Water Isn’t The Celebrity Secret To Glowing Skin — But These Treatments Are

Photo: Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images
With such a high premium placed on the appearance of effortless woke-up-like-this beauty, it’s no wonder why celebrities try to pass off their perfect hair, radiant skin, and strong nails as the simple byproduct of drinking plenty of water. Trying harder than that is so passé. But H20 isn't a beauty secret — it's a basic human need.

So if drinking water isn’t the ultimate celebrity key to looking good, what is? Well, lots of things. A really good skin care lineup, for one. Every type of industry professional you can dream up at their beck and call. Regular facials. Clean eating. Lasers. Needles. And though some stars will swear up and down that staying hydrated is the best tip they have to offer, they’re also more than happy to cop to using a $700 moisturizer in the same breath, or sign on to endorse a product that is not, in fact, water.

Next time you go looking for celebrity beauty secrets, skip the whole part about how much they love sparkling or still, and jump straight to the real, actionable (and sometimes prohibitively expensive) wisdom, like the facialists they see monthly or the at-home LED light therapy machine they bought online. Water may be the essence of life, but SK-II is the essence of the bathroom.
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Gwyneth Paltrow, the queen of living well, once took to Instagram to share her belief that water is “full of healing power." She even utilized the hashtag “#iLoveWater” to drive the message home. (Semi-relatedly, she believes water has feelings, too.)
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In addition to healing water, Paltrow is also a disciple of the “hardcore” skin-tightening, collagen-boosting Thermage laser treatment. “It’s quite painful, like having your face smacked with a rubber band with an electric shock in it,” she told Hello Magazine in 2014. She’s also collaborated with Juice Beauty on an organic and vegan makeup collection, and has her eponymous (and very excellent) GOOP skincare line.

According to a 2014 interview with InStyle, Paltrow also swears by Sonya Dakar facials, Tata Harper body oil, and Viviscal to keep her hair in tip-top shape, and she was once the face of natural skincare brand Restorsea. Plus, as she wrote on her lifestyle site GOOP, she’s been known to steam her vagina from time to time.

Goop by Juice Beauty, $90 - $140, available at Goop.
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“I drink water endlessly. Like five [bottles] a day,” Jennifer Aniston told People. “Now it’s just such a habit. There are so many lazy water drinkers!” Some context: Aniston has been the celebrity spokesperson for Smartwater since 2007, and once told Shape that she drinks 100 ounces of the stuff a day.
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Aniston, whose apparent agelessness is a modern marvel, has been the face of drugstore skin-care fave Aveeno since 2013. She recently told Marie Claire UK that she owns and loves the CACI laser, a “non-surgical facelift” that’s usually performed in a licensed professional’s office, not in Jennifer Aniston’s home. On the more accessible side, she told Redbook in 2013 that she swears by the L'Oréal Sublime Bronze Self-Tanning Towelettes for a realistic sunless glow. According to an interview with E! Online, Aniston’s other go-tos include the Mila Moursi Lifting Serum, which will set you back $440 – and, like Paltrow, she’s a huge fan of Thermage.

Mila Moursi Lifting Serum, $440, available at Barneys New York.
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Photo: Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images
When asked by the Telegraph to share the secrets to the “famous Kardashian glow” in 2013, Kim replied, “Proper hydration. I drink a lot of water.”
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Kardashian may indeed drink a lot of water, but she does a lot of other stuff, too — like that time she got a vampire blood facial and documented the process on TV. She also has the help of her main man, dermatologist Howard Lancer, MD, who she once tweeted makes her “feel younger” every time she sees him. On her hands, on her neck, on her face, on a plane – Kim K. will take her laser treatments any way she can get them.

Of course, all that’s in addition to her standard skin-care go-tos, like Guerlain Orchidée Impériale Longevity Concentrate Intense Replenishing, La Mer The Perfecting Treatment, and the professional-grade at-home Quasar MD Plus light therapy device, which she gushed about in an interview with Into The Gloss.

Guerlain Orchidée Impériale Cream, $455, available at Bloomingdale's.
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“The biggest thing that changed my life, the best anti-aging secret weapon, is that in my mid-thirties I started drinking a gallon of water a day,” Gabrielle Union told Elle in 2014.
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Union was the face of Neutrogena for a decade, and she told Elle that she still uses the drugstore brand’s products to this day. Frustratingly, the actress also admitted that the secret to her agelessness is “part genetics” — and she swears by basic Dove soap.

