Hollywood’s skincare pros reveal how their clients get red carpet-ready skin.

In Hollywood, there’s no place like the red carpet to make a divisive fashion statement (Jennifer Lawrence’s billowy white Dior number at the 2014 Golden Globes, anyone?) but when it comes to complexions, the vote is unanimous: healthy, glowing skin is always in style. Nobody knows this better than the celebrities who undergo the scrutiny of photographers’ flashbulbs and ubiquitous social media critics.     

But you don’t have to be a starlet to have a radiant complexion, you just have to do what they do: Follow a regimented diet, be consistent with an arsenal of results-driven skincare products, and take regular trips to the aesthetician for cleaning and treatments. Here, Tinseltown’s go-to skin experts weigh in on the secrets to achieving that glow before the carpet is unrolled.

THE DIET

The glow of your skin starts with the health of your body. “My celebrity patients who are really successful with their skincare regime are very strict about their diet,” says Los Angeles dermatologist Jessica Wu, MD who counts Maria Bello and Katherine Heigl as clients. As the author of Feed Your Face: Younger, Smoother Skin and a Beautiful Body in 28 Delicious Days, Wu is a proponent of a four-week food plan that eliminates trigger foods from her patients’ diets. “A lot of my clients are very strict about sticking to fish, vegetables, and fruits,” says Wu, who also believes in removing all refined sugars and foods from diets because of their ability to create bloat in the short term, and acne breakouts, inflammation and collagen breakdown later down the line.  

Stars such as Beyoncé and Victoria Beckham swear by Beverly Hills dermatologist Harold Lancer, MD’s diet philosophy, outlined in his book, Younger: The Breakthrough Anti-Aging Method for Radiant Skin. Lancer promotes a sugar-free diet (“there is no upside to sugar,” he says), without dairy or added salt (foods have their own natural salt levels; too much salt creates bloating). Wash it down with a gallon of water a day to flush toxins. Lancer’s diet consists of 40% animal protein, 20% carbs in the form of greens like kale and asparagus, and 40% good fats and oils (think avocado and olive oil and replacing milk in your coffee with coconut oil). “Proper oils stimulate oxygen flow and a higher repair rate to the system,” he explains. “It’s like greasing gears. Inflammation in the body is like rust.” 

Lancer also warns against the effects of alcohol and mixers on the skin, which elevate sugar levels in the system and can cause enlarged pores, dark circles, and a sallow skin tone. If you do decide to drink, opt for a grape-based vodka (not potato- or grain-based) and mix it with a light soda water and some lemon wedges or berries for a hint of flavor. 

“Alcohol is no youth elixir, especially in excess,” says Liz Edlich, who along with sister Rachel, co-founded the Malibu-based Radical Skincare line—a favorite among red-carpet fixtures such as Melanie Griffith, Leslie Mann, and Goldie Hawn. To combat its dehydrating effects, Ehrlich advises drinking 1-2 glasses of water for every serving of alcohol consumed, and to drink fresh coconut water before bed. “This way you at least have a shot at avoiding the dreaded dehydrating sags and bags the day after,” she says.

THE TREATMENTS

A number of treatments offered by dermatologists or aestheticians can complement a rigorous at-home skincare regime. “Look for facials that are based on cleaning out the skin,” says Los Angeles aesthetician Marianne Kehoe, who tends to the skin of models Liberty Ross and Agyness Deyn and designer Jeremy Scott. Kehoe is known for her IDERM galvanic current facial, which she says decreases inflammation, increases circulation, hydrates, and minimizes pores. The process involves a yucca root mineral vitamin solution that draws impurities to the skin surface, followed by a facial electrode mask, which delivers a low galvanic current evenly across the face to promote circulation and neutralize debris. 

“My clients who look the best have standing appointments every 3-4 weeks,” notes Wu, whose most popular treatments include mild chemical peels and photo-facials—a non-invasive laser treatment that targets sun damage, blotchy skin and helps shrink pores. “It’s great for my patients in their 20s and 30s with adult acne.” 

Lancer, meanwhile, is a proponent of EndyMED—a state-of-the-art collagen and elastin-stimulating procedure whereby minimally-invasive gold-plated micro-needles emit heat into the skin, “jump-starting the body’s own rejuvenating properties,” he explains. “This procedure is quickly surpassing the popularity of laser and chemical peels, as well as fillers and neurotoxins.  It is actually a great Botox alternative; the procedure is incredibly effective at smoothing and rejuvenating expression lines without hindering facial expressions.” 

THE PRODUCTS

“Once we reach the age of 18, our skin cells turn over much more slowly,” Wu says. “Dead skin cells accumulate on the surface of skin, and that leads to dullness, because they don’t reflect light like fresh, new skin cells.” That’s why Wu regularly prescribes a retinoid cream—a vitamin A derivative, which helps promote skin cell turnover. (If you have sensitive skin, start with an over-the-counter formula to build tolerance.)  

For that red-carpet plumped skin effect, Kehoe recommends products containing hyaluronic acid, which attracts and retains up to 100 times its weight in moisture. And Osmosis Pur Medical Skincare’s Polish Enzyme Firming Mask with cranberry enzymes and the antioxidant CoQ10, used twice weekly to slough off dead skin, keeps her model clients runway-ready, she says. 

 “Potency matters too,” adds Radical Skincare’s Edlich. If quality ingredients are not present in efficacious amounts, it’s “just window dressing.” Radical Skincare Age Defying Exfoliating pads have a potent 10% alpha and beta hydroxy acids (compared to 12% prescription strength) and their Youth Infusion serum contains 5% hyaluronic acid. 

Lancer’s patients are encouraged to use his eponymous The Method line of skincare, which follows 4 steps: exfoliating, rinsing, cleansing and nourishing. “My clients are like athletes. There is a discipline and a dedication to that look,” he says of the importance of sticking to the plan. “You just don’t fall off the turnip truck with that glow.”

Sources:

  1. Dr Jessica Wu
  2. Lancer Skincare
  3. Radical Skincare
  4. Marianne Kehoe Skin Studio