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The inside scoop on red carpet beauty secrets

If you think beauty is easy, think again. "The Black Book of Hollywood Beauty Secrets" examines the extraordinary lengths some celebs are willing to go to get ready for the red carpet. An excerpt.
/ Source: TODAY books

If you think beauty is easy, think again. "The Black Book of Hollywood Beauty Secrets" examines the extraordinary lengths some celebs are willing to go to get ready for the red carpet. An excerpt.

Chapter 11: Two-Week Countdown to Your Own Red Carpet

As long as your shoes hurt that’s a sign you’re at an awards show. You’re at the right place.
—Angela Bassett

You put on an outfit and think, “Hey, I feel sexy.” But I think that it’s rare that you feel beautiful. I think beauty is something that you sort of recognize in other people. I never look at myself in the mirror and say, “I look really beautiful.”
—Total babe Scarlett Johansson, who, bless her, has the same self-esteem issues as the rest of us

I’m a very lucky girl. I’m a mom with two kids. Anyone who wants to pass a fancy dress my way, I’m trying it on.
—Reese Witherspoon on getting sent free frocks for awards shows

Okay, now we’re in the home stretch before you step onto your own red carpet. We’ve detailed an intensive two-week plan to guarantee fabulousness.

First, we’ll offer a few general bits of advice and then an actual weekly program to jump-start your beauty routine.

Even a Note from Your Mother Won’t Work with Us
Skipping one day of exercise won’t trigger weight gain, but two days might. So get back on your treadmill, because you’re prepping for a big night out. Why does it work this way? Well, exercise suppresses fat formation, but only for so long. So, you really do have to sweat it out on some sort of regular basis to look lean and trim. By the way, fat cells begin to store energy within one day after you stop exercising (you know who are) and this sets off a metabolic free-for-all that results in packing on the pounds, especially in the stomach.

Hilary Swank told us that on the way to last year’s Screen Actors Guild Awards, she tripped over her dress getting into the limo and ripped the hem. What could she do short of having a full breakdown? (Hint: There is no crying on the red carpet. It will make your mascara run!) “I stopped on the way to the awards and got some masking tape and just taped up the hem,” Hilary says. She jokes, “Now, I’m sure people who know my background will think, ‘She really is from a trailer park.’ ”

Want your home manicure to last longer? Give your nails some pucker power. Before you polish, plunk your fingers in 1/2 cup of lemon juice mixed with two cups warm water and let your nails soak for about five minutes. The lemon contains alpha hydroxy acid, which will immediately make your ragged cuticles super soft without drying out your actual nails and making them crack. The acid from the lemon will also get rid of the natural oil on the surface of your nail, so your polish will go on much easier and last longer.

BB Extra: If you have some extra lemon wedges in the fridge, rub them over your winter-roughened elbows. Again, the acid will get right to work ridding you of all dead skin skills while lightening dark spots.

You can double your money or your fun, but it’s never good to double your chinny chin chin before a big event. How can you immediately slim your face without a quick lipo treatment to your neck? A quick, temporary fix is rubbing a cellulite or eye cream that contains caffeine along your entire jawline. The caffeine will suck the water out of this puffy zone. The effect will only be noticeable for three or four hours, but that’s long enough to spend your class reunion or Christmas party looking at least ten pounds slimmer.

She’s 40, flat-tummied, had an adorable baby, and always wears Versace low-cut, tight-fitting, revealing little numbers to the awards shows. How does she do it, you ask? Well, we asked model/actress/swimwear designer Elizabeth Hurley. The slim, trim Brit reveals that on most given nights she goes to bed hungry, but when she really wants to slim down for an upcoming red-carpet event she has a secret weapon: watercress soup! Liz eats up to six cups a day. It’s fat free, full of vitamins, and delicious enough to serve even at a dinner party. We’re guessing that you can’t add the entire box of croutons!

