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Oscars Red Carpet Beauty Prep

BeyonceIn less than 24 hours, everyone will be arguing about the Academy Awards - whose dress is best and who should sack their stylist.

But beneath the glamour is where things really get interesting. Those celestial bodies are the product of power-bleach, armpit botox, stiletto foot surgeries, cleavage facials, antianxiety drugs and last-minute liposuction.

And when the world's most beautiful people are chatting about who designed their fabulous gowns, bags, jewellery and shoes, don't expect them to thank the real people behind their look: the personal trainers, cosmetic surgeons, podiatrists, facialists, dermatologists and dentists who got them there. 

Nip-Tuck

The months before the Oscars are the busiest in the cosmetic surgeon's diary. Dr Renato Calabria, a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon, pioneered the new One Stitch Facelift, which lifts loose facial skin and anchors it via one stitch under the hairline on each side of the face.

"The effect is more subtle than a full facelift and popular among clients in their late 30s," Dr Calabria says.

Actresses who've hit 40 but don't want to look it are turning to plastic surgeon Dr Richard Ellenbogen. He uses the Volumetric Face Lift to make the face look young again by treating it like a deflated balloon. Taking fat via a needle from a patient's abdomen, he inserts it under the eyes, in the cheeks or between the nose and mouth to sculpt full features.

Manhattan-based cosmetic surgeon Dr Cameron Rokhsar says the hottest pre-Oscars skin filler this year is Radiesse.

"Used for facial sculpting, it smoothes laugh lines and creates higher cheekbones and a more prominent chin," he says. "The results last for up to a year."

Glow

The most crowded waiting room pre-Oscars is at the Beverly Hills clinic of celebrity skin specialist Sonya Dakar - where stars line up for her signature £1,000 facial.

Madonna is said to have headed there for a treatment last year which includes a diamond scrub (using diamond particles to exfoliate the skin), an exfoliating skin peel, green tea face mask and red-and-blue UV light therapy to prevent acne.

Hollywood stars like Drew Barrymore and Gwyneth Paltrow also swear by the extravagant procedure. In the weeks before the Oscars, celebrities come every day, even arriving at 10am on Oscars morning.

"They have to fly out of here, as it takes four or five hours to prepare, but I make a beautiful canvas for the make-up artist so they can create a beautiful picture."

If a celebrity suffers an attack of spots the night before, Sonya is ready. "I use the blue light, get rid of the inflammation, put medication on and they're ready," she explains. "Next day, the skin looks like it never had a breakout."

Last-Minute Lipo

On the eve of a recent Oscars, one TV star decided she was less than thrilled with her designer gown - or rather the way she looked in it.

It seems there was a tiny bump of fat which stuck out over the back of her dress. Rather than change her outfit, she dialled Manhattan dermatologist Dr Patricia Wexler, who says "it was easier to do a little liposuction than to fix the dress."

With liposuction treatment often taking only a day, Dr Wexler admits this is not uncommon: "I have had designers demanding liposuction for an actress who didn't look as good in their gown as they wanted her to.

"One designer rang ten days before the Oscars complaining that it was impossible to change the dress. It was a really low-back dress and the star's waistline wasn't smooth enough. The dress required this long, elongated waist.

"I did the lipo and by Oscar night she looked great."

Hair

Stylists regularly advise celebrities to grow their hair longer before the Oscars. John Frieda stylist Demetrius Pombo is doing Helen Mirren's hair this year.

"I'm planning a Twenties or Forties look, a single wave with a bit more movement, so I asked her to let her hair grow." Stars such as Jennifer Aniston and Gwyneth Paltrow often opt for temporary extensions that can be removed quickly.

There are other tricks: Reese Witherspoon once had some Oscar gold sprayed into her hair. Top LA stylist Mark Townsend used Vavoom Gold Heat, a dry oil spray containing real gold. That way, Reese really sparkled on TV.

Exercise

Celebrity trainer David Kirsch is known in Hollywood circles as "the master of the a**" for his work-out regime.

David says: "If their schedule allows, they'll come in a month beforehand, but on average it's 2-4 weeks before the big night."

He consults with his client about the gown they're wearing and works from there. "I want to make sure the exposed area is at its best, bearing in mind the camera will add a little weight. There can be no jiggle."

David says that, with the popularity of Spanx and other "magic pants," the red carpet has been transformed.

"Nowadays, the areas that remain exposed are the arms and shoulders, back and lower back. I work on the upper back with a lot of my clients."

David also advises on their diets. "I provide my clients with "Thermo Bubbles" - natural appetite suppressants and fat burners."

He worked with Liv Tyler to get her ready for last year's Oscars and says she came in for twice-daily workouts.

He adds: "I have just finished an intense three weeks of training with Ellen Barkin; we focused on her arms, legs and lower back. She is going to blow everyone away."

Another popular pre-Oscars trick is the Suddenly Slimmer body wrap. Stars are wrapped in bandages soaked in a special mineral solution (said to remove toxins) and then jump on an exercise machine for one hour. The inches are guaranteed not to come back unless they gain weight.

Diet

Helen Mirren confessed before one Oscars ceremony that she'd been "dieting for a month" to get into her dress. And she is not alone. For most actresses, this weekend is going to be especially nerve-racking.

Says one insider: "With the Hollywood writers' strike paralysing productions, everyone took holidays and gained some weight; you have a lot of panicking actresses right now.

"Most of the women in LA have been on the Master Cleanse (that's lemonade with cayenne pepper and maple syrup, a saltwater drink and laxative tea) all week."

