BEAUTY EVOLUTION

How Marilyn Monroe Became One of Hollywood’s Most Iconic Beauties of All Time


Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images

When you visualize Marilyn Monroe, it’s easy to imagine the actress’s signature look: blonde hair, red lip, full lashes. But the star actually started out her career as a fresh-faced brunette. While her beauty look quickly evolved as her career took off, Monroe continued to experiment with her hair and makeup, wearing her iconic curls in a variety of styles. She also proved the versatility of her glamorous look, by wearing a full face of makeup for every occasion, from an on-screen appearance to a casual party at home. Here, a look back at Marilyn Monroe’s beauty evolution, from up-and-coming brunette to blonde Hollywood bombshell.

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A portrait of the young actress Marilyn Monroe, with curly brown hair, in 1940. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Marilyn Monroe poses for a portrait in 1946 in Los Angeles, California. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Monroe smiles in front of a mirror in a house in Warrenburg, New York, 1949. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Portrait of Marilyn Monroe in a bikini top, as she reclines on a wooden bench during a photo shoot in Griffith Park, Los Angeles, California, August 1950. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Portrait of Marilyn Monroe, 1950. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Marilyn Monroe looked glamorous with bold brows and a red lip in a still to promote the 1950 film “All About Eve.” Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Marilyn Monroe, 1952. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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In a publicity still for the 20th Century Fox film ‘Gentlemen Prefer Blondes’ in December 1952, Monroe went for full glamour, pairing an all-pink ensemble with plenty of diamonds, a red lip, and extra platinum-colored locks. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Platinum blonde Marilyn Monroe poses for a portrait, 1953. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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With her signature blond hair in tight curls and a glossy red lip, actress Marilyn Monroe posed for a portrait in 1953. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Marilyn Monroe on set of “The Seven Year Itch” at East 61st St. between Lexington Ave. and Third Ave, 1954. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Marilyn Monroe wearing a beaded gown on the set of ‘There’s No Business Like Show Business’, in Century City, Los Angeles, California, USA, 1954. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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In 1954, Monroe showed her glamorous hair and makeup could look casual, too. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Marilyn Monroe gets fitted for her costume in a dressing room before riding a pink elephant in Madison Square Garden for a circus charity event in March 1955 in New York City, New York. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Monroe looked playful wearing an embroidered robe, with her signature blond hair in messy curls, at the Ambassador Hotel in New York City, New York, in 1955. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Classic Marilyn. The actress paired her blonde hair with a glamorous red lip for the film ‘Bus Stop’ in 1956. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Getty Images

Marilyn Monroe brushes her hair before her appearance to publicize the kickoff of construction of the Time-Life Building in Manhattan on July 2, 1957. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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At a party in 1958, Monroe looked more understated than usual, with her curls styled in a slightly looser shape, and a less glossy lip. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Marilyn Monroe during the filming of ‘The Misfits’ on location in the Nevada Desert, 1960. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.

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Marilyn Monroe arrives at the Golden Globes with screenwriter Jose Bolanos, 1962. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.