Whether it’s the Oscars or your block party with that one neighbor who struts around in practically nothing (we all hate her), there is one rule on dairy before the event: Don’t sip anything from a cow. Nutritional consultant David Kirsch, who owns New York’s Madison Square Club and whose clients include Heidi Klum and Liv Tyler, says to ban dairy from your diet on the day of the big event at the very least. David says it makes your stomach pooch out and your entire bod puffy. He also says to keep a close watch on your protein shakes to make sure they don’t have a lot of bloat-inducing chemicals, additives, or soy in them, which can also make your tummy swell. More than 15.25 grams of protein in those babies might make your slinkiest of dresses feel tight.

Teri Hatcher’s bubbly turned trouble-y on the way to the SAG Awards in 2006. She was in the backseat of her limo in a pink chiffon Vera Wang gown sipping some Dom when her driver took a sharp right turn. The champagne tumbled all over her dress. “The chiffon suddenly turned maroon—a nightmare scenario.” Knowing that she had to dry the gown quickly, Teri yelled to the driver to “blast the heat!” Teri says, “All the heat is coming out of all the vents and three of us have got my dress, holding it over the heaters in the back of the car. And it worked! It totally dried by the time I got up to the thing and I was fine!”

Being more beautiful could be as simple as a blanket and a cup of hot tea. According to Indian Ayurvedic medicine, staying warm burns toxins. Practitioners say drinking hot fluids, eating spicy foods, and taking warm baths stave off the sick season as well. For the biggest dose of antioxidants, drink African red tea, which boasts 50 percent more of the healthy stuff (even more than green tea and black).

Jillian Hessel is a Hollywood master Pilates teacher and has clients such as Emma Thompson, Lena Olin, Cher, and Heather Graham. She says one of the biggest mistakes women make in their exercise and weight-loss regime is stopping and starting. She advises women to set realistic attainable goals and be consistent. Get a buddy, create an in-home environment for exercise, and make it a habit. Jillian also says to wear workout duds that show the body you want and the muscles you’re working. No wide-leg pants with big-bellbottoms. Wear a more fitted leg so you can see your feet and positioning. Wear clothing that shows your arms so you can watch the arm movement and muscle when you are lifting or tightening. She adds that Pilates is such a great workout for women over 40 because it does not overdo those bulky muscles, but uses your core or stomach muscles and works on flexibility and strength.

Known as the Hollywood Hair Guy, Dean Banowetz has been “changing lives one head at a time.” His client list includes Kelly Clarkson, Ryan Seacrest, Simon Cowell, Jim Brickman and others he has teased and combed out at the Golden Globes and Academy Awards. He was even featured on Oprah. Now, that’s pretty heady.

You don’t have to mention any names, but what are the real red-carpet 911 moments you have seen and what do you do in an emergency? I’m always prepared. My tie is usually doubling as a place for bobby pins, which I have handed out on a regular basis for a piece of hair that is falling or if you need something to hold a pashmina together. I also have double-stick tape, which I have used to tape in objects so nothing will pop out. I have untangled heels in dress hemlines, then applied some tape. I have sewn pockets in my socks to hold PowerBars and essentials that will bulk up pockets. It is a common feeling to be starving on the red carpet. Everyone wants to look skinny, so they are usually fasting and you never know when you may need an emergency Zone bar. I have seen hair ornaments fall out of the hair—that is why I have the duo surgical adhesive. I have helped repair seams that are pulling apart because the fabric is so fragile. I have glued earring backs on girls and I have seen so many zippers open that it is a gay man’s playground! XYZPDQ (examine your zipper pretty darn quick!). I have seen food in teeth and have individual toothpicks on hand. But I think the best thing to have is some hand sanitizer because you are shaking so many hands of so many different people—fans, other celebrities, and camera crews. It’s the best way to make sure you don’t get sick.

Overheard on the Red Carpet: What Hollywood brain, who is truly a screen beauty (we use the brain comment in jest), once told us that the reason she looks so young is that she has been eating foods with lots of preservatives in them—and they must have preserved her face, too! By the way, those in the beauty industry we asked about this couldn’t stop laughing and then told us that it doesn’t exactly work that way. In fact, the less processed food you eat, the better your hair and skin.


Two Weeks Before the Big Event
FOR YOUR HAIR: Top Hollywood stylists insist that two weeks before the big event, you should cut way, way, way back on all those zillions of styling products that are gunking up your hair. You don’t need to be dealing with major product buildup, which will give you flathead and dull the shine in your hair.

