Recreate Marilyn’s ‘Sleepy Eyes’ With Lash Shadow Trick

A new generation of beauty bloggers are exploring Marilyn’s eye makeup techniques on social media, as Glamour reports.

“Monroe’s famous sleepy bedroom eyes are actually a makeup trick, using eye shadow and white eyeliner to elongate the lower lash line to help eyes appear bigger and brighter. TikTok users picked up on the beauty hack and have been re-creating the look under the hashtag #marilynmonroemakeup, which currently has more than 6 million views.

Celebrity makeup artist Clarissa Luna, who works with stars Megan Fox and Lana Condor, says that the elongated lower lash line creates the illusion of a shadow. ‘The Marilyn Monroe eye makeup gives an iconic, sultry effect,’ she tells Glamour. ‘While the cat flick on top is meant to elongate the eye and give a fuller lash line, the bottom line is meant to create a shadow from the lashes, drawing the eyes down. The white liner on the waterline is meant to make the eyes look big and bright.’

This ‘lash shadow’ is key to achieving the sleepy look. Makeup artist Hayley Kassel recently worked on a Monroe-inspired campaign for ColourPop Cosmetics and has a few tips for creating the illusion. ‘Try to rest your face and eyes as much as possible,’ she says. ‘Usually, we tend to lift our brows, scrunch our foreheads, and open our eyes as wide as humanly possible when we are applying eye makeup. For this particular look, your eyes need to be as relaxed and as “sleepy” as you can make them. This will give you much more control over the correct placement of the lash shadow you are applying on the outer end of the eye.’

To keep things soft and diffused, use matte colors in shades of brown and taupe. ‘The key to this eye makeup is to not overdo it,’ says Luna. ‘The liner on top is very close to the lash line, and meant to make the lashes look thicker. The trick to the bottom liner is to use a brown shade and mimic the same shape as the top liner, starting from the outer third of the eye.’ She suggests using cream formulas, which are easy to smudge out. ‘Using a cream-colored liner on the waterline will not only brighten the eyes but define the bottom shadow liner as well.’

Both Kassel and Luna also recommend using pencil brushes for precise application. ‘Take a small pencil brush and use a more taupe-esque color for the shadow,’ Kasssel says. ‘You are aiming to add that slight bit of definition, but not a harsh black or brown line. In between the space of the upper cat eye and the lower elongated shadow, fill that space in with a lighter eye shadow or eye pencil color. You can also take a white or nude liner, and fill in the lower lash waterline as well’ … For some extra drama, amp up your lashes with some falsies.”