Day Spa NYC: Best Celebrity Beauty Secrets
What can you learn from Angelina, Gwyneth, and Lupita? Makeup, hair, and skin pros reveal the techniques they rely on to create stunning red-carpet looks.
Celebs red carpet primping might seem indulgent but the truth is that they are quite necessary specially when they often find themselves in the limelight. Additionally, these rituals are not excessive but in truth are the correct amount of effort necessary in order to achieve glowing results.
The article below contains a veritable cornucopia of advice that will make a difference in your beauty routine.
By Nicole Catanese
Best Celebrity Beauty Secrets
Everyone needs primer The secret to Charlize Theron’s flawless complexion: primers (yes, plural). At this year’s Oscars, celebrity makeup artist Pati Dubroff cocktailed formulas, applying Dior Pore Minimizer Primer ($42) on Theron’s T-zone, plus Dior Glow Maximizer ($42) on the perimeter of her face, especially the cheekbones. The combination “reflects light where you want it and lessens shine where you don’t, reducing the need for powder, which can make you look old,” Dubroff says.
Match your body to your face Between plunging necklines and back-baring gowns, it’s no surprise that the pros spend as much time perfecting skin on the body as they do on the face. Chanel celebrity makeup artist Kate Lee says that if you apply highlighter on your cheekbones and the bridge of your nose, do the same on your shoulders and décolleté, to “make skin look lit from within all over.” Dubroff uses Jergens BB Body Perfecting Skin Cream ($12.99) on her clients, including Naomi Watts for the Golden Globes, to “blur out imperfections,” she says.
A facial massage can work wonders You may not have to wake up at 3 A.M. for a press junket like Claire Danes does, but your just-as-packed schedule can leave you feeling equally sleep-deprived. Instead of piling on concealer, “the most important thing is to make skin look fresh first,” says Matin Maulawizada, Laura Mercier’s global brand ambassador, who preps Danes for nearly every event. His solution to fight skin fatigue includes a five-minute facial massage with Leonor Greyl Huile Secret de Beauté oil ($66), followed by dark-circle-erasing Talika Eye Therapy patches ($58 for six). Dubroff swears by “layering only creamy products”—foundation, highlighter, and blush—which she uses on Theron’s skin for a “real glowy effect.”
Short hair calls for defined brows If you have a face-baring crop, don’t forget about your brows. “With short hair, all of your features are revealed—there isn’t a curtain of hair to hide behind,” says Lee. When Anne Hathaway hits the red carpet, Lee uses a clear or tinted brow gel; it gives definition but doesn’t make it “too graphic,” the way drawn-on pencil can. “You’d be surprised how much it boosts your real brow,” she adds.
Never skip blush Because it blends effortlessly into foundation, “cream blush looks more natural than pow-der,” Lee says. When it comes to color, Lupita Nyong’o’s makeup artist, Nick Barose, says that brighter is better for darker complexions. Try an electric orange or a magenta, then blend well. “If the color isn’t rich enough, it can look gray on your skin,” he says. Lee likes pinkish-brown Le Blush Crème de Chanel in Destiny ($38), which she has used on Emma Watson, as a one-color-fits-all that “doesn’t complicate anything else on the face.”
The right lip color matters When Kate Bosworth rocks a bright lip (like vivid pink), there’s only one rule: “Keep everything else minimal and clean,” says Dubroff, who works regularly with the actress. For darker skin tones, like Nyong’o’s, “anything goes,” says Barose. Think bright red, coral, purple, or fuchsia. Wish you had Angelina Jolie’s full lips? Start by using concealer to erase pigmentation or shadows around your lips, says Maulawizada, who preps the star’s pout, and stick with shiny textures. “A fleshy, peachy tone that is almost nude makes the lips look fuller,” he adds.