FOR YOUR FACE: It’s time for any Restylane injections, Botox, or anything that will take a short recovery process before the big event. Don’t wait until the week before or you’ll be fighting the clock and worrying that your swelling won’t go down in time. It’s also a great time to have a facial or a skin brightening like Sonya Dakar’s Custom Acid Peel, which zaps zits and sun spots. Also, this is the perfect time to get your brows done by a professional who will give you the perfect arch.

FOR YOUR GLOW: Buy creams with vitamin C in them. They will lighten any hyperpigmentation on both your face and body. If you want to try a spray-on tan, now’s the time to do it.

FOR YOUR BODY: It’s time to clean out the impurities in your body. In other words, detox! You can get some So-Cal Cleanse, an herbal supplement that’s made of fennel seed and green tea leaf extracts, which are known to kick the toxins out of your body and get rid of excess water weight.

FOR YOUR BOOTY: Virginia Madsen got ready for the Oscars by being smart about food. “I started out the day with a bigger portion of protein and carbs. Then my meals got smaller so dinner became my lightest meal. It keeps your metabolism working faster all day long.”

FOR YOUR DIET: Clean out your fridge and pantry. Get rid of (or give way) all the foods that are processed or full of sugar and carbs. Hit the grocery store and load up on good proteins, fruits, and veggies. Go for organic products.

FOR YOUR SMILE: Think about teeth whitening. Don’t wait for the last minute to make the appointment because sometimes it’s hard to get in to see your dentist.

FOR YOUR NAILS: Run a clove of garlic over your nail beds to strengthen them. It’s a little smelly, but it really does work.

MORE FOR YOUR HAIR: It’s better to apply conditioner to dry hair instead of wet. Your non-waterlogged strands will soak up much more of the product. You can even let the conditioner dry on your hair and rinse it later for more shine. At the swanky Miraval spa, they put on a hair treatment to be left on overnight with strict instructions not to wash until the sun comes back up. Cindy, whose hair can frizz from someone just looking at her the wrong way, tried it and had amazing results for a week of sleek hair. She would now like to move to Miraval, but that’s not possible.

From "The Black Book of Hollywood Beauty Secrets," by Kym Douglas and Cindy Pearlman. Published by arrangement with Plume, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc. Copyright © Kym Douglas and Cindy Pearlman, 2006.

One Week Before

FOR YOUR BODY: Jump into fitness. Exercise on a mini tramp. It offers the same benefits of other vigorous cardio without stressing out your knees. On the tramp, you can do jumping jacks or jump kicks. Rebounding is the fancy term for this exercise, which can burn 400 to 600 calories an hour. It also drains your lymph nodes. A home tramp burns less than $50 out of your wallet.

FOR A FLAT TUMMY: Switch from coffee to black tea. Or try drinking dandelion tea, which we see all the models buying at Whole Foods. It’s a great natural diuretic.

TO FIT INTO YOUR DRESS: Do as Halle Berry does, and try upper-body twists. Sit with knees slightly bent, toes pointing up. Lean your upper body slightly back, keep hips still, and exhale as you reach across your body with your right hand as you turn your chest to the left. Inhale as you return to the center. Repeat on the left side. Do three sets of twenty reps.

FOR YOUR PEACE OF MIND: “You have to solve the whole underwear situation. I went to an awards show and I had undies on. My daughter stopped me before I left the house and said, ‘Mom, I have something to tell you. I see London. I see France. I see the lines of your underpants.’ So, off they went,” says Teri Hatcher. Moral of the story: Choose your bra and undies now. It’s one less thing to worry about later! And no, you can’t wear the new ones today—even if everything else is in the laundry. These are special-occasion virgin undies that must stay pristine until your event.

FOR YOUR HEALTH: Michelle Stafford of The Young and the Restless starts her day with eight ounces of hot water mixed with a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and the juice from half a lemon. She heard of this trick from a nutritionist who says it reduces all the toxins from your glands while giving you extra energy. A win-win situation!

