Ninety years ago today, Marilyn Monroe was born. While the star was iconic for so many reasons, she defined the classic bombshell beauty look. Over the years, her dedicated legions of fans have uncovered photos of the makeup she used and stories from her longtime makeup artist Allan “Whitey” Snyder, teaching us so many interesting things about the famed actress’s beauty routine. It’s nearly impossible to pick one favorite tip, so instead we put together five of the most mind-blowing beauty tidbits you may not know about Miss Monroe.
1. She carried ginger candies in her makeup box.
In this picture of Monroe’s makeup box, on the far right side, you can see a box of Chinese Ginger Candy. These were often used back in the day to soothe an upset stomach or quell motion sickness. You can also see on the far left a tub of Erno Laszlo Active Phelityl Intensive Cream, Monroe’s favorite moisturizer. The superhydrating cream has a strong floral scent and takes a while to fully absorb, which means you’ll need to keep it on and not do much else until it seeps into your skin. It sounds as high maintenance as Monroe was rumored to be.
2. Monroe was wearing hair extensions before you were. Photos of Monroe’s makeup drawer reveal that not only was she practical (she had earplugs to block out annoying sounds, a matchbook, and an eyelash curler in the drawer), but she was also way ahead of curve thanks to the braided blonde hair extension in her drawer. According to Reddit comments, ladies of the ’50s and ’60s often used “crepe hair.” Usually, women would gather all of their leftover real hair on their combs and brushes into a box. “They would later use the hair to make color-matched hair rats for those superfussy vintage hairdos,” writes one Redditor. Apparently uninterested in harvesting her own hair (we really don’t blame her), Monroe opted for a hair extension extension instead. That’s what we call working smart, not hard.
3. Her nose is still a mystery. Monroe’s medical records and the X-rays of her skull were released to the public in 2013, and they revealed the truth about what plastic-surgery procedures she’d had. We know from the records and X-rays of Michael Gurdin (Monroe’s plastic surgeon) that she definitely had two chin augmentations (she first became self-conscious about her chin after she overhead someone talking about her at a party as the “chinless wonder”). Some people claim that Monroe also had her nose during her second chin graft, but a nurse who was present during the surgery doesn’t recall any nose work being performed at that time. In 1962, Monroe visited Gurdin for an “emergency consultation” in which she told him that she had “accidentally fallen” and thought she might have broken her nose (there are rumors that this is a lie and Monroe was actually beaten up by her psychiatrist). Gurdin noted that Monroe’s nose had “swelling and tenderness,” but there is no concrete evidence of a nose job taking place. But the rumormongers continue to speculate, and the truth may never be known.
4. Monroe always wore Vaseline on her face on movie sets.