Try a high-tech facial To energize her complexion in the weeks leading up to awards season, Naomi Watts heads to New York dermatologist David Colbert for his signature Triad facial ($800), a three-step microdermabrasion-laser toning-peel treatment. For Gwyneth Paltrow, “we work on lifting and tightening,” says Los Angeles–based skin guru Sonya Dakar, who treats the actress’s skin with her cell-regenerating Age Control Apple Stem Cell Facial ($450) and 15 minutes of LED red light ($800) to stimulate collagen growth pre–red carpet. Next, she applies the Total Lift treatment ($500), a combination of radio frequency and pulsed magnetic field therapies, to “sculpt and contour.” There’s no downtime, says Dakar, so “she can immediately get her makeup done.”
Max out on moisture Whether you’re 20, 40, or beyond, never underestimate the power of a good moisturizer. “Long-term dryness can lead to premature aging,” says celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas, who prepped Theron’s skin for the Oscars. “I wanted her to be able to wear minimal makeup, so she needed to have a dewy complexion,” says Vargas, who whipped up a DIY mask of strawberries, yogurt, and honey. “Honey hydrates, yogurt soothes but also has lactic acid to gently peel, and strawberries are amazing for toning pores,” she explains.
Exfoliate, exfoliate, exfoliate Erase sun damage and post-blemish marks for good with an exfoliator like glycolic, lactic, or salicylic acid, which helps dissolve dead cells on the skin. To get ready for the red carpet, Watts uses Colbert M.D.’s Intensify Facial Discs ($64 for 20), which are loaded with pineapple enzymes as well as skin-plumping glucosamine. On Paltrow, Dakar applies her green-apple-laced NutraSphere Nano Peel ($155), then gently smooths skin with her Diamond Peel treatment ($350). It makes your face “feel like a baby’s bottom,” says Dakar.
Give fine hair a lift If your hair tends to be flat, a severe side part is a quick fix, says stylist Renato Campora, who has used the trick on Reese Witherspoon’s locks. And while it may seem counterintuitive, hairstylist Andy Lecompte says he applies a lightweight oil to January Jones’s fine strands. He likes Wella Professionals Oil Reflections ($40). “It creates shine and movement but doesn’t weigh down fine hair,” says Lecompte.
Curly styles don’t have to be complicated For a beachy look, rough-dry hair with your fingers, like Lecompte does for Madonna. “I often just accentuate her natural wave,” he says. To create a more glamorous look on Emma Stone, L’Oréal Paris celebrity hairstylist Mara Roszak uses the brand’s Advanced Hairstyle Boost It Volume Inject Mousse ($4.99) before curling small sections.
Commit to a weekly hair mask A mask is a must between touch-ups, says colorist Lorri Goddard, who works with Kate Hudson. Goddard’s pick: Shu Uemura Ultimate Remedy Treatment ($56). To restore radiance, colorist Gina Gilbert recommends a monthly clear or tinted gloss for her clients, including Julianne Moore. “Red hair fades easily, so a gloss keeps it vibrant,” says Gilbert. Try John Frieda Colour Refreshing Gloss ($11.99).
Get an expert to cover your gray Rita Wilson’s colorist, Redken creative consultant Tracey Cunningham, says that a lighter base color with gradual highlights is the best low-maintenance way to conceal grays. Colorist Sharon Dorram says she keeps Christie Brinkley’s trademark blonde bright by diffusing her “sparklers” with “baby blonde highlights close to her part and hairline.”
Grow out hair with strategic highlights To transition Jennifer Lawrence’s color from crop to bob, Goddard left the actress’s natural dark blonde at the roots but lightened the ends. “Short hair needs stronger pieces around the face that fade out,” she says. Cunningham keeps Charlize Theron’s short baby blonde from “looking spotty” by placing foils all over, followed by a glaze, then a balayage of random strands “to make it look natural.”
Dark locks need dimension and shine Before your next selfie, keep this in mind: “Brunettes read much darker on camera,” says John Frieda hair-care pro Harry Josh, who uses “basic highlights all over” on Rose Byrne so her features stand out in photo ops. Gilbert took Julianna Margulies’s hair one shade darker. “It looks stunning against her porcelain skin,” she says. For darker hues, Josh also suggests getting a single process one shade deeper than your natural color: “It adds depth and looks glossy.”