While bright lights, glamorous fashion, and cheering fans are all hallmarks of a walk down the red carpet, Oscars beauty secrets continue to mystify us, each star’s glowing complexion more blinding than the next on Hollywood’s biggest night. But trust that there are many steps leading up to a celebrity’s major glam moment, whether it’s the Oscars or another high-profile event.
In order to put their best faces forward, celebrities must put in the work for a healthy, luminous finish. “Prepping the skin before makeup is essential to get that smooth, effortless glow,” says Shani Darden, esthetician and founder of her eponymous skin care brand. “Keeping it healthy and happy in the weeks beforehand is essential.” With this in mind, Vogue spoke with four celebrity facialists about how they’re prepping stars’ skin for the Oscars red carpets and beyond.
“Makeup needs a great palette for making you look perfect pre-event,” says celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas. “Exfoliation and hydration are the key to glowing skin that you don’t have to cover too much with makeup.” Even though Vargas sees clients the day of a big event, she won’t perform rigorous extractions or heavy peels to avoid irritating skin. Furthermore, she advises clients to avoid any minimally invasive treatments, like laser or microneedling, or drinking alcohol the week of. “Drinking will make you puffy, it’s bad for your collagen, and it creates a lot of dehydration in the skin,” she says. “It’s not doing you any favors.”
Vargas, who founded her eponymous salon and skin care line, focuses on everything from her patented LED bed treatment to lymphatic drainage massages to help “sculpt, calm, and give the skin a glow.” On the day of an event, her prescribed regimen goes something like this: cleanse, exfoliate, apply a sheet mask, de-puff with a sculpting tool, use a LED device, apply a serum, and give yourself a facial massage. Her Oscars beauty secrets regimen starts with a salicylic acid-infused cleanser, followed by a physical and chemical exfoliating mask to leave skin smooth—a formula she notes is great even for sensitive skin types. After an LED treatment, her soothing Twilight Face Mask adds a surge of soothing hydration, massaged in by the brand’s Magic Glow Wand to de-puff and reduce redness. And finally, an oil-based serum locks in moisture for smooth, supple skin.
Star facialist Shani Darden, whose clientele includes Shay Mitchell and Jessica Alba, says that it’s normal to see her clients more frequently leading up to events and award shows. There’s extra emphasis on specialized treatments that tone, tighten, and lift, of course! A trip to her Beverly Hills studio might feature her signature facial, which incorporates a “light chemical peel, vibration therapy, microcurrent, oxygen therapy, extractions if needed, and LED light therapy,” she says. The experience is always curated to improve skin conditions without irritation. “The most important thing to remember is that it’s best to not overhaul your skincare routine in the weeks leading up to a big event,” she says, advising against trying new products or overly invasive treatments too close to the date.
To get the red carpet glow on the day of, Darden reaches for her Cleansing Serum to calm and “restore skin’s moisture,” followed by a chemical exfoliant. She says Dr. Dennis Gross’s Alpha Beta Peel Pads are a good substitute for her professional lactic acid peel. Her favorite part, though, is the Facial Sculpting Wand, which helps sculpt and contour the face. A plumping, hydrating serum and weightless moisturizer complete the equation to dewy effect.
The way Tammy Fender, holistic and wellness practitioner and founder of her eponymous skin care line, sees it, you should be looking at skin from a holistic perspective. “Beautiful skin is one of the outcomes resulting from a balanced lifestyle—treating it with natural formulas, eating well, incorporating movement into the day, and getting great sleep,” she says. Through this philosophy, she believes prepping your skin ideally starts six weeks ahead of an event “to support the body’s own perfect rhythm” and replenish skin with the help of oxygenating spa treatments and peels.