A top trainer admits: "One Oscar presenter spent three weeks eating meal replacement shakes for breakfast and dinner with a small salad in between."

Kym Douglas and Cindy Pearlman, authors of the Hollywood Black Book Of Diet Secrets, say that celebrities such as Heidi Klum eat salads spritzed with vinegar to kill their appetite before heading onto the red carpet, and sniff grapefruit essence to stop sugar cravings.

Kym says: "I know of one actress who gained a lot of weight with twins and when she ordered an organic baby food delivery service she ordered it for three. She ate the extra serving of baby food herself and got the weight off fast."

Eyelashes

While last year everyone clamoured for the best "eyebrow specialist," this year it's all about having your own "eyelash expert." Jennifer Lopez began the trend by glueing on red fox-fur lashes at a recent Oscars.

This year, LA make-up artist Valerie Sarnelle has created thick and furry mink and squirrel fur false eyelashes, in blacks, browns and blondes.

"They look like butterflies, but they're not overdone," said Sarnelle. "It's the ultimate accessory."

Madonna recently sported custom fake eyelashes made from mink fur and diamonds. A single pair of mink eyelashes costs £5,000 and is good for only five to seven wearings.

Don't Sweat It

Botox isn't just used forforeheads any more. It also prevents sweat stains around armpits. About eight to 10 injections in the area can do the trick.

"When you're on the red carpet," says Beverly Hills surgeon Dr Nicolas Nicolev, "and perhaps feeling nervous, the last thing-you want is to get perspiration on your gown."

The Botox lasts for up to a year-and each treatment costs £500. "But when you're wearing a £10,000 gown it's worth it to stay dry, plus it saves on the cost of deodorant and dry cleaning,' said Dr Jessica Wu, a dermatologist who treats celebrities.

Feet

Ever wondered how celebrities stand all night on the red carpet in 4in designer heels? They get stiletto foot surgery!

Podiatric surgeon Dr Suzanne Levine is known as the queen of Hollywood's feet. She says: "Celebrities come in about a month in advance for the procedure on the bottom of the feet. It's a way of creating internal padding - like pillows for your feet. It lasts up to nine months."

Dr Levine also does a lot of "foot facials." This involves salt scrubs, a foot "mask" peel and massage, and even whitening the toenails. And celebrities with unsightly bunions needn't fear.

"I inject an anti-inflammatory the day before to get swelling and redness down," Dr Levine says. "You don't want that on show when the cameras are focusing on your Jimmy Choos."

She's had some odd pre-Oscars requests: "One actress wanted liposuction on her big toe. I told her no, it was ridiculous."

With your feet taken care of, it's time for a professional polish. The La Prairie Spa in the Beverly Hills Hotel has a popular but pricey £110 pedicure involving reflexology and massage. This works out to £11 per toe.

Smile

[oscar-party-07-2007-02-26.jpg]To prepare for their Oscar night close-ups, stars turn to cosmetic dentists for power bleaching. During the one-hour procedure, whitening gel is applied to teeth before the patient sits in front of a light that promotes absorption.

Hollywood dentist Kevin Sands says: "I've done hundreds of one-hour whitenings this week. I can take off a whole year of coffee stains. People have even asked me to put diamonds in their teeth.

And it was not for a rap star - in this town everyone wants a little extra bling. An actress wanted diamonds in the centre of her teeth and even had them chauffeured over from LA jeweller Harry Winston."

Cleavage Close-ups

Cosmetic dermatologist Dr Patricia Wexler uses Botox to tighten the skin on the breasts and create a younger-looking cleavage.

She even applies Botox under the breasts to give a sagging cleavage a much-needed lift.

Actress Isla Fisher was rumoured to have had a bust boost. Dr Wexler says: "It works the same way as on the face - it paralyses the muscles, pulling your breasts down and therefore pulling them back up!"

After that, celebrities head over to the Sonya Dakar Skin Clinic to have their cleavage pampered, a must-have for any actress in a low-cut dress.

Drugs

If all else fails, medicate. No matter how good you look, the pressure can be overwhelming. Many stars arrive on the red carpet armed with a pharmacy of prescription drugs stuffed in pockets and evening bags to ease anxiety.

Says one celebrity physician: "The Oscars seem to bring out great anxiety in people. They know they're going to be in the limelight and the fact that so many people will be watching them makes them more nervous."

The drugs Inderal or Atenolol are popular as they "slow down your heart so, when you're up there on stage, you don't get palpitations and become sweaty."

Other anti-anxiety drugs such as Xanax and Ativan "help people who stutter or get a panic attack. They will take one pill or half a pill before walking down the red carpet so their legs don't get shaky."

A date with Oscar costs the average celebrity upwards of £7,000, not to mention indignities such as swelling, bruising, soreness and plenty of hunger pangs. All for those few brief moments on the world's most famous red carpet runway.

2008 OSCAR PRE-PARTY

Jada Pinkett in Nina Ricci, Will Smith, Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes in Alexander McQueen, 2008 Oscar Pre-Parties
Jada Pinkett, Will Smith,
Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes (in Alexander McQueen) helped honor pal Jada Pinkett (in Nina Ricci) at the first ever Essence Black Women in Hollywood luncheon, held at the Beverly Hills Hotel. But it was Will Smith—Pinkett's proud husband of 10 years—who got to present his leading lady with her award. "It's my deepest honor and pleasure to be your husband, to raise children with you, to try to change the world with you and to stay dedicated and focused with you so that we can leave something in this world," an emotional Smith told his wife from the podium. Jurnee Smollet, Susan Depasse and Ruby Dee were also singled out during the afternoon.

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