Being a celebrity sounds like so much fun, especially come awards season; you’ve got the parties, the champagne, the gorgeous dresses and you get to hang out with some of the most beautiful people in the world. But if Hollywood is like high school, like Tom Hanks once said, then awards season is like prom except, if you’re an A list celebrity, getting ready for it takes more than picking out a dress and a date.
There are two ways in which celebrities prep for red carpets – one involves downing green juice for breakfast, lunch and dinner in the month leading up to the red carpet to get that otherworldly glow, while the other involves routine visits to the dermatologist’s office. There’s a ton of pressure to be as close to #flawless as is humanly possible, and it’s almost understandable, if not enviable – the original version of the image above, for example, was so hi res that I could zoom in close enough to see a stray bobby pin sticking out of Jennifer Lawrence’s updo.
Curious about what it really takes to get red carpet ready, I got on the phone with Dr. David Colbert, a New York-based dermatologist who treats Emma Stone, J. Law, Naomi Watts and a legion of other Hollywood celebrities (and who you might remember from this piece). They say that a visit to his office is practically mandatory come awards season – in fact, so in demand are Dr. Colbert’s services that he sets up a pop up office in Beverly Hills right before the Oscars every year. Dr. Colbert walked me through the standard A-list red carpet treatments – here’s the lowdown.
TWO MONTHS BEFORE THE RED CARPET
Knowing that you’re going to hit the red carpet with hundreds of HD cameras trained at you sounds pretty daunting, so it’s not surprising that one of the most popular red carpet treatment is a ‘fat blasting’ procedure called CoolSculpting, which Dr. Colbert says ‘kills’ fat cells under the skin (while keeping the rest of the organs intact, thankfully). “CoolSculpting targets selected areas of treatment like the abdomen, back, thighs and arms faster and more effectively than diet or exercise,” he says, which probably explains why it’s so popular.
The whole procedure takes about an hour per area being treated, and since there are no needles or surgery involved, there’s no down time. The reason most celebrities do it a couple of months in advance, however, is because that’s how long it takes to see results, according to Dr. Colbert.
Starts $1,200 per area being targeted.
Most of Dr. Colbert's clients also opt for something called Radio Frequency, which zaps fat (not the medical term) in areas that CoolSculpting can’t, like your neck and knees – although I had no idea fat knees were an actual concern. The procedure uses heat to kill fat cells, and also tightens the skin in the area.
Starts $1,200 per area being targeted.
TEN DAYS BEFORE THE RED CARPET
While Dr. Colbert isn’t a big fan of surgery, he’s a firm believer that you can use less invasive techniques like fillers and Botox to look younger without altering your face to the point where it looks unnatural, giving magazines fodder for those ‘Botox gone wrong’ pieces. (The more I spoke to Dr. Colbert, the tougher being a female A-list celebrity started to sound.) “The trick is to use them in a way that supports nature,” he said mysteriously. “Botox and Dysport diminish frown lines, crow’s feet around the eyes and visible lines on the neck by relaxing the injected muscle, which eases the wrinkles and lines on the surface.”
It doesn’t stop there – you’ve also got to address the contours of your face, which means that you’re looking at fillers like Restylane, Juvederm and Radiesse, which “restore youthful volume to the face,” says Dr. Colbert. “Fillers come in a variety of weights and thicknesses, and you can use them to plump up sunken cheeks, nasolabial folds (otherwise known as laugh lines) and marionette lines (the ones that run down the corners of your mouth). They help women look younger and fresher, but without surgery,” he says.
From $1,500 for Botox and from $1,500 for Restylane.
TWO DAYS BEFORE THE RED CARPET
In addition to treating most of Hollywood’s A list, Dr. Colbert is probably most famous for his Triad facial, a three-step procedure he also offers an express face-only version of right before celebrities hit the red carpet. I say face-only because Dr. Colbert usually administers the Triad to the entire face and body in a bid to have every exposed inch of his client’s skin glow while they’re being photographed on the red carpet.
The facial has instant results, according to Colbert, and involves microdermabrasion to exfoliate dead skin cells, laser toning to even out pigmentation and texture for smoother, brigher skin and a light chemical peel for brighter, silkier skin all over. That actually does sound like fun, and it’s also pretty good for the skin – “over the long term, it initiates a sustained process of cell rejuvenation and collagen stimulation. Over time, it reverses wrinkles and photo damage (damage caused by the sun) and even prevents the development of pre-cancerous lesions,” says Dr. Colbert.
$800 - $1,500
So there you have it – if you want to get red carpet ready like an A list celebrity does, you’ll have to start at least two months in advance, and prepare to spend about $5,000 at the least. Sure, it sounds like a commitment, but it’s also the closest you’ll come to being #flawless – if you’re into that sort of thing.