That village is Los Angeles, home to an A-list of makeup artists, dermatologists and estheticians who can get the job done with award-worthy results. And since awards season seems to have stretched into an almost endless cycle of film, stage, television and music events — and become a global cultural phenomenon along the way — red carpet beauty has sparked a mini-industry of specialty treatments and products designed to give those watching at home the possibility of looking like Debra Messing or Zoe Saldana. It's been a boon for the experts behind the treatments too.
For instance, Lorac founder and makeup artist Carol Shaw (whose red carpet clients include Messing and Saldana as well as Nicole Kidman) offers products such as Close Up: Real Life to Red Carpet Eye Tutorial ($36), a collection of eye products with instructions that can be purchased at Sephora. Dermatologist Dr. Harold Lancer ( Victoria Beckham is a client) offers the Red Carpet Flash Facial ($250) in his office in Beverly Hills. Carasoin Spa in L.A. offers the Red Carpet Quintessential Facial ($250). In New York, Tracie Martyn of the eponymous skin-care salon offers a Red Carpet Facial (the in-salon treatment costs a whopping $450).
Some of the experts behind such treatments have reached demi-celebrity status of their own. Here are the stories of a few who've made it big in the beauty world.
Celebrity makeup artist Pati Dubroff
Red carpet masterworks: Charlize Theron, Cate Blanchett, Gwyneth Paltrow. (She's also worked on virtually every other stunning A-list actress for magazine covers and spreads, with clients including Angelina Jolie, Jennifer Aniston, Cameron Diaz, Anne Hathaway and Drew Barrymore.)
Replicate at home: For special occasions, Dubroff advises going for a polished look but not trying new trends for the first time. You should highlight your best feature but don't load on too much foundation. And know that your look will require some upkeep, with occasional touch-ups throughout the night.
Dubroff's story: "I knew when I was 10 that I was going to be a makeup artist," she says. "I was that girl in front of my mother's makeup mirror all of the time begging anyone to let me put makeup on their face." She did makeup for school plays and as a teenager began noticing magazines' photographer and makeup artist credits. "Straight out of high school I set my sights on going to New York City to be a makeup artist, and that's exactly what I did," Dubroff says. Francois Nars, of Nars Cosmetics, hired her as his assistant and more work followed. She moved to L.A. in 2001, but says that in the 1990s there was a bias against West Coast makeup artists, and a favoritism shown to those in New York, who worked with many of the top models. Then celebrities began taking over magazine covers. "And actresses started bringing in their [makeup artists] whom they trusted — and those are the people who are getting the great editorial and advertising campaigns," she says. Soon after she arrived in Los Angeles, famed photographer Annie Leibovitz hired her to work on a Vanity Fair Hollywood cover. It's been the A-list for Dubroff ever since: the most prestigious magazines, ad campaigns and red carpet celebrity clients.
Beauty philosophy: "Beauty starts with health, well-being and lifestyle. Taking the best possible care of this one body that we have in this lifetime and treating it as a temple — that's where beauty stems from — love for self," she says. "And when it comes to makeup trends — they can be fun, but know and embrace what works for you."
(310) 276-0777, http://www.thewallgroup.com
Dermatologist Dr. Jessica Wu
Signature red carpet treatments: Wu says that award show nominees, presenters and attendees start having their appointments at least one month before the event, starting with the Affirm laser treatment, which combats the effects of sun damage, smoothes skin and makes it glow. Two weeks before, they come in for Botox injections and fillers, but in small amounts so they don't look drastically different than usual. Five to seven days before, they have a light peel. And she says her patients have her number on speed dial for last-minute award season skin emergencies, such as stress pimples, which she combats with cortisone injections.
Replicate at home: Wu suggests exfoliating one to three times a week. Before any big event, she says, stay away from junk food. But include in your diet healthy fats such as salmon, almonds and flaxseed to increase skin's glow. Products Wu likes include Philosophy's Hope in a Jar ($38), Aveeno Positively Radiant Cleansing Pads ($6.49) and Scott Barnes Body Bling ($38). Dr. Jessica Wu Cosmeceuticals Dew Cream ($125) is the top seller in her product line.
Wu's story: "I grew up obsessed with skin-care products and haunting the drugstore aisles because I had terrible teenage acne in junior high," she says. "Finally, my mother took me to a dermatologist." When she went to medical school she decided to help people like herself who didn't know what skin-care options were available. She says that her Harvard Medical School professors told her that she was wasting her medical school education coming to Los Angeles to be a dermatologist when she could instead be curing cancer and doing heart transplants. "But I firmly believe that I am helping people change their lives and helping them look and feel more healthy and beautiful. And that can be as powerful as what my classmates are doing," she says. When Botox was first approved, she vaulted into the spotlight after a Newsweek feature about her practice's use of the treatments. She now gets hundreds of questions from around the world, recently answering an e-mail from a young girl from Katmandu. "I provide patients hope and the information they need to take care of their skin," Wu says.
Beauty philosophy: "I try to empower my patients, and I'm realistic about my advice," Wu says.
(310) 473-5878, http://www.drjessicawu.com
Anastasia Soare of Anastasia Beverly Hills Salons and Products
Signature red carpet treatment: brow shaping, which costs $80 for a first appointment with Soare, or about $45 for an appointment with one of her estheticians. Superstar celebrities include Madonna, Jennifer Lopez and Oprah Winfrey.
Replicate at home: Clients can use Anastasia's 6 Element Essential Brow Kit, which includes tweezers, brow powder, four shaping stencils, a brush, clear brow gel, brow highlighter and a teaching CD ($75).