Hollywood Actresses Now Cupping Their Faces in Countdown to Oscars

Illustration by Laurene Boglio

Procrastinators and late-breakout nominees still can shine on the red carpet with treatments that use everything from advanced tech to ancient practices. Says Kate Beckinsale, it's "like sending your face on vacation, finding it a boyfriend and buying it a really great dinner."

So you might not have planned as meticulously as Harold Lancer's clients — of which about 32 were nominees and winners during the last awards season — who began their skin-care show prep three months out. As of mid-October, the Beverly Hills derm already had three potential best actors get in touch for the 2017 awards campaigns. Average spend per season: $5,000 to $10,000. Says Lancer, "Appearance matters because it helps the entire mood of the person under pressure."

Now it's more like three weeks out to Movies' Biggest Night. And as traumatic as it may look on Gwyneth Paltrow's or Michael Phelps' back, cupping — an ancient Asian inflammation-fighting practice beloved by stars from Hollywood to the Hamptons — has moved to the face and is one of the most popular anti-aging treatments among The Spa on Rodeo's awards-season-focused clientele (12 sessions for $400; thespaonrodeo.com). At Santa Monica's Beauty Park, nurse Jamie Sherrill — beauty guru to studio heads' wives and Oscar winners — uses small glass cups for mild suction and to drain the lymph nodes, getting "rid of any sign of a jowl and fight[ing] inflammation for a perfect profile or over-the-shoulder photo moment," she says. "The facial muscles work as hard as the rest of the muscles, so facial cupping can help alleviate the effects of stress." It also provides a youthful look without risking loss of volume as with a radio frequency machine or heated laser. Sherrill recommends it two days before an awards show in case of redness ($200, or $75 add-on to any facial; beautyparkspa.com).

Facial cupping is a great antidote to the "many late nights" of festivals and awards campaigns, says Venice-based esthetician Kat Rudu. Says client Kate Beckinsale, “any facial treatment with Kat is like sending your face on vacation, finding it a boyfriend and buying it a really great dinner.” Rudu’s facial cupping therapy incorporates her Jewel Serum Oil, so the heated, soft silicone cups glide easily without leaving bruises. ($130-plus for a 30-minute treatment; katrudu.com)


Four 2016 Oscar nominees had the Intraceuticals Oxygen Facial at the Spa at Four Seasons L.A., which deeply hydrates, softens fine lines and brightens the skin tone ($275). … Taraji P. Henson stopped in to Kate Somerville (a go-to for Lily James, Anna Kendrick and Elizabeth Olsen) the day before the Emmys for the Ultimate Kate, during which her skin was infused with hyaluronic acid and oxygen and exposed to LED light for an enhanced glow ($385; 323-655-7546). … Julianne Moore's and Rachel Weisz's facialist Joanna Vargas worked with several best actress nominees to get them photo-ready using various tech: "Red carpet season for a nominee is extremely stressful because they are so busy, they are also spending a lot of time in the air, which is horrible for the skin. LED reduces inflammation, microcurrent stimulates the lymph while hiding the tired in your eyes, and radio frequency maintains insane levels of elasticity when you feel depleted" ($550 with Vargas; joannavargas.com). DGA nominee Sofia Coppola is among the awards season attendees who swear by the Face Place’s signature galvanic facial, nicknamed the Hannibal Facial, to improve skin tone and firmness, tighten pores and reduce lines. ($170 and up; faceplace.com). 


By Sam Reed

For less invasive procedures, right before awards season is when L.A. plastic surgeons' and beauty pros' appointment books are packed with talent. "If I were an accountant, this is tax season for me," says nurse Jamie Sherrill. For Beverly Hills moms and other locals, "cosmetic maintenance is as periodic as therapy sessions," says Christine Chiu, wife of Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Gabriel Chiu, who helps manage the business.

JANUARY "Established TV actors have procedures done during traditional pilot season, January through April, which also preps them for filming and sweeps," says Chiu.

FEBRUARY For studio execs, winter break is the ideal time for any type of procedure as they can recover outside of the office.

MARCH "Singles will have surgery in the late winter and spring to get ready for summer," says Chiu.

APRIL "As soon as Ramadan is over, that's when [Middle East clients] come to L.A. because it's just so hot there," says plastic surgeon Jason Diamond, who says he sees "hundreds" of Gulf patients from June to August. "That's a huge time for them to have their procedures."

MAY "Moms have surgeries in summer and winter breaks," says Chiu.

JUNE "International Asian clients like to escape from the heat of their home countries by visiting Beverly Hills during the summer months, especially if they have children who go to college in the U.S.," notes Chiu. "Their visit would coincide with the kids' college breaks." Dermatologist Jason Emer adds that early fall also is a common time for Asian clients seeking such procedures as skin lightening and peels after summer's tans.

JULY - SEPTEMBER Actors wait until March for extensive procedures, when awards-season red carpets are over, and they can prep for L.A.'s other favorite season — bikini season.

NOVEMBER - DECEMBER "Right after Thanksgiving is really busy" for talent, says Sherrill, who specializes in fillers and Botox. "Instead of 'Black Friday,' we call it 'Black and Bruised Friday.' "

A version of this story first appeared in the Feb. 10 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.