Exactly how stars manage to transform their skin for awards season has always a been a bit of a mystery. Famous folks are often hesitant to credit anything other than “sleep and lots of water!” for their red carpet glow, but we all know a flawless visage isn’t always achieved by virtuous living. Often, those gleaming complexions are created with rounds of microdermabrasion followed by laser work and a peel or facial—a triple shot of skin care treatments so tried and true, just about every star undergoes it in some form as part of their public-facing prep.
THE RED CARPET RX
Dr. David Colbert, a New York-based dermatologist who treats A-listers like Naomi Watts and Michelle Williams, calls his version “The Triad” and estimates that come awards season, about 75 percent of his celebrity clients undergo the treatment because it results in “instantly luminous skin of the face, neck and hands,” he says. “The skin reflects light much more evenly resulting in the perfect red carpet glow.”
But can this triple-threat treatment transform the skin of a mere mortal—and are its effects so spectacular that it’s worth the several-hundred-dollar price tag? To find out, I decamped to Thibiant Beverly Hills, an aesthetic medicine institute popular with old school L.A. (think: generations of Hiltons) and today’s mega celebs, like Jennifer Aniston—and where leading cosmetic surgeon Dr. Harry Glassman recommends a trio of microdermabrasion, Genesis V laser and oxygen facial for an A-list glow.
I’m sent to Melanie Shugart, an RN who has been in the cosmetic laser game for nearly 20 years. She takes a look at my broken-down skin (a few darks spots, redness around the t-zone, hormonal zits, clogged pores and an overall dull tone) and unfazed, suggests a round of microdermabrasion ($150) to start.
The treatment uses a wand tipped with microscopic diamonds to majorly exfoliate. As the wand is dragged across the face a few inches at a time, it uses vacuum suction to clear skin of dead skin cells and excess oil. The idea of dragging a tiny DustBuster equipped with a medium-coarse, textured tip along the contours of my face sounds more skin ravaging than glow inducing. But the simple suction doesn’t feel rough or scratchy.
When finished, esthetician Faye Gitis busts open the wand to show me the small disc filter that served as a landing pad for the dead skin cells and grease sucked from my face; it was grossly yellow—like filter-of-a-fully-smoked-cigarette yellow—which seems hardly fair given my on-point at-home skin care regimen (cleansing with a sonic cleansing device, exfoliating, hydrating and applying masks at least every other day and never—ok, rarely—sleeping with makeup on). The results are a revelation; I’m beginning to see that this—not necessarily macrobiotics or a proper skin care routine—is what makes for next-level skin brightening.