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25 Old Hollywood Beauty Secrets That Are Too Good Not to Use

old hollywood beauty secrets
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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 and given them a modern adjustment. Ahead, the best old Hollywood beauty secrets to try for yourself.

circa 1953 actress marilyn monroe poses for a portrait in circa 1953 photo by michael ochs archivesgetty images
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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. Darker reds went on the outer corners while lighter hues were brushed on the middle of the lips.

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Lipstick Trio
Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Sephora
$39.00

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. 

actress elizabeth taylor, 1954 a promotional shot for the film 'elephant walk' photo by mgm studiosarchive photosgetty images
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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. 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.

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Dermaplaning Facial Tool
StackedSkincare Sephora
$75.00

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.

portrait of belgian born american actress audrey hepburn 1929   1993 as she sits by a stone wall, early 1950s photo by hulton archivegetty images
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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. Now that's how you get clump-free lashes.

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KINGMAS 3-Piece Brush Set
KINGMAS Amazon
$6.98

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.

1933  american film actress carole lombard  1908   1942 she is starring as roma courtney in 'supernatural', directed by victor halperin  photo via john kobal foundationgetty images
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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.

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Liquid Illuminating Highlighter
Maybelline New York Amazon
$7.99
$4.51 (44% off)

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. 

american actress grace kelly 1929   1982, circa 1955  photo by pictorial paradehulton archivegetty images
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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 with one shade for underneath her cheekbones and a slightly darker shade dusted on the apples.

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Multi-Blush Palette
e.l.f. Cosmetics Ulta Beauty
$6.00

Use a palette, like this one from e.l.f. Cosmetics, to find shades that'll compliment your cheekbones.

rita moreno
John Springer CollectionGetty Images
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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. "I would definitely say that exfoliating was really my main beauty trick."

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Facial Cleansing & Pore Minimizing Skincare Device
Clarisonic Skincare Sephora
$99.00

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 for an even deeper clean. 

headshot of vivien leigh 1913 1967, british actress, in a studio portrait, against a white background, circa 1940 photo by silver screen collectiongetty images
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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, giving the illusion of a larger pout.

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Mini Pillow Talk Lipstick & Liner Set
Charlotte Tilbury Sephora
$25.00

Charlotte Tilbury's lipstick and liner set ensures that both shades will be an exact match.

old hollywood beauty tips
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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 to further accentuate her cheekbones and using surgical tape to give herself a temporary face lift.

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Mini Facial Toning Device
NuFace Sephora
$199.00

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
GAB ArchiveGetty Images
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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 to create a coral lip color. The unique hue was entirely her own and instantly became her signature look.

Netaporter
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Coral Lipstick
Lipstick Queen Net-a-Porter
$24.00

We can't know for sure, but we have a feeling Dandridge would be obsessed with Lipstick Queen's coral shade.

1952  american film actress, dancer and singer rita hayworth 1918   1987  photo by robert coburn srjohn kobal foundationgetty images
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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, 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.

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Kiehl's Olive Oil Restorative Hair Mask
Kiehl's Sephora
$25.00

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.

unspecified   undated portrait of swedish actress greta garbo
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Greta Garbo's Eyeshadow Trick

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.

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Eyeshadow Primer
Urban Decay Sephora
$13.00

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. 

american actress and screenwriter mae west 1893   1980, 1934 photo by archive photosgetty images
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Mae West's Moisturizing Routine

The '30s star has been using coconut oil daily throughout her life. She would apply it to her face as moisturizer to give her skin a youthful glow.

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Organic Refined Coconut Oil
Nutiva Amazon
$6.69

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.

circa 1927  glamorous silent screen star gloria swanson 1897   1983, formerly gloria josephine mae svenson  photo by g maillard kessleremargaret chutegetty images
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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. "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."

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Superfood Skin Reset Antioxidant Mask
Youth To The People Sephora
$44.00

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.  

curious wong
Otto DyarGetty Images
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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 on her lower lash line.

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Double Ended Eyeliner Liquid & Pencil
Huda Beauty Sephora
$25.00

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.

1956  film star ingrid bergman 1915   1982 resting her head on her hands  photo via john kobal foundationgetty images
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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. But she did shave a centimeter off of her hairline (not an unpopular grooming technique at the time) for a larger forehead.

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Natural Concealer
RMS Beauty Dermstore
$36.00

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. 

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