Red-Carpet Beauty Secrets From 3 Insiders
Red-Carpet Beauty Secrets From 3 Insiders

Red-Carpet Beauty Secrets From 3 Insiders

Ever wondered how the A-list preps for the red carpet? Ahead of the Oscars this Sunday, we asked three beauty experts how to ensure your skin and make-up are the best they can be on a big night.
By Rebecca Hull

All products on this page have been selected by our editorial team, however we may make commission on some products.

Start With A Double Cleanse

“A good cleanse is always key, but especially before any events where you want your complexion to do the talking. Do a double cleanse and really massage the skin as you go to stimulate blood flow – your fingers and knuckles are all you need. The first cleanse will remove dirt and pollution, while the second will boost your circulation, which is essential for getting rid of any puffiness.” Andrea Pfeffer, facialist & Salon C. Stellar founder

Keep It Cold

“It’s an old-school tip, but I often ask my clients to fill a bowl with ice cubes and plunge their faces into it before I start their make-up. It really minimises bloat and puffiness. The cold temperatures shrink the blood vessels and in turn, minimise swelling. Immediately the skin looks tighter, more lifted and more luminous. Make-up adheres better and you get a natural glow coming through. Try it – you won’t look back.” Harold James, A-list make-up artist

Try Light Therapy

“I swear by SolaWave and use it every night, and always on my clients before events. I also like to apply a sheet mask – like Shiseido’s Vital Perfection Mask – before spending five minutes working the SolaWave tool over the skin where there will be some slip. You want to work it across your face in an upward and outward motion – it instantly boosts glow and helps the hydration from your mask penetrate your skin.” Naoko Scintu, A-list make-up artist

Use Sheet Masks

“I am often asked if they are worth it – yes, they really are. I’ve often used them on clients ahead of big events. They are full of intense serums and beneficial ingredients – plus, they are convenient to use when you need a quick fix. Seal them onto your skin then, once you peel them away, squeeze out and massage any remaining serum into your skin – your complexion will drink up the formula. If there is any excess after that, use it on your body. Massage it in with a gua sha tool or your hands and fingers. Make sure you cleanse before doing any of this and, again, use a firm pressure as you go. It is true that products – including sheet masks – absorb much better when your complexion is warm and stimulated.” – Andrea

Don’t Skip Exfoliation

“Exfoliation is the one step you can’t miss if you want your make-up to look good. I recommend exfoliating the night before an event. Your skin regenerates while you sleep, so you give your cells time to renew overnight, meaning fresher, healthier-looking skin come morning. I can always tell if someone has or hasn’t exfoliated – make-up glides on so smoothly and it layers nicely with zero pilling, plus the formulas last far longer as they can stick to your skin properly. If you can, follow up with a thick layer of moisturiser at night. The former is still more important, but the latter will boost your glow.” – Harold

Up The Hydration

“Skin prep is everything before a big event, but it’s not all external. I always get my clients to up the hydration ante, asking them to drink plenty of water to ensure their skin looks as plump as possible. I also give them H30 Hydration Sachets by Rejuvenated. These top up your electrolytes with natural vitamins and minerals to boost your skin’s health and glow.” – Naoko

Prep With Primer

“One of my go-to products is Armani’s Luminous Silk Hydrating Primer. It immediately enhances your skin, giving it some speedy glow. I like to apply it with my fingers, massaging it into the face and the neck, allowing the blood to come to the surface and the product to really sink in. Doing this helps increase circulation and, in turn, gives skin a smoother and more hydrated appearance.” – Naoko

Curl The Right Way

“There is a knack to using lash curlers. Try using one hand to hold up your eyelid, keeping it taut. Then look down – this way the eyelid won’t get snagged in the curler – and press down gently a few times before releasing. Practice makes perfect, but this technique always achieves an even lift. To curl your inner lashes, look outwards so you catch the smaller ones from the base of your lash line. The same goes for your outer lashes – look inwards, then curl, always holding the eyelid taut.” – Naoko

Apply Liquid Shadows

“I’m often asked how I do a quick smokey eye for red-carpet events. The answer is simple: use liquid shadows, especially ones with the large, doe-foot applicators. When you have products like this, you can’t go wrong. Just blend them out with your fingers. Liquids often dry down into powders too, so they aren’t messy and set fast.” – Naoko

Keep Skincare Mists Nearby

“Serums, masks and creams aside, I like to keep a hydrating face mist to hand when prepping skin for events. It helps maintain the fresh look of make-up, while leaving skin with a dewy, fresh finish. I like to mist one over the top of a mask to seal moisture further into the skin. There are so many great ones out there, all with different benefits for individual skin types. They work well misted on top of serums, too.” – Andrea

Know That Setting Spray Isn’t Essential

“I used to love setting spray and applied it after every layer of make-up, but nowadays I prefer to switch up the consistency of the base products I use to achieve the same effect. Skincare-foundation hybrids prime skin while providing coverage – in other words, you naturally get longevity from these formulas. Try serum-based foundations or skin tints that come with several hydrating benefits. All you really need is a tiny amount of setting powder or a few blotting papers. I love keeping the latter nearby for all my clients as it smooths make-up just enough, without taking anything away. Too much powder or setting spray can make skin look ashy. You want to see the skin and a little natural texture where possible.” – Harold

DISCLAIMER: We endeavour to always credit the correct original source of every image we use. If you think a credit may be incorrect, please contact us at

Fashion. Beauty. Culture. Life. Home
Delivered to your inbox, daily