The name was a façade, and it seems the façade was a façade, too. Poor girl. It took a lot of work to “be” Marilyn Monroe.
The starlet slathered on layers of Vaseline, hormone cream, Erno Laszlo Active pHelityl Cream, or Nivea (meaning “snow white”) to give a glow under studio lights, followed by a light film of foundation by Laszlo and powder by Anita of Denmark. This layering technique meant that, even in the more unstudied Getty images, light beams from her cheeks. This glow was augmented by the blonde down caused by the hormone cream. Monroe expert Gene London has maintained: “She had the heaviest peach fuzz beard of any actress in Hollywood. They [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.”
Further tricks were used to shape her nose, sharpen her cheekbones, make her eyes look more deep-set, arch her brows, and emphasise her heart-shaped face. A plumper and fuller pout was created with five different varieties of lipstick and gloss: darker reds on the outer corners, lighter shades in the middle to lend dimension, with a highlighted cupid’s bow and bottom lip.