February 8, 2016

Allan "Whitey" Snyder is the makeup artist behind the iconic faces of some of the most beautiful actresses that ever walked Golden-age Hollywood, including the most famous blonde bombshell of all time, Marilyn Monroe. On his beauty handbook, he revealed the trade secrets behind Marilyn's glamorized beauty.

This is a little kid who wants to be with the other little kids sucking lollipops and watching the rollercoaster, but she can’t because they won’t let her. She’s frightened to death of that public which thinks she is so sexy. My God, if they only knew.” -Allan “Whitey” Snyder

Allan "Whitey" Snyder on set, glamming up Marilyn Monroe.  (c) to the owners of the photos.

Marilyn Monroe is one, if not, the most beautiful and successful top-billed actress and model from the old Hollywood era. She is an American beauty and her signature look is her platinum blonde locks, voluptuous red pout and heavy lined sultry eyes. While there's no denying that Norma Jeane Mortenson is originally brunette,  her cosmetic secrets remained hidden for many years until her makeup artist and confidant unfolded it in his book.

Snyder, Marilyn's makeup artist,  has been in the cosmetic scene since 1948. He's also the makeup artist of Katherine Hepburn and Raquel Welch. He and Marilyn goes a long way considering that he has been her makeup artist since her first test shoot for Twentieth Century Fox. The two were very close that Marilyn even asked him to do her makeup in case she will depart first, something that Snyder then fulfilled and even became her pallbearer.

I think that Marilyn is beautiful with or without makeup, but we have to admit that as seeing these pictures below, it shows that perfectly and carefully applied makeup can enhance what God has given us. It also helps that we have a clear skin as a blank canvas just like Marilyn.

Fresh faced Marilyn Monroe, still beautiful without all the paint. (c) to the owners of the photos.

For the all-natural Norma Jeane to transform to glamour icon Marilyn Monroe, it took them an average of 1.5 hours to complete the look which they routinely perfected throughout the years.

Here are the not-so-secret anymore tips and tricks behind Marilyn Monroe's alluring Hollywood look.

Her top choice of products are:

- Vaseline
- Erno Laszlo Active pHelityl Cream
- Erno Laszlo Duo-Phase Face Powder
- Nivea
- Hormone Cream
- Anita of Denmark
Anitas d'Foged Day Dew Cream Foundation
Elizabeth Arden Pat-A-Cream Foundation
- Elizabeth Arden Show Stopper Pencil
- Elizabeth Arden White Lustre
- Elizabeth Arden Red Lipstick
- Max Factor Red Lipstick
- Helena Rubinstein Waterproof Mascara

Marilyn's top choice of products. Vaseline, Elizabeth Arden Pat-A-Cream Foundation, Nivea, Erno Laszlo Active pHelityl Cream, Erno Laszlo Duo-Phase Face Powder, Anitas d'Foged Day Dew Cream Foundation, Elizabeth Arden Lipstick, Max Factor Lipstick, Helena Rubinstein Waterproof Mascara.  (c) to the owners of the photos.


"I'm personally opposed to a deep tan because I wanna be blonde all over." -Marilyn Monroe

First, a layer of Vaseline, Nivea, a hormone cream and Erno Laszlo Active pHelityl cream will be distributed to her face as a base for the foundation. As you can see, Marilyn loves to layer products. In our time, it sounds scary to use Vaseline as a primer for it is extremely greasy. Given the time difference, in the 50's, manufactured makeup base was not yet invented and only powder and cream foundation is at hand.

Vaseline was also used as highlighter on the cheekbones, brow bones and eyelids. It gives Marilyn a film star glow and dewy skin, especially in photographs creating a soft-focus.

After priming, a light film of Elizabeth Arden Pat-A-Cream foundation or Anitas d'Foged Day Dew cream makeup will be provided followed by a light dusting of Anita of Denmark Powder or Erno Laszlo Duo-Phase Face Powder to keep it all in place.

Marilyn has a heart-shaped face and to enhance it, some parts of her forehead will be highlighted as well as some contouring under her cheekbones and chin. That technique will give Marilyn a narrow jawline and slimmer face.

Marilyn felt that her nose is too long. To shape her nose and make it look shorter, a tiny bit of blush will be dabbed on the tip of her nose then Vaseline and powder will be utilized which will give a glow under studio lights.

