The Hollywood Beauty Treatments A-Listers Swear By Before The Oscars

Photographed by Maria Del Rio.
Celebrities: They’re not just like us. And there’s no time of year when that fact is more apparent than during awards season (or what everyone outside of LA calls “winter”). Sure, we know a little about the A-list crowd's red carpet prep — there are makeup artists, manicurists, and hairstylists at the ready; so-called “red carpet facials” are a staple. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg, folks. Sure, celebs have to give good face, but in a time when plunging necklines and cutouts are dominating red carpet fashion, it’s also about giving good sideboob, butt, hip, bicep, you name it. And you won't’ believe the treatments that are designed to do just that.

Among them, injections to help cope with aching, stiletto-strapped feet, butt injections to give temporary lift, and virtual reality-led facials to help achieve pre-show Zen. Ahead, L.A.’s cosmetic surgeons and aestheticians to the stars give a glimpse of what prepping for the most scrutinized red carpet appearance is really like. Turns out, picking the dress is the least of it.

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Illustrated by Mallory Heyer
One major part of awards season that many of us don’t see is the immense campaigning that nominees do to get those Academy votes. They attend film festivals, meet-and-greets, press junkets, late night talk shows, luncheons, and countless other events that lead up to the ceremonies. It’s tiring work, yet somehow, stars appear perpetually refreshed, alert, and bright-eyed. How?

Enter Exilis, a radiofrequency and ultrasound treatment that can be used on the face to lift, tighten, and plump skin by heating fibroblast cells deep in the dermis, which stimulates collagen production and smoothes wrinkles. Hollywood folks use this treatment to help plump skin around the eyes and minimize tiny wrinkles that appear when smiling for pictures. Unlike with similar microcurrent treatments, monthly maintenance visits aren’t required for longer-lasting results.

Gina Mari
, a Beverly Hills-based aesthetician to the stars says clients book a series of four treatments over the few months leading into awards season. At $250 for a roughly 20-minute treatment, it’s not exactly cheap, but it is one of the few that’s completely painless. As the wand moves across the brow bone and down under the eyes, the device delivers a warm sensation akin to sitting by a fire — the perfect respite from the campaign trail.
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Illustrated by Mallory Heyer
Some stars who love to throw an over-the-shoulder pose get a little extra help in the butt department from plastic surgeons, too. And no, they’re not exactly getting butt implants.

Beverly Hills-based plastic surgeon and RealSelf Contributor Sheila Nazarian, MD, says Sculptra injections have been the surprising request from some her celebrity clientele this awards season. “Around awards season, stars come in for this treatment to appear fuller and have more optimal proportions in their Oscar gowns,” she says. The injections consist of lactic acid in water, and the plumping results are immediate, but short-lived, as the body reabsorbs the water over three days. But the lactic acid particles, which cause collagen to produce around them, stick around and can help plump over the long-term.

Once maximum results are achieved, they can last for up to five years. The treatments are costly, though: Depending on how many vials are used, costs can fall between $6000-$40,000. (Yes, that’s five zeros.)
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Illustrated by Mallory Heyer
From the step-and-repeat shuffle that comes with walking the carpet to dancing at the after parties, we’ve never quite understood how every single actress. out there seems to float along in killer Loubs at these award shows, seemingly pain-free. Are they simply tougher than the rest of us? Maybe. Or they’re getting a little help, thanks to hyaluronic acid injections.

Take the celebs who see Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Gabriel Chiu, MD, as part of their Oscars prep: Instead of injecting the face with dermal filler (ok, maybe in addition to injecting the face with dermal filler), Dr. Chiu injects the balls of the feet with Restylane and Perlane, hyaluronic dermal fillers that create a cushion to help reduce pressure in the toes (caused by uneven weight distribution) and in extended arches when wearing heels. The result? Pain-free posing and partying for up to five months, for a cool $3000 per treatment.
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Illustrated by Mallory Heyer
Take a look at the gowns that have dominated the red carpet this season — plunging necklines, sleeveless designs, cutouts, and slits are everywhere. Which is why a simple facial — as in, for the face only — doesn’t exactly cut it.

Beauty brand Elemis worked with The Spa at Beverly Wilshire to develop a “facial” that also tones and tightens whatever parts of the body that certain dress designs will showcase. Dubbed the Elemis Targeted Toning Treatment ($505), it treats the body part of your choice to a wrap of salt, minerals, caffeine, and seaweed to target cellulite and skin tone.

While that’s in action, an aesthetician performs a facial with a clay and algae-rich rubberized mask. We tried the treatment for ourselves and were seriously blown away by how much firmer our upper arms appeared after the fact.
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Illustrated by Mallory Heyer
When stars say they suffer through a full-body detox before pulling on skin-tight gowns, they may be referring to a juice cleanse. Or they may be talking about the latest star treatment from celebrity facialist Joanna Vargas, called the Full Body Detox Peel.

The treatment uses full-body microdermabrasion with a diamond-tipped wand to peel, brighten, and even the skin tone from head-to-toe. That's followed by a hot-towel cleanse, a massage that incorporates coconut-steeped compresses, and body cream to finish.

“It really plumps your skin,” Vargas says. “On the red carpet, you’ll be showing backs, arms, décolletages, and cleavage, so you want to feel hydrated and plumped all over, not just the face.”

The $300 treatment is one that’s typically booked a week before a big event in Vargas’s LA skin studio, and counts Julianne Moore, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and Jenna Dewan as fans.
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Illustrated by Mallory Heyer
Some people engage in deep breathing exercises or take a calming bath to quell pre-presentation jitters. Hollywood’s A-list? They step into the Natura Bissé domed tent that's been pumped full of 99.995% pure air, strap on virtual reality glasses and embark upon a mindful meditation journey, with guided deep breathing exercises, soul-centering prompts, and peaceful visuals (think: clear, blue skies and babbling brooks).

All the while, an aesthetician performs a face-contouring massage (which boosts blood circulation and lymphatic drainage) as part of a facial. We were lucky enough to try the treatment. What feels like a soothing meditation session that gives your psyche a new lease on life also delivers serious hydrating and lifting skin results. A-listers have been stepping into the bubble tent all week ahead of the Oscars, but post-awards show, it will tour 18 US locations, including New York City, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, and Las Vegas. Even better, a virtual reality-equipped treatment inside the bubble can be had for free, with the purchase of any four Natura Bissé products.
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