Prior to social distancing ordinances, a museum dedicated to cosmetology, appropriately titled the Makeup Museum, was set to open in New York City’s West Village. Of course, that didn’t happen, but it hasn’t stopped the institution from teasing its premiere exhibition, “Pink Jungle: 1950s Makeup in America,” online, which apparently includes Marilyn Monroe’s skincare routine. If there was ever a time to try to mimic her faultless shine, it’s now.
On Instagram, the Makeup Museum posted a document dated March 17, 1959, sent from the office of dermatologist Erno Laszlo (of the well-known beauty company) to Monroe, detailing her morning and evening skincare routine. Essentially, every morning she would wash her face and neck with warm water, lathering both with with Active Phelityl Soap and applying “well-shaken” Normalizer Shake-It on her face with cotton “saturated to the dripping point,” avoiding her eyes. She’d blot it off with a tissue, apply Phelitone “in tiny dots, spreading it gently over the surface,” and then blot that off with another tissue. Finally, she’d apply a Duo-Phase Face Powder to her entire face and neck, removing “superfluous powder” with cotton. She would repeat the routine at night, “before retiring.”
Though the regimen was prescribed 61 years ago, some of the products are still available: as The New York Post points out, the Erno Laszlo company still sells a Limited Edition Shake-It Tinted Treatment for $49, and the Phelityl Cleansing Bar for $38. Still too rich for my blood, but what are you gonna do.
Erno Laszlo’s chief historian and branding officer Patricia Schuffenhauer narrates the Instagram post. “He personalized every prescription for all of his clients, and Marilyn Monroe was on the drier side, so you can see as we walk through the prescription that all of the products that he prescribed to her were to help hydrate her skin,” she says. “He’s also known for his holistic approach for prescriptions, including not only how to use and apply the products, but also how to dress, and what to eat and what not to eat. For Marilyn Monroe, he called out that she should steer clear of any nuts, chocolate, olives, oysters and clams.”
I’m all for lathering a bunch of goop on my desert skin and hoping for the best, but no nuts? No thanks!