Dolly Parton Used Burnt Matches in Her Beauty Routine Growing Up

Music is important to Dolly Parton, but so is makeup. She has stuck to the same look for years, but how she created it has changed. Parton used to use things around the home as makeup, sometimes against her father’s rule. She explained how she used burnt matches for her eyebrows and more.

Dolly Parton was inspired by an unexpected person

Dolly Parton performs onstage wearing a yellow dress
Dolly Parton performs onstage wearing a yellow dress | Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

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Parton is unique given her big hair, tight clothes, and lipstick. She has stuck to that style throughout her career because her style has been inspired by a specific person since childhood.

“I was kind of influenced by this town tramp,” Parton revealed on Home & Family. “She used to walk down the street, and she had all this yellow, bleached hair, red lips, and real tight clothes.” 

She continued, “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.”

The problem is Parton didn’t have makeup while growing up. Partially because money was tight given her parents raised 12 kids in Locust Ridge, Tennessee. So she had a different method to get her desired look.

Dolly Parton used burnt matches to fill in her eyebrows 

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The singer’s family didn’t have a lot of money growing up. But she was still interested in beauty and makeup. She would use things around their house instead of makeup on herself. 

“And we always wanted the eyebrows,” she said. “You know we’d get burnt matches. Matches that had been burned, and we’d wet ‘em and make my little eyebrows.”

Parton’s signature big hair started back when she was in school. “When I was a sophomore in high school, I started, the teased hair came in,” she said. The singer also said she always wore her clothes tight, and people would “tease” her in school.

Her father didn’t approve of things like lipstick. But Parton said her mother was understanding of her personal style. 

The matches weren’t just for her eyebrows either. She revealed on Home & Family another creative use for them.

“I always had a beauty mark, but I would also make it darker,” she said. “So a burnt match was good. You’ve got to spit on it after you’ve burnt it.” 

The kitchen was also a source of beauty products for the future music legend. She continued, “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.”

Obviously, Parton’s creativity extended beyond songwriting. It included creating her personal style when she had very little.