Despite how up close and personal we get to see red carpet beauties come Golden Globes night (Mani Cam, anyone?), there’s plenty of dramatic behind-the-scenes action that’s purposely hidden from everyone’s vantage point. After all, no one’s really excited to spot a broken zipper, fallen eyelash, or smudged layer of mascara.
To find out exactly how our favorite stars keep it together for Hollywood’s big night, we turned to pro stylists Karla Welch and Kemal Harris, whose impressive roster of A-list clients includes Robin Wright, Olivia Wilde, Elisabeth Moss, Karlie Kloss, Serena Williams, and Hailee Steinfeld.
So what happens before the chosen dress gets steamed, prepped, and slipped on? “I always have nude Commando [thongs] (classic thong, $20; wearcommando.com). Have the thin, high-waisted flat Spanx—they’re the new Spanx—I love them. I always have Topstick tape from Ricky’s in New York ($10; rickysnyc.com), and I have little deodorant sponges—they’re the best thing ever,” Walsh tells InStyle, adding that she loves having Maybelline Great Lash Washable Mascara ($7; maybelline.com) on hand for last-minute touch-ups.
Don’t think it’s all about the dress, though. Walsh also makes sure the star’s nails are on-point. “I love just clean nails. I love a buffed up nail,” she adds, revealing that Chinchilly by Essie ($8.50; essie.com) is a definite go-to. For Harris, the day-of red carpet essentials are similar. “Every client gets a little Shout wipe ($3; walgreens.com) to put in her clutch when she leaves the door—nothing like getting deodorant or makeup or something on yourself right before you’re walking on the red carpet,” she says, explaining that the best way to handle a pesky deodorant stain is to sometimes simply “dry brush it away.”
Aside from providing a selection of affordable yet trustworthy tools for their clients, the duo also makes sure the dress fits their figure naturally. “I always look for a defined waist—you don’t want extra fabric in that area. You don’t want anyone to look wider then they are,” Harris reveals, adding that the underarms also present a tailoring challenge with strapless or spaghetti strap dresses. “Right in the underarm, that skin is always sort of tricky. It’s muscle. It’s skin. There’s nothing you can do about it. It’s a normal part of the body. It’s a fold. But I always do check on that to make sure that that’s working properly or that it’s not getting pinched.”
Is there anything these stylists hold their breath for once the stars hit the carpet? “They’re looking amazing, but they’re giving little hugs and kisses to these other people who have body makeup on their arms and stuff like that. I’m like, ‘Don’t touch these people if you’re going to get weird body makeup on your ribs like where they’re reaching in to hug you,’” Harris admits. “It’s like my secret nightmare—having any stain on the dress.”
—With reporting by Christina Shanahan