What is 'natural' in Hollywood is about as malleable as most stars foreheads once were. Despite the minimal capacity for facial movement, their eyes still widen, aghast at the suggestion that their appearance is anything other than God's most organic creation.
Regardless of whether it's God's creation or man's creative touch, it cannot be denied that celebrity skin is nothing short of sensational and their grooming is flawless.
So, facial elasticity (or lack thereof) aside, we want some of what they're having. And what they're having is often more natural than you, or I, might have guessed.
Cate Blanchett's all about the emu oil and vodka and tonics for a freshen up. While Miranda Kerr, who likens us all to flowers, might herself be likened to a rosehip, given that's her secret skin tonic. Victoria Beckham, on the other hand, puts the kibosh on them both with her raw and ready beauty regime which includes placenta facials.
Yep. Gone are the days where a push-up profile, frozen face and labia lips are fashionable. While the experts I spoke with all agreed that 'tweaking' with Botox, lip and facial fillers is widespread, they were emphatic that less is now more. Plastic is no longer fantastic. Instead flexible foreheads and photo(shop) finish skin are now in.
"I was just in LA with Ava Shamban [celebrity dermatologist who has appeared on Oprah]," says Kaye Scott of Sydney's exclusive, The Clinic. "I couldn't believe the difference [from the last time I was there]. It was all about skin rather than enhancing everything."
"Low dose or mini Fraxel ... which is rolling over the skin with a laser, is huge," Scott say. "Kim Kardashian told Oprah she's had it, Jennifer Anniston has had it ... Amanda Holden has had it and Ellen Barkin as well... it removes sun damage and leaves the skin flawless."
Straight after the treatment the skin is red "like sunburn" but, there is little down time, which, Scott says, is the allure of many of of the newer treatments.
Pelleve, which requires no down time, is a case in point and also popular with the celebs. Scott is a huge fan of the 'wrinkle reduction system' which according to the website, "softens wrinkles on the face by slowly heating the deep layers of the skin with a warming device powered by advanced radiowave technology that protects the epidermis, or top layer. The heat helps create new collagen, the fibres that help support the way skin looks and feels."
Apart from minimal recovery time, the advantage of these treatments is that they "are safer and less traumatic. People do multiple small things rather than one big thing."
Sydney based skincare therapist to the stars, Ingrid Seaburn agrees. "There are gentler ways of doing things, but that have just as good results... I believe causing too much inflammation on the epidermis [isn't a good thing]."
She says micro-current facials are popular with the celeb set. "Teri Hatcher is a huge fan of them and Vanessa Williams has been vocal about how much she loves them."
Micro-current treatments involve stimulating the facial muscles with positive and negative currents.
"It's not painful. I use a conductive gel - it's quite a relaxing treatment," Seaburn says. "You see the results straight away. It makes you look like you're awake and instead of paralysing the muscles, like Botox, it works at retraining the muscles - toning them and teaching them to sit differently on the face. It's great for plus 40s and great for lifting jowls ."
LED (light emitting diodes) treatments are another celeb favourite with the likes of Kate Beckinsale and Charlize Theron giving them their manicured thumbs up.
"It stimulates the collagen and elastin and gives a really good instant result," Seaburn says. "It reduces inflammation and plumps skin giving it more clarity and a youthful glow."
But, results depend on the strength of the light, Seaburn advises. "Make sure you go to someone who has a good strength light. Also, the blue light is good for acne as it kills the surface bacteria, while the red light is good for anti ageing."
Lastly, Seaburn says stem cell derived serums are the hot new thing in Hollywood. "They are not derived from babies," she promises. "They [enhance] the cell rejuvenation process. Stem cell growth factors can and do make a difference."
Scott agrees that stem cell serums are popular. While many of her clients love them, she says "every cosmetic company is working on them, but they haven't perfected them at this stage... the cost still outweighs the benefits."
While we're waiting for fine-tuning on that front, we can always consider an instant face lift. Because, Pamela Anderson aside, the art of the celebrity eyebrow has been pretty much perfected.
Amy Jean Linnehan, who does Dannii Minogue's arches, among others and has appointment-only salons in Sydney, Melbourne and the Gold Coast, says celebrity eyebrow trends have changed.
Just look at Jennifer Hawkins' fashionably furry eye-toppers. Once they were dark and thin, now they are light and thick. The arches of Kim Kardarshian, Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce are the same.
"A shade or two lighter than your natural colour makes a dramatically positive difference to your skintone. It is an incredibly illusory trick. Thin, dark brows zap the life out of your complexion," she said.
But, if you're thinking of going thicker, keep in mind that "thicker is trendy but it doesn't necessarily suit everyone. If someone has a petite face and petite features ... a massive brow is too heavy and is going to dominate their face and close in their eyes...generally a thinner, more arched brow would work better for them because ... it creates harmony and symmetry."
Regardless, she advises against ever trimming brows. The ones you trim become "really harsh, coarse... they thicken and they will change colour, but the ones that haven't been trimmed will remain that colour - the natural colour." So, your brows are more likely to end up like Johnny Howard's than Jennifer Hawkins. A professional can help you thin your brow with plucking and waxing instead, she says.
She also recommends using a powder or gel to groom your brows, rather than a pencil, because when applied they "look more like hair." But, whether you're going thicker or thinner, lighter or darker, the eye-brow trend du jour is micro pigmentation, otherwise known as eyebrow embroidery or 3D eyebrows (because, of course they were only one dimensional before).
It can fill in gaps or overplucked brows or just create a polished look that will last. "A normal tattoo is considered a block tattoo... it looks stencilled on [which essentially it is]... and they almost faded to a blue or a greeny-grey colour," she explains.
The pigments tones now though are richer and warmer and micro pigmentation, which she says is popular with all her clients, is anything but stencilled.
It involves a tiny cluster of needles that sits in a metal pin. "I draw the shape to the millimetre," Amy Jean says. "I make sure the client is perfectly happy... and then fill within the parameters of the outline with little hair strokes and the direction of them follows the natural direction of the hair."
So, now we know, we can all hit the red carpet (or just Red Room for a video until our skin's redness subsides) with our baby bum skin and bewitching brows. Natural beauty, of course, comes at a cost. Here's the low down on looking high brow:
Fraxel is between $1000 and $1500 but people often only need one treatment per year.
Pelleve is between $400 and $450 a treatment.
Micro current facials are around $100 - $150. Ingrid recommends having one a week for ten weeks and then maintenance treatments once every month or two.
LED is between $50 and $80 for a thirty minute treatment. "The more you go, the better the effect," Seaburn says.
Skin Cell Serums are anything from $100 to $300 a pop.
Micro pigmentation $795 and lasts 2 to 5 years.
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