How Marilyn Monroe maintained her beauty

Updated: May 7, 2020

Marilyn Monroe was once crowned the sexiest woman in the world. The dazzling actress was one of the most successful models and film stars to have ever lived; as she made appearances in 29 films, won 3 golden globes and even sang Happy Birthday to the US President. She was often described as humble and simple, her internal beauty as rich as her extrinsic qualities.

Almost sixty years later, the Marilyn effect is still, very much present in Western culture. Her marvellous aesthetic has won her continuous features on our bedroom canvasses, boudoir furniture, and pop art prints.

Marilyn Monroe themed room

Marilyn-themed dressing rooms are a thing. Image: Pinterest

How did she do it? Was Marilyn a natural beauty, or did her image require a strict regime, and hours in front of the mirror? This post dives into the starlet’s beauty routines, and her tips and tricks that she used to effortlessly accentuate her knockout beauty.

“Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.”

Marilyn on…HAIR-CARE

Maintaining blonde hair is a tedious job and when dyed too often, can lead to damaged, broken hair. To reduce any chance of this, Marilyn would wash her hair less frequently and use Baby Powder on her roots in between washes.

Marilyn Monroe GIF

GIF: Giphy

Hair extensions were just as popular in the 50s and 60s as they are today, and we understand Marilyn was also, when a lock of false hair was found presented in her make-up drawer, sold at an auction in 2005. It was discovered alongside other items; a lash curler, false lashes, a comb, bobby pins, eye-shadow and a lip brush.

Marilyn Monroe's makeup drawer

Inside Marilyn’s make-up drawer. Image: Pinterest

Marilyn on…GETTING SOME SUN

Norma Jean was renowned for her creamy, imperfection-free skin and in a 1952 interview with Pageant magazine, she explains why. Despite tanning being incredibly popular at the time, (it indicated a person’s wealth and how they spent their free time) Marilyn counters this judgement and admitted that she doesn’t think “suntanned skin is any more attractive…or any healthier, for that matter. I’m personally opposed to a deep tan because I like to feel blonde or over.”  

Marilyn Monroe beach

Image: Flickr

Marilyn on…FRAGRANCE

Monroe once famously declared in an interview that all she wears to bed is “a few drops of Chanel No. 5.” She said, “I don’t want to say nude, but its the truth.” It’s an iconic line that is associated often with the movie star and arguably contributed to the success of the Chanel No. 5 Fragrance.


Marilyn on…SKINCARE

The actress was obsessed with hydration and often favoured Nivea Creme to create the perfect dewy base for her make-up. Vaseline was also her best friend; she used it as a highlighter, particularly on her eyelids, as it created a clever soft focus underneath studio lighting. 

GIF: Giphy

“I want to grow old without facelifts. I want to have the courage to be loyal to the face I have made.”

Marilyn on…DIETING

Marilyn shed light on her breakfast and eating habits during her Pageant magazine interview. Her daily breakfast consisted of a healthy combination of milk and eggs – the milk warmed before adding 2 raw eggs to it. Lunch would often be skipped. The model’s dinner would consist of meat (usually lamb or steaks) carrots and liver.

Marilyn Monroe Pageant magazine

Image: intothegloss

Marilyn on…LIP CONTOURING

Before Huda Kattan there was Marilyn and boy, did she love bright, bold lips. Often, she would use many shades of colour to contour her lips – darker tones on the outer corners, lighter shades in middle to create dimension, a highlighter to accentuate the cupids bow, followed by gloss.

Marilyn Monroe close-up

Image: Wikimedia

Marilyn on…EXERCISE

Every morning Marilyn would commit herself to a simple “bust-firming routine” with two small weights for about 10 minutes. She explained “I do this 15 times from a position with my arms above my head. Then, with my arms at a 45-degree angle from the floor, I move my weights in circles until I’m tired.

Marilyn Monroe workout

Image: messynessychic

Do you have any Marilyn tips to add to the list? Comment below, I’d love to hear from you.

#beautysecrets #marilynmonroe #marilynmonroesbeautyroutine

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