Celebs spend half their lives in the makeup chair, and most will admit that’s where 50 percent of their gorgeousness comes from. We went behind the scenes to get tips from the pros who transform Hollywood’s a-list ladies. Use ’em yourself!
Click on more to see the beauty secrets for Reese Witherspoon, Natalie Portman, Jennifer Hudson, Anne Hathawy, Julia Stiles & Mary J. Blige. Some great tips!
One thing Molly R. Stern adores about Reese Witherspoon: “She’s not the neurotic, ‘Oh, I have a broken capillary!’ girl—she’s comfortable with herself and isn’t putting on makeup to look like somebody else,” says the CoverGirl celeb makeup artist. That realness was apparent the night Witherspoon, 31, won her Oscar. “Former winners kept coming up to congratulate her, and she’d get excited like a 13-year-old—she’s not jaded.” Reese, currently starring with Christina Ricci in the dramedy Penelope, bonded with Stern on a shoot 11 years ago. “Someone had zipped a large portion of my hip skin into a pair of leather pants,” says Witherspoon. “I didn’t even know Molly, and she immediately jumped to my rescue, started telling jokes, wiped my tears, rubbed my hands and made me look flawless.” Today they’re full-on friends. “Whenever my kids are sick, Reese is the first person I call, because she’s had hers longer, is a total know-it-all and likes to help people,” says Stern. Another perk: “She gives me lots of shoes; we wear the same size!”
Exactly what to do:
1. Put concealer wherever you’re dark or red.
2. Blend rosy cream blush on cheeks and top with shimmery powder (Stern used CoverGirl TruBlend Luminous Loose Powder, $7).
3. Smudge bronzy cream shadow over your eyelids, then dust taupe shadow on top of that and along your lower lash lines.
4. Dot gray liquid liner between the roots of your upper lashes—they’ll look extra full—then smudge it out with a tiny brush. Do a couple swipes of brown mascara.
5. Go with pinky-peach lipstick (like CoverGirl TruShine Lipcolor in Peach Shine, $6, both
Natalie Portman admits her hair hasn’t always looked this good. She famously had it shaved for V for Vendetta, and the growing-out period was killer. “I have naturally curly hair, and when it was really short, I looked like Little Orphan Annie,” she says. Mark Townsend, Matrix celebrity stylist, came to the rescue; he used a tiny flat iron all around for a glam pixie style. “He knows how to make my hair look soft, feminine and pretty,” raves Portman, 26, whose sixteenth-century period film, The Other Boleyn Girl, is out this December. Townsend’s other clients include Penelope Cruz and Cate Blanchett, but success hasn’t gone to his head—thanks, in part, to Portman’s Grandma Bernice. “She came with us to the Today show recently,” recalls Townsend, who did casually chic waves on Portman for the occasion. “Ten seconds before the segment, she asks Natalie, ‘What about your hair?’ Natalie says, ‘It’s done. You’ve been sitting there the whole time, Grandma. We spent two hours getting ready.’ And her grandmother just looks at me and says, ‘She’s going on television with hair like that?’”
Exactly what to do:
1. Work a blob of mousse through wet hair (Townsend used Matrix Vavoom Height of Glam Volumizing Foam, $14), then spritz roots with a volumizer (try Matrix Amplify Root Lifter, $15, matrix.com for salons).
2. Blow-dry hair with a small round brush to give the ends fullness and a bit of bend.
3. Wind two-inch sections from root to tip around a one-inch curling iron. Slide the iron out, then pin the curl up with a duckbill clip. Do your whole head. After 20 minutes take out the clips, flip your head over and brush it out. Flip your head back and you’re done.
Are the rumors true? Has Jennifer Hudson, 26, gone all diva since Dreamgirls? The straight answer from manicurist Deborah Lippmann: “Uh-uh. She’s just the same. Funny and genuine, and everything is ‘please’ and ‘thank you.’” (The actress did, however, name her pup Oscar.) Hudson was into manicures way before she got famous, but admits she likes the star treatment. As she says, “At some nail shops, they only care about making your nails pretty. Deborah takes the time to put lotion on and really grooms my nails.” The manicurist actually has a whole other career as a jazz singer. “I’m always playing music on set, and she would say things only people who are musically inclined would know,” says Hudson, whose album is due out this fall. “I’ve heard Deborah’s CD and she’s very talented.” Lippmann, who started off doing nails to support her struggling musician lifestyle, has performed at NBA games and at Donald Trump’s second wedding. Today she’s in demand for her luxe manicures and polishes. So which shade goes best with that Academy Award? “Oh, wow, anything!” says Hudson.
Exactly what to do:
Soften your cuticles (Lippmann used her own Cuticle Remover, $17), then push them back with an orange stick. Rub cuticle oil into nail beds and massage hand cream all over.
