Gwyneth’s glow, Scarlett’s billowing bust and Hilary’s perfectly contoured back may be the stuff of privileged gene pools, but that doesn’t mean beauty comes easy to them: Actors and actresses spend weeks before the Academy Awards being waxed, tweezed, threaded, peeled, fitted, dyed and coiffed. Cutting-edge facial treatments, rigorous training and expertly placed double-sided toupee tape all play a part in their immaculate impressions. Still, preparations on the day of the event can take up to 10 hours, says Eva Longoria’s stylist, Robert Verdi. “To be red carpet-ready, a star must be massaged, polished and tan-line free — the greatest possible canvas.” A day of unlimited access to Hollywood’s most coveted and au courant beauty, body and style experts chronicles an Oscar-goer’s transformation.
6 a.m. — Arrive at HQ:
Getting Oscar-ready is a mission — so why not run it out of a luxury suite, with Old Hollywood flair? The newly refurbished Roosevelt Hotel, just blocks from the Kodak Theater, has heavy red carpet history: The hotel’s Blossom Ballroom hosted the 1929 Oscars. Ladies can dress in the $2,000 a night Marilyn Suite, where an up-and-coming Monroe lived in the 1950s.
For a more modern base of operations, the Panorama Suite at the brand new Renaissance Hollywood Hotel ($5,000 a night) is high-end and high up. Downstairs banquet rooms are thick with broadcasters, and a secret tunnel feeds directly into the Kodak Theater.
6:30 a.m. — Workout:
In Gunnar Peterson’s ideal world, his clients will have been training for months before they rush over at the crack of dawn to his private gym, dubbed “The Compound” by famously fit celebrities like Jennifer Garner, Angelina Jolie and Matthew McConaughey. The fitness guru suggests light weights to plump arm muscles, increase definition and flush the surface of the skin, targeting areas exposed by gowns. Clients are instructed to taper meals as the day progresses, avoiding high-sodium processed foods.
A more Zenlike fitness fix is Cameron Shayne’s private 75-minute session of Budokon at Equinox. The martial arts-yoga-meditation hybrid opens hips, warms the body and empowers for the big night. While there, visitors might want to indulge in a hand-painted bronzing treatment or 20-minute detoxifying milk bath.
8:30 a.m. — Detox:
At Total Health Connection, Asa Wrang aligns the sacrum to encourage a balanced nervous system and calm Oscar jitters. Ivana Lech performs a colonic to flatten the belly. Clients can weigh as much as seven pounds less afterward.
9:30 a.m. — Skin care:
Getting an appointment with Kest Clinic’s Dangene McKay-Bailey is a coup, since clients are taken by referral only. On Oscar morning, Bailey and Laurie Warzocha avoid extractions and peels that might leave redness, but every inch of skin is buffed, first with diamond tome exfoliation (the newest microderm abrasion) and glycolic acid. Next is anti-aging photo-modulation, during which 2,000 lightbulbs flash 41 times to stimulate collagen. The refreshing O2 Oxygen facial, a Madonna favorite, tightens and hydrates with hyaluronic acid, plumping out dark circles and lips. Now, they’ve got the glow.
The week prior to the Awards, star-quality clients may have visited Sonya Dakar’s Red Carpet Boot Camp along with Gwyneth Paltrow and Eve for extractions, diamond peels and loaded gift bags. On the day of the Awards, Oscar-goers pop by the five-story clinic for a “lite” green tea peel and red light plumping treatment.
At Kate Somerville on Melrose, visitors shouldn’t be surprised to glimpse Felicity Huffman, Sandra Oh or even Paris Hilton in the hall, as they scoot to their Titan Procedure — a nonsurgical facelift at $2,500 a pop — or hydrating facial called a “dermal quench treatment.” Might as well throw in some thick Party Lash extensions, as Somerville is the pioneer.
Noon — Hair and nails:
“Hair geniuses” at the new Argyle Salon & Spa worked their magic on Virginia Madsen before the Golden Globes. The salon, inside the Sunset Tower Hotel, is a cluster of private “spa suites,” with a little-known side entrance. Hair color, the day of the awards, will most likely be set, but Philip B.’s renowned scalp treatments, Steven Tapp’s glaze and Derek Louden’s smudge (an ingenious base lightener that makes highlights look natural) will make hair look extra healthy. Top it off with a blow-out/style by Guy Romeo and a martini lunch.
