Carola Long: The red carpet is a bit like Crufts with extra jewellery

Beauty Queen

Saturday 21 February 2009 01:00

Before reporting from the Bafta red carpet I promised my friends text updates on how the stars looked, and it’s a sign of the times that they were more interested in their hair, make-up and youthfulness than the dresses. It’s not that we have awards-frock fatigue, just that grooming increasingly comes under the spotlight too, with glossiness of mane and health of nails all judged. It’s a bit like Crufts with extra jewellery.

Many of the celebrities I scrutinised had a preternatural glossiness that comes only from putting the work in. And for some, that means work of the non-surgical-procedure variety. Dr Nick Lowe, consultant dermatologist at the Cranley Clinic in London (, says that non-invasive work is “common” among celebrities over the age of 30 preparing for awards ceremonies. He cites Botox injections to reduce facial lines and lift the skin as the most popular treatment, followed by Botox on the upper lip, forehead and underarms to prevent sweating, fillers to plump lips or cheeks, a gentle Fraxel laser to brighten skin and reduce pore size, and microdermabrasion to increase radiance. If a spot rears its ugly head, an injection of diluted cortisone administered by a dermatologist can rapidly reduce it.

Next, said celebrity might head to a spa for a glycolic peel, or four, on upper arms and décolletage to ensure skin looks even-toned, followed by a deep-cleansing facial up to a week before an event. And all this before hair and make-up.

Dr Lowe says that it’s crucial to be relaxed, as stress can aggravate skin, so maybe those stars should skip the Botox and opt for some of the calming red-carpet packages currently available.

There is The Golden Glow package at the Spa at Bluebird or the Live Like A Star treatment, which features a cut and blow-dry at Mathew Alexander salon, an Elemis massage and bottle of vintage Moët at Mews of Mayfair, all for a very reasonable £150 (0870 410 4210). Then the A-list winners could use the time and equilibrium they gain to write a decent acceptance speech.

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