Hollywood’s squeaky clean image has been tarnished of late, and rightly so. But the squeaky clean red carpet looks are as pristine as ever, and we’re not just talking about the wardrobe department.
Strutting into the limelight with nary a whisker out of place, it’s easy to think celebrities wake up looking Photoshopped. They don’t. Behind every red carpet Blue Steel, there’s a small army of hairstylists, tanning experts and other grooms-men and women whose job it is to make their charges look like leading men.
Of course, most of us don’t have access to a team of barbers, stylists and professional arse wipers, but the most successful moves don’t require an expert on speed dial. You just need their advice. So we made the call for you, enlisting the A-list’s top grooming experts to reveal their best tips. Notebooks – not cheque books – at the ready.
Let’s start from the top down. After all, while a haircut can be the crowning glory of a look, one wrong hair can mean a royal muck-up.
Consider, then, Errol Douglas to be your kingmaker. Not only has the British-Guyanese stylist earned an MBE for follicular services to the realm, he’s also chopped the locks of Brad Pitt, Lenny Kravitz and Forest Whitaker.
The first rule of chop club: always enlist “a hairstyle that suits your head or face shape,” says Douglas. “For example, if you’re more oval or rounded, avoid anything too short. The opposite rule applies if you have a square face.”
Take the aforementioned Mr Pitt. With an angular, oblong-shaped head (and a sickeningly handsome one at that), the War Machine star does well to heed Douglas’s advice, keeping his cut cropped and tight to frame what his momma gave him.
Don’t trust any old barber with your mop, either. “The best advice I ever received was from John Freida,” says Douglas. “Before you commit to something big, like a new style, trial the stylist with a simple trim to see how they handle your hair.”
Hopefully, it’ll be the start of a beautiful friendship.
The Face Maker
When there are 600 photographers blinding you on the red carpet, it pays to make sure your face looks its best. Forget Hollywood plastic surgeons. You should start by looking after your peepers, says Sara Clark, a grooming expert that’s served the likes of Dominic Cooper, Lewis Hamilton and Christian Slater.
“Pop in a couple of drops of Optrex Dazzling Blue Eyedrops. This product counteracts redness and leaves your eyes sparkling for any big event,” says Clark. And if you don’t have a wedding in the diary, it’ll also work on a Monday morning when evidence of the weekend is still written on your face.
If that isn’t enough to remedy your Saturday night fever, Clark recommends Kiehl’s Facial Fuel Scrub for some daily upkeep. This morning wash contains lashings of Vitamin E via natural apricot kernel oil – an important nutrient to rehydrate the skin and increase its natural radiance. In other words, you’re ready for your close-up.
Shocking Hollywood revelation: men wear make-up. Always on film and often in glossy magazine photoshoots, too. Clark has worked with the likes of Tom Hiddleston and Simon Pegg before they go in front of the camera and she believes some subtle cosmetic camo can work for any man.
Before you recoil in horror – or, more likely, hit that big X in the corner of your browser – hear her out. A minimal amount can be a man’s best friend.
“In the winter months, skin has a tendency to look a little a dull,” says Clark. “So, if you do want a natural glow, something like Tom Ford’s Bronzing Gel is ideal. It’s lightweight, easy-to-apply, and you only need a tiny amount.”
Eye bags are another common problem, and even regular Californian sunshine can’t prevent those. Take cover, Clark says. “A lightweight and long-lasting concealer can be applied to the eyes, and YSL’s Touche Eclat is great for the morning after. It won’t fix your hangover, but it will make you look fresher.”
Power-brows are a thing. So much so, that Leonardo DiCaprio reportedly once flew a certain someone 7,500 miles to prepare his slugs ahead of the Oscars.
Meet Sharon Lee Hamilton: said eyebrow lady, master motherplucker and preener to the Kardashian clan as well as DiCaprio. She says guys shouldn’t be afraid to shape their brows, but nor should they be cavalier about it.
“Most men should only tweeze above and between the brows. Go lower, and you risk looking overdone,” says Hamilton. “A light slick of clear hair product will help hold them in place, and add minimal gloss. Then, brush them over and never trim with scissors.”
Hamilton also knows the styles to avoid. “The definitive arch – most often created by overplucking – is the worst,” she says. “Waxing can look unnatural, too. So simply maintain your bulk and you’ll have tidy but bold brows like Liam Hemsworth.” Who, along with Zac Efron, is seen as a major power-brow player by Hamilton’s team.
Science says our scent is just as important as our outfit when it comes to making an impression, but you don’t have to tell Roja Dove that. The master nose behind Roja Parfums brews bespoke fragrances for exceptional clients. And by exceptional, we mean loaded.
You don’t need your name on the bottle to find a signature scent though. “Before heading out to the shops, do some research online,” says Dove. “Descriptions for each fragrance are important as they tell you which ingredients dominate, and which ones you may like.”
Knowing your stuff will also help you avoid the glitzy marketing spiel. “Most people don’t really smell perfumes, we smell marketing – and that’s why so many are unfaithful to fragrances. You’re buying into something you don’t necessarily want.”
To be sure, leave a sample on your skin for at least an hour before you hand over your money. Smell it again after you’ve walked around and naturally perspired a little. Only then will you know if you’ve found your star.
The hair on your head isn’t the only kind that needs a little topiary. Yes, your nether regions deserve some TLC, but in this instance, we mean the stuff on your face.
Jamie Stevens, an award-winning stylist that’s worked on A-listers like Colin Farrell, knows how to make your fuzz fine. “Always trim facial hair regularly, and ensure edges stay sharp.” To do this, shave halfway down your cheeks and the entirety of your neck area with a good quality razor. That’ll keep your lines on point.
“If you prefer the more natural look though, invest in a pro clipper,” says Stevens. “This will keep your beard in check without losing length or appearing overly preened.”
Add to a twice-daily moisturising routine, and Stevens insists that even the roughest beard will be red carpet ready.
The Man With A Tan
Believe it or not, spray tans aren’t confined to wood stained reality TV stars. Far more natural versions can be found if you know where to look for them and two men who do are menswear’s own Oliver Cheshire and David Gandy.
Both visit tanning expert James Harknett, who says that when it’s done well, the effects of a tan go way beyond just looking bronzed. “It can improve the skin’s appearance by reducing the giveaway redness of spots, make a patchy beard look fuller, and even create the illusion of a more defined body,” he says.
All of which we thoroughly approve of. Just realise that you’ll need more than a simple mitt-and-go for an Adonis finish. “One of the biggest problems guys have when tanning at home is the product getting caught in their beards,” says Harknett.
“This doesn’t happen with a professional spray tan because the mist is fine enough to penetrate the hair. So the option is either to look for a spray-application tan to replicate that, or use a beard brush to remove any residue.”
Harknett also recommends deep exfoliation prior to a tan, with focus given to dry areas like wrists and knees, as well as daily moisturising to maintain your beach bod glow. Ignore this, and the resulting tell-tale patches will take you on a one-way train to Geordie Shore.