely the idea that brunettes are mousy or that gentlemen prefer blondes, we do have to concede that going platinum made Monroe's career. She lightened her brown hair early in her modeling days and never looked back. Pearl Porterfield, the colorist behind Monroe's platinum curls (and Jean Harlow's before her), used old-fashioned peroxide to make the actress stand out on- and off-screen. But don't go that retro: We suggest the less harsh, more high-tech John Frieda Precision Foam Colour in Extra Light Beige Blonde instead. If your hair is quite dark, gradually build toward a lighter color.
Get Glowing Skin
Monroe's face always seemed lit from within. Her secret: facial hair. For real. It was a thin layer of downy peach fuzz on her cheeks that caught the studio lights just so--and she refused to wax it off! No need to grow a beard, though: You can mimic Monroe's luminosity with well-placed highlighter. We like Smashbox Halo Highlighting Wand and Victoria's Secret Luminous Cheek and Face Highlighter in Showtime to create a subtle (and smooth!) glow.
Maintaining her gorgeous skin was essential to the star. She moisturized night and day, and her product picks are even still on the market. Like many of her contemporaries, Monroe wore all-purpose Elizabeth Arden Eight-Hour Cream and swore by the nighttime moisturizer Erno Laszlo Active Phelityl Cream. Erno Laszlo Phormula 3-9, which diminishes the appearance of scars, was actually created for the actress to fade a scar on her stomach.
Monroe accentuated her heavy lids with a distinct strip of eyeliner. To create her cat-eyes, she kept Elizabeth Arden Show Stopper pencils in black and brown in her makeup kit. Angled pencils can make copycatting a little easier for novices (try Pop Beauty Cat Eyes in Black Olive). If you stray outside the lines a little, just dip a cotton swab in liquid makeup remover to clean it up.
Enhance Your Eyelashes
In 1999, Christie's auctioned off a makeup bag Monroe once owned for $1 million dollars. In it were some of her makeup favorites, and a set of Glorene of Hollywood false eyelashes. To amp up your eye game like Monroe, try reusable Ardell Fashion Lashes or self-adhesive Laura Mercier Full Faux Lashes. Application tip: Curl your real lashes first, and you'll provide a base for the falsies to latch onto.
Raise the Brow
Monroe made a point with her sassy arched brows. Brow stencils like those from the Anastasia Beverly Hills salon can guide you to the perfect curve. If you're nervous about changing the shape of your brows, see a pro groomer for your first time. After getting a great shape from an expert, you can maintain it on your own.
Try Red Lips
Monroe was pretty in pink, but the lipstick we associate with her most is certainly a classic red. To honor the actress 50 years after her death, M.A.C. is launching a limited-edition line of products this fall, including red lipstick. To find the right shade for you, choose one that flatters not just your skin tone but also your eye color. Orange-reds look great on women with hazel, light brown, and green eyes, says makeup artist Tim Quinn. True reds are for true blues, and berry shades flatter dark brown eyes.