What Made Marilyn Monroe the Ultimate Blonde Icon?

Published 24th Jan 2023 by Josie Jackson

Bella Hadid recently embraced her inner Marilyn Monroe thanks to a fun new wig, and it got the HJ Team thinking… what is it about the actress’ hair that is so iconic? It was only last year that Kim Kardashian, one of the most well-known women in the world, took inspiration from the starlet for her Met Gala attire – donning her dress and dyeing her hair blonde in one sitting to complete the look. So, we decided to chat to some stylists to find out their thoughts on why Marilyn’s look is still so in-demand, and how it can be maintained for long-lasting results. 

Why is Marilyn Monroe's Blonde Hair Still So Iconic?

Simon Tuckwell, Owner of Tuckwell & Co and Creative Director of Oway UK, shares: “When you think of blonde, you automatically think of Marilyn Monroe. I think the soft blonde locks were so different at the time but have become a staple of beauty today. She created that ‘blonde bombshell’ persona."

“I think it’s a timeless style because of the softness of the look – particularly the softness of Marilyn’s curls,” explains Rory Mason, Creative Director at Rory Antonio Hair & Beauty Lab. “The style is flattering on most face shapes; Bella Hadid has a thin, long, angular face and Marilyn’s was more rounded, softer and voluptuous. These are two completely different face shapes, but it suits both of them.” Meanwhile, Katie Mulcahy, Director at Paint and Power Hair, notes: “Marilyn was the epitome of femininity and oozed glamour with heaps of sex appeal; it’s no wonder her look resonates with so many and has been imitated by so many celebs.” 

How to Help Your Clients Maintain Marilyn Monroe's Blonde Shade

If your client has requested a Marilyn-level blonde, then chances are, their hair is going to be quite fragile after, as the hair has to be lifted up to almost white to achieve this look. Lydia Wolfe, from Jack & the Wolfe, explains: “Two things in my experience that cause the worst breakage are clients tying their hair up repeatedly with hair elastics, and sleeping with wet hair. Get your clients who love the platinum life to switch to silk hair ties and promise to never sleep with wet hair.”

To help promote longevity of colour, Seung ki Baek, a member of the RUSH Artistic Team, recommends advising clients against washing their hair for at least 48 hours after colouring, “to allow the colour to fully absorb into the hair”, and also suggests telling clients to lay off the heat.

What to Tell Clients with Darker Hair

While Kim Kardashian tried to convince her followers that going from brunette to blonde is easy, professionals know this is not the case. Lydia shares: “For clients with hair below a level 6, I find it really important to manage their expectations. If they value the strength and condition of their hair, it might be better to see if there are other shades of blonde with more warmth that they would also love. However, if their heart is set on a shade, make sure they know they will need to commit to regular bond treatments and high-quality hair care, such as Goldwell Dualsenses Bond Pro in salon treatment and the corresponding Dualsenses Bond Pro hair care range.”

Meanwhile, Rory notes that a strand test is a brilliant way to show your clients whether this is an achievable colour for them. Katie also offers up some advice for clients, sharing: “For those with darker hair, I would advise making this transition gradually – it took Marilyn time to get that shade of blonde, as condition is key. A slower process will give better results; keeping trims regular and making sure clients are aware of the high maintenance involved with such a strong look are both important.”

Josie Jackson

Josie Jackson

Published 24th Jan 2023

Josie supports the team with content for the print magazine, website and social media channels at HJ. Having grown up in a salon environment (thanks to her hairdresser mum) and even working as a Saturday girl before getting her degree in English Literature, Josie feels right at home in the industry. Although she’s experimented with a few creative colour looks in the past, she always comes back to blonde, and loves all things hydrating and bond building.

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