I'm an avid fan of the late actress, Marilyn Monroe. She's iconic, gorgeous, and an enigma. But, I also studied a lot of information to determine not only HOW she applied her cosmetics, but WHAT she used and WHEN. This post is to clarify a bit on Marilyn's beauty routine, what products she used and can you buy them today. As for the photo above- did she use it? The answer: Probably not. But what she did use? I'll tell you! But first, a lovely quote regarding the beauty and power Marilyn still holds today and her makeup's part in that allure:
Yona Zeldis McDonough, author and editor of "All the Available Light " has written a remarkable insight of a movie star who absorbed all the available light and made it her own.
Ms McDonough describes the infamous $13 million auction held at Christie's.
”There was a black tiered makeup case. The case was loaded with the tools of her trade, lipsticks and cream eye shadows in golden tubes with names like Pearly Blue and Autumn Smoke. These were hardly the pristine, fresh from the department store cosmetic packages that we might recognize from the world of advertising. Instead, it was clear that everything had been opened, used, and even slightly abused. These artifacts silently attest to the unmistakable humanity of their owner. They also remind us of the artifice-another name for magic-that she used to invent herself. Her cosmetics hold a dual meaning. They underscore her mortality while at the same time they were the very means by which she would ultimately escape it.”
Here's a lovely shot of the case below. It was bought by Ripley's Believe it Or Not and furnished by the infamous Christie's auction. What's in it? Here's a list:
-A black metal box containing
-Three Max Factor's lipsticks
-A set of flash eyelashes by Glorene of Hollywood
-A tube of Anitas d'Foged Day Dew cream makeup
-Two bottles of perfumed body lotion from the Quintess line by Shiseido
-A bottle of smelling salts
-Two papers fans
-Three satin purses
-Two pocket mirrors.
-There a little bits of hairs still stuck in the curlers
Another photo of Marilyn's Makeup:
I'll share what's what and all photos posted are her genuine items, not stock photos. First off, Marilyn was off and on when it came to beauty. She loved makeup and relied on her makeup man, Allan "Whitey" Snyder for years to make her up. But in public and very often in private, she hardly wore makeup at all. However, she was extremely adept at doing it herself and although there were others that helped, various studio employees and such, Marilyn preferred Whitey- even until she passed away. At her request, he prepared her for her viewing at Westwood.
Some quick facts:
Marilyn's Beauty Secrets
-Her first husband, Jim Dougherty, recalls that she used to rinse her face fifteen times after every wash.
-At times she would smear Vaseline, cold cream, or hormone cream over her face.
-When not wearing makeup, she would apply lanolin or olive oil to her face as a protecting agent.
-She would sometimes take ice baths, prepared by her masseur, Ralph Roberts, into which she would add Chanel No. 5.
-She told photographer Bert Stern in 1962 that she always used Nivea Skin Moisturizing Lotion.
At the bedside table of her room on the evening she died, there was a conspicuous little jar...Erno Laszlo's Active Phelityl cream, which is still available today (link further down).
She received this to prevent scarring issues from an abdominal surgery- where she posted a handwritten note to the surgeon to take care of her. Her face rinsing was also part of a popular regimen supported by Dr. Laszlo (but whether he was a real doctor isn't so mired in fact!). Popsugar has a couple of great posts on Marilyn's makeup HERE. Be sure to look for part 1 and part 2!
Above are actual jars of Marilyn's which sold at auction for over $1500...wow, that's some cream! What's interesting to note is that the image of the jars has virtually been unchanged since then. Take a look at the current Phelityl Cream HERE.
The powder she used was also Erno Laszlo's.
Called Duo-Phase it's meant to moisturize and has emollient properties...yours truly uses it and I love it. Some items below were bought at auction by a private collector. She had Erno Laszlo's afore-mentioned Active Phelityl cream & Duo-Phase powder, blush cream in a charming light shade of natural peach:
Some more photos of her auctioned off makeup:
Aaand an interesting item Laszlo markets as a 'Shake-It'. It's an alcohol based toner with a bit of tint. I own a modern version of almost the exact shade Marilyn wore and it's a light yellow based beige.
It's marketed as a foundation, but with a lot of alcohol and not much tint..it's a rough facial product.
Among other items, you can see the Shake-It on her vanity:
Another foundation Marilyn used was Anita d'Foged Day Dew Make-up in Ivory Medium.
The company is now knows as Anita of Denmark.
Marilyn also used Elizabeth Arden. She was known to shop in the store herself or be chauffeured by Rudy in a long, sleek Cadillac limousine.
She used a lot of items from EA- but most noticeably, Pat-A-Creme makeup, which is also discontinued, but came in a lovely whisper pink pan. You can find this today as Flawless Finish Sponge-On Cream Makeup.
Here's a photo of the little pink pot on Marilyn's desk
Here she is lining her eyes. Could it be with the same type of pencil pictured above- Elizabeth Arden's eyeliner in dark brown? She also used Glorene of Hollywood's eyeliner (picture below, a couple images down) in dark brown. Notice- NO BLACK (a great hint for you blue eyed gals)! She also used Elizabeth Arden shadows to make her quoted "Garbo Eyes" in shades of Autumn Smoke and Pearly Blue- all discontinued.
On her lashes she used Glorene of Hollywood falsies- also unavailable- but pictured in some of the images on this post. It's rumoured Whitey Snyder also used a hint of red at the inset corner of her eyes to enhance the whitness.
Marilyn Monroe's Favorite Lipstick was Max Factor Ruby Red (now called Ruby Tuesday) Lipstick and the oft rumoured "5 layers" of Guerlain Rouge Diabolique, discontinued (but also supposedly favored by Sharon Stone in KissKiss Insolence de Rouge). A very expensive pen is known to have a blot of her authentic, red lipstick...but shade and brand wasn't listed:
Apparently, she piled on liner, swiped the red, highlighted with a white cream in the center and either wax or Vaseline gave it that megawatt shine- that's a lot o' pucker! Other shades she was rumored to wear were Revlon Certainly Red, Revlon Hot Coral, Revlon Kiss Me Coral (that lovely orange red in Something's Got to Give), and Revlon Blase Apricot- all of which you can still find today.
If you want to copy that gorgeous lip- Besame offers a very close dupe (as the CEO Gabriela Hernandez wanted to be as exact as possible to studio makeup she inspected). Gabriela says, "Red Hot Red is based on Marilyn Monroe's Some Like it Hot red lipstick"- you can buy it HERE.
For lashes, Marilyn owned a Helena Rubinstein mascara wand with a gold tone case. There was a small tube of mascara and she would layer this on demi wispies to get that lovely doe eye.
Helena's makeup is still available and the closest dupe is available HERE. Here's another shot of the mascara with the above mentioned Glorene liner:
On Marilyn's hair, she did own a couple of boxes of Wella's Kolesteral creme tubes, take a look! Marilyn's hair was extremely processed and brittle from the bleach. Kolesteral was meant to condition...so much for those Lustre Creme shampoo ads!
For an extensive look at Marilyn's auctioned items by Julien's, click HERE. There is also a great volume cataloguing Marilyn's auctioned items by Christie's. You can buy it on Ebay or at Amazon.
A well beloved icon of American film, a beauty in her own caliber that has been nigh impossible to duplicate- Marilyn Monroe is a woman to be admired for her impact on pop culture. Now you know what makeup she wore, the photos themselves, and if you'd like- grab an item or two and copy her look!
Until next time,