Although its very difficult to get all the exact details as her make-up artist never betrayed her secrets, it's fun to talk about the different tricks and details of Marilyn's look. In this video Marilyn had lots of different looks and was pretty natural off camera but this video concentrates on the very glamorous look she had for her movies and poster shoots from 1953 through to the end of the 50's. Lots of the tricks were geared towards the lighting, film and cameras of the time... Hope you enjoy it!
First you’ll need a good moisturiser or primer to suit your skin type. Ideally one that leaves your skin with a dewy sheen (unless you have oily skin in which case use oil free without a dewy finish). Marilyn liked Vaseline, Nivea and Erno Laszlo.
Next apply a medium coverage, fresh finish foundation (so nothing too chalky or matte). I used Suqqu Cream Foundation applied using a By Terry Foundation Brush in the video.
Conceal as needed and, if you have oily skin, apply a light dusting of sheer powder.
Apply a white/beige cream shadow without shimmer all over the eyelid. I use Bobbi Browns Glacier (Bone would be better for darker skintones) but you could also use a MAC Paintpot. If you don’t have any cream eyeshadows, use a matte powder eyeshadow in a similar shade.
Apply a white shimmery powdered eyeshadow all over the lid concentrating on the lid, brow bone and inner corner. Any brand is fine.
Give eye lashes a good curl - I use Shu Uemura in the video.
Add a good coat of any mascara to top lashes - I’m using Lancome's Doll Eyes.
Apply a set of specially made ‘half lashes’ or cut an existing full set in half leaving the longer end intact. Apply to outer half of top lashes. See my ‘applying fake lashes’ video for advice on application.
A brown pencil or gel (for modern day formula) is used next to trace a thin line along the top lashline, winging it up and out at the end. I use Bobbi Brown Gel Liner in Sepia Ink.
Take any cool taupey shade (to suit your skin tone) and buff the shade into the outer third of the socket line to create depth. I used a Mac 217 brush to do this.
Next, using the same shade of eyeshadow or a soft pencil draw a fake ‘upper lash shadow’ (as shown in the video) and then blend it well with either a brush or a cotton bud/Q-Tip. I used Suqqu Eyeshadow brushes.
Add a touch of mascara to lower lashes.
Using either a cream or powder contour start contouring your face. The exact method will be different for everyone as its dependent on your face shape but aim for a heart shaped look with wide forehead, high cheekbones and smaller chin/jaw line effect.
Highlight your face using either a lighter cream foundation, cream or powder highlighter, shimmey or flesh toned pale powder shadow and apply to the front of the cheeks at the side of the nose, high onto the cheekbones, down the centre of the nose, top of the lip and centre of the forehead. Again be lead by what suits your face shape and skin type.
Apply a bright corally pink blusher as shown in the video. I used the Horizon Blush De Chanel along the cheek bones and up onto the temples to sculpt.
Shape lips as shown using a true bluish red lip pencil with high pigment. I’m using Mac Lip Pencil in Cherry. How you do the lips depends on how long you want to spend and how many red lipsticks you own! In the video I use Mac Ruby Woo, Mac Lady Danger and Guerlain Kiss Kiss Insolence De Rouge.
Apply a touch of shimmer powder to the centre of the lower lip and finish with a coat of lip gloss.
If you want to learn more about the history of makeup, have a look at my FacePaint page here X