Oscar Winner Beauty Tricks That Really Work

Longing to get that Hollywood glow, those pouty lips, or smoky eyes? Four top celebrity makeup artists reveal their secrets.

Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD on February 23, 2006

So you're not in Hollywood, prancing down Oscar's red carpet and clutching at a golden statue. That doesn't mean you can't look the part. As gilded and glamorous as these cinema lilies are, beauty experts say getting that red carpet glow is not all that difficult -- if you know the right products to try.

"It's all about the products -- it's knowing what to use and how to use it -- that's what makes Hollywood glamour," says legendary celebrity makeup artist Adrien Arpel, who now conducts the "world's largest beauty classroom" seen regularly on the Home Shopping Network and

The latest buzz on the lips of Hollywood's most famous glamour dolls says Arpel is primers -- as in skin primers. Mostly silicone-based, she says these "under-makeup makeups" can turn skin that's been up all night into a face that radiates like the morning sun.

"It's like spackle for the face. These products cover everything by putting a thin layer of nontoxic silicone between your skin and the makeup. It creates the look of a totally flawless complexion," says Arpel who was so impressed by the technology she expanded her own Signature Club A makeup line to include nontoxic silicone foundation and blush.

Another bonus: Experts say that with silicone primers you can wave "ba bye" to enlarged pores, acne scars, and even fine lines and wrinkles -- if only for the moment! Primer use is reportedly so popular on Oscar night, one makeup artist (who dolls up such famous faces we can't even mention her name!) whispers that most of the gorgeous gals you'll see waltzing down the red carpet this year would look "just dreadful" without at least one coat of primer under it all.

Get the J-Lo Glow

Perhaps, however, nothing says Oscar glamour more than the increasingly popular Hollywood "glow" -- that dewy luminescence made famous by stars such as J-Lo, Demi, Cameron, Julia, Drew, Charlize, and countless others. The good news is you don't need a 5-carat pink diamond to get the sparkle. What can do the trick? Products called "skin illuminators," say experts. These are pearlized shimmer creams that reflect light onto the skin.

"These products were a great breakthrough in makeup technology because by reflecting the light they make the skin look smoother and younger," says New York City celebrity makeup artist Laura Geller, who regularly offers beauty tips and products on electronic retailer QVC. When making up famous faces, Geller says she starts with a primer, then adds a cream or lotion with a small amount of pearl essence, which she says she blends over the entire face or, better still, mixes into foundation or even moisturizer. The result, she says, is the fresh-faced look frequently seen on the younger stars. However, she cautions that skin illuminators should not be confused with "sparkle powder" -- products with large chunks of metallic that should never be used on the whole face.

"Sparkle goes only on the high points of the face -- the cheekbone and under the brow," says Geller. And, she says, stay away from sparkle if you have large pores or wrinkles -- it can age the face faster than a prune in the California sun.

If you're looking for a slightly lower wattage and a more sophisticated glow -- a la Diane Keaton or Sharon Stone -- Arpel says adapt your look by using a buttery cream foundation that stays moist on the skin.

"Regardless of whose product you use, just read the label. If it says 'metallic' avoid it; if it says the foundation will dry on the skin, it won't help you. It has to say cream or soufflé on the label and it has to have a buttery cream consistency that stays moist in order to get that soft glow going," says Arpel.

Do It on the Cheap

Although some of these products are reasonably priced, others can set you back mega bucks. To do it all on the cheap, beauty expert and author Diane Irons says skip the cosmetic counter altogether and head straight for the drugstore aisle selling Pepto Bismol. Yes, you read right. The diarrhea treatment can also help you get you the glow going.

"It contains salicylic acid, and if you put a coating on your face, let it set for a few minutes, then wash it off, and your skin will have a mega-glow that shines through even after you put on your makeup," says Irons, whose most recent book is, The World's Best Anti-Aging Secrets.

And, indeed, salicylic acid does net you a nifty face peel -- washing away dead skin cells and keeping your complexion from looking cloudy and old before its time. But does Pepto Bismol work as well as the skin care products containing salicylic acid? According to Irons, it does.

"We like it more because it has an ingredient that coats the tummy -- which means it also coats the face, so it's milder and gentler to skin that most salicylic skin care products," says Irons. Who knew?

