How Can I Put On My Makeup Like Marilyn Monroe

This famous look can be yours.

Given the famous pout, the seductive bedroom eyes and the overall alluring look, it comes as no surprise if you've ever wondered, how can I put on my makeup like Marilyn Monroe? The screen queen set a precedent for glamour that is felt even today. With her voluptuous figure, flawless makeup and polished appearance, she was a source of envy and admiration for millions. Today, many women look to Monroe as a style icon of sorts.

Marilyn Monroe Basics

Elton John famously sang that "her candle burned out long before her legend ever did," and there's some truth to that. Marilyn Monroe died young, at age 36, but she left a lasting impression - one that spilled forth for decades and continues to even now. Though Monroe made plenty of memorable films - The Seven Year Itch and Some Like It Hot among them - it was her look that really made the strongest statement. She was the very epitome of the sexy screen siren - buxom blonde with luscious curls, full lips, thick eyelashes and a perfectly positioned mole, to boot.

Needless to say, there's no question women aspired to look the part. Achieving it then would likely have taken plenty of moxie, but modern women hold nothing back when it comes to flaunting their best assets - or faking those assets if they don't have them. Want to look the part of Ms. Monroe? You're not alone, ladies.

How Can I Put On My Makeup Like Marilyn Monroe?

You've asked yourself the old question a few times now: How can I put on my makeup like Marilyn Monroe? That's good enough reason to take a good, long look at a few photographs of Monroe and examine what it was that made her so noticeable. Here's how to achieve her striking look:


Start with fresh, dewy skin. Monroe didn't go overboard with foundation, but her starting palette was always clean and luminous. Apply a hydrating cream all over the skin and allow it to sink in for five to 10 minutes before applying your foundation.

Foundation and Concealer

Monroe is said to have worn a foundation by Anita d'Foged called Daydew, in shade Ivory Medium. The line is now known as Anita of Denmark, and the you can find the Daydew line here, although the exact shade of Ivory Medium is no longer available. For an alternative, check out Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place Makeup in a shade like Ecru or Linen. Use a foundation brush to apply the makeup perfectly - it will leave behind a clean, flawless finish. If you need concealer, dot a bit beneath imperfections and blend upwards to conceal them completely.

Setting Powder

Monroe was an Erno Laszlo devotee - several of her Laszlo beauty products were even auctioned off, and photographs of her room clearly show several Laszlo jars (even one next to her bed on the day she passed away). Monroe reportedly used Duo-Phase Loose Powder in Translucent Light, but if you want an alternative, check out Cover Girl Professional Loose Powder in the same shade. Use this to set your makeup and keep it in place all day.


If your eyebrows are sparse, use an angled brow brush to enhance them with a powder, such as Ulta's Brow Powder Duo. Powders are less harsh than pencils, and look much more natural.

Eye Makeup

Monroe's striking eyes would be the most distinctive part of her face, were it not for that brightly colored pout she favored. The entire eyelid and brow bone were covered with a creamy white eye shadow (try Covergirl Shadow Pot in white). Next, she would blend a warm brown or gleaming light blue into the crease, depending on her overall look (try Illamasqua Powder Eye Shadow in Truth for the brown or Mac Satin Eyeshadow in Triennial Wave for the blue).

Eyeliner was used to create intense drama. Use a black liquid (like Lancôme GRANDIÔSE Bendable Liquid Eyeliner) to trace a line across the upper lash line, ending with a graceful sweep that extends just past the eye (very vaguely similar to a cat eye effect). Then do the same on the lower lids (using a creamy pencil liner instead), but instead of following the circular shape of the eye, trace a straighter line that ends just perpendicular to the eye's outer corner. Close inspections of Monroe's eyes will give you a great idea of just how to achieve this. Finish with a touch of white eye shadow in the inner corner of the eye. For further intensity, add a pair of false eyelashes.


The epitome of femininity, Monroe favored a pretty rose or pink-toned blush to highlight her cheekbones. Lancôme Blush Subtil in Rose Tendresse or Rose Fresque are both great choices for this look. Use a thick, fluffy blush brush to deftly sweep the apples of your cheek. Follow by running the brush lightly up toward the temples. Apply a drop of highlighter to the tops of the cheeks - Benefit Cosmetics High Beam is a great choice - and blend thoroughly to achieve a luminous glow.


Despite appearing as nothing more than a coat or two of cherry red lipstick, Monroe went through quite an intensive process to achieve that famous pout, complete with an exaggerated cupid's bow. It's said that she would blend together several different shades of red to achieve the perfect one, finishing with a dab of light gloss in the center of her bottom lip to achieve a fuller look.

For your own perfect red lip, outline and fill in your lips with a red lipliner (like Make Up For Ever Aqua Lip Waterproof Lipliner Pencil in Red 8C). Follow with two coats of the red of your choice (MAC Russian Red is fantastic), and soften the lower lip with a touch of metallic, white, or sheer gloss (like MAC Clear Gloss).

Other Tips

Monroe is strongly associated with two other traits: Her beauty mark, which you can achieve with a black eyeliner pencil, and her affection for Chanel No. 5. Add these to complete the look!

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How Can I Put On My Makeup Like Marilyn Monroe