While it’s always interesting to see who wins the golden statues during awards season, what really gets us talking is how the Hollywood stars look. Post the Oscars and the Golden Globes we’ll dissect the hair and makeup trends. We’ll decide who was best dressed. And we’ll probably even try to emulate some of our favourite looks when we’re next heading out for a special night.
But something that rarely gets discussed is celebrity skin. Because unless we can – shock horror – spot an imperfection on the face of a star (like this leaked picture of Beyoncé last week) we pretty much assume that their skin will be flawless. They’re movie stars, right? So it can be easy to assume that immaculate skin comes as a package with all that talent.
Not so according to celebrity skin care therapist Ingrid Seaburn, who’s spent 13 years working with some of the biggest names in La La Land, and who I was lucky enough to interview over a coffee on the weekend.
Celebrity skin care therapist Ingrid Seaburn and I chatting red carpet beauty prep.
Here’s what really goes on behind the scenes to ensure Oscar worthy skin, and soon we’ll share Ingrid’s top tips to prep your skin for your next big event.
Fox in Flats: Hi Ingrid, thanks for chatting with me. So you’re back home living in Sydney after over a decade spent making celeb’s skin look perfect. What exactly did you do in Hollywood?
Ingrid: I was a skin care therapist. I worked with different celebrities taking care of their skin using non-invasive procedures. I was very lucky because I got in with a really good group over there and had access to some of the biggest celebrities. People like Teri Hatcher when she was on Desperate Housewives. She was one of the highest paid television actresses in the United States at the time, on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar and Vanity Fair. She was huge.
There was her, there’s Marcia Cross, Brenda Strong, and the other Desperate Housewives. Rachel Griffiths was an Australian that I looked after.
I was their private skin care therapist. I was on call to look after their skin. I gave them skin care tips, I gave them products, I recommended things. I was in charge of maintaining really healthy skin for them.
Because those girls – contrary to what people believe – work hard. Someone like Teri Hatcher was on the set at 5 a.m., it was a long day on the set of Desperate Housewives. She would finish at 7pm, and sometimes I would go over there at night and I’d set-up the table. I always went to her. She would call me privately and in that beautiful soft Teri kind of voice would ask, “Would you mind coming over?” It was cute. She was great. I would buzz the buzzer and drive up to her house and set it all up. She would come home from the set and I would do a facial treatment on her depending on what I thought she needed. And she trusted me. So there was a level of trust that we built up. There’s kind of a small club over there like with their trainers, their skin people, their stylists… It’s a very select club, but once you’re in, you’re in. So I’m very grateful for the fact that I got in with that group.
Fox in Flats: What type of red carpet events did you prepare your clients for?
Ingrid: I prepped people for the Golden Globes, Oscars, and Emmys. All the big ones. It’s really important for actresses to look their best for awards season. And like all of us they each had insecurities.
Fox in Flats: What type of insecurities?
Ingrid: About their faces, their bodies, their age. Clients would often ask whether they needed to get more stuff done.
Fox in Flats: How far out from an awards show would you start prepping their skin?
Ingrid: We would start about a month beforehand. With Teri for instance, I saw her regularly, but if it was awards season we would amp it up a little bit. So instead of seeing her once every couple of weeks I’d see her a couple of times a week.
Fox in Flats: What was involved in the preparation? Sounds intense.
Ingrid: There’d be an order of specific treatments that we would do. And nothing too risky or invasive on the big day because we didn’t want any disasters. We would start with a micro current which would strengthen, tone, and contract muscles in the face with an electrical current. That sounds scary but it’s not. It’s not a very common thing here in Australia but it was something that I did as a specialty. Teri loved it because it was a natural way of creating a more youthful look. There’s a very subtle difference between a younger woman’s face and an older woman’s face, between where the muscles sit. And as we get older those muscles drift south, sadly. The micro current helps. We also did very light peels. Nothing crazy around that time because you don’t want any hyperpigmentation – you don’t want any strange reactions! I used to like to do a pomegranate peel or a blueberry peel.
Fox in Flats: Anything high tech?
Ingrid: I did a lot of light therapy on Teri, which was good for stimulating collagen. Really effective but gentle. All these really subtle things that gave her a really youthful look. The intent was to give her a fresh, dewy, natural, beautiful skin. A lot of people imagine that people in LA do really hardcore things to their skin and they don’t necessarily. They actually do live in healthy way. They’re not drinking champagne at 2 in the morning. They’re really not doing a lot of that, especially the actresses. Their face is their fortune.
Fox in Flats: What about injectables?
Ingrid: There’s a place for Botox, there’s a place for fillers, I’m not anti those, but they don’t create the look of youth necessarily. That’s what you want to show through.
Fox in Flats: Was the preparation process for a red carpet event similar for most of the celebrities you worked with?
Ingrid: It was always a tailored approach. What was interesting though was how differently the actresses approached the skin care experience. Rachel Griffiths for instance was very casual, very down to earth, kids running around. We used to set up the table in her backyard. She was just, “Yeah doll, do whatever you want.” Very low maintenance, into the natural kind of thing. She’s a gorgeous person, very easy to work with.
