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Red Carpet Skincare Secrets From a Superstar Facialist

We fell hard for Natalie Alcala last fall, when the LA-based writer and blogger spent a week guest blogging for us. In fact, we loved her posts so much that we asked her to be a contributing editor. In addition to blogging for us once a week, she’ll also be writing for the Birchbox Magazine and keeping us up to speed on all things fashion, beauty, and fun.


Happy Almost Oscars Day! In honor of the looming 85th Annual Academy Awards, Hollywood has morphed into one big primping party, offering a host of pop-up beauty havens at a bevy of top-notch hotels. Yesterday I swung by the Brit Beauty Suite at the Four Seasons Beverly Hills, where gratis St. Tropez tanning treatments and custom Sanctuary Spa facials were being doled out.

Facials were being given by London-based renowned skincare and beauty specialist, Nichola Joss, who helps maintain the glowing skin of Kate Moss, Elle Macpherson, Heidi Klum, Charlize Theron, Keira Knightley and Cate Blanchett. I sat down with her to chat skincare routines, beauty myths and the proper way to apply eye cream.

What facial are we doing today?

This is the Lifting and Sculpting Facial that I developed for Sanctuary Spa; it tones, lifts and sculpts the face. Towards the end of the facial, I use latex gloves and massage inside the mouth and along the jawline, up to the back of the jaw and under the cheekbone; it’s a little intense, but that’s where you see the greatest difference because I’m addressing all the muscles in the face. I work under the cheekbones, so it immediately lifts and de-stresses the muscles. It also stimulates the lymphatic drainage to clear skin.

Who is this facial for?

I would say anyone in their 30s and above will really benefit from it, but girls and guys in their 20s also have muscle tension. I treat everyone, from athletes and sports stars to singers and celebrities, so it works for all. It’s an amazing facial to get before stepping on the red carpet because it’s not detrimental to the skin so there’s no corrective treatment. You’re not going to be red, so celebs can leave me, put on some makeup and go. Often I finish the facial by putting on some BB cream, so you glow immediately.

Do you have a red carpet skincare game plan for celebs?

If it’s one of my regular clients, then we normally have a game plan set together and I’ll see them a week before. We do a body lymphatic drainage treatment to get rid of any water or fluid retention and to immediately sculpt and tone the body—it makes them feel a bit tighter. I’ll do a facial treatment then or a few days before the event. Sometimes, the evening before or the morning of, I’ll do a quick 20-minute massage just to pull and tighten everything.

What step do you recommend for an effective skincare routine?

I think everyone should have a really simple, regular routine that includes cleansing, exfoliating and a facial toner or mist to rebalance the surface of the skin. Applying a moisturizer with SPF every day is essential, and at night I always recommend using an oil to massage into the skin before you go to bed. Oil will travel deeper into the skin, so you get more benefit from the product.

What are some of today’s top youth-boosting beauty myths?

There are so many things drenching the market—injectable procedures, surgery, the next new thing—that people just don’t know where to go and what to do. As we age, we have to understand that we will never regain that look that we had in our 20s—it’s impossible because your elasticity changes drastically. So, what you what you want to do is instead of going for treatments that promise they’ll make you look like your 25 again, look at your face and say ‘I want to look the best that I can possibly look for my age.’ Proper skincare is all about remembering what your grandmother told you: keep your face clean, protect it from the sun and massage in a good product.

What about Botox?

I think Botox has a place in our industry because it’s great for those women who are in their 40s and over that have defined lines from years of frowning or raising their eyebrows too much. It can help soften by paralyzing the muscles that are causing that heavy line. What I’m not in agreement with are amazingly beautiful girls in the 20s that feel that they need to get Botox and fillers to stop them from getting old, when actually that won’t happen. Sure, you wont have any wrinkles in your 50s, but it’s because you won’t have any movement in your muscles to allow that to happen. What you will have is very thin, lackluster, dull skin because there’s less movement in the face. Muscles don’t like to be paralyzed.

Last but not least, what is the best way to apply eye cream?

Work on the outer contours of the eye. Never put eye cream too close to the inner eye contour because your eyes are like onions and onions draw moisture from their surrounding areas. Apply the eye product to your middle fingers and put your index fingers on your temples to rest. Now, with your middle fingers, push the eye cream in a circular motion around the eyes and the bridge of the nose. When you get to the eyebrow, place pressure and then push up right along the eyebrow. Work this circular motion over and over until the product is all gone. This helps with lymphatic drainage, debuffs the skin and lifts the brow area.

Looking for more insider beauty tips from LA? Don’t miss Natalie Alcala’s column.

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