How to Discreetly Tear Off Marilyn Monroe’s Gaze

In beauty – as in fashion, food and politics – there is no such thing as an original idea. Makeup is a set of colored powders and waxes that can be decoratively smeared on the face; Aside from innovative formulations, this is all there will ever be.

Depending on your point of view, this is either an extremely depressing or completely free way to look at makeup, and I definitely fall into the last camp. Recreating iconic looks from things I already own is fun and keeps me focused on technique. Of course, iconic imagery can be pretty boring in the real world, so I usually just steal the pieces that work for me.

There is no image more capable of stealing than Marilyn Monroe; Anyone who wears makeup, from eternal aficionados of red lips and eyeliner to lip balm and mascara, can learn a thing or two from Marilyn’s expansive beauty routine. Here are the ones that I like the most, and I learned all of them fromLisa Eldridge’s incredible video about Marilyn’s appearance .

Get some bold

Marilyn almost used a foundation made from real animal fat , but her face products were still waxy, greasy and heavy – which is probably why she used petroleum jelly under the foundation.

Before you close the tab in disgust, listen to me: Vaseline is a great substrate for a foundation. Tough foods in it practically melt, even over crusted pimples; When I apply loose powder and fixing spray, my foundation looks beautiful all day. Best of all, unlike many common base ingredients, Vaseline doesn’t bother me; it really protects my sensitive, oily, acne prone skin from heavy makeup.

The Vaseline trick works with most foundations, but avoid super-watery formulations (like MAC Face & Body) and apply the powder with a puff or sponge rather than a brush. Otherwise, it’s as easy as applying a pea-sized drop of Vaseline all over your face before applying foundation; I find that really pushing my foundation into Vaseline with my fingers works best. Remember to sprinkle everything with powder when you’re done – again, it’s best to use a sponge or puff.

Enlist a little cheat Trompe L’Oeil

Not one of those who strive for perfection, Marilyn raised her entire gaze directly from Greta Garbo – and this is surprisingly straightforward. However, the particular eye shadow arrangement Marilyn used completely fades before my eyes, so I don’t worry about anything other than winged eyeliner, mascara, and the most graceful lower lash feathering trick of all time.

You don’t have to wear a winged liner, but if you do, use a pencil; Marilyn used brown eyeliner rather than black liquid. One step you should n’t skip is drawing an “inverted wing” to the outer corner of your lower lashes – this is what made Marilyn’s upper lashes puffy and heavy enough to cast a shadow all the time. For this trick, I used everything from powder to gel to eyebrow pencil and it always looks amazing.

Take a bath in a marker

Every aspect of Marilyn’s makeup was designed with youthful glow in mind, so naturally the highlighter was extremely important to her look.

I’ve always liked the aggressively glowing cheekbone, but I didn’t branch out until I studied Marilyn’s gaze more closely. She highlighted almost all of her face: the cheeks and brow ridges, of course, but also the very center of her cheeks, the bridge of her nose, the center of her forehead and chin, as well as around the tear ducts.

As an oilfield, I was worried that applying the shimmery highlighter anywhere other than my cheekbones would make me look super oily. Incredible, but the opposite is also true – the generous highlighter captures light in a way that looks completely deliberate, rather than the Crisco style that happens when my skin is on its own. The moral of the story here is to go crazy with the marker; that’s what Marilyn would like.

Blush contour

Two methods that are most likely to strike fear into the heart of a makeup lover are contouring and blush , and here I encourage you to combine them. I promise that if you put some extra blush on your wrist before you apply it on your face – and with a little patience – you will find that it’s not all that bad.

My blush secret actually starts with a highlighter. I usually mix cream or liquid highlighter on the temples and tops of the cheekbones and then use a blush to blend the lower edges of this highlighter even further – this is a sure-fire guide for applying blush. To create Marilyn’s blush, apply most of the blush directly in front of your ear and blend the color up to the cheekbones and down to the corners of the mouth. Dab a little on your temples for a better effect, and if you like, apply a little powder highlighter to the very tops of your cheekbones. (Of course I know.)

Enlarge your lips

There is no lip in history more iconic than Marilyn’s signature red fire truck, and like all the best, her image is technique. If you have a satin or cream bullet lipstick and a darker matte pencil – I use my brow pencil a lot – you have what it takes to recreate a Marilyn-caliber lip.

The easiest way to do the eyeliner is in segments. I start with Cupid’s bow, then paint the outer corners of the lips, then the fullest part of my lower lip; from there it’s a connect the dots game. Slightly blend the lip liner inward, then apply the creamy lipstick to the center of the lips, moving outward to meet the liner. Blot well, reapply lipstick and repeat as much as you like; Marilyn’s lips seemed so full and smooth in large part because her makeup artist physically filled them with lipstick.

Take a step back and appreciate; if you need more blush here or liner there, apply it at arm’s length from the mirror. Put a stop to the beauty mark – the final, optional touch – and go on with your day looking incredible, amazing, ridiculously good.


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