What is it about Marilyn Monroe? Somehow her allure is as powerful now as it was in Hollywood's Golden Age. She was a big-screen goddess with both sex appeal and natural charm, but that's only part of the story. Here are nine of the beauty secrets that contributed to the image that endures to this day.
5 Shades of Red
To make her lips appear fuller, Marilyn Monroe had her makeup artist apply five different shades of gloss and lipstick. The contrast between the darker reds on the outer edges and the lighter hues toward the center of her lips gave them added dimension in photographs.
Secret in Her Eyes
The celebrated actress used Elizabeth Arden Show Stopper pencils in both brown and black to create an alluring cat eye look. A strong eyeliner accentuated her eyelids. Monroe also wore false eyelashes from Glorene of Hollywood.
Breakfast of Champions
Monroe: "I've been told that my eating habits are absolutely bizarre, but I don't think so. Before I take my morning shower, I start warming a cup of milk on the hot plate I keep in my hotel room. When it's hot, I break two raw eggs into the milk, whip them up with a fork, and drink them while I'm dressing. I supplement this with a multivitamin pill, and I doubt if any doctor could recommend a more nourishing breakfast for a working girl in a hurry."
Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
Over the years, Monroe employed a number of hairstylists—including Gladys Rasmussen, Kenneth Battelle and Pearl Porterfield—to perfect her blond locks, which she described as "pillow case white." Bleach and peroxide were used to highlight her hair every three weeks, and it's said that Monroe even used baby powder on the roots.
Despite all the photos of her on the beach, Monroe avoided the sun, and she applied Vaseline or Nivea Creme before putting on her makeup to maintain her silver-screen glow. Among the other beauty products said to have been her favorites: olive oil, Pond's Cold Cream, lanolin and Elizabeth Arden Eight-Hour Cream. Her dermatologist, Erno Laszlo, prescribed Active Phelityl Cream, a general-use moisturizer and a restorative botanical balm called Phormula 3-9, which was created especially for her.
Some Like It Hot
At night, Monroe routinely plunged her face into a basin of hot water before going to bed. But she wasn't strict about getting her beauty sleep—depending on the day, she would sleep anywhere from 5 to 10 hours a night. "On Sunday, which is my one day of total leisure, I sometimes take two hours to wake up, luxuriating in every last moment of drowsiness," she once said.
The Marilyn Workout
Monroe's "simple bust-firming routine," as outlined in Pageant magazine, wasn't exactly a punishing workout. After lifting two five-pound weights above her head 15 times in a "spread-eagle arm position," she did a second set with arms about her head and a third with arms at a 45-degree angle. She would exercise at bedside each morning "until I'm tired."
Love Potion No. 5
The short-lived star used exactly five drops of Chanel No.5—her famous sleepwear—each time she anointed herself. It has been said that she was so enamored with the scent's jasmine and rose notes that she poured liberal amount into her cold baths as well.
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