FOR YOUR SANITY: Liz Hurley says to stop dissing yourself. Right now! “Never, ever point out your faults to anyone. Once you’ve wailed ‘Just look at my hideously fat thighs,’ no one will be able to look at them again without hearing your voice,” she advises. So no more comments on losing those last ten pounds. Lose the low self-esteem once and for all.

FOR YOUR EYES: Eva Longoria lashes out before a big event. “Some single fake lashes on the corners of the eyes really make them pop,” she says. The former tomboy

who never wore makeup when she was growing up, admits, “Everything I’ve learned about beauty has been trial and error.”

FOR YOUR FASHION CHOICE: Jennifer Lopez told us that you can’t buy the same dress that your favorite Hollywood star wore to her red carpet event six months ago. “My biggest fashion tip is to dress for your body. There are all kinds of different styles because what looks good on one person simply won’t look good on the next.

You shouldn’t feel bad about yourself. Just try on a lot of outfits.” She doesn’t even get too down on herself. “I’m the biggest fashion victim there is,” J.Lo tells us. “You see things you want to wear and think will look great. Every thing doesn’t work on everybody. That’s the best advice I can give to anybody.”

FOR YOUR NEW LOOK: Consider hair extensions if you want to go long. Do it early, so you can get used to working with the new you.

FOR YOUR BODY: Do as the big stars do and get the salon treatment called Suddenly Slender. It’s a mineral and electrolyte body wrap that can help you drop a dress size by draining away your water weight. Check out where at

The Weekend Before the Big Event

FOR YOUR HAIR: Get a color touch-up. It’s the perfect time . . . and enough time for a fix in case your colorist messes up. (Believe us, it can happen.)

FOR YOUR HEAD: Feeling a little frazzled the days before the big party? Try to calm yourself by saying thank you to those around you who are extra helpful. It’s not that Miss Manners is going to put a gold star on your bathroom mirror. It’s just that studies show that people who think about the reasons they’re grateful on a daily basis are happy, sleep much better, and actually work out more than people who are stingy with the praise for others in their lives.

GO SHOPPING: Buy a great eyelash curler. Our favorite is the Shu Uemura curler, which is what all the top stars and their makeup artists use each day. What you don’t need to splurge on is mascara. Maybelline’s Great Lash does the job just fine for under ten bucks. It also helps to purchase some triangle-shaped makeup sponges for putting your foundation on the night of your event. You can find them in most grocery stores.

Two Days Before the Shindig

FOR YOUR HAIR: Colorist Jennifer J of the Juan Juan Salon in Los Angeles, whose clients include Julia Roberts, recommends some surefire hair treatments. First, she does a deep conditioning to fill in porous spots on the hair and add a luminous glow. Then she gives her clients a clear glossing treatment, which infuses the locks with big-time shine.

FOR YOUR HANDS: Get a great manicure. If you do the mani yourself, remember to never file by going back and forth. File your nails starting in the middle and work your way to both sides to avoid splitting. You can cut the polish-drying time by dipping your nails in ice water. Or you can dry your polish by giving your nails a quick shot of nonstick cooking spray, which seals the polish and will even prevent chipping.

FOR YOUR FEET: Now for your pedi. Cut your toenails straight across and don’t round them. It’s also nice to give your toenails a tea tree oil treatment before you put on

your polish. By the way, if you have stains from some old red polish on either your toes or your fingernails, you should soak both in water with the juice of an entire lemon. If the red still won’t come out, then you can take two denture tablets and dissolve in one cup of water. Dunk, and any nails will instantly turn white.

FOR THE AHHHH FACTOR: Blame us for sending you for a full-body massage, which is soooo relaxing. If you can’t afford one, then hit your tub for a good, relaxing soak.

FOR YOUR SANITY: “I try to exercise, drink water, and eat dessert,” says Jessica Alba on how she gets red-carpet ready.

The Day Before

FOR YOUR BODY: Coffee and tea contribute to body odor by increasing the activity of apocrine sweat glands— special glands in the hairy parts of the body that produce strong-smelling, musky secretions. Try eliminating caffeine before a big event.