Given 20 minutes in a client’s hotel room, “Matrix” celebrity colorist Jennifer J. of Juan Juan (who’s trusted by the likes of Julia Roberts) will use a shine-layering treatment and clear gloss to tame frizzies and add luster. Her partner-husband Sean Jihanbigloo will style loose curls and side-swept bangs.
Celebrity manicurist Deborah Lippmann, an expert for more than 20 years who decorated Scarlett Johansson and Reese Witherspoon’s digits for the Globes, says that this year, it’s all about “a return to glam with strong nail colors.”
Those sporting open-toe shoes should venture to the low-key Spoiled for John Gerardo’s Ultimate Pedicure. This 90-minute foot treatment includes measurement for symmetry and a beeswax foot massage.
2:30 p.m. — Makeup:
Veteran makeup artist Leslie Lopez, who polished both Sarah Jessica Parker and Jessica Alba for the Globes, studies the gown, skin tone and facial structure, ignoring trends as they don’t always suit the individual. Her maintenance secret: a tiny kit with makeup samples to carry in a clutch all night long.
3 p.m. — Style and dress:
One would hope that, by now, gown options are cemented. But having a personal stylist on hand, to apply double-sided tape and take Polaroids of how the dress appears on camera, is invaluable. Annabel Tollman, best known as the woman behind Scarlett Johansson, is reputed to be one such on-site dresser.
For those in a crunch: department stores like Barney’s and Neiman Marcus have inhouse stylists, tailors and endless accessories. More off-the-beaten-path options for last-minute dresses: Satine stocks Roland Mouret, Kumari, Rodarte and Zero by Maria Cornejo; big agency players such as Jack Henry favor by-appointment-only, as owner Tia Browsh acts as a de facto stylist; and Les Habitudes displays thousands of romantic eveningwear pieces. Jewelry may come from H. Stern or a Robert Verdi favorite, Nam Cho, who often replaces diamonds with white sapphires.
4 p.m. — Limo:
It took a village, but when it’s finally time to head out, hop in a Maybach (a $400,000 Mercedes) or Rolls-Royce Phantom from Empire & CLS Limousines — the same company shuttling guests to the Vanity Fair party later that evening.
1 a.m. and beyond:
If a nightcap or latenight snack is in order after the after-parties, swing by the new 25 Degrees, which has more than 50 half-bottles of vino and unusual cheeses topping burgers, or the Roosevelt Hotel’s Teddy’s for drinks — Amanda Scheer Demme’s lounge is one of the toughest doors in the city, but A-listers don’t get bothered at this celebrity sanctuary. 25 Degrees: (323) 785-7244; Teddy’s: (323) 785-7247.
No matter who won or lost, everything’s coming up roses at the Peninsula Spa. After a $7 million renovation, the tastefully upscale setting boasts muted tones and high-tech additions like satellite radio in treatment rooms. Shiffa Precious Emerald Massage is perfect for detoxifying, while the Ruby Rose version uses gem- and rose petal-infused oils and scrubs, plus paraffin wax for hands and feet to increase energy.
The elite put themselves in Ole Henriksen’s hands for Tranquility Treatment #2. In a private Jacuzzi room, customers soak up lavender and chamomile hydrotherapy. Next comes a purifying herbal body wash, re-texturizing aromatic sea mineral scrub, tropical rain rinse and a heated osmotic body mask. Somewhere between steam therapy with oxygenating properties, lymphatic drainage, deep pore evacuation and sound-wave treatment with optimum muscle firming, red carpet stress fades to a distant memory.
For Oscar attendees who really need to get away, there’s the Sandy Lane Resort in St. James, Barbados. At $15,000 a night, “the Villa” comes with four garden-view bedrooms, a private pool, personal chef and a luxury vehicle. Hotel guests may use the Green Monkey golf course, which might explain why Tiger Woods was married at this refuge.
Hollywood will seem far, far away in San Jose del Cabo. The “Paradise for Two” package at Las Ventanas al Paraiso, at $41,775 for seven nights, includes Dom Perignon upon arrival, private chef dinner en suite or dinner in la Cava (a private wine cellar), a yacht day on the Pacific Ocean and the Sea of Cortez, a Mini Cooper convertible, a Desert Hummer Adventure, massages, a tequila tasting and Air Meal upon departure. But who’s leaving?