If you think today's stars go to great lengths in the name of beauty, I have news for you: It's nothing compared to what the screen sirens of yore did for vanity's sake. From DIY techniques that you can easily add to your routine to some more drastic approaches that we wouldn't necessarily recommend today, we've uncovered the super-sneaky beauty secrets from Hollywood's Golden Age.
By Charlotte Chilton
To make her lips appear fuller, Monroe would have her makeup artist apply five different shades of lipstick and gloss in order to create dimension. Darker reds went on the outer corners while lighter hues were brushed on the middle of the lips.
Elizabeth Taylor took a page out of Cleopatra's book, as both women made a habit of shaving their face. These days, there are ways to do so (that don't require a razor!) to remove the fine baby hairs and the surface layer of skin cells, which gives the skin a facial-like glow.
The secret to Hepburn's long, Bambi lashes? After applying mascara, her makeup artist, Alberto de Rossi, would use a pin to separate each individual lash, according to Audrey Hepburn, An Elegant Spirit: A Son Remembers. Now that's how you get clump-free lashes.
During her career, Lombard was injured in a car accident that left her nose slightly curved. Before she put on her makeup, she'd draw a thin white line down her nose. She believed it made it look straighter, according to Marlene Dietrich: The Life.
Contrary to popular belief, contouring is not a new technique, nor was it invented by Kim Kardashian. Like her fellow actresses, the Princess of Monaco often used blush to define her cheekbones with one shade for underneath her cheekbones and a slightly darker shade dusted on the apples.
When Rita Moreno was a young actress, she battled with breakouts. Her doctors recommended a harsh treatment that included ultraviolet light and an acetone alcohol rub. She does not recommend it—and for the record, neither do we—so she developed her own technique for banishing blemishes. "I used to use one of those rough, nasty brushes to scrub my face every day. It was very harsh, but exfoliating every day helped a lot," the Puerto Rican film star told Fox News. "I would definitely say that exfoliating was really my main beauty trick."
Vivien Leigh was insecure about her thin bottom lip. To compensate, she used liner to draw outside of her natural lip, giving the illusion of a larger pout.
The German-American actress had plenty of tricks up her sleeve, but she was most notorious for having her molars removed to further accentuate her cheekbones and using surgical tape to give herself a temporary face lift.
Dorothy Dandridge's acting talent was undeniable, but it was also her beauty and style that captivated the public. To compliment her complexion, the actress would mix classic red lipstick with an orange shade to create a coral lip color. The unique hue was entirely her own and instantly became her signature look.
Hayworth's wavy red mane was part of her signature look so, naturally, she had to keep it in tip-top shape. She did this by applying oil to her hair after every wash, wrapping it in a towel, and leaving it in for 15 minutes. Afterwards, she'd wash it out with hot water and lemon juice to remove any leftover residue.
To make her eyes look more theatrical, Garbo put a thin layer of petroleum jelly on her eyelids underneath a dark eye shadow. She also lined her eyes with a mixture of jelly and charcoal pigment.
The '30s star used coconut oil daily throughout her life. She would apply it to her face as moisturizer to give her skin a youthful glow.
Healthy food was Swanson's thing, and her skin reaped the benefits. "My best beauty secret is raw vegetables," Swanson told Weekly World News. "I apply them on my face and make sure I eat them regularly. As far as I'm concerned, there is no beauty product better than raw vegetables."
The smokey eye was the main trend in the '20s, but Chinese-American actress Anna May Wong decided to make a bold cat eye her signature look. To give her eyes a sultry touch, the actress would smudge the eyeliner on her lower lash line.
Bergman notoriously took an au naturel approach to beauty, only wearing a significant amount of makeup if required for a role. But she did shave a centimeter off of her hairline (not an unpopular grooming technique at the time) for a larger forehead.
Loren followed a Mediterranean diet religiously, which meant she always had a bottle of olive oil at arm's length. She kept her skin soft and luminous by soaking in a hot bath with a few splashes of oil.
Over the course of her career, Grahame was self-conscious of her upper lip, which she felt was too thin. She would stuff cotton or wads of tissue between her lip and teeth for a fuller look. As if kissing scenes weren't awkward enough…
To this day, we wax poetic about Bette Davis's eyes. She kept them looking bright by applying cucumbers to her lids at night and using petroleum jelly under her eyes to combat dark circles.
According to celebrity hair and makeup artist Peter Lamas, Hepburn wasn't keen on using makeup to achieve a flawless complexion. The actress treated her skin to an at-home steam facial at least twice a week to keep her complexion clear and radiant.
Iconic '40s film star Joan Crawford would splash her face with ice water 25 times after she washed it to shrink the size of her pores and boost circulation. Afterwards, she would apply a thick and heavy cream to lock in all of the moisture.
As the 1920s singer and dancer became increasingly popular in Europe, Josephine Baker's lacquered hairstyle drew almost as much attention as her stage performances. Baker soon began promoting products and one of them was Le Bakerfix, a pomade that she concocted.
Jackie Kennedy's perfectly-coiffed bob was just one of the many reasons the first lady was known as a style maven in the '60s. To minimize damage and maintain her hair, Kennedy reportedly slept with her hair wrapped in silk headscarves.
Hepburn was a minimalist in the makeup department, but the actress was diligent about exfoliation. She'd combine simple ingredients, like lemon and sugar, to create a homemade face scrub to gently remove dead skills and brighten her complexion.
Bardot's effortless bouffant was part of her signature look and paired nicely with her cool French girl persona. To style it, she used a very special ingredient: her own saliva. She'd coat the ends of her strands and then twist them and fold them behind her ear. Once the pieces dried, she was left with a slight curl.
Actress and director Ida Lupino wasn't afraid to share her eccentric beauty tips with the public. She recommended slapping your jawline with the back of your hand to create definition.
Classic for a reason.
Cooking, cleaning, and making calls: classic Hollywood stars worked from home, too, they just looked a lot more glamorous while doing so. Take a look at the best photos of Golden Age Hollywood celebrities working from home. Add some glamour to your routine by taking inspiration from these Golden Age Hollywood stars.
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