FOR YOUR HAIR: Let’s say you’ve stripped your hair and now it looks really dull. You need to shine on, and a cheap way to do it is by using a jar of Ponds cold cream and a plastic bag. Wet your hair, put on the Ponds, and then put the plastic bag on your head. Let the concoction sink in as you do other things, which is what model Amber Valletta does when she uses this home remedy. If you have dry hair and dry skin, you can go directly to your kitchen for a fix-a-roo. Mix up a batter of mayo, eggs, and beer and place it on your head with a shower cap over it. Let it sit for twenty minutes then wash it out. It won’t smell great, but it’s a better moisturizer than hot oil! You can also use flat Coke, which adds shine to dull hair. Soap star Hunter Tylo says this works every single time.

FOR YOUR LOOK: Practice covering any flaws with makeup. If you have small eyes, make them larger by applying a pale metallic color to the inner part of your eyelid. When you’re doing your liner, remember to make it a little thicker on the outer corners of eyes. If you have thin lips, line them just outside your real line with a natural pencil. Use pale shades of lipstick covered with a sparkly gloss to create full lips.

FOR YOUR ZITS: Suddenly, you notice a huge zit. We repeat. Do not jump off a building. Apply an ice cube on the area for thirty seconds and then gently press a cotton pad soaked in eye drops on top of the zit for three minutes. The ice and the eye drops will cause blood vessels just beneath the skin’s surface to contract, thus minimizing redness and irritation.

The Night Before

FOR YOUR HAIR: Wash your hair using a good shampoo and a volumizing conditioner. Then on the day of the event you’ll have day-old hair—very shiny and much easier to style. The only exception here is if you have oily hair. Then you must wash it the day of the event. Do a test run a few days before the event to see what you’ll need.

FOR YOUR FACE: If you need to pluck a few eyebrow hairs, do it right after you get out of the shower. The steam will make tweezing much easier. Remember that full brows look most natural, so don’t pluck too many hairs and leave the ones above the brow alone.

FOR YOUR (YIKES) CELLULITE: Massage a half-cup of warm brewed coffee grounds onto the skin and then use a plastic wrap to trap the granules against the skin for ten minutes. You’ll see the difference immediately and the effects will last up to twelve hours.

Last Few Dieting Hours Before the Big Event

FOR YOUR SANITY (AND HEALTH): Eat something. You don’t want to pass out the minute you arrive. Eric Bana of Munich fame tells us that he eats pasta before going to the Oscars so he’s not hungry the entire night.

FOR SOME PEP: Sienna Miller says one of her pre-Oscar party tricks was recharging with Emergen-C.

It’s Oscar Day! (Or Class Reunion, Your Wedding, Fill in the Blank, etc)

FOR YOUR NERVOUS SYSTEM: Start early. Naomi Watts tells us, “The worst thing in the world is having to rush when you have to get ready. I like to start at the crack of dawn. That way the pressure isn’t on!”

FOR YOUR SANITY: We know that this is the moment when you’ll probably decide that you absolutely hate the dress you picked (or suit or pants) and that this garment

makes you look at least twenty pounds heavier and is a color your mother wore in 1952 at her prom. Stop, in the name of loving yourself and your choices. It’s probably too late to fret. Just remember how hard it was to make this fashion selection. Our pal Felicity Huffman reminds us, “Peace in the Middle East is a cakewalk compared to picking out the right outfit for a big night like the Oscars.”

FOR YOUR GLAM LOOK: From our favorite makeup artist Jeanine: Layer your eye shadows, wet and dry, for staying power. Dip a Q-tip in a bit of water to moisten the shadow. (You only need a little.) Spread over entire lid (browbone to lash line), let it dry and then apply the same color to your lid with a dry Q-tip or brush. You will have shadow for hours. You can also use this wet/dry combo with your eyeliner.

FOR YOUR LASHES: Unless you’re going to a swim party or a deep-sea diving bash, please put away your waterproof mascara, which should never, ever be used when going to a land-lubbers event. It will certainly clump up and even cause your lashes to droop as the hours pass. If you’re worried about crying (as at a wedding) you can use water-resistant mascara, which is much thinner in consistency and won’t cake.

FOR YOUR LIPS: Beyoncé Knowles, Gwyneth Paltrow, and Kristin Davis use Rosebud Salve, a simple $5 product that softens lips in an instant. You can find it

at any beauty-supply store or in most department stores. You can also use it on your brows to keep the hairs in line.

