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 (opens in new tab) from Hollywood's Golden Age and given them a modern adjustment. Ahead, the best old Hollywood beauty secrets to try for yourself.
Marilyn Monroe's Lip Plumping Technique
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 (opens in new tab). Darker reds went on the outer corners while lighter hues were brushed on the middle of the lips.
Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Lipstick Trio
It's easy to mimic Monroe's full lips with this Fenty lipstick trio. Top it off with lip gloss to complete the bombshell look.
Elizabeth Taylor's Exfoliation Method
Elizabeth Taylor took a page out of Cleopatra's book, as both women made a habit of shaving their face (opens in new tab). 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.
StackedSkincare Dermaplaning Facial Tool
Today, the beauty tip that kept Elizabeth Taylor's skin looking young is known as dermaplaning—and it's one of the hottest beauty trends as of late. The micro-razor removes dead skin cells, debris, and peach fuzz hair all while softening and smoothing your skin. While salons across the country offer dermaplaning services, you can achieve the same results at home with this tool.
Audrey Hepburn's Eyelash Separating Tip
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 (opens in new tab). Now that's how you get clump-free lashes.
KINGMAS KINGMAS 3-Piece Brush Set
If you don't have time for Hepburn's technique, this comb set will give you the same results without having to painstakingly cater to each individual lash.
Carole Lombard's Nose Straightening Hack
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 (opens in new tab).
Maybelline New York Liquid Illuminating Highlighter
Whether Lombard knew it or not, her beauty hack is essentially strobing. It's easy to accentuate features and give the illusion of contouring with a liquid highlighter, like this illuminating one from Maybelline New York.
Grace Kelly's Blush Trick
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 (opens in new tab) with one shade for underneath her cheekbones and a slightly darker shade dusted on the apples.
e.l.f. Cosmetics Multi-Blush Palette
Use a palette, like this one from e.l.f. Cosmetics, to find shades that'll compliment your cheekbones.
Rita Moreno's Acne Solution
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 (opens in new tab). "I would definitely say that exfoliating was really my main beauty trick."
Clarisonic Skincare Facial Cleansing & Pore Minimizing Skincare Device
If you want to try Moreno's acne-fighting method, the Clarisonic facial cleansing brush is the way to go. The vibrating bristles help to invigorate pores and give a deeper cleanse that will prevent bacteria from building up and causing breakouts. Pair this with their pore and blemish acne cleanser (opens in new tab) for an even deeper clean.
Vivien Leigh's Lip Plumping Method
Vivien Leigh was insecure about her thin bottom lip. To compensate, she used liner to draw outside of her natural lip (opens in new tab), giving the illusion of a larger pout.
Charlotte Tilbury Mini Pillow Talk Lipstick & Liner Set
Charlotte Tilbury's lipstick and liner set ensures that both shades will be an exact match.
Marlene Dietrich's Cheekbone Surgery
The German-American actress had plenty of tricks up her sleeve, but she was most notorious for having her molars removed (opens in new tab) to further accentuate her cheekbones and using surgical tape to give herself a temporary face lift.
NuFace Mini Facial Toning Device
We don't recommend trying any of Dietrich's drastic beauty approaches at home, but we can appreciate her desire to tighten her facial muscles. This mini facial toning device delivers a powerful zap to tired or sagging muscles.
Dorothy Dandridge's Lipstick Trick
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 (opens in new tab) to create a coral lip color. The unique hue was entirely her own and instantly became her signature look.
Lipstick Queen Coral Lipstick
We can't know for sure, but we have a feeling Dandridge would be obsessed with Lipstick Queen's coral shade.
Rita Hayworth's DIY Hair Mask
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 (opens in new tab), 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.
Kiehl's Olive Oil Restorative Hair Mask
Hayworth wasn't wrong in using the healing properties of olive oil, whose vitamins can have a nourishing effect on dry and damaged hair. This restorative hair mask from Kiehl's is one of our favorite products featuring this ingredient.
Greta Garbo's Eyeshadow Trick
To make her eyes look more theatrical, Garbo put a thin layer of petroleum jelly (opens in new tab) on her eyelids underneath a dark eye shadow. She also lined her eyes with a mixture of jelly and charcoal pigment.
Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer
There's nothing wrong with Garbo's technique and using good ole petroleum jelly, but eyeshadow primers will do the same trick, while guaranteeing lasting wear.
Mae West's Moisturizing Routine
The '30s star has been using coconut oil daily throughout her life (opens in new tab). She would apply it to her face as moisturizer to give her skin a youthful glow.
Nutiva Organic Refined Coconut Oil
If it isn't broken, don't fix it, right? West's tried-and-true moisturizer has been on the minds of beauty gurus for years now. The oil's all-natural hydrating properties help to restore dried skin.
