The lengths that celebrities go to to get red carpet-ready
High up in a luxurious suite at The Four Seasons Beverly Hills, a team of experts have been working their magic on a steady stream of celebrity visitors to make them red carpet ready for the Oscars.
Forget, for a moment, about the glad rags and rocks, this is all about transforming the whole body with a range of bespoke facial treatments and luxe tanning and skin finishing services.
"There's no point putting on a beautiful gown if the face is not matching the body," explains skincare expert-to-the-stars Scottish-born Nichola Joss, whose cheerful no-nonsense manner immediately wins your trust. "We want to make you look flawless and perfectly finished from head to toe."
Nichola, whose impressive client roster built up over 25 years of working in skincare, includes Kate Winslet, Rachel Weisz, Natalie Portman, Keira Knightley, Helen Mirren, Sienna Miller and Jake Gyllenhaal, is heading up the Brit Beauty suite, run by award-winning British brands St Tropez and Sanctuary Spa.
Over four intensive days, she and celebrity tanning expert Fiona Locke will buff and prep the skin of dozens of grateful red carpet invitees, using a variety of new tanning techniques and trends alongside signature facials. They will also make a series of discreet private house calls to some of the biggest stars expected on the night.
At past Oscars, Nichola, who flits regularly between the UK and US tending to her glamorous flock, has looked after the likes of Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth Paltrow and Emily Blunt, and this year, will drop by on Best Actor nominee Hugh Jackman and his actress wife Deborra Lee Furness, who she counts as regulars.
"My clients like to see me for treatment two to three days before a big awards ceremony," she tells Hello! on the eve of the Oscars weekend.
"I'll be starting super early on Saturday making house calls to A-listers. If they are regular clients, they’ll say: 'I am going to lie down and let you do what you do'. They’ll be looking for radiance and luminosity. I’ll do my bespoke lymphatic drainage massage to firm and tone and improve the texture of the skin instantly. I may see them again on Sunday morning for a lift and recontour, like a facelift massage, which gives them lots of movement and relaxes all those tense facial muscles. They know their skin is going to be glowing and plump."
One of Nichola’'s special techniques is an "inner facelift", in which she literally goes inside your mouth with her latex-gloved hands to re-sculpt and tighten the jaw line. She also works under the cheekbones to address any atrophy of the muscles. Akin to an intense facial workout, it really does leave your skin looking visibly plumper and tighter.
Her secret weapon is Sanctuary Spa Therapist’s Secret Facial Oil, which is 90 percent organic and rebalances the skin without causing any break-outs. "It pushes nutrients into the skin, which get absorbed properly; the oil doesn’t sit like a slick on the skin, so make up can be applied straight away."
As well as the 21,000ml of facial oil flown in especially from the UK for the week, 112 gallons of St Tropez spray tan mist, 1554 gold illuminators, 1001 rose illuminators and 12kg of diamond dust were shipped in to ensure glowing leading ladies – and men. "The stress of walking down the red carpet is huge," says Fiona Locke.
"You want to make sure you have a shield but you don’t need to use body foundation any more. You can choose a customized spray tan that evens everything out and flatters your skin tone.
"These days skin finishing products are designed with high definition filming in mind; you can still see the skin but at its best."