FOR THAT NATURAL (UH-HUH) SUN-KISSED GLOW: Keep in mind that the “sun”—aka your bronzer— didn’t just kiss your face. Remember to dust it lightly on your forehead, nose, cheekbones, and shoulders using a big brush. Oh, if you’re actually tan from the sun (shame, shame, not good for you) then just skip the bronzer and lightly put on some tinted moisturizer.

FOR YOUR TEETH: Didn’t have time to get your teeth whitened or you were scared to go to the dentist? (We know, we know.) You can do a quick trick that Catherine

Zeta-Jones uses, which is to brush your teeth gingerly with fresh strawberries. They are a natural tooth whitener, and you can eat the rest of the berries while you get dressed, for almost zero calories.

MORE FOR YOUR SMACKER: Skip lipstick because it will smear off on everyone you kiss and be gone in sixty seconds. Instead go for a pale lip pencil and just add a shimmering gloss for the light, beautiful look that most actresses use on the red carpet.

FOR YOUR SKIN: When getting out of the shower, never dry off completely. Your moist skin will better absorb your body lotion or oil.

FOR YOUR FACE: If your skin is looking a little ruddy, choose a product with vitamin K. It heals damaged capillaries.

FOR YOUR BODY: Try a little bit of Nuxe Radiance, a golden dry oil that’s made out of plant extracts and various oils. It goes on smooth and it isn’t so oily that it stains your clothes. It will give you that J.Lo glow.

FOR YOUR PURSE: If your fab little evening purse is too little, just pack a lipstick to use as a quickie blusher. (Just dot each cheek with a dab of lipstick and rub.)

FOR YOUR QUEST FOR YOUTH: Try one of Oprah’s favorite scents, Jo Malone’s Grapefruit. Maybe you’ll even get carded.

FOR YOUR GRUMBLING STOMACH: My Name Is Earl star Jaime Pressly insists that she does eat before going to a big event. “Last year when I went to the Golden Globes, I ate a few bites of a chocolate croissant before getting ready. No PowerBar for me. No carob. No fake chocolate. If you’re going to eat chocolate then have a few bites of real chocolate. It will put you in a great mood.” P.S.: Avoid fake chocolate at all costs. One word: gas.

FOR YOUR POCKETBOOK: Perhaps it’s good to know that last year at the Oscars, Jennifer Garner wore around $1.5 million of borrowed Cartier diamonds, including a pair of 48-carat chandelier earrings that cost a paltry $600,000. We can’t afford that kind of bling, but a few nice pieces added to reproductions can help you fake it.

FOR YOUR FACE: On the way to the event your car air-conditioning just won’t kick in (damn it all to hell) and you feel that your face is getting a little bit sticky. Suddenly, you’re worried that your makeup will run and you’ll look sweaty when you arrive. Bring a spritz bottle, filled with bottled H20. Just spray your face lightly and let it air dry. One warning: Don’t touch your face. Don’t blot even a little or your makeup will run everywhere. The light mist of water will re-set your makeup and get rid of shine. But remember, we’re talking a very fine mist.

FOR YOUR STRESS: Actress Amy Adams says she sang in the car on the way to the Oscars last year. Amy tells us that the sillier the song, the more your mood will lift. “I sang ‘It Don’t Mean a Thing If It Ain’t Got That Swing!’ ” she says. “Just singing something silly made me feel so much less nervous!”

FOR YOUR INFORMATION: Marc Anthony will reveal his wife Jennifer Lopez’s best skin-care secret: “Happiness. It’s great for your complexion,” he says.

AND FINALLY: Listen to your soul sister Mariah Carey, who never gets nervous before she walks into a major party. “Just take a deep breath and go,” Mariah says. “You can do it. You’re fabulous!”

“If you let your head get too big, it will break your neck.”

—Elvis Presley

From "The Black Book of Hollywood Beauty Secrets," by Kym Douglas and Cindy Pearlman. Published by arrangement with Plume, a member of Penguin Group (USA), Inc. Copyright © Kym Douglas and Cindy Pearlman, 2006.