Fox in Flats: What happens on the day of the event?
Ingrid: Teri would be trying to improve her body at the last minute. I can remember going over there one year and she was literally doing weights in the mirror before she put her dress on. Yup even skinny little gorgeous Teri Hatcher was just trying to look as good as she could, as we all would in that situation.
Fox in Flats: Wow, I might try that next time I go out. The kids will think I’m crazy though!
Ingrid: Totally! Anyway I’d arrive around 9 o’clock in the morning. Would probably do a face massage to really stimulate the blood flow. Because what we wanted on the day was that glowy, beautiful, blood pumped look. And I’d usually do a really deep moisturizing mask. I would put a little bit of Hyaluronic acid into the mask which would help her to retain moisture in her epidermis.
Fox in Flats: Hyaluronic acid? Sounds painful…
Ingrid: Hyaluronic acid naturally occurs in your body, and helps you retain water. But as you get older the levels of Hyaluronic acid plummet, so we need to replenish it. We need to do it at an epidermal level. It won’t go any further than your epidermis, which is your first level of skin. We want her to look plump, youthful, moisturized, and really energized, like skin is just popping. That was really key on the day, moisture, lots of facial massage. Some people underrate facial massage because it’s such a simple technique but it’s really important. A natural way to tone the muscles but also stimulate blood circulation.
Fox in Flats: Was it stressful?
Ingrid: It was stressful for me for the first couple of years because I was a little bit nervous of really mucking it up. But as I got used to it, it became fun. The make-up people would come around 11am with the hair people. The limo would arrive…all that jazz.
Fox in Flats: Did you ever have any stuff ups?
Ingrid: Ah nearly….The very first time I looked after Teri for the Golden Globes I was using a product called Epicuren – a product that was based on a tightening mask and like a really hot cinnamon exfoliant. It’d hit your face, and heat it up. It was like, bam! And sometimes you’d go red, other times you wouldn’t. That morning she’d just come back from her run and was all hot and sweaty. She lay down, closed her eyes, totally trusting me. So I put this mask on – I’d used it on her a couple of times before. But this time she went bright red, like I’m talking burnt. I felt sick.
Fox in Flats: This was on the day of the Golden Globes?
Ingrid: This was on the day… I felt nauseous. I thought, oh my god, I’m going to lose my job. I was imagining her being interviewed by Ryan Seacrest and being like bright red while wearing too much make-up trying to cover it. And I was sure they’d all hate my guts. But I had to fess up so I said “Oh Teri, you’re bright red.” She said, “Oh god, that’s not good.” That’s all she said. Before vomiting I composed myself.
Fox in Flats: You actually vomited?
Ingrid: Ha ha ha, no, but I wanted to vomit! I just felt so sick. I just had this vision of never again working with anybody because of that one occurrence. I thought “Pull it together Ingrid, pull it together.” I told her it was all part of the process and promised it would calm down while applying cold compresses to her face. She was actually really nice about it, although no doubt she was nervous. But then – thank god – her skin calmed down.
Fox in Flats: How long did it take to calm down?
Ingrid: It took about half an hour…
Fox in Flats: And how long before she had to leave was this happening?
Ingrid: They were all waiting on us. She had the stylist there, she had the dresser, she had the make-up people, the hair people. I was first cab off the rank. And it had to run to clockwork as we knew the limo would arrive at 2 o’clock, and that was the deadline. I was so apologetic but she was like, “It’s fine.”
She looked burnt, I thought she was burnt. It turns out she wasn’t burnt, she was red because her body overheated because of the exercise. It’s just different body temperatures cause different reactions. Gulp!
Another day I knocked a candle over in her bedroom because I stumbled on a beautiful velvet rug that she had. Every time I went there afterwards I could see the wax never came out. I was like, “Teri, I’m so sorry.”
So I managed to do some really doofus things around her but she was really good. She kind of stuck with me. She’s very loyal. She trusted what I did.
Teri Hatcher post potential skin disaster and before she presented at the Golden Globes in 2006.
Fox in Flats: Did you become mates with any of your clients?
Ingrid: Brenda yes, Rachel, yes. Teri would maintain that professional level, but was happy to chat about girlie things. Celebs have the same issues and concerns as the rest of us.
Fox in Flats: Did you stick around at their place on the day till they’re ready to leave for the awards ceremony?
Ingrid: Yeah, it was fun to see them head off. And then I’d go home, and I’d watch it on the couch, and I’d think, “There she is, she looks amazing. I was with her this morning.”
Interviewer: Yeah you’d be like. “I was massaging her face just hours ago.”
Ingrid: Totally…it was so cool!
Gwyneth Paltrow leaving for the Oscars, 2015. She said on her Instagram account “It takes a village.”
Shortly on Fox in Flats we’ll share Ingrid’s top tips to prep your skin for your next big event.
You can catch Ingrid Seaburn – who’s also the Australian ambassador for Renu28 – on Studio 10 where she appears as their beauty expert, get more great skin care tips from her website or connect with Ingrid on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.