Neutrogena Rapid Wrinkle Repair Moisturizer SPF 30, $21.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
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When pressed for her number one travel secret, Joan Smalls told Harper’s Bazaar UK, “I’ll drink a lot of water because it’s healthy for my skin. When I travel, I need it to replenish and re-hydrate; such a huge percentage of our bodies are made up of water.” This is true — over 50%!
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Smalls does seem to have a vested interest in a low-key beauty lifestyle, but she’s repped Estée Lauder skin care and cosmetics since 2011. (In fact, as CNN reported, she was the brand’s first Latina face.) The model also told Harper’s Bazaar UK that she recommends a mask of avocado, olive oil, and egg as “a good DIY trick for providing moisture to brittle hair.” Respectable.

Estée Lauder
Advanced Night Repair, $65, available at Nordstrom.
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“As soon as I wake up, I try and drink a liter of water,” Rosie Huntington-Whiteley shared in a 2016 interview with Harper’s Bazaar UK.
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Huntington-Whiteley has quite a few beauty business moves under her belt. She’s been the face of Burberry Beauty since the line launched in 2010, has repped British cosmetics brand ModelCo since 2013, has lent her perfect hair to Moroccanoil since 2014, and launched her own beauty collection under her Rosie for Autograph label for Marks & Spencer in 2016.

Which does she love more: water or makeup? Hard to say. The model is also an acolyte of celebrity facialist Shani Darden.

Resurface by Shani Darden Retinol Reform, $95, available at Shani Darden.
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“Sleep as much as you can and drink tons of water,” Olivia Culpo told StyleCaster when asked her top health and beauty tip.
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A former pageant queen, Culpo knows her way around a makeup bag — she’s got that flawless, glammed-up Instagram look on lock. She’s been a member of the L’Oréal League since 2016, and signed on with ghd as a brand ambassador in October. The Clarisonic spokesmodel also told Allure that her skin-care arsenal includes products from Clarins, Charlotte Tilbury, SK-II, and Kat Burki, with the occasional cold spoon under her eyes to reduce puffiness.

Charlotte Tilbury Charlotte's Magic Cream Treat & Transform Moisturizer, $100, available at Bloomingdale's.
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Elle Macpherson preached to Haute Living in October, “Some simple tricks that anyone can do is drink three liters of water every day (with two teaspoons Super Elixir) and try to get at least seven hours sleep.”
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So, about that Super Elixir: It’s a daily supplement, described as a “game-changing all-natural multivitamin,” sold by WelleCo, of which Macpherson is the co-founder. (It is significantly more expensive than your average One A Day.) She also closely follows an alkaline diet with some help from her longtime nutritionist Simone Laubscher, MD, who dished on The Body’s comprehensive health and fitness plan in an interview with Elle last summer. According to the New York Times, Macpherson also prioritizes massage “not just relaxation, but also for circulation.” She’s a fan of both facial and body massages from celebrity favorite Nichola Joss.

WelleCo The Super Elixir, $135, available at WelleCo.
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When asked about her “skin-care secret,” Naomi Campbell told W, “Plenty of water, and stay away from sugar!”
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The famously high-maintenance supermodel may actually keep it relatively understated when it comes to her anti-aging beauty approach. She’s a fan of Tracie Martyn facials, according to Vogue, and she shared her love of an under-the-radar moisturizer called Rescue in an interview with Allure last August. But she also told Vogue that she would never get a facelift — though she does use tape to create a tightened, lifted effect. The more you know.

Tracie Martyn Face Resculpting Cream, $108, available at Net-a-Porter.
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Regular tap water just won’t do for Miranda Kerr. “I have alkaline water filters in my kitchen sink and on my shower heads, so it’s purified and alkaline,” she told Into The Gloss in 2013.
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For starters, Kerr is a fierce proponent of her KORA Organics skin-care line, which she launched in 2009. But she also harnesses the power of water in significantly less pleasant ways — Kerr once told us that she frequently rubs coconut oil all over her body before jumping in a cold shower. (As for her thick, lustrous hair, she’s held a spokesmodel gig for Clear Scalp & Hair since 2014.)

Kora Hydrating Day and Night Cream, $65, available at Kora.
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