How to Look Hot This Summer (and Beyond)

Summer Skin and Hair Breakthroughs - P 2014
Ellen Surrey

Summer Skin and Hair Breakthroughs - P 2014

Technology catches up with desire as fat-transfer needles get finer (all the better to inject youth into the face), skin lasers more targeted and hair color glossier and richer. If all-natural is your jam, there's even a green-herb facial mask that burns the years away.

The fact that you can shed a lot of clothes and makeup in summer is both good and bad news. Unless you're a slim and youthful Dakota -- Fanning or Johnson -- you probably wish you could keep more of them on. Baring two-thirds of your parts in bright sunlight is like putting a klieg light up: Everything gets intensified and overexposed. However, for spider veins, hollow cheeks, wrinkles, fine lines and fried, bleached-out hair color, there are things to do.

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In the world of filling, poofing and volumizing the face, fat transfer has become all the rage, and it is starting to replace such cosmetic fillers as Restylane and Juvederm. Formerly known as "fat grafting," transfers have evolved in recent years since the days of too-large needles created lumpiness in the face. Plastic surgeon Lawrence Koplin is at the forefront of the revolution: Using super-thin needles, he takes fat from the abdomen, inner thigh or outer thigh -- or reuses it from a patient's liposuction -- and evenly fills in hollow cheek areas, individual lines above the lips or anywhere else on the face. Koplin then applies just the stem cells from the fat -- he calls this "nanostem serum" -- to the top layer of the skin to nourish and rejuvenate it (from $9,000, with fat transfer).

Fat -- which of course is free from your body (even if the procedure isn't) -- also is being used on face-lift patients to bring more volume to still-hollow areas, like temples and lower eyelids. It also can be used to volumize aging earlobes (you heard that right) and even can be added to the breast bones of bony girls or placed around breast implants to fill them out. "Anywhere you put it," says Koplin, "it's liquid gold." Since the fat is natural material from your own body, it isn't rejected, and many doctors claim a portion of it can be permanent. "One-third to two-thirds is likely to take and not recede in a few months, like fillers," says John Gross, a plastic surgeon in Pasadena. "You may not have to apply more. With fillers, you always have to, every few months." (The taking, or harvesting, of the fat requires some sedation and should be done in an operating room so that it's totally sterile.) Gross sees fat transfers as the best new technique in facial rejuvenation, and he tells THR that nine out of 10 of his face-lift patients get them, particularly for the pre-jowl area, the nasolabial fold area and in the lower nose area where there is loss of fat. "Some things you can't accomplish with just surgery," he says. "Fat is an asset that's sitting there. You might as well use it. It's a real investment."

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Since facial rejuvenators require less downtime than surgery, peels are perfect for actors and execs who never take days off, and now there are more specific uses for targeted areas of the face. True, plenty of patients still suffer the burn-victim look and do deep laser peels that can take off layers of skin, wrinkles and hyperpigmentation -- but demand up to two weeks of downtime. For the more harried, there also are spot laser peels that Koplin uses for lower lips and chins, with lasers that he can adjust to lighter levels for more delicate areas ($3,500 per area). Meanwhile, dermatologist Peter Kopelson is a big fan of the popular VI peel, a chemical peel with salicylic acid, retinoid and vitamin C that lightens pigmentation, increases collagen and reduces acne scars, pores and blemishes ($385). It also is effective on the neck and chest, and it has less pain and downtime than laser peels -- you can go back to work the same day.

Beverly Hills facialist Ronit Falevitch, whose clientele includes Helen Mirren, prefers the Green Peel, a 50-year-old German treatment that involves massaging herbs into the skin, which turns it red and peels it for five days after ($350 to $550). Layers of skin will shed and you may look sunburned, but the results are like newborn skin, so avoid the sun like the plague and wear SPF 50.

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Gradient, ombre, dip-dyed, blue or pink streaks: Hollywood hair color has run the gamut in recent years, with Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj changing rainbow hues more often than their undies. Jessicas Biel and Alba, Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Kate Beckinsale have all gone the ombre route, with hair lighter at the bottom and darker roots. But obvious ombre is over, says Kazumi Morton, Beverly Hills super-colorist at Jonathan and George Salon: "Ombre's still going strong, but instead of dark tones versus bright light ends, the new ombre is more natural." Cassondra Kaeding at Sally Hershberger (clients include Jennifer Lawrence for The Hunger Games films) dubs the new look "sombre: a soft ombre. What this means is the transition from dark to light is softer and more diffused. This also helps make your salon visits less frequent."

Morton, who counts Zooey Deschanel among her clients, adds that streaks  still are going strong this summer: "I'm doing balayage highlights of chestnuts and golds on brunettes, and honey gold with rosy undertones on blondes for lots of movement." Morton is adding what she calls a new "soft keratin" treatment for less summer frizz and more gloss.

Meche's Tracey Cunningham sees another hair color disrupter on the horizon in the form of an in-salon treatment called Olaplex (only $30). Founder Dean Christal describes it as "essentially a molecule chain that prevents hair breakage with color and bleach processes." It makes colored hair stronger, which means you can now have a perm right after you color your hair. "I won't do a highlight without it," says Cunningham, whose clients include Gwyneth Paltrow and Jennifer Lopez. "It keeps color shinier and prevents fading, too." Kaeding is doing more highlights as well, only softer: "This means choosing to go one to two levels lighter than your natural color, so your regrowth is not as notable as going three to four levels lighter. Clients are now listening to how much their skin tone and eye color can affect choosing the right hue."

As Kaeding goes subtler, Cunningham advocates for bolder all-over tones, saying she's doing "pastel hues" on blondes: "There's a pink undertone that's very popular. And red is more red: I've made Emma Stone red-red for the press tour for Magic in the Moonlight" … which can only mean that her hair will look fabulous in unforgiving summer sunlight, too.

This story first appeared in the Aug. 8 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.