Marilyn’s Secret to Perfectly Matte Skin? Erno Laszlo’s Shake It

Erno Laszlo, Marilyn Monroe Beauty, Review, matte skin
Is it an oil absorbing mattifier or a light coverage foundation? Even better, is it truly one of Marilyn Monroe’s favorite beauty products? Rumor has it that bottles of Erno’s products were found in the room when she died, and you can see it in multiple images of her dressing table.

So, I’m still not quite 100% sure what category to put this stuff in. Mattifying treatment or light foundation? I think it’s both, and you can somewhat sway how it acts if you use it differently. What the Shake It definitely is, is a water and alcohol base with suspended powder. That powder is several things, including Talc, Zinc and Titanium Oxides (to absorb oil) as well as pigment.

To use, you need to shake well for about 5 seconds (need to resuspend all of the powder), then use a cotton ball or round to apply to your face. You can swipe it on like a toner if you want very little powder coverage, but I find that patting it on allows thicker coverage. You want your face to feel wet. It will take a minute or two to fully dry, leaving behind the powder. If it looks streaky blend with your fingers, or if you want more coverage just repeat the application.

The end result of all this is skin that looks just better. My pores seem to disappear, blemishes are less obvious and while I still need concealer (pesky undereye circles!), I certainly don’t need to apply foundation in this summer heat. The pigments also do a great job of soaking up oil, and as a consequence, I’m matte all day long!

Now, I know what you are thinking. . . Christine, didn’t you say this was an alcohol and water base? Is it a good idea to basically wipe rubbing alcohol on our faces? Normally the answer would be “you’re right, don’t do that, it sounds very drying.” And, in fact, I wouldn’t recommend this product unless you have combination or oily skin. (The good folks at Erno Laszlo don’t recommend it for those with dry and normal skin either, btw.) Personally I did not have any issues with drying skin except around my nose. If I was careful to keep this out of those creases, all was well.

A final note. I used this after my normal SPF daily moisturizer. I have no idea how the alcohol base would affect those products, as I’m sure that some sunscreen would be removed. If you wait long enough for moisturizer/sunscreen to sink in, I would think that this effect would be minimized. As well, note that it is likely less of an issue if your sunscreen is chemical rather than physical based.

Aqua (Water), Alcohol Denat. (Sd Alcohol 40-B), Calcium Carbonate, Isopropyl Alcohol, Talc, Glycerin, Citric Acid, Parfum (Fragrance), Denatonium Benzoate, Amyl Cinnamal, Alpha-Isomethyl Ionone, Benzyl Alcohol, Benzyl Benzoate, Citronellol, Eugenol, Gerniol, Hydroxycitronellal, Isoeugenol, Limonene, Linalool, Ci 77491 Ci 77492 Ci 77499 (Iron Oxides), Ci 77947 (Zinc Oxide), Ci 77891 (Titanium Dioxide)

Erno Laszlo Normalizer Shake-It



  1. July 26, 2010 / 4:38 pm

    I had a friend in college who used this, and she looked fabulous (of course she was 18…).

    I had forgotten all about it… might have to check it out since I fall into the oily/combo category.

  2. July 28, 2010 / 1:53 am

    I love solid skin, but I don’t think you need to have massive quantities of a thick base.

  3. July 28, 2010 / 8:59 pm

    Are they planning on using Marilyn's image to sell it?

  4. Anonymous
    December 18, 2012 / 8:29 pm

    Need to try this…I fall into that oily category…what color shake it did Marilyn wear

  5. December 18, 2012 / 9:25 pm

    I'm not sure. They've changed the shades over the years, so her shade might not be in production any more.

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