Big Night, Small Budget: 11 Ways to Make it Work
Big Night, Small Budget: 11 Ways to Make it Work
Clear Your Skin
During awards season, stars flock to the Ole Henriksen Face/Body spa in West Hollywood to exfoliate, anoint, soothe and moisturize their skin. “The most popular treatment is The African Red Tea Body Cocktail, which is $160 and 90 minutes,” says founder Ole Henriksen, whose clients include Charlize Theron, Renee Zellweger, and Ellen DeGeneres. Luckily, you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg to save face. The Ole Henricksen Feel the Difference Perfecting Face Mask ($35, OleHenriksen.com) combines the very same African red tea used in the spa with pomegranate and vitamin E for a calming and tightening treatment-at less than a third of the price.
Rent a Runway Look
Don't have a star's bank account or a stylist on speed dial? You can still sport the runway's latest looks for a fraction of the price thanks to two stylish sites. Rent the same Christian Cota dress that Leighton Meester rocked at the MTV VMAs for a tenth of its retail cost on Renttherunway.com, which also offers designer dresses from Proenza Schouler and Catherine Malandrino for as low as $50. For accessories, head to Avelle.com (formerly BagBorroworSteal.com) where you can borrow a fabulous Judith Leiber clutch for $43 a week.
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Brighten Your Teeth
Don’t let a scary, yellowish post-facto picture be the reason you start whitening your teeth. Two weeks before your big event, start a dental brightening regimen like the Crest Whitestrips Advanced Seal ($45 for 14 doses, available nationwide). The new strips mold to your teeth with stronger adhesive, which means more powerful, concentrated whitening. After a few days of 30-minute sessions you’ll start seeing results, but trust us, for a smile as dazzling as Zoe Saldana's, the full two weeks is well worth the wait.
Get a Spray Tan
Back in the day, self tanners were synonymous with orangey, Ooompa-Loompa skin. But with a few tips from St. Tropez's skin finishing expert, Fiona Locke, you can pull off a healthy glow like Cameron Diaz's in no time.
1. Familiarize yourself with the product beforehand. "Get used to the application technique, and the way the product interacts with your skin to cut down on any surprises," says Locke. And for the best results, apply your tan two full days before the big event.
2. Prepare accordingly. "Exfoliate, shave, and make sure your skin is completely dry," says Locke. Put a towel on the floor, wear gloves to avoid staining your palms, and start working your way up from your feet.
3. More is more. "It's really about making sure you have even coverage," she says. "It's very hard for your tan to be uneven if you over-apply. You're more likely to be uneven if you under-apply." If you're using a product like St. Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Spray ($34, sttropeztan.com), the excess cosmetic bronzer will wash away in the shower and leave you with smooth and uniform coverage.
Find the Right Support
Choosing the right undergarments can be just as challenging as picking the perfect dress. Spanx founder Sara Blakely shares three tips on how to find the right support.
1. Buy your size. "You have to ask yourself what issue you want to address," says Blakely. "Women think that smaller sizes offer more secure support but it's better to stick to your typical size."
2. Consider your dress. For strapless styles like Sarah Jessica Parker's sexy hot pink number, Blakely recommends Spanx's strapless slip ($72, Net-a-porter.com). "It gives more coverage than just a strapless bra."
3. Go for a brand you know and like. "There's a lot of stuff out there, but nothing is worse than being uncomfortable all night."
Put Your Hair Up
Chances are, a slicked-back ponytail is probably where your experience with updos begins and ends. But according to celebrity stylist Mark Townsend, who works with January Jones, Natalie Portman, and Maggie Gyllenhaal, complicated coifs don't have to be out of reach. And no, booking him isn't the answer. The RSession Tools Pin-Up Girl Kit ($21.99, rsessiontools.com) is stocked with absolutely everything you need for stunning off-the-shoulder styles: mini bobby pins and clips, snag-free elastics and a styling comb, and even a volume-building foam hair piece. "They really give you everything you need for the perfect high or low bun, french twist or ponytail and the illustrated instructions are easy to follow," says Townsend. Even better? The kits come in Black, Blond, and Brown to help maintain the gravity-defying illusion.
Have a Makeup Plan
You wouldn’t dream of attempting a cheese souffle without a recipe-so what makes you think an artful smoky eye like Kate Beckinsale's would be any different? Rather than risk giving yourself a look that falls, well, flat, pick up Sonia Kashuk’s How to Create a Smoky Eye palette (19.99, target.com). Sure, the ten-piece kit comes with eye shimmer, three shadows, plus complementing blush and lip glosses, but the handy, foolproof cards are our favorite feature. Simple instructions tell you exactly how and where to apply each product so that you can really turn up the heat.
Pack a Tidy Clutch
While it's tempting to overstuff, keep your purses lean and tidy by bringing only the essentials. Along with mints, lipstick, powder and perfume, celebrity stylist Nicole Chavez recommends clients such as Scarlett Johansson and Rachel Bilson carry a small packet of Kleenex. "Someone always needs tissue at some point in the night," says Chavez. "You can get emotional or just need some extra padding."
Check the Mirror
Before heading out on the town, always take one last, good look in the mirror. Find a room with the best natural light for a view of how your dress translates outdoors. That black dress or top may not be intentionally sheer like Katie Holmes's-some fabrics can look opaque in ambient lighting but be completely see-through in natural light. As one final measure, take a photo of yourself with flash so you can see how you and your outfit look in pictures.
Learn How to Pose
Posing is the key to looking great in photos. "You never want to stand with your shoulders facing squarely to the camera," said Kevin Mazur, a photographer and president of the photo agency WireImage. "Keep your body at an angle with your head up and chin down. Putting your hand on your hip can also give your body form." For red carpet inspiration, Mazur looks to Kate Hudson and Fergie, who "takes her time and always looks right into the camera." Here are more ways to look ready for your close-up.
Try a Red Carpet-Worthy Cleanse
While many celebrities opt for expensive cleanse and detox products before glam events, N.Y.C nutritionist Keri Glassman, author of The O2 Diet, says you can get big results for less bank. "Do your own cleanse and eat 4-6 small meals throughout the day. You'll save money by skipping extras," says Glassman. She recommends clients avoid salt, sugar, alcohol and refined carbs like bread, pasta and rice. Also, be sure to fill up on fruit, green vegetables, lean protein like fish and skinless chicken and healthy fats like olive oil or avocado. "It's always a good idea to take a multivitamin-I often suggest an Omega 3 supplement as well." Stay hydrated with water, green tea and herbal tea with lemon.
Want more? Glassman's book The O2 Diet includes detailed instructions for a four-day cleanse and you can find free tips on her twitter, @KeriGlassman.