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Ana de Armas just released a first look at her highly anticipated film Blonde—and her transformation into Mariyln Monroe is a little uncanny. But changing her hair from dark brown to the iconic platinum tone Marilyn had in the '60s took very careful planning, a handful of wigs and bald caps, and some expert hairline camouflage.
“As you can imagine, it was a massive undertaking,” hairstylist Jaime Leigh McIntosh exclusively tells Marie Claire. “Not only were we creating so many looks for the story arch of the script, but we also had to match multiple, iconic images of Marilyn and Norma Jeane.” Given that the movie follows Marilyn’s life from childhood to stardom, the team settled upon 30 different looks—all of which had to be created on a budget.
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To get the job done, McIntosh teamed up with Rob Pickens from Wig Maker Associates. They ended up creating two wigs for de Armas to wear as a young Norma Jeane (a.k.a. Marilyn Monroe’s real name), and three wigs for her Marilyn era. “We only had two creamy blondes at different lengths and one platinum. We all know how many different styles, shades of blonde, and lengths Marilyn had throughout her life, so that proved to be incredibly challenging,” McIntosh shared. But with careful adjustments and fine mohair detailing around the hairline, the duo were able to make near-perfect matches across the board.
Prepped as the might, Armas' transformation into Marilyn still had to be done on a time crunch—two hours to be exact. “I would prep Ana’s hair under a flesh-toned wig cap, then Tina [Roesler Kerwin], the makeup artist, would apply custom-made silicone flesh toned pieces to cover Ana’s own hairline at the front so her hairline wasn’t visible,” McIntosh explains. “Then I added cut-out pieces of bald cap through the top to help blend and make sure you saw skin, not stocking cap or Ana’s own hair, where the Marilyn wigs parted.”
When it came to the actual hair styling products used on set, McIntosh took a less is more approach. “Whenever you use too much product in a wig, the life and movement stops and they become dull, so I avoid using too much of anything,” she explains. She did however use the L’Oréal Tecni Pli Setting Lotion to set the wigs in rollers, as well as the TRESemme Tres Two Unscented Hairspray and René Furterer Shine Mist for added glossiness. As for hair care? “I would alternate conditioning treatments [under her wig] with Masque à l’Orchidée by Leonor Greyl and No.3 Olaplaex Hair Perfector,” says McIntosh.
Shop Ana's Hair Routine for 'Blonde'
Samantha Holender is the Beauty Editor at Marie Claire, where she reports on the best new launches, dives into the science behind skincare, and keeps up with the latest trends in the beauty space. She has previously written for Us Weekly, Popsugar, Makeup.com, Skincare.com, and Philadelphia Wedding. Follow her on Instagram @samholender.
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