It's gonna get sappy up in here.
For obvious reasons, Dita von Teese has long been one of my beauty inspirations. Her commitment to a “look” and to the golden age of unflappable glamour and sex appeal is something that resonates with me.
When I was in my early teens and didn’t feel like I fit in in my tiny farm town, I sought solace in a huge coffee-table book about the golden age of Hollywood. Once I saw Jean Harlow, Rita Hayworth, Carole Lombard and my girl Marilyn, I knew that a little dose of glamour in your day-to-day would make your life, no matter how mundane, a bit more magical. At 16, I set my hair in a roller set almost every day and went to school in pencil skirts, twinsets and lipstick when my peers were flat-ironing their hair and wearing Abercrombie. (Though I did that, too.)
Dita’s written a few books about burlesque and fetish, but she hadn’t released a beauty book until now. The massive tome Your Beauty Mark: the Ultimate Guide to Eccentric Glamour is full of tips, personal anecdotes, history lessons and gorgeous photos from the star. She talks about corsetry, exercise, green juice and SPF, as well as choosing a good dermatologist and channeling your inner burlesque star. She goes into great detail about applying mascara, wearing perfume, hair removal, and brushing out your hot rollers. There are even photo tutorials so you can practice your own pinup style.
There’s something within its pages for everyone, from the glam-girl-in-training to the total beginner to your boyfriend who just thinks Dita is hot.
I devoured the entire book in a few hours, and here’s what really stuck with me.
1. Dita has had acrylic nails since she was 17. She prefers them red, slightly pointed with a “moon” shape at the base. The moons were inspired by the Hollywood starlets young Dita was obsessed with as a child.
2. She doesn’t mess with a nude lip. “I am not about to pucker up in a lip shade formulated to look natural,” she says. “For me, it’s a painted eye, a heavily penciled brow and a swipe of crimson lipstick.”
3. Dita originally wanted her trademark beauty mark tattoo to be shaped like a star, but the tattoo artist refused.
4. She also once considered tattooing stocking seams up her legs, but she's thankful she didn’t.
5. Dita has a 23” waist. She credits this not to having ribs removed, as was rumored, but to a faithful, healthy diet and plenty of Pilates and ballet.
6. Her five-minute face = powder, lipstick and big sunglasses.
7. One of Dita’s favorite stories about the power of makeup and beauty dates back to her days working at a makeup counter. An old man approached her to buy products for his wife, who was very ill with cancer. She couldn’t put on her own makeup anymore so he had learned to do it for her just the way she liked it.
8. If you want a retro, glamorous hairstyle, all you need is a good set of hot rollers. Dita can’t live without them, and they’re often the last thing she removes before she leaves the house. (I’ve been into hot rollers for years; right now I’m using Caruso steam rollers.)
9. Dita has long been a fan of MAC. One of her favorite reds is Ruby Woo, and for the launch of a Viva Glam lip color, the team created a giant lipstick tube for Dita to “ride.”
10. Dita also released her own shade of MAC lipstick, called Von Teese, in conjunction with the book. It’s a bright matte tomato red in the vein of Lady Danger. As with most of MAC’s mattes, it’s long-lasting and comfortable to wear. I’m wearing it here:
11. She’s a natural blonde. After a stint as a redhead, she realized the only way she’d get the hue out of her hair was to dye it black, and here we are. She uses drugstore color!
12. Dita has had a few cosmetic procedures, including breast implants and Botox. She’s not shy about them and recommends that if you’re interested, find a really good doctor. Visit as many as you have to and be very clear on what you want.
13. One of her good friends is RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Raja/Sutan Amrull, who was also a makeup artist on America’s Next Top Model. He has a short essay in the book about how beauty made him feel more comfortable in his own skin and how Sutan and Raja combine to make him whole.
14. Dita wears gloves while driving in Los Angeles to protect her skin from the sun. Does this surprise you?
15. The “Dita von Teese” persona is who Heather Sweet was born to be. She says that Dita is who she is inside and onstage, and she wants her personality to shine as brightly as Swarovski crystals.
16. Dita collects wigs and corsets, among other things. She’s also got a collection of antique hot tools, but electricians won’t rewire them for her to use and her stylist friends were horrified at the thought.
17. She designed her home in shades of lavender and pale blue because they pair well with red lipstick. (A girl after my own heart.)
18. Under no circumstances are men allowed to touch her hair. “I don’t mind Mr. Right running his fingers down my spine … a caress to the face is rather nice, too. But do not tousle my hairdo. At least not until we’re behind closed doors,” she says.
19. Her ex-husband, Marilyn Manson, has kind words about Dita: “Dita brought out my love for clothes and makeup – and we looked great together, two misfits from the Midwest who like to play dress-up. She always made me happy when she looked like a villain.”
20. Dita understands the difference between glamour and beauty: “I think beauty is something you’re born with, and glamour is something you create. Someone can be very glamorous who isn’t even pretty. That’s what I love about glamour.” Same.
- Will you be reading Dita's book?
- Have you tried her MAC lipstick?