Oscar Winner Beauty Tricks That Really Work

Longing to get that Hollywood glow, those pouty lips, or smoky eyes? Four top celebrity makeup artists reveal their secrets.

By Colette Bouchez
WebMD Weight Loss Clinic - Feature

Reviewed By Michael Smith, MD

So you're not in Hollywood, prancing down Oscar's red carpet and clutching at a golden statue. That doesn't mean you can't look the part. As gilded and glamorous as these cinema lilies are, beauty experts say getting that red carpet glow is not all that difficult -- if you know the right products to try.

"It's all about the products -- it's knowing what to use and how to use it -- that's what makes Hollywood glamour," says legendary celebrity makeup artist Adrien Arpel, who now conducts the "world's largest beauty classroom" seen regularly on the Home Shopping Network and HSN.com.

The latest buzz on the lips of Hollywood's most famous glamour dolls says Arpel is primers -- as in skin primers. Mostly silicone-based, she says these "under-makeup makeups" can turn skin that's been up all night into a face that radiates like the morning sun.

"It's like spackle for the face. These products cover everything by putting a thin layer of nontoxic silicone between your skin and the makeup. It creates the look of a totally flawless complexion," says Arpel who was so impressed by the technology she expanded her own Signature Club A makeup line to include nontoxic silicone foundation and blush.

Another bonus: Experts say that with silicone primers you can wave "ba bye" to enlarged pores, acne scars, and even fine lines and wrinkles -- if only for the moment! Primer use is reportedly so popular on Oscar night, one makeup artist (who dolls up such famous faces we can't even mention her name!) whispers that most of the gorgeous gals you'll see waltzing down the red carpet this year would look "just dreadful" without at least one coat of primer under it all.

Get the J-Lo Glow

Perhaps, however, nothing says Oscar glamour more than the increasingly popular Hollywood "glow" -- that dewyluminescence made famous by stars such as J-Lo, Demi, Cameron, Julia, Drew, Charlize, and countless others. The good news is you don't need a 5-carat pink diamond to get the sparkle. What can do the trick? Products called "skin illuminators," say experts. These are pearlized shimmer creams that reflect light onto the skin.

"These products were a great breakthrough in makeup technology because by reflecting the light they make the skin look smoother and younger," says New York City celebrity makeup artist Laura Geller, who regularly offers beauty tips and products on electronic retailer QVC. When making up famous faces, Geller says she starts with a primer, then adds a cream or lotion with a small amount of pearl essence, which she says she blends over the entire face or, better still, mixes into foundation or even moisturizer. The result, she says, is the fresh-faced look frequently seen on the younger stars. However, she cautions that skin illuminators should not be confused with "sparkle powder" -- products with large chunks of metallic that should never be used on the whole face.

"Sparkle goes only on the high points of the face -- the cheekbone and under the brow," says Geller. And, she says, stay away from sparkle if you have large pores or wrinkles -- it can age the face faster than a prune in the California sun.

If you're looking for a slightly lower wattage and a more sophisticated glow -- a la Diane Keaton or Sharon Stone -- Arpel says adapt your look by using a buttery cream foundation that stays moist on the skin.

"Regardless of whose product you use, just read the label. If it says 'metallic' avoid it; if it says the foundation will dry on the skin, it won't help you. It has to say cream or souffle on the label and it has to have a buttery cream consistency that stays moist in order to get that soft glow going," says Arpel.

Do It on the Cheap

Although some of these products are reasonably priced, others can set you back mega bucks. To do it all on the cheap, beauty expert and author Diane Irons says skip the cosmetic counter altogether and head straight for the drugstore aisle selling Pepto Bismol. Yes, you read right. The diarrhea treatment can also help you get the glow going.

"It contains salicylic acid, and if you put a coating on your face, let it set for a few minutes, then wash it off, and your skin will have a mega-glow that shines through even after you put on your makeup," says Irons, whose most recent book is, The World's Best Anti-Aging Secrets.

And, indeed, salicylic acid does net you a nifty face peel -- washing away dead skin cells and keeping your complexion from looking cloudy and old before its time. But does Pepto Bismol work as well as the skin care products containing salicylic acid? According to Irons, it does.