Gloria Swanson's Skincare Diet
Healthy food was Swanson's thing, and her skin reaped the benefits. "My best beauty secret is raw vegetables," Swanson told Weekly World News (opens in new tab). "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."
Youth To The People Superfood Skin Reset Antioxidant Mask
If you can't stick to a strict vegetable diet, slabbing this mask on bi-weekly is a great alternative. This superfood face mask is made with powerful vitamin-rich ingredients, like spirulina, kale, and spinach.
Anna May Wong's Cat Eye Trick
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 (opens in new tab) on her lower lash line.
Huda Beauty Double Ended Eyeliner Liquid & Pencil
For a great cat eye, there's no better tool than this applicator from Huda Beauty, which features both a pencil and a liquid eyeliner. Use the liquid brush to stamp out a sleek line on top, then use the pencil and smudge it along your lash line on the bottom lash.
Ingrid Bergman's Hairline Tweak
Bergman notoriously took an au naturel approach to beauty, only wearing a significant amount of makeup if required for a role (opens in new tab). But she did shave a centimeter off of her hairline (opens in new tab) (not an unpopular grooming technique at the time) for a larger forehead.
RMS Beauty Natural Concealer
We can appreciate the no-makeup look, but there are times that everyone needs an extra boost. That's where RMS Beauty's un-cover up concealer comes in—it's light, airy, and completely clean.
Sophia Loren's Olive Oil Obsession
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 (opens in new tab).
Ancient Greek Remedy Olive Bath Oil
Add this bath oil, made with olive oil, lavender, almond, and grape seeds, to your next soak to channel your inner Loren.
Gloria Grahame's Upper Lip Hack
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 (opens in new tab) between her lip and teeth for a plumper look. As if kissing scenes weren't awkward enough...
Buxom Lip Plumping Balm
Ditch the cotton pads and opt for this lip plumping balm instead. It'll give your pout an extra boost, while remaining subtle and gentle.
Georgia Louise Cryo Facial Freeze Tools
These cryo facial tools will de-puff and brighten your eyes if you didn't get a full eight hours of sleep the night before. Simply pop them in the freezer and massage around your eyes as needed.
Audrey Hepburn's At-Home Facials
According to celebrity hair and makeup artist Peter Lamas (opens in new tab), 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.
Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Dr. Dennis Gross Skincare Pro Facial Steamer
Dr. Dennis Gross's facial steamer allows you to reap the benefits of a professional steam facial from the comfort of your own home.
Joan Crawford's Cold Water Tip
Iconic '40s film star Joan Crawford would splash her face with ice water (opens in new tab) 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.
Charlotte Tillbury Magic Cream Moisturizer
There's no better second half to Crawford's skincare routine than Charlotte Tilbury's Magic Cream. The nourishing moisturizer is heavy enough replenish your skin after your ice rinse (times 25).
Josephine Baker's Must-Have Hair Product
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 (opens in new tab), a pomade that she concocted.
Sachajuan Finish Cream
If you want to rock a chic look like Baker, there are a few easy steps to follow (opens in new tab). First things first, you have to find yourself a pomade with as much hold as Baker's product. Sachajuan's finishing cream will give your hair the hold it needs, while keeping it moisturized and shiny.
Jacqueline Kennedy's Bedtime Best Practice
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 (opens in new tab).
Slip Silk Pillowcase
This Slip pillowcase promises to protect your hair and boasts anti-aging benefits for your face.
Katherine Hepburn's DIY Exfoliation Recipe
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 (opens in new tab) to gently remove dead skills and brighten her complexion.
Fresh Sugar Exfoliating Face Scrub
You can raid your pantry for Hepburn's recipe or use this sugar face polish, which features exfoliating sugar grains and nourishing oils.
Brigitte Bardot's Hair Technique
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 (opens in new tab). 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.
Ouai Matte Styling Gel
Today, a light styling gel will do the trick. Ouai's matte pomade delivers just as much, if not more, hold to give you that effortless look.
Ida Lupino's Face-Defining Measures
Actress and director Ida Lupino wasn't afraid to share her eccentric beauty tips with the public. She recommended slapping your jawline (opens in new tab) with the back of your hand to create definition.
MelodySusie Gua Sha Facial Tools
Gua Sha isn't a new method, but interest in the facial sculpting tools has exploded in recent years. Stemming from ancient Chinese healing practices, these rose quartz tools are shaped to maximize lifting and toning within your face while stimulating blood flow and activating lymphatic drainage.
For more stories like this, including celebrity news, beauty and fashion advice, savvy political commentary, and fascinating features, sign up for the Marie Claire newsletter (subscribe here (opens in new tab)).