Monday, 4 August 2014

Vintage Beauty in the Modern Age: Channeling Marilyn

First off, I don't resemble Marilyn Monroe and the only common feature we share is the blonde, otherwise we have very different features. Secondly, I'm an Audrey Hepburn girl through and through and much prefer her fifties glamour look over Marilyn's. Just getting that straight. Today I decided to play with some makeup and create my own Marilyn Monroe look that's a little less heavy and a little more modern. It was fun to make myself up as a vintage film star and well as try out my shaky liquid liner skills.

Marilyn Monroe is possibly one of the most iconic women of this century, know for having a killer signature look that many have tried to duplicate over the years. After doing some research, I learned that Marilyn's makeup artist literally took up to three hours to do her makeup, carefully sculpting and perfecting her face to make her into a complete knock-out. Apparently Marilyn always said that if she died before her makeup artist, she wanted him to do her makeup at her funeral... which he actually did do. Marilyn's look was very done up and dramatic, putting huge emphasis on those juicy red lips (she was rumored to wear up to 5 layers of lipstick at one time). Marilyn was ahead of her time in knowing all of the beauty secrets that we often use today, but perhaps not all at once as she did. Marilyn's face was contoured and highlighted much in the same way as Kim Kardashian. She wore a dark lip liner and a lighter lipstick to make her lips look much fuller. In order to achieve her dreamy eyes she wore a half set of lashes to draw attention to the outer corners and give her those sexy "bedroom" eyes.

Here are the main features of my makeup look that's a more natural take on the iconic Marilyn movie star look. I will include a full list of products below:

Marilyn always had super glowy but completely perfected skin. For a dewy base, I used an illuminating primer underneath a foundation that wasn't heavy but photographed well. I attempted to contour my face into the heart shape that Marilyn had using a matte bronzer. I kept the cheeks natural with a rosey peach blush. A highlighting concealer and shimmery eyeshadow was used on the high points of the face (forehead, top of cheekbones, bridge of nose, cupid's bow).

Products Used: L'Oreal Magic Lumi Primer, Urban Decay Naked Skin Foundation, Maybelline Dream Lumi Concealer, Nars Translucent Crystal Setting Powder, Too Faced Chocolate Soleil Bronzer, Rimmel Stay Blushed Liquid Cheek Tint in Sunkissed Cherry, Urban Decay Virgin Eyeshadow.

Although Marilyn was rumoured to have worn shimmery colors on the lids to draw attention to her eyes, I chose a matte eyeshadow look. I used a matte cream color over the lid and a matte light brown in the crease and outer V. The liquid liner was kept very thin across the lashline with a subtle flick at the end to elongate the eyes. My eyes are quite round so it is challenging to make them look cat-like and dreamy like Marilyn's. Mascara was concentrated to the out corner of the lashes to make the lashes look fluttery.

Products Used: Urban Decay Naked Palette (Virgin, Sin, Naked & Buck), Wet n Wild Brulee Eyeshadow, Stila Stay All Day Waterproof  Liquid Liner in Black, L'Oreal Telescopic Shocking Extensions Mascara. 

To make my lips appear much larger than they are, I used Marilyn's trick of over-drawing the lips with a liner before applying lipstick. I chose two shades of red in order to apply a lighter color just in the center of the lips to make them appear bigger again. Red gloss was added just in the center to create the illusion of a juicy scarlet pout. To keep the lines clean, I used the highlighting concealer around the perimeter of my lips to make them look more perfected.

Products Used: Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss Lipstick in 01, Rimmel Lasting Finish by Kate Moss Matte Lipstick in 110, Essence Lip Liner in 04 Honey Bun, NYX Lip Liner in Hot Red, Nars Larger than Life Lip Gloss in Hollywoodlawn. 

So that's my rendition of a modern Marilyn look. I tried to used a mix of higher end products as well as more affordable options. I think it's fun to play with makeup and step out of our comfort zone every now and then. What do you think of the sexy silverscreen siren look?

Thanks for reading.


  1. oh my goodness thank you for ACTUALLY doing research! I cannot count the amount of videos I've watched where girls put on some liner and red lipstick and call it a ''marilyn look' . Ugh, anyway! You look stunning! I definitely have to try out that killa lip combo ;)

    1. Haha thanks Louise! I'm a bit of a nerd and like to do proper research before talking about it. I love reading about vintage makeup looks/techniques from way back. Thanks for the compliment girl! I do wish I looked more like her though :P I wouldn't mind those "bedroom eyes". Thanks for commenting! xo

  2. The waves in your hair looks so beautiful! I really like Marilyn Monroe's iconic look. I'm a sucker for red lips and liner and so I'm all for this look. It's pretty fun looking into what she used and what tricks she and her makeup artist did to create it. I think you did a fantastic job and you should do an Audrey Hepburn look if you haven't yet!

    1. Thanks Hao! I'm normally a bit of a hair noob but my CHI curling wand is made for hair-challenged people like myself. I have always loved red lips, pin up makeup is probably what sparked my interest in makeup years ago. I personally love making myself up to different eras and I think you're right, I may have to do an Audrey look (I've found a dupe for that gorgeous peachy pink lipstick from Breakfast at Tiffany's). Thanks again for the support darling :D Have a great day! xo