In honor of 'Blonde'—here are Marilyn Monroe’s makeup secrets and how to recreate them

·3 min read
 Marilyn Monroe, headshot, 1950
Marilyn Monroe, headshot, 1950

It turns out that Hollywood legend, Marilyn Monroe, has something major in common with TikTok—she loved a beauty hack and some of her makeup secrets are actually so on-trend right now. So, as we prepare for Ana De Armas’ hotly anticipated portrayal of the icon in Blonde, here are Marilyn Monroe’s makeup secrets and skincare holy grails that helped her achieve her timeless look.

From her iconic red lip to her sleepy eyes, in the beauty world, nothing is quite as famous as Marilyn Monroe’s signature look. For decades we’ve taken inspo from her, with the likes of Kim Kardashian even wearing Marilyn’s ‘birthday’ dress to the Met Gala.

She’s an eternal icon, whose beauty routine despite being circa 1950 is still classic—and easy to recreate. She even perfected an eyeliner hack that gives trends like the "siren eye" a run for its money.

American actress Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962) lies smiling on a couch, circa 1955.
American actress Marilyn Monroe (1926 - 1962) lies smiling on a couch, circa 1955.

So, if you’re looking to infuse your look with a bit of Hollywood glamour or perfect your Halloween costume as the blonde bombshell—here are some of her best (and worst kept) beauty secrets…

Marilyn Monroe’s makeup secrets

Marilyn Monroe’s eye makeup

Marilyn was known for her sultry, sleepy-looking eyes that always made her look effortlessly sexy on and off the screen and it turns out, they were the result of a very clever hack.

As shown in copious TikTok tutorials, Marilyn created a lash shadow effect, by using black or brown eyeliner on her lower lash line.

She would draw and angle the line out, extended from her lower lid, under her classic winged eyeliner to create a double liner look.

Then, taking a white liner she would fill in the space between the liners to make it look as though her lashes were casting a shadow.

Marilyn Monroe’s red lipstick

Actress Marilyn Monroe poses for a portrait in circa 1952.
Actress Marilyn Monroe poses for a portrait in circa 1952.

Perhaps the look most synonymous with the Some Like It Hot actress, her red lip is a must when recreating her vibe. Interestingly though, while you might think she just had the most perfect cool-toned lippy, Vogue reports that her makeup artist would actually use five different shades of red on her lips, to make them look plumper.

The darker hues would be applied to the outer edges of her lips and lighter towards the center—which helps create the illusion of a fuller pout.

Marilyn Monroe’s perfume

By now, it’s well-known that Marilyn's scent of choice was Chanel No.5 and while you might be about to say that that’s not necessarily a hack—the way she wore it is.

Marilyn famously revealed that she wore her perfume to bed—which if you ask us, gives serious ‘clean-girl’ vibes.

She recalled the moment in a 1960 interview with Marie Claire, which has since been used in Chanel's own marketing campaign for the scent.

She said: "You know, they ask me questions. Just an example: ‘What do you wear to bed? A pajama top? The bottoms of the pajamas? A nightgown?’ So I said, ‘Chanel No. 5,’ because it’s the truth!” Iconic.

Marilyn Monroe’s skincare routine

Throughout her life, Marilyn would visit dermatologist Erno Laszlo, as she had dry skin and so would remove her red lip with a cleansing oil, so as to not strip her skin.

She would then follow up with a cleansing soap—so double cleansing and, get this—she was also into ‘slugging’ before it was cool. Marilyn would apply vaseline all over her face, before her foundation to create that healthy, glowy skin look!