“Beneath the makeup and behind the smile I am just a girl who wishes for the world.” – Marilyn Monroe
In 2013, we’re a lot more aware of where diamonds come from, and the dumb blonde act isn’t so cute anymore—but we still can’t resist the charms of Marilyn Monroe. In Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, one of her most iconic roles, Marilyn played Lorelei Lee, a woman with a passion for diamonds who saw bagging a rich guy as the only way a woman could succeed in the ’50s. Aside from Marilyn’s breathy sex appeal and comic chops, what we remember most about this film is her glamour: that perfect platinum coif, her flawless red lips and the figure-hugging costumes that are still mimicked all these years later. Here’s how to copy Marilyn Monroe’s vintage glam look with natural beauty products.
Marilyn Monroe Makeup: Red Lips and Illuminated Skin
Winged eyeliner, perfectly arched brows, scarlet lips and radiant skin came together into one trademark look that defines Hollywood glamour to this day. Marilyn always looked like she was glowing from within, yet there was never a flaw visible: no red spots, no undereye circles, no blemishes. Most of us aren’t starting with a perfect canvas, but we can fake it. Apply a light moisturizer to eliminate any dry spots and ensure an even application of foundation, and then cover any imperfections with a concealer like Josie Maran’s Argan Creamy Concealer Crayon or Jane Iredale’s Circle/Delete concealer, making sure to blend well.
Using a foundation brush (Eco Tools and Tarte offer cruelty-free options), apply a layer of light foundation. Then, use a highlighter stick along the tops of your cheekbones, down the center of your nose, and just below the arch of your eyebrows. Some quality organic options include W3LL People’s Universalist 2 Color Stick and Ilia Beauty’s Illuminator.
Winged eyeliner can be a little tricky if you’re not used to doing it, so follow along with a YouTube tutorial or two to practice. A swipe of red lipstick finishes off the look – check out our red-lip recommendations and tips.
Iconic Blond Curls: Recreating Marilyn’s Hair
Not everyone can achieve or pull off Marilyn’s pale platinum, but you can get the general effect with some rollers and volumizing products. You can try the pin curl method, which is what Marilyn did herself, as illustrated at Va-Voom Vintage Blog, or use the quicker modern method offered by XO Jane. To boost volume at the roots, try Intelligent Nutrients Organic Volumizing Spray, or Aveda’s Volumizing Tonic.
While there are plenty of ethical alternatives to blood diamonds, you don’t need anything that expensive to get Marilyn’s sparkly look. Raid thrift stores, vintage boutiques, Etsy and eBay for pre-loved costume jewelry – the hunt is part of the fun! The same goes for opera-length gloves.
Marilyn’s costumes in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes were so racy for the times, one particular deep-plunging gold dress didn’t make it past the censors. They were all designed to cling to her body in all the right places, showing off her curves. Look for vintage or vintage-style dresses with halter-style tops, nipped waists and flowing skirts that skim the hips.
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