It's a big year for décolletage, and that means — in this season of shoulder-baring, deep-V-plunging and midsection-revealing cut-out gowns — that celebrities and Academy Award nominees preparing to walk the red carpet on Oscar Sunday (and be scrutinized by million of viewers worldwide) aren't simply booking appointments with A-list makeup artists, dermatologists and spas in pursuit of an above-the-neck, flawless complexion. This season celebrities, especially ones wearing revealing looks, and their beauty teams likely will double-check to make sure a star appears camera-ready from head to toe.
From what we've seen so far, body-baring looks will be a trend on the red carpet and at the after-parties. This awards season, we've seen many off-the-shoulder looks, including Viola Davis wearing Zac Posen at the Screen Actors Guild Awards, as well as Lady Gaga in Atelier Versace and Gina Rodriguez in Zac Posen at the Golden Globes. The midsection-revealing brigade included Brie Larson in Calvin Klein Collection and Kate Hudson in Michael Kors Collection at the Golden Globes, as well as Amber Valletta in Giuseppe Zanotti Design at the People's Choice Awards and Taylor Swift in Atelier Versace at the Grammys.
Actresses who took the deep, deep plunge included Jaimie Alexander wearing Genny, Kirsten Dunst wearing Valentino, Jenna Dewan Tatum wearing Zuhair Murad, Zendaya wearing Marchesa and Olivia Wilde wearing Michael Kors at the Golden Globes, as well as Kerry Washington wearing a Victoria Beckham gown at the NAACP Awards and Eva Longoria in Julien Macdonald at the SAG Awards.
However, many of these standout looks might have taken hours, if not, days, of skin preparation to tone, in some cases, tighten, and possibly add a fresh glow to a star's complexion.
"We are definitely seeing an uptick in treating the body. Now Oscar-goers are concerned with tightness of skin and having even skin tone on their body, especially their backs and arms," says Olga Lorencin, founder of Kinara Skin Care Clinic & Spa, known for its Red Carpet Facial. "We have seen, in the last couple of years, an interest in body treatments with alpha hydroxy acids, LED lights, infrared blankets … concerns about the entire body being addressed just like the skin on their face. Most of our clients' faces are absolutely glowing, well-treated and preserved — now they have moved on to the body. No matter how good your face looks, if your arms and décolletage show age spots, sun damage and wrinkles, we feel like the job is incomplete."
To get you camera-ready for your next red carpet moment, we share skin-care products and three major beauty steps (tighten, tone and glow) that can be used on various skin tones to help you prepare for maximal exposure, beautifully.
Get your skin tightened
"Red carpet season is so much about the body because of the fashions," says Jamie Sherrill of Beauty Park Medical Spa in Santa Monica. "Celebs start prepping two to three months out. This includes Ulthera skin-tightening treatments for toned arms and to minimize bra strap fat … using the Clearlift laser on [décolletage] for even pigmentation ... Thermage [ultrasound skin tightening] for all-over body skin tightening and more."
Even out your skin tone
"I like to look at the color of the dress and then discuss if the color would benefit from a slight bronzing," says A-list makeup artist Pati Dubroff, who thinks of tanning as "skin finishing." "It's a much more elegant way to approach it."
She says a pro skin finisher is called in ideally two days before or the morning of the day before a red carpet event. Sometimes Dubroff does the skin finishing herself and favors Vita Liberata products including Body Blur. "I avoid using tinted lotions the day of the event because the last thing one wants is getting any color on the dress," says Dubroff. "But I will absolutely use a product that adds sheen and evens out skin. This is ideal for the tops of the shoulders, clavicle and tops of arms, down the back. I think this is the prettiest way to give contour, by highlighting the high bones."
Get a bonus glow
"Sometimes celebrities don't know what dress they're wearing on the red carpet until the very last minute," says St. Tropez brand ambassador Sophie Evans. "We created St. Tropez Tanning Essentials One Night Only Wash Off Face & Body Lotion so you can get an instant, flawless glow that's nontransferable," and the product can be used on different skin tones. Evans uses an applicator mitt to apply the lotion in the light/medium shade for a base glow and to even out skin tone, sometimes diluting with moisturizer for subtlety.
"Extra contours and definition are then added using the medium/dark shade," says Evans.
Evan says if a celebrity's stomach is showing, she can shade a semicircle along the sides of the torso and use a fine makeup brush to enhance abdominal definition.
"But please note abdominal definition only works if your client has natural ab definition," she says. "Otherwise it can look like fake lines."