Marilyn Monroe’s diet and beauty secrets: How to get them now

Decades after Marilyn Monroe shone in the Hollywood spotlight, her beauty lives on.

And now, thanks to an artifact unearthed by New York City’s Makeup Museum, fans of the blond bombshell get a glimpse into how she stayed so gorgeous.

A document revealing the iconic actress’ personalized beauty routine is on display as part of the museum’s “Pink Jungle: 1950s Makeup in America” digital exhibit. In the letter, dated March 17, 1959 and addressed to Mrs. Marilyn Monroe Miller (she was married to playwright Arthur Miller at the time), dermatologist Erno Laszlo wrote out detailed skin-care instructions for the then-32-year-old star.

And upon studying the document, NYC dermatologist Julie Russak says it provides many clues about Monroe’s skin and that there’s much to be learned from her routine today. And many of the products she used are still available now.

“Laszlo was really ahead of his time,” says Russak, who runs Russak Dermatology Clinic on East 57th Street. “His regimen talks about taking care of the lips, the neck and décolletage — not just the face.”

“He personalized every prescription for all of his clients, and Marilyn Monroe was on the drier side,” says Patricia Schuffenhauer, Erno Laszlo’s chief historian and branding officer, in a video posted by the West Village museum. So, all the products in her routine “were to help hydrate her skin.”

In the mornings, Monroe was told to wash her face and neck in warm water with Active Phelityl Soap ($38 at before applying “well-shaken” Normalizer Shake-It treatment ($49, and also reportedly beloved by Greta Garbo) on her face, avoiding the eye area, and then immediately blotting it off.

Beneath her eyes, she was instructed to apply eye cream “in tiny dots, spreading it gently over the surface,” and then blotting it off as well. For the final step, she was meant to apply a powder to her entire face and neck — and then brush it off with cotton after one minute.

In the evenings, Monroe was directed to apply Phelityl Pre-Cleansing Oil ($58) with a cotton pad, cleanse using water plus the same soap from the morning routine, blot it dry and apply Active Phelityl Intensive Cream over it ($88) and blot off the excess with a cleansing lotion before re-applying the cream. Phew.

If that sounds like a lot of blotting, it is, but Russak says Monroe’s process — skipping any harsh rubbing and scrubbing and then reapplying moisturizer — helps reinforce the skin’s moisture barrier.

A key part of Monroe’s prescription, listed at the bottom of the letter, is a list of foods to avoid — “any kind of nuts, chocolate, olives, oysters and clams.” Turns out not diamonds, but diets are a girl’s best friend.

American actress Marilyn MonroeMarilyn Monroe

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