DOOMED GLAMOUR: Edie Sedgwick and Marilyn Monroe Loved The Same Fantastic Skincare Products

My two favorite iconic hot messes used the same skincare products, that are still available for purchase today. Coincidence?

Nov 10, 2011 at 10:00am | Leave a comment

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When I'm not shopping online at WuWear.com, I spend my time worshipping Edie Sedgwick and Marilyn Monroe, both great beauties who died in bed from pill overdoses. No, just kidding. I don't really anymore, but we all know that phase.

I know it’s awful, but I just can’t help it! As the amazing Lesley Arfin once said of Edie: “Bitch is dead. Keep it moving.” And God knows I try.

But I still find myself reading and re-reading all of my Edie and Marilyn books, and particularly relishing their dark and lonely last days. Whatever! I also own Naked Instinct: The Unauthorized Biography of Sharon Stone:

The best Marilyn book is this hardback Norman Mailer biography full of beautiful photographs which may or may not be out of print now:

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…and of course, the essential Edie book is “Edie”, by Jean Stein. I own two copies, one a first edition (pictured here):

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In fairness, as a beauty editor, I get away with worshipping doomed gorgeous people just a little bit more than everybody else. I mean, you're talking to someone who once chose a rehab because Edie went there, too (her brother Minty hung himself there, in fact). Did you know that Edie and Marilyn both used the same classic skincare products, which are still available for purchase (and they are truly wonderful) today?

Marilyn and Edie both swore by products by Erno Laszlo, who makes fantastic skin creams and other interesting topical potions in particular. Erno Laszlo, BTW, was a Hungarian dermatologist who became a New York “celebrity doctor” who prescribed skincare regimens to everyone from Jackie O. (whom he instructed to stop putting oils and lotions on her face altogether) (did that make sense?) to Audrey Hepburn to Gloria Vanderbilt (Anderson Cooper’s mom!) to Garbo to Marilyn to Edie, etc. Marilyn reportedly adored Dr. Laszlo and treasured the personal talks they had during appointments, which she scheduled often.

And now we get morbid! A jar of Erno Laszlo cream was photographed by police beside Marilyn’s bed – along with a bunch of junk mail and half a dozen prescription pill bottles – at the time of her death. Here's that photo to depress you:

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The product was Erno Laszlo Active pHelityl cream, a nighttime moisturizer for “dry to slightly dry” skin “highly recommended during the harsh winter months”:

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Edie was also devoted to Erno Laszlo’s products. My favorite Warhol Star Brigid Berlin (Netflix “Pie in the Sky” NOW!) says that Edie had Erno products spilling out of all her bags , and had stacks of the products piled on chairs, tables, counters, and so on – all over her messy apartment. This sounds just like my life, except I need more Erno Laszlo.

To contextualize, Edie's skin was so good that Diana Vreeland once remarked of her, "I've never met a junkie who didn't have beautiful skin." And if you’ve ever wondered how Edie smelled (who hasn’t wondered this?), it was of iconic and vaguely cloying Fracas by Robert Piguet. “Like any good society girl,” said Brigit Berlin’s sister, Richie:

Marilyn, of course, wore her Chanel No. 5. Have you ever seen Andy Warhol's Chanel No. 5 silk screens? So lovely. And did you know that Catherine Denuve was a spokesmodel for Chanel No. 5 in the seventies? Her vintage ads are so classic:

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Another iconic Enro Lazslo product that existed at the inception of the brand and is still sold today is skin-clearing inky black Erno Laszlo Sea Mud Soap bar, for normal/combination to oily skin:

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$40. I stand by my endorsement of it. And their bottles of Controlling Lotion:

...which are excellent toners.

It cleanses pores without stripping skin of natural oils. It's also pretty glamorous. I say, buy it. Very appealing.

Oh, but the other option for cleanser in this story is Marilyn Monroe's. She was a fan of still-wonderful (and worth the splurge for-real) Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil, which I like to use in tandem with another cleanser to make sure I've removed the residue:

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The above is the Shu Uemura Limited Edition Wrex+ Brightening Cleansing Oil Advanced Formula. The best option for acne-prone skin is Shu's Fresh Pore Clarifying Gentle Cleansing Oil. I like the big pump bottles for $65. I also use them to take off eye makeup and, when I'm feeling really extravagant (and I always am), to shave my legs.

Incidentally, Erno Laszlo was credited with "teaching society women how to wash their faces" -- insisting that this clients splash water on their faces no less than thirty times after cleansing.

So, there you have it -- a morbid little beauty history lesson. Did you enjoy it or no?