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Beauty Prep Time Essential

Awards puts spotlight on skin care, makeup

Beauty is a very serious business these days in Hollywood. With possible worldwide exposure at stake, from the Golden Globes through the Grammys to the Academy Awards, the red carpet is not only a preview of fashion trends, it puts the media glare on upscale skin care, hair styles and makeup, and helps launch personal care products.

With prestige beauty sales in the U.S. having topped $7 billion in 2001, according to market research firm NPD BeautyTrends, the stakes are high. “The beauty industry is driven by celebrity,” says Benton Jordan CEO-publisher of Moxly’s “Head to Toe” city beauty guides. “One (famous) person telling the product or service they use will result in sales.”

And with E! pre-awards hosts grilling arrivals on the contents of their designer bags, building those celeb relationships is even more important for salon and product exposure.

Outreach to celebs (and those with access to them) is an ongoing effort by the beauty industry that culminates during awards season. At Raffles L’Hermitage hotel in Beverly Hills, it’s fashion/beauty product placement central as companies set up shop in a promotional frenzy of free spa treatments, product giveaways and photo opportunities.

In tandem with the pre-Oscar social whirl, supersuites of beauty services occupy the hotel’s pricey digs. MAC Cosmetics brings in artists from London, Berlin, and New York, and provides free in-suite and at-home makeup house calls. Calls for appointments were received as soon as Oscar and Independent Spirit Awards nominations were announced.

Also at L’Hermitage, and wooing the international press, will be Helena Rubinstein (offering facials, nail care and makeup), hair care from Vidal Sassoon and London-based stylist Charles Worthington (with his own line of products).

Mere styling is out of the question for those in the spotlight; it’s serious regimen time, starting with dieting and skin prep months out. Some opt for botox or collagen treatments, increasingly popular medical steps for wrinkle removal. Microdermabrasion, to even out skin textures, is a dermatologist’s wonder cure.

For healing without chemicals or surgery, skin care maven Sonya Dakar began Oscar beauty prep for her clients two months ago at her Beverly Boulevard skin clinic. “I look at it as a partnership for improvement,” says Dakar, who gives clients dietary advice, promotes vitamin supplements and recommends her custom-made patented products.

During the week before the Oscars, Dakar works long days resuscitating problem skin via diamond peels, skin detox treatments and vitamin A applications. A favorite of young actresses, Dakar’s skin therapy is only the first stop on a beauty marathon.

Two weeks prior, the to-do list includes eyebrow shaping and body waxing.

Spa treatments for de-stressing are de rigueur three to four days in advance. At the Four Seasons hotel spa in Beverly Hills, aromatherapy facials and deep-tissue massage are the most requested.

Spa Mystique in Century City even sent all nominees in Oscar’s acting categories gift certificates. On the spa’s menu: a longevity face and body treatment that detoxes, exfoliates and balances skin while assuring physical and spiritual renewal.

Many hair salons open Oscar Sunday, while name stylists — such as Sean Jahanbigloo of Juan Salon and Laurent Dufourg of Prive — are out on a round of house and hotel calls.

“Whether they are a writer or star, hair and makeup appointments are booked on the day of the nomination,” says Jahanbigloo. Cost for such a house call: $300 and up. Color is done at least a day or two in advance at the salon.

Men don’t escape the grooming push entirely. Hair styling is the focus with skin and lip conditioning plus bronzing a must. Hands and feet must also be highly polished. L.a. vie l’orange, on Robertson Boulevard specializes in all natural manicures and pedicures. Feet soak in containers filled with orange sections and flower petals and nail care tools are never reused.

Seaweed scrubs buff hands supersmooth, a necessity when waving at fans in the bleachers or for holding that coveted golden statuette.

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