She was one of the world's all-time beauties. But was Marilyn Monroe's hair all it's cracked up to be?

Marilyn Monroe’s Hair: Steal It if You Must?

She was one of the world's all-time beauties. But was Marilyn Monroe's hair all it's cracked up to be?If you went into a salon right this minute and asked for Marilyn Monroe hair, your stylist would immediately know three things:

  1. You want it blonde. In fact, the blonder, the better.
  2. You want it short and curly.
  3. You have possibly lost your mind.

Hold on a minute, hear me out on this.

Just imagine that hairstyle on anyone else. You probably don’t even have to–you may have elderly relatives who still sport it.

That’s right: The problem with Marilyn Monroe’s hair is that you have to be as beautiful as Marilyn to pull it off. 

Was Marilyn beautiful? Yes.

Did she perfectly epitomize the beauty standards of her time, and even surpass them? Yes.

Could her hair have been improved?

Um…kind of?

It most likely wasn’t her choice (Hollywood studio system = total life control) to go that blonde or that short, so let’s not blame Marilyn. But you have to admit: If you look good with Marilyn Monroe’s most famous hairstyle, you probably look better wearing your hair any other way. Truth.

And I know. I know it was a 1950s thing. Because just look at Marilyn in the 1940s:

She was one of the world's all-time beauties. But was Marilyn Monroe's hair all it's cracked up to be?

I just want to point out, as well, how shiny her auburn (!) hair is. There are so many ways to lighten your hair now that don’t involve straight-up bleach, but there weren’t back then. And there was no Olaplex, people! It was definitely a big leap to go from this:

To this…

She was one of the world's all-time beauties. But was Marilyn Monroe's hair all it's cracked up to be?

Beyond the bravery involved in going completely platinum, though, you also have to give Marilyn total credit for her upkeep. You basically NEVER see that girl with roots. How is that possible?

I guess that’s one of the benefits (?) of the Hollywood studio system…

Ready to hear about the craziest beauty tips from Classic Hollywood? Grace, Audrey, Marilyn and more star in Old Hollywood Glamour!

And look, all of that is not to say that Marilyn wasn’t 100% completely and totally gorgeous. I’m just saying that she was stunning despite her haircut, rather than because of it.

For example:


In fact, my absolute all-time favorite photos of Marilyn are ones where her hair’s just less done. Again, I know this is a generational thing, and that if you were born before the 1960s, “done” is a good thing where hair is concerned.

But please! Just glance at the mussed-up look she sports (briefly) in Some Like It Hot:


Tell me that’s not a million times better than her hair in The Prince and the Showgirl, above.

But best of all are her beach “candids.” These are just the most beautiful, vulnerable, free-spirited and all-around stunning images of Marilyn I have ever seen. If this was what we called “Marilyn Monroe hair,” sign me up yesterday.


Mussed and Happy


Relaxed and Happy


Windblown…and Happy

It’s really Marilyn’s misfortune that Andy Warhol chose to make his most iconic image one of her with her worst hairstyle. Yes, that was arguably the most famous image of her even before he made his Marilyns, but c’mon, Andy. It’s not like your hair was anything to brag about.

Now, if you want to get Marilyn Monroe hair today, that’s totally your choice and, after everything, I do (sort of) support you and I totally support your right to do whatever you want with your hair! But can I suggest you check out Destinee Cushing’s tips on how to get modern Marilyn glamour curls first? I think you’ll be glad you did…

…But that’s not all! Check out more of Marilyn’s fashion DOs and DON’Ts in Old Hollywood Glamour!

2 thoughts on “Marilyn Monroe’s Hair: Steal It if You Must?

    • Fates and Stars says:

      I know! Damaged hair is pretty much the hardest thing to fix…you can always go blonder later, but once that shine’s gone, it’s gone!


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