I first discovered the craft of impersonation or likeness makeup in my theatrical makeup class in college. I found it challenging and fascinating to be able to trick the viewer with light and shadow into looking like a completely different person. Of all the assignments in the class, that one was my favorite, and I chose it for my final exam. For the final I did Elizabeth Taylor, and dyed my then blond hair dark brown, on my own, with a drug store rinse (I DO NOT recommend ever doing this)! I got an A on my exam, but the next day when I washed my hair it turned green! Not fun. I did Marilyn back then as well, though I think my rendition last year was much better. I did some research, and found a lot of great tips. Much of what I gleaned to create the look came from makeup artist Lisa Eldridge. Her Website: http://www.lisaeldridge.com/video/21757/marilyn-monroe-iconic-make-up-look/
There’s a whole video on her site that takes you through creating Marilyn’s iconic look. I’m just going to highlight the bits I found interesting.
Marilyn’s look evolved over several years, and much of the credit goes to her long time makeup artist and good friend Allan Snyder, known as “Whitey.”
- A lot of moisturizer was used to create a glossy or dewy look. In those days Marilyn used Nivea, or Vaseline before her foundation, and she never over powdered. There are more options today to create highlights on the skin. You could try a highlighting product, most makeup lines have them. I prefer a creamy multi-purpose highlighter.
- Whitey used highlight and contour to make Marilyn’s face appear heart shaped. He shaded under her jawline to make the bottom half of her face appear smaller. To further achieve this he also drew her brows high and arched to made her forehead look wider and her eyes farther apart.
- Marilyn copied the look for her eye makeup from Greta Garbo. She used two types of white eyeshadow one matte, and a luminous shimmer on top. The white was also applied in the corners to make her eyes pop and appear more open.
- Marilyn used only a half set of false eye lashes applied from the middle of the eye to the outer corner. This created that elongated effect.
- Marilyn did not use black liquid liner because she felt it was too harsh, she used a brown pencil instead and kept the line very thin, and of course turned up at the corner.
- My favorite trick! To create the illusion that the weight of her eyelashes cast a shadow, a line was drawn under her eye with brown pencil along the lash line dipping down at the outer corner. Try it, it really works! But you’ve got to have full top lashes.
- White pencil was used to line the inner rim or water line of the bottom lid. If you want to do a less glamorous version, you could use a nude or flesh colored pencil.
- Whitey used a red pencil to accentuate the red in the inner corner of her eyes.
- Marilyn had plastic surgery on her nose but even still she felt it looked too wide, so Whitey shaded the sides and the tip of her nose to make it appear thinner.