Swipe nails with a cotton ball moistened with polish remover (get the top edges too or polish will peel from there). File nails into a rounded square shape and do a base coat.
Apply two coats of dark red. On Hudson: Lippmann Nail Lacquer in Lady Is a Tramp ($15, both at lippmanncollection.com). Lay the brush a fraction of an inch from your cuticle; the polish will spread down without spilling over. Finish with top coat.
Anne Hathaway has been compared to elegant beauty Audrey Hepburn, but only her hairstylist knows her other side. “I like to maintain some degree of mystery with my boyfriend, so I refrain from burps and toots and curse words around him,” says Hathaway, 24, who plays Jane Austen in Becoming Jane. “But Ted gets all that. He actually complained that I didn’t burp during this shoot!” Ted Gibson, whose impressive roster of clients includes Angelina Jolie, has had a long road to success. “My dad was a Major and had strict ideas about what he wanted his son to be,” explains Gibson. “But when you want something so bad, nothing come hell or high water can stop you from getting it.” He worked his way up from appointment booker for Aveda, then opened his own salon in New York City three years ago with his partner, colorist Jason Backe. Now Gibson’s having fun with the A-list ladies. “He’s a fantastic dancer,” adds Hathaway, who calls Gibson “Teddy Bear.” “We did a little bit of swing today and he dipped me!”
Exactly what to do:
To smooth any frizzies and add shine, run a few drops of light serum over your damp hair. Gibson chose to use his styling hair sheets ($25).
Blow-dry, then wrap one-and-a-half-inch sections all the way around a curling iron with the clamp closed; it gives you a more natural wave.
Pull hair back into a high ponytail and secure with an elastic. Ruffle the tail up with your fingers, then pin your ends toward the elastic to form a bun.
Slide on a hairband, then do a once-over with a lightweight hairspray, like Gibson’s Beautiful Hold Hairspray ($32, both at sephora.com).
Julia Stiles may look effortlessly gorgeous, but she’s the first to admit her hair’s a little challenged. “It’s thick, straighter in front, then very, very wavy in back,” says the 26-year-old. “I’ve had people cut my layers way too short, so my hair ended up being really big and poufy.” Enter David Evangelista, owner of the eponymous salon in NYC’s swank Cornelia Day Resort and host of Fashion Team on the TV Guide Network. “Ninety-nine percent of women have had their hair butchered like a sirloin tip because the stylist never took the time to really look at the texture,” he says. “I always do soft and pretty—that never goes out of style.” Stiles, who currently costars in The Bourne Ultimatum, considers him an inspiration: “He’s very fearless in taking on opportunities; he’s not afraid to risk comfort and stability.” He’s also made her life a lot easier. “I don’t have the patience to blow out my hair,” she continues, “but the way he cuts it—with long layers—I can just wash and go!”
Exactly what to do:
Mix a dab of hair balm and hair serum in your palms (Evangelista applied Phytodefrisant Balm and Phytolisse Serum, $26 and $30, sephora.com); rub onto damp hair.
Run a wet/dry flat iron over three-quarter-inch sections to smooth (Evangelista used a T3 Wide Wet-or-Dry Flat Iron, $200, ulta.com). Then roll up hair in jumbo Velcro rollers. Do your whole head.
After 15 minutes remove rollers, finger-comb and spritz with shine spray.
“When I first met Kimberly, I had an emergency: I’d been perming my hair for years and it was damaged,” says Mary J. Blige, 36. “She told me to never do it again because you can’t get both a perm and color. Now it’s healthy and growing down my back—it’s not like Cher’s, but it’s full!” Kimble’s prescription: “I give her a hot oil or shea butter conditioning treatment every two weeks, and trim her ends every three months.” She adds, “I also tell her to wrap her head in a silk scarf before bed or to sleep on a silk pillowcase. Silk helps keep hair moist; cotton can absorb too much of your natural oils.” Kimble’s got roots in the biz; she grew up playing in her mom’s L.A. salon (both her grandmothers also did hair). Now she does her thing on Grammy-laden clients like Beyonce and Blige, who’s currently recording a new album. What makes her a true superstar? “Unlike a lot of other stylists who give you color and then your hair breaks off a couple of months later,” says Blige, “Kimberly really cares for it and makes it healthy. She saved my hair.”
Exactly what to do:
Apply leave-in conditioner (try Kimble Hair Care Systems Thermal Leave-In Conditioner, $13). If your texture is coarse, run a flat iron through to smooth.
Grab a section, spritz with hairspray (try Kimble Hair Care Systems Shape and Hold Spritz, $23, both at kimblehaircare.com) and wrap it around a two-inch curling iron. Pin up the curls, allow them to cool, then let your hair down.
Brush through, then scrunch away for soft, noncrunchy volume.