The beauty spy: Red carpet readiness

You won’t see her, but she’s there, in the salons, spas and shops, and she’s happy to share her secrets on red carpet readiness.

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I remember Sophie Dahl telling me that she’d forgotten her make-up bag before one of the big red carpet events, so she popped out to her nearest Stila counter to achieve her trademark, rosy glow. She left the counter with a few of her favourites and applied the rest in her car while en route.

However, this is a far cry from the normal preparation for a major do. Beauty planning A-list style is rather like a military operation – spray tans are scheduled, appointments planned for make-up, peels, blowdries, root touch-ups, brows and Botox – no wonder they all look so perfect.
One Oscar event I went to really put on the Ritz. Even though the goodie bags there were filled with the likes of first class tickets to our very own land of gold – Dubai – along with Jimmy Choo goodies and more, the really good bit was the pampering that Natura Bissé laid on. Fancy a freebie facial, anyone? Jennifer Lopez, never one to miss a trick, was on the list. The Diamond Ice-Lift Mask and Black Diamond Magnetic Peel were the order of the day.

You can have your own pre-Oscar moment, without having to head to LA. At the Intercontinental Spa in Festival City, they offer the Bissé brilliant face and body treats, in a very A-list like environment. I always leave feeling a little smug, knowing my skin looks just a little more lifted and toned. It has something to do with the combination of diamond, stones and a cryogenic technique.Whatever, all I know is it irons out the lines.
Bruce Grayson has headed the Academy Awards Makeup Department for almost 10 years and has been the celebrity artist for Olay. He's the man to whom stars such as Penelope Cruz go for touch-ups and lip painting. He does a lot of hand-holding backstage – but what Beauty Spy wants to know is: what has he been using for their faces? He loves Olay Professional's Pro-X Intensive Firming Treatment, to firm up, and Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Concealer to cover any blotchiness, while MAC's Blot Film keeps shine at bay when those A-listers walk on stage.

This year Grayson brought St Tropez on board – so bodies could be as perfect as faces. Emily Blunt got her glow courtesy of St Tropez Custom Body Finish – so you can either opt for just a natural shimmery sheen or limbs the colour of Twiglets. I know what I’d prefer, but it’s entirely up to you. Book in to Essential Beauty Salon on Al Wasl Road, Dubai,, for a session. They can even give you a little more muscle definition by airbrushing a six-pack and defining décolletage, which sounds really good to me.

Jo Malone English Pear & Freesia Cologne

Just when you think Jo Malone can’t come up with anything else to tempt us, a new fragrance appears. We love the mixture of warm patchouli, white amber and musk combined with fresh pear, quince, sweet white freesias and rose. The keynote of cool, green rhubarb is a new one on us but it works. We’ll be wearing this all winter.