I've spent plenty of time with my beauty detective hat on finding out exactly what products celebs rely on for glowing skin. If you want to know what Madonna's derm buys for her at Sephora or Victoria Beckham's skincare routine, I'm your girl. But if we're being honest, the A-list seem blessed with the kind of red carpet radiance that goes way beyond a cult moisturizer.
So what actually is it that imparts celebrity skin with the kind of luminosity that we mere mortals can usually only dream of? Well, it turns out there are a few rather unusual tricks that makeup artists have up their sleeves for prepping celebrity skin for special events.
I spoke to the experts to find out exactly what they are, how they work, and the best hacks to re-create radiant skin at home. Keep scrolling for the lowdown.
While facial massage itself might be nothing new for skin preparation, there's a specific technique that's been doing the rounds this red carpet season: the Gankin massage. Patented by the beauty brand Suqqu, the technique is inspired by makeup artists in the Japanese film industry who would apply pressure to the face of actresses to prime and tone their facial muscles before going on set.
Makeup artist Morag Ross, who has painted the faces of everyone from Cate Blanchett to Scarlett Johansson, describes the massage as a workout for the face, even going as far as to call it a life changer for the way it creates the perfect canvas for makeup. Recently used to prep Jodie Comer's skin before the BAFTAs, makeup artist Naoko Scintu agrees about just how good the Gankin massage is. "We wanted Jodie to look 'the part' this evening, so we wanted her to be glamorous," explained Scintu.
Shumana Begum, Suqqu brand specialist, explained that "to start with, Jodie was given a Gankin massage to release facial tension and stiffness, promoting blood circulation and lymph flow whilst giving a firmed facial contour, more definition in the lower half of the face, and a natural radiance to the skin."
It isn't just something the A-list can enjoy. "Suqqu Gankin massage is a manual exercise for the face using purely hand techniques to create a quick fix to re-energize your skin in three minutes," explained Begum. "Perfect before makeup and foundation application, which [then] smooths on easily with the result of radiant skin."
Just take a walnut-size amount of moisturizer, form your hands into fists, and use the joints of your fingers to massage along your forehead and upward on your cheeks to boost brightness and naturally contour your skin. In fact, Suqqu has released the full Gankin massage routine so you can re-create it at home.
If you're not ready to DIY a facial massage at home, facial tools are a great way to boost your circulation, firm your skin, and increase radiance with ease.
I'm always on board with a beauty tip that won't cost the Earth, so I'm delighted that celebrity makeup artists swear by ice cubes for red carpet skin prep. I've sung the praises of frozen water previously for banishing puffy eyes, but when it comes to the A-list, we're taking things a little further.
Celebrity makeup artist Lisa Eldridge, whose clients include everyone from Keira Knightley to Kate Winslet, relies on ice facials for achieving fresher, firmer skin quickly—especially if she's dealing with clients who are jet-lagged or have been partying the night before an event.
In a video all about ice therapy, Eldridge reveals that to DIY the treatment yourself, all you need to do is wrap an ice cube in a muslin cloth or tea towel then start massaging your face. Eldridge starts around her jawline, pressing the ice cube into her skin for a few seconds at a time, and then moves upward toward her ears.
You can leave the ice cubes completely plain or you can infuse with different ingredients, depending on your skin's need. Green tea–infused ice cubes are great for puffy eyes, parsley-infused ice cubes are brightening for pigmented skin, rose-infused ice cubes will help to calm inflammation, while cucumber-infused ice cubes will help to heal and hydrate dry skin.
However, if messing around in the freezer before a big event doesn't sound up your street, then there are some great products out there that will soothe, cool, and de-puff your skin without any ice cubes needed.
This is perhaps one of the more surprising tips of the bunch. At a recent event with La Prairie, makeup artist Georgina Graham—a complexion artistry ambassador for the brand—revealed that she gets her clients to hop into a warm bath for a soak before heading to their event.
It might sound relaxing, but Graham actually gets her celebs to do this after they've had their makeup applied. Yep, it turns out that a few minutes in a steamy bathtub will do wonders for getting that dewy skin finish that all our favorite A-listers enjoy.
If, like me, you're a bit concerned that you'd ruin all of your carefully applied makeup upon entering the bath, you can always use a face mist over your makeup to mimic some of that dewy-skin look.