And what about duplicating those "bee stung" juicy lips that help put glamour gals such as Julia Roberts, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Renee Zellweger on the cover of all those magazines? Irons says skip the pricy lip plumping products and pick up a bottle of ordinary cinnamon oil.

"The oil brings blood to the lips which causes the plumping," says Irons, who says the effects last about four hours. However, she also warns that cinnamon oil allergies are not uncommon so, she says, dab a small bit on the inside of your wrist first to check for excessive swelling, redness, or itching.

To balance that puckered pout most celebs today opt for a smoky, doe-eyed look not unlike the one celebrity makeup artist Valerie Sarnelle created for mega-watt beauty Heather Locklear. To "Heatherize your eyes," Sarnelle says start with at least three shadows in smoky shades such as taupe, brown, olive, grey, or blue grey.

"You can't just pile black or dark brown shadow on your lids -- or you'll end up looking like a vampire," says Sarnelle, whose clients also include Tori Spelling, Kelly Osbourne, and Alana Stewart. Instead, she says, blend at least three smoky colors together on the whole lid, then finish the look with a soft liner in grey or brown, not black. To keep the liner looking soft, smudge it with a Q-Tip while it's still wet, then finish with a row of false lashes.

But if you've ever come home with those lashes stuck to your cheeks instead of your lids, Geller says you'll really appreciate one of the best-kept New York celebrity beauty secrets -- a product called Fast Lash by Tweezerman. This totally unique lash builder looks like an ordinary mascara container but when you pull out the wand it's covered in tiny dry white flakes of a harmless polyester fiber -- almost like down.

"First you coat your lashes with mascara, then touch the Fast Lash wand to your wet lashes so the fibers stick, then add another coat of mascara, and the look is better than false lashes," says Geller, who reports that Fast Lash is among her most requested products for celebrity photo shoots and special events.

7 More Red Carpet Beauty Tips

To help polish off your look and really get your Oscar night glow going, our beauty experts offer these additional tips:

  • For an instant puff reducer dip a spoon in ice cold water and press the back against your under eye area, cheeks, chin, anywhere you want to reduce the bloated look. -- Diane Irons
  • For the best under-eye concealing look for products that are thin, not thick, and then build it on in layers, patting -- and not rubbing -- each layer in until you cover your flaws. -- Valerie Sarnelle
  • For better under-eye coverage choose a blue-based concealer, which helps reflect the light and make the eyes look brighter. For extra heavy dark circles try a yellow- or orange-based concealer, which neutralizes darkness beneath the eyes. If you don't have a color concealer use foundation two shades lighter under your eyes and blend, blend, blend! -- Adrien Arpel
  • To keep that eyeliner on all night thin it with a drop of Visene (you know, the eye drops). The viscous quality of the Visene makes the liner go on easier and moister, which also helps it to last longer. -- Diane Irons
  • For glamour-girl hair, look for shampoos that contain dimethicone copolyol, which is a volume booster. Then always put on hair spray from underneath, which gives the roots some extra "oomph" and will keep a pouffy do pouffy all night. -- Diane Irons
  • For a sun-kissed glow without the sun use a powdered face bronzer, but choose a shade in pinky-brown and avoid orange tones. To keep the look natural use a fat brush or apply with a lamb's wool paddle and feather it out into the hairline, down under the jaw, and onto the neck. -- Laura Geller
  • Biggest eyebrow mistake: making them too thin or too dark. To fix that: Choose a powder brush color in a shade or two lighter than your hair for a look that is softer and more natural. Top it with a brow wax to keep them neat and in place. -- Valerie Sarnelle

Colette Bouchez is the author of the new book, Your Perfectly Pampered Pregnancy - Beauty, Health and Lifestyle Advice for the Modern Mother-to-Be.

Show Sources

SOURCES: Adrien Arpel, makeup artist and beauty consultant, Home Shopping Network, Orlando, Fla. Laura Geller, makeup artist, QVC Network;, New York City. Valerie Sarenelle, makeup artist, Valerie Beverly Hills. Diane Irons, author, The Best Kept Anti-Aging Secrets.

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