updated 26 Feb 2011, 17:42
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Fri, Feb 25, 2011
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Caviar facials help starlets face Oscars red carpet
by Paula Bustamante

HOLLYWOOD - A caviar facial? An "anti-gravity" massage? Or how about a simple Total Body Hydra-Dermabrasion Resurfacing? Welcome to the weird - and expensive - world of pre-Oscars beauty spas.

As Tinsel Town gears up for Sunday's Academy Awards, A-listers, movie moguls and even mere mortals are willing to pay top dollar for aesthetic perfection before stepping into the red carpet spotlight.

Starlets can splash out up to US$7,000 (S$8,977) for a stylist to prepare them for the big night, when the world's cameras will focus on Hollywood for the climax of the movie industry's annual awards season.

"I cannot reveal any names of guests, celebrity or otherwise, having treatments done," said Derek Hofmann of The Spa at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills.

"But I can tell you that very many of the nominees for all of the award ceremonies are having these treatments performed in order to look their best for the celebrations."

His spa offers, among other things, the Kerstin Florian Caviar Facial, charging US$295 for a 90-minute "luxurious treatment (that) will leave your skin looking its best ever."

"Loaded with protein-rich caviar and powerful antioxidants, this facial will have you ready to walk the red carpet, because the results are immediante, leaving the skin looking healthy and luminescent," says the spa's blurb.

The "anti-gravity lift" is a face and neck massage costing US$225 for an hour, although a minimum of five sessions are recommended for best effect, or why not 10 for only US$2,100?

"This non-invasive treatment re-educates facial muscles to yield a firmer, more contoured and youthful appearance. These structural enhancements become even more pronounced after a series of treatments," it says.

Down the road at the Ole Henriksen Spa on Sunset Boulevard - whose regulars include Katy Perry, Mark Ruffalo and Mark Wahlberg - spokeswoman Kira Kohrherr suggests its Ultimate Total Body Hydra-Dermabrasion Resurfacing as just the thing before heading for the limousine to the Kodak Theater.

"This state of the art treatment is for anyone who wants an in-depth facial over their entire body, utilizing professional grade, high-efficacy serums and LED light therapy," says the spa, whose first celebrity client in 1975 was Barbra Streisand.

"Face, neck, decollete, arms, elbows, thighs, knees and back are renewed, hydrated and refined," it adds of the 110-minute treatment, which costs US$395.

The spa will not confirm the legend that it was behind the "miracle" transformation of young Puerto Rican star Ricky Martin, who suffered from acne in his youth.

Kohrherr notes that the spa's founder Ole Henriksen "doesn't advise celebrities in regards to their dietary concerns. However, he believes that beautiful skin is dependent on more than just your skincare routine.

"He also focuses on eating a healthy diet, practicing a regular fitness routine and spending quality time with loved ones," she added.

While the prices may seem high, the celebrity spa-goers rarely actually pay them: on the contrary, just like the clothes they wear on the red carpet, they are paid by hairdressers and make-up artists for the publicity they generate.

"It is a great marketing strategy, of course, but I also think the viewing public has an exaggerated view of how celebrities look after themselves," said Jomari Goyso, a hairdresser and make-up artist for Penelope Cruz.

"People forget that, while all these stars are well looked after, it's only for one day, for a few hours, because they go to a show, which involves many people and many kinds of business," added the 29-year-old.

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