Beauty Products Sophia Loren Used To Create Her Iconic ‘50s Glam

A Hollywood beauty icon and Academy Award winner, Sophia Loren, now 86, still looks mesmerizing and admits in her biography that a key feature in her beauty routine is her confidence. The Italian actress says that she looks how she feels and that real beauty comes from within: “Nothing makes a woman more beautiful than the belief that she is beautiful.”

By Simone Sydel4 min read
sophia loren beauty

But even though radiant from the inside out, Sophia Loren was especially famous for the unique way she drew her eyebrows and for her beautiful cat-eye look that’s a timeless classic and looks great on every eye shape.

There are a few other products that she regularly used to complement her looks, and after extensive research, I compiled a list of products Sophia Loren used to create her iconic ‘50s glam. Let's start with her basics:

Lux Soap for Cleansing

There are several vintage advertisements of Sophia promoting Lux Soap, and Sophia states, "New Lux is marvelous. I use it to keep my complexion soft, smooth, and best of all, clear!"

sophia loren advertisement lux soap

Lux Soap was launched in the United States in 1925 and would become super popular, especially with celebrities over the decades. Everyone from Lucille Ball, Doris Day, Ava Gardner, and Elizabeth Taylor famously endorsed the soap company back in the day, but the soap is still super popular and loved by celebrities such as Priyanka Chopra even today.

Olive Oil As Moisturizer

With her Mediterranean roots, it comes as no surprise that Sophia championed organic olive oil. Aside from using it in her food, she also used it for skincare. Everything from her body moisturizer and night cream to her bath oil was enriched with olive oil – the more natural, the better.

And she probably didn't have an issue finding the good stuff given that she comes from Italy, the land of olives and this precious oil. Olive oil is known for its antioxidant properties and vitamin E content. This is why it's considered one of the healthiest oils to consume with anything. It can even be used for frying, given that it's stable in high heat.

However, although olive oil can soften the skin and make it appear plump, smooth, and glowy, it may not be the best idea to slather it on your face excessively, especially if you’re dealing with skin conditions such as acne.

Sophia clearly didn't have this issue – from looking at old photos of her, I can tell she never dealt with acne due to the lack of scarring. Nor did she have visibly dry skin, so olive oil was definitely benefiting her complexion.

Mint Leaf As an Eye Treatment

Sophia Loren always turned to natural solutions instead of expensive skincare, and she proudly admits that whenever she's asked about her beauty secrets.

Instead of splurging on a rich eye cream, she came up with her own solution to help with dark circles. According to a story in The Daily Mail, she would crush mint leaves and wear them as a mask under her eyes. The mint would create a cooling effect and soothe the area. Besides that, mint leaves also work well as a mild astringent agent that helps tone the skin naturally and even helps to minimize the look of enlarged pores.

However, as with olive oil, this ingredient should also be used with caution because it could cause irritation, especially for someone who is allergic or sensitive to it.

Again, Sophia clearly didn't have a problem with sensitive skin, which is often the case with people with Mediterranean roots. But not every skin is the same, and you should be cautious if you decide to take Sophia's advice for getting rid of dark circles.

Drawn-on Brows

Sophia had a unique approach to brow grooming during the ‘50s and ‘60s: she would shave them off completely and then draw them back on using eyeliner and short, thread-thin strokes.

We know she had naturally full and thick eyebrows; however, her tip to redraw the brow using a fine-tipped pencil is ingenious as the fine tip allowed her to draw in each hair, making it look extremely natural while giving her full control over the shape and arch of the brow.

Max Factor's Eyestudio Master Precise All Day Liquid Eyeliner is a product that can help you achieve Sophia's eyebrow look. The eyeliner is long-wearing, water and smudge-resistant, and delivers precise definition in just one stroke.

It's not confirmed, but Sophia likely used a Max Factor product to achieve her unique eyebrow look since we know she promoted the brand from this vintage Max Factor ad where she endorsed her favorite beauty products.

sophia loren advertisement max factor

On the other hand, in case you feel like splurging, another great product for achieving the same look is KVD Beauty's Tattoo Eyeliner that's even longer lasting – let's just say it lives up to the "tattoo" in its name. This thing is everything-proof!

Maybelline Liquid Eyeliner 

Since she first shook up the silver screen in the '50s, Sophia Loren has had one of the most iconic gazes in the world. And while her almond-shaped eyes are a gift from Mother Nature, she also loved further accentuating her eyes by drawing a line down to the outer corner and lifting it from the middle and out so that it looks a bit elongated as it sits right above the lashes.

This gave her eyes an even bigger look, and to do this she famously used Max Factor's Liquid Eyeliner that had a very thin and soft brush back in the day. The product is upgraded now, but it can still be used to create Sophia's legendary look.

Helena Rubinstein Mascara

Sophia Loren also endorsed the Helena Rubinstein Mascara as one of her staples in her beauty routine.

The Helena Rubinstein Long-Lash Waterproof Mascara was a very popular product back in the ‘60s and was loved by many actresses and celebrities, including Sharon Tate.

This is a beautiful mascara with a thin brush and gorgeous golden packaging, and while it's still available today for collectors, it's expensive and notoriously difficult to find, and often there are waitlists on the websites that carry it. But, luckily, there’s something very similar and much cheaper than this luxury mascara!

Since the company Helena Rubinstein, Inc. was sold to Colgate Palmolive in 1973 and is now owned by L'Oréal, they used the same formula to create the Telescopic Mascara, which costs only $11, and it even has a very similar brush to the Long-Lash Waterproof Mascara.

Dolce & Gabbana Lipstick

Sophia Loren is famous for her big and full lips, and she loves wearing different lipstick colors, so she doesn't really have a signature color because everything she wears looks great on her. Back in the day, she was seen wearing reds, nudes, pinks, plums, corals, and even sheer glosses.

However, she did end up collaborating with Dolce & Gabbana to create a lipstick dedicated to her back in 2015. The lipstick is called Sophia Loren No1 and is the perfect shade of pink and red. The lipstick bullets were signed by Sophia herself, which truly made them unique.

Sadly, the lipstick was only limited edition; however, there are two affordable options that come very close to D&G's now discontinued Sophia No1. One of them is the Maybelline Color Sensational Creamy Lipstick in #255 Pink Flare, and the other is Inglot's Lipsatin Lipstick in #321.

Clean Diet

Sophia Loren’s gorgeous hourglass figure was one of her most alluring features, and she made sure to protect it. Instead of putting herself on a very strict diet, Loren turned to her Italian and French roots for her eating cues. She famously ate intuitively and followed a Mediterranean diet packed with legumes, whole grains, seafood, olives, whole foods like fruits and vegetables, and of course, olive oil.

Closing Thoughts

Unsurprisingly due to her European roots, Sophia Loren followed European beauty standards and enjoyed a more natural approach to taking care of her looks.

Even though she enjoyed complementing her appearance with makeup, it was ultimately natural ingredients such as bathing in olive oil and having a great diet that made her absolutely radiant.

Love Evie? Let us know what you love and what else you want to see from us in the official Evie reader survey.