"She had the heaviest peach fuzz beard of any actress in Hollywood. The studio chiefs wanted to remove the facial hair, but Marilyn absolutely refused. She said that when the light hit the fuzz it caused her face to have a soft glow, so they didn't have to photograph her through special lenses, lace, or Vaseline the way they did with so many stars." - Gene London, as Monroe expert

(Click image to enlarge.)


Marilyn only used blush in the shades of pink and coral to look youthful.


For her eyebrows, Marilyn felt that she has a large forehead so she requested for her brows to be well-groomed and pointed with an arch that is almost central.

For her eye makeup, a wash of creamy, sheer and a little bit shimmery off-white eyeshadow, often Elizabeth Arden White Lustrewill be deposited all over her lids up to her brows. Marilyn called this the "Greta Garbo eye" for the silent screen siren is the one who started this movement.

The highlighter will also bring into play on the inner corners of the eye and on the waterline so that the eyes should appear bigger and brighter on camera.

On contouring her eye socket, a soft light brown or soft silvery blue eyeshadow will be disbursed to her crease to add more depth and shape.

(Click image to enlarge.)

An effective and valuable trick  in the making of Marilyn's distinguished Lolita doe eyes is the triangle line that will be drawn on the outer corners of her eye using a white eye pencil and then it will be slightly blended outwards. A tiny false shadow on the end of her bottom lash line will be added using a brown eye pencil, it's a line that curves downward to create an illusion that the eyelashes are so long and full that it's creating a shadow.

 A very tiny red dot will be applied to the inner corners of the eye to give contrast with the whites of the eye and make the eye look radiant.

For her eyeliner, debunking the popular belief that Marilyn's feline flick is in liquid form, it's actually a combination of soft black and brown kohl eye pencil. Elizabeth Arden Show Stopper Pencil will be used for this. The line will start from the inner corners extending to the outer corners bringing the line out and up to lengthen and widen her eyes.

To complete the sensual iconic eyes, her lashes will be curled and a generous amount of mascara, preferably Helena Rubinstein Waterproof Mascara will be distributed. After that, demi-lashes from Glorene of Hollywood False Eyelashes will be provided to the outer half of the eyelid to extend her eyes. A small amount of mascara will be applied to her lower lashes.

A fact or a myth: It was said that Marilyn's beauty mark was too light so she accentuated it with an eyebrow pencil. Some say it's real, some say it isn't.

(Click image to enlarge.)


A brick red lip liner will be applied outside the lip line to achieve the illusion of exaggerated lips. The shape of the lips will be rounded and the top corners of the lips will be heavier than the bottom corners. This was a favored beauty trend back then.

5 shades of bright red lipstick in bluish tones, preferably Max Factor or Elizabeth Arden, will be prepared to achieve voluptuous contoured lips. They deliberately use bluish tones because Technicolor makes everything orangey. Since they are dealing with a dark hue, to carefully apply the color, the lipstick will be utilized using a brush. The darkest red is deposited towards the edges of the lips and the lightest is in the middle. A gloss created by Marilyn and Snyder which is rumored to contain beeswax and vegetable wax will bring into play. After the gloss, the lipstick will be placed again and will be topped off with gloss again. It is said that they will be repeating this process until they are satisfied with the result.

They will mimic a highlight by adding white eyeshadow to the cupids bow and at the center of the upper and lower lip. A white pencil liner will be drawn above the top lip curb, revealing a plumper and fuller pout.

(Click image to enlarge.)

I love that these information made Marilyn a "real human being", instead of being seen as a Mortal goddess. It made her relatable as a woman in so many ways. Lots of women, including me, had this unconscious notion that she woke up like this. But observing all the process that she goes through before becoming an on and off screen superstar, it made me realize that she's just like every other woman in the world who wakes up early to get hair and makeup done, whether all by herself or with a glam squad.
Marilyn Monroe's memorabilia: a folded makeup kit which contains some of her cosmetics. In 1999, Christie's auction sold it for a remarkable $266,500.   (c) to the owners of the photos.

Nowadays, a lot of selfies are photoshopped. Airbrushing the skin, making the nose taller, slimmer or shorter, and slenderizing the face is common. I believe that Marilyn was beyond her years when it comes to photo manipulation. Behind the ditsy image that she's portraying, I am certain that she is a very smart woman.

Thank you,