Award Season 2021: How Celebrities Are Preparing Their Skin


In pre-pandemic times, the process of getting ready for a night out (remember those?) always involved some combination of grooming rituals. Skincare especially was of utmost importance—you can’t achieve a flawless face without adequately prepping your canvas. Few people know this better than celebrities, or rather their glam teams, who spend hours (if not days and weeks) getting their clients ready to walk the red carpet. Although we’re still dealing with various levels of quarantine and social distancing, and despite earlier and erratic delays, the 2021 award season is finally underway. So what exactly are the stars doing to whip their skin back into shape for the red carpet?

Says Dr. Dara Liotta, a highly sought-after board-certified plastic surgeon in New York, “In general, [these treatments] tend to be the ones that make celebrities look the most perfect and ‘airbrushed’ on HD cameras.” Among her office’s available procedures, there are three in particular that she performs most often on her celebrity clientele (who shall remain nameless) in order to get ready for award season.


Fraxis Pro Laser

This non-ablative laser (meaning the laser generates heat below the skin to induce a controlled injury to your dermis without harming the skin’s surface) is popular for celebrities and skincare aficionados alike for its anti-aging and skin-perfecting benefits. Dr. Liotta explains that the treatment combines fractional CO2 laser and radiofrequency microneedling to improve the look of scars, wrinkles, and even stretch marks, in addition to improving overall skin tone and texture. The combination treatment is able to reach all layers of the skin for a more powerful result, and it encourages the formation of new collagen (which gives your skin that bouncy, youthful look).

Says Dr. Liotta, “This laser can be used to treat tough areas like the under-eyes, the area around the mouth, full face, and even the neck and chest to make celebrities look their best in even the most plunging necklines.” When you’re facing a wall of paparazzi, it makes sense that you’d want every nook and cranny of your skin to look even and radiant.

If you’re interested in the treatment, whether or not you’re a celebrity, it’s best to budget 3-5 days of downtime afterwards. You’ll see some initial redness and possible flaking or peeling during your recovery time, but you won’t feel any other discomfort (aside from the needles and slight heat of the treatment, but don’t worry: you’ll be numbed beforehand).

You’ll spend about an hour in your dermatologist or plastic surgeon’s chair, which is fairly quick as far as cosmetic treatments go. The cost for a full face, under eye, and neck, however, is a little pricer than a vial or two of Botox—it will run you $3,500 at Dr. Liotta’s practice. Remember—this is your face, so you don’t want to skimp on price.



Dr. Liotta’s most signature treatment is her trademarked “LitLift” which she considers to be less of an anti-aging treatment and more of an overall enhancement. She often sees patients requesting the combination of procedures prior to big events like weddings, galas, and of course red carpets. “The LitLift uses a customized combination of Botox and various hyaluronic acid fillers designed to give you a kind of semi-permanent contour makeup or strobing makeup, that actually makes the light hit you in a more flattering way, highlighting features, and minimizing unflattering shadows,” she says.

If you’re a fan of applying a dewy highlighter (which can enhance your cheekbones and help your skin look impossibly glowy) this is right up your alley. Dr. Liotta addresses six areas for this treatment—the same six you would focus on with your highlighting makeup.

First is Botox to smooth your forehead (which temporarily immobilize the muscles and lessens the appearance of those fine lines), and targeted Botox in your corrugator muscles (which you activate when you furrow your brow) and lateral depressor (which pulls down the arch and outer corner of the brow and gives you crow’s feet when you smile). Relaxing the former with Botox lets the inner and middle portion of the brow float upward, and relaxing the latter allows the arch to do the same, leaving you with a more wide-eyed effect. Think of it as a brow lift with zero surgery.

Next up is hyaluronic acid filler—first a liquid rhinoplasty to help your nose appear straighter and more refined. Then injections along your cheekbones to define and near the tear trough to remove any shadow under your eye. Then a touch of filler for your lips and to define your Cupid’s bow, which gives your lips a nice pouty shape. And finally Botox and filler to accentuate your chin and bring it forward, which will catch the light and create more of a shadow along the lower lip.

All in all, the LitLift takes Dr. Liotta an hour to perform, with little to no downtime. The price depends on how many vials of filler and Botox are required, but she says it can range between $5,000 and $10,000. And depending on your metabolism (and how much of each injectable you received) the results will last for 3-5 months—aka long after the red carpet is over.


Couture Lips

While lip filler is still one of the most highly requested cosmetic procedures, Dr. Liotta goes one step further for her celebrity clientele with a non-surgical lip treatment she calls “Couture Lips.”

“The lips are actually a complicated area of the face,” she says. “When you really analyze the lips, they’re composed of a number of different parts—the ‘philtral columns’ (the lines from the peak of the Cupid’s bow up toward the nose), the Cupid’s bow, the ‘vermillion border’ (where you’d put lip liner), and the body of the lip itself.” She explains that in order to achieve a truly natural-looking lip enhancement, all of these factors need to be considered during augmentation.

Dr. Liotta designs a custom plan for her patients, using between one and three types of filler and possibly Botox (for a lip flip procedure) to enhance volume and refine the shape. A bit more involved than just the typical single type of lip filler, but as she says, “Using different types of filler definitely costs more, but for real HD cameras, it’s worth it.”

From initial assessment to the final prick of the needle, the couture lip treatment takes about 45 minutes, and the results will last roughly a year (depending on the amount and type of filler used). The cost is between $2,500 and $3,000 at Dr. Liotta’s practice, but it’s a small price to pay in order to achieve, in her words, “blissful perfection.”


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