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Beauty Biography of Claudette Colbert

Bella Donna: Claudette Colbert


As my grandma would say, Claudette Colbert was a smart lady. Not just smart for her keen business sense, but for her fashionable, ambitious personality, too. Born in France as Lily Chauchoin, Colbert came to America as a young girl. Always impeccable in appearance, Colbert once dreamed of becoming a fashion designer until stumbling into acting in her late teens.

The red-headed dynamo with versatile talent appeared in a few dramatic roles, but was most often cast in sophisticated or screwball-type comedies. One of my favorites? Her role as a runaway heiress in 1934's It Happened One Night, for which she won an Oscar.

Notorious for her requests to be filmed and photographed from the left side only, I've uncovered a few other interesting beauty facts about the cosmopolitan star:

  • The reason she wanted to be filmed from the left side was because of a bump on the right side of her nose from a childhood accident.
  • She was known for her trademark wavy bob with fluffy bangs. Noted stylist Sydney Guilaroff said, "I adored my long and enduring friendship with Claudette. I studied her lovely face and cut her hair very short. Then I gave her bangs. She kept the hairdo the rest of her life with small variations on it."

Learn more fun beauty facts and see pictures of Colbert, when you read more.

  • She was quoted in Lois P. Frankel's Kindling the Spirit as saying, "It matters more what's in a woman's face than what's on it."
  • She worked with legendary makeup artist Max Factor, who was responsible for creating Clara Bow's famous cupid's bow lips. For Colbert, he developed a shade specifically for her called Dark.
  • For a famous scene in the film The Sign of the Cross, Colbert apparently bathed in asses' milk. According to Colbert's 1996 obituary in the New York Times, Colbert confessed that the "asses' milk" was actually made from a powdered product called Klim. "I was in the pool all day." Colbert said, "The Klim was so warm my bangs came uncurled. When the electricians turned off all the hot lights for an hour it congealed and the Klim turned to cream cheese."

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