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Trend-Spotting: Old Hollywood Glamour

August 24, 2009
Marilyn Monroe, Katherine Heigl, and Audrey Hepburn are quintessential Old Hollywood glam

Marilyn Monroe, Katherine Heigl, and Audrey Hepburn are quintessential Old Hollywood glam

Article by Marina, Beauty Columnist

Some of the brightest stars in the celebrity sky to be channeling Old Hollywood glam, from Katherine Heigl in this month’s InStyle to D&G’s fall line (reviewed right here at FIM) to those lovely ladies of Mad Men whose fashions are finding modern translations in Banana Republic’s fall line. Old Hollywood beauty runs the gamut from Marilyn Monroe’s platinum lushness to Audrey Hepburn’s gamine sexiness, but there are certain common makeup elements that the 21st century girl can incorporate into her routine.


Missing from these gorgeous faces is obvious evidence of fake tans, bronzers, highlighters and the like – the Old Hollywood complexion is even, matte and as close as possible to natural skin colour. To achieve this look, use a primer so foundation goes on smoothly and lasts through the day.

Try Smashbox’s Photo Finish Foundation Primers ($36 – $42), which contain vitamins and anti-oxidants and offer different formulations targeted towards specific skin types and problems. So skin doesn’t just look better, but is healthier inside and out! Who says beauty is just skin-deep!?

Photo Finish Foundation Primer by Smashbox

Photo Finish Foundation Primer by Smashbox, $36

Follow primer with your preferred foundation and a dusting of loose translucent powder to absorb shine for that matte look. Try Yves St Laurent’s Poudre Sur Mesure ($58), a slick pressed-powder-that-transforms-to-loose with an easy twist and comes in a glam gold-finish compact.

YSL Poudre sur Mesure, $56

YSL Poudre Sur Mesure, $58


Both Marilyn and Audrey had lovely pretty eyes highlighted by well-groomed eyebrows, dark eyeliner and long voluptuous lashes. For first-timers with virgin brows, it’s worthwhile to head to the nearest spa for a brow shaping by the pros; if you’re already good friends with the tweezer, a few simple strokes of a pencil will define your brows.

Try Lancome’s Le Crayon Poudre ($23.50), a powder pencil for brows that has a handy mini-brush on one end that helps comb strays into place. The shade Mahogany works great for dark brows without looking too severe, while Natural Blonde will fill in sparse spots on lighter brows.

L'Oreal Le Crayon Poudre in Mahogany (top right) or Natural Blonde (bottom right), $23.50

L'Oreal Le Crayon Poudre in Mahogany (top right) or Natural Blonde (bottom right), $23.50

Open up your eye area with a sweep of light-coloured shadow over your whole eyelid, right up to your brows. MAC’s highly pigmented eye shadows ($17.50Cdn) offer a range of lighter colours in perfect satin and velvet finishes. The ones to try: Mylar, a muted creamy white, for paler skin tones; Vapour, a pale peachy-pink, for medium skin tones; and Shroom, a soft golden-beige, for darker skin tones.

MAC eye shadows stay neutral. From left: Mylar, Vapour, and Shroom

MAC eye shadows stay neutral. From left: Mylar, Vapour, and Shroom

Then, trace your upper lash line with a dark liquid liner (opt for a pencil if cursed with unsteady hands). Revlon’s ColorStay Liquid Liner has been popular choice for ages and is very dramatic in its Blackest Black. To get those enviably lush ’50s lashes, start with an eyelash curler. The 18K Gold Sephora Brand ($16) might just be the gold standard – literally.

18K Gold Eye Lash Curler by Sephora, $16

18K Gold Eye Lash Curler by Sephora, $16

Follow with a couple of coats of mascara. For a special night out, try a few false lashes at the outer corners of your eyes for an especially *eye-catching* look – Sephora has a starter kit that will ease you into the world of falsies.

Deluxe Lash Kit by Sephora, $18

Deluxe Lash Kit by Sephora includes false eye lashes, a lash placement set, and glue, $18


Red, red, red as a rose – lips are classic, painted in a bright red that is both glamorous and intensely feminine. This colour range wasn’t common on the likes of Audrey, but shined on Marilyn and is often seen on today’s old-fashioned glam-girls, like Katherine Heigl and Charlize Theron. Christina Hendricks’ very own makeup artist on set, Debbie Zoller, often uses Laura Mercier colours Baby Lips and Mistress ($20 – $22) on the lovely actress to create the ‘Joan Holloway’ look.  Try the sheer in Baby Pink when you’re feeling shy and the Mistress when you’re feeling bold.

Joan Holloway's red lips are classic

Joan Holloway's red lips are the classic glam beauty finisher.

So we have here some elements of Old Hollywood glamour that you can incorporate into your everyday routine or save for some high-octane night out.  Follow your instincts and bring in the elements that make sense to you, your look, your sense of style and your lifestyle. And have fun!

Marilyn Monroe image courtesy of; Katherine Heigl as featured on the Instyle website; Audrey Hepburn image courtesy of IMDB; and ‘Joan Holloway’ image courtesy of Finding Fashion blog and makeup tip courtesy of All product images courtesy of featured retailers and Sephora’s website. All prices are in US Dollars unless otherwise stated.

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