• Home
  • Guide
  • What Dolly Parton Has To Say About Beauty

What Dolly Parton Has To Say About Beauty


There are two ways to go about style. There’s the Coco Chanel philosophy, where you take one thing off before you leave the house. And then there’s the Dolly Parton approach, where you put one thing on, and then another, and then another, and finish it all off with a pat of powder and a good coat of lacquer. To love Dolly just the way she is means loving all the ways she’s used beauty to construct an identity for herself. Strip back the makeup, blonde hair teased to the heavens, stiletto acrylics and rhinestone corsets and, well, Dolly just wouldn’t be Dolly. We imagine the country music icon’s Top Shelf to be filled with drugstore beauty staples, DIY hacks, and a fair amount of formally flawless one-liners. Until then, we’ve rounded up all hints she’s given the internet and beyond so far.


On her style:

“It takes a lot of money to look this cheap!”1

“It doesn’t matter how much I spend because it’s like when they try to dress me for the Oscars—I won’t wear the kind of hair that they say goes with that dress. Or I won’t wear the kind of shoes that are supposed to go with that dress because I have to have my hair a certain way. I have to have my makeup a certain way. I have to be comfortable. That’s why I could never be fashionable.”2


On her makeup routine:

“First thing I do in the morning, after I have my breakfast and do my spiritual work, is put on my makeup and fix my hair, and I can do my makeup in 15 minutes.”3

“If I go anywhere, I go in full disguise. I'm afraid somebody will say, ‘Oh, did you see Dolly? She looked like hell.’ I'd rather them say, ‘Did you see Dolly? She's so overdone.’”2

“I wear makeup, and it gets a little bit thicker every year.”4

“I was kind of influenced by this town tramp. She used to walk down the street, and she had all this yellow, bleached hair, red lips, and real tight clothes. When I was little, I used to just love her when I would go to town. I would say, ‘Isn’t she beautiful?’ And people would say, ‘Oh, she ain’t nothin’ but trash.’ And I said, ‘That’s what I want to be!’ I was always going to wear that makeup.”5

“I'm no natural beauty. If I'm gonna have any looks at all, I'm gonna have to create them. You don't need to buy expensive cosmetics; almost anything will do if you know how to apply it.”4

“Until I was a teenager, I used red pokeberries for lipstick and a burnt matchstick for eyeliner. I used honeysuckle for perfume. We were raised in the Pentecostal Church of God and they believed that wearing makeup was sinful. My grandpa Jake, my mama's dad, was a preacher. So I had to sneak around and make myself look all pretty but then wash it off before they caught me.”6

“I would paint my eyebrows on. I always had a beauty mark, but I would also make it darker. So a burnt match was good. You’ve got to spit on it after you’ve burnt it. I’ve got to tell you, what I used for powder was flour. You’ve got to be careful though, because if you get hot you’ll break out in little biscuits.”5


On skincare tips:

“I clean my face in the mornings. You never know if you’re going to wreck the bus, you never know if you’re going to be somewhere in a hotel and there’s going to be a fire. So I leave my makeup on at night and clean my face in the morning.”7

“I try all the new things that come out, but there’s nothing better than good old Vaseline and those Almay eye makeup remover pads. I use those little pads to clean my face and it leaves enough mineral oil on my skin that it’s a good nighttime moisturizer. I have pretty good skin considering my age, and I think a lot of it is mineral oil and bacon grease.”8


On Botox:

“Thanks to Botox and fillers, as well as the work that I've already had, my face pretty much maintains itself. I look at myself like a show dog. I've got to keep her clipped and trimmed and in good shape. If I see something sagging, bagging, or dragging, I'll get it nipped, tucked, or sucked.”4

“People say I always look happy, I say, ‘That’s the Botox.’ You can have good lighting, good makeup, and good doctors—that’s my secret.”9


On the height of her hair:

“My own hair is so flat and fine. I could never make it do anything—that’s why I wear wigs. I think God gave me talent cos he screwed up my hair.”1

“I’m not offended by all of the dumb blonde jokes because I know I’m not dumb and I also know that I’m not blonde. People always ask me how long it takes to do my hair. I don’t know, I’m never there.”10

“People say, 'How many wigs do you have?' And I say, 'Well, at least 365 because I wear at least one a day.’”4

“Even if we're just driving around in our RV camper and hitting all the local fast-food joints I'll tease my hair and put it up in a little scrunchie.”3


On being comfortable with her body:

“I think there is a little magic in the fact that I’m so totally real but look so artificial at the same time.”1

“I'm comfortable in my own skin, no matter how far it's stretched. Every single diet I ever fell off of was because of potatoes and gravy of some sort.”4

“I tried every diet in the book. I tried some that weren’t in the book. I tried eating the book. It tasted better than most of the diets. My weaknesses have always been food and men—in that order.”10

Photos via Getty.