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The specific feeling of being nominated for an Academy Award is something very few people know firsthand, so when it happens to you, how exactly do you prepare? Practicing your acceptance speech in the mirror is a given and I assume attending a lot of parties is expected (and exhausting). But, personally, I would spend most of my time worrying about what to do with my hair. I already put enough effort into my skincare and hair routines that I can only imagine what kind of a tailspin walking the most-watched red carpet in the world would throw me into.
So, to find out what these guys actually do to prepare for the biggest night of their lives, I turned to the people who actually know: their groomers. These professionals are charged with getting famous men looking their best before they walk the carpet and maybe accept the night’s big award. And they hold all the secrets to a perfect, camera-ready look.
Surprisingly, what they do is only a little bit magical. Really it comes down to making sure their client’s skin is hydrated, smooth, and glowing (but not too shiny) and their hair is trimmed and smoothed, even when it’s messy. Here, five groomers reveal their secrets so you can achieve Oscar-level grooming yourself, even if the only place you have to go is your next Zoom meeting.
Best Actor nominee Steven Yeun didn’t take home the prize, but he was still a winner on the red carpet. Yeun looked pulled together in a classic tux and sleek hair, which allowed his skin to take center stage. The secret, according to his groomer Hee Soo Kwon, was to make his skin as smooth and hydrated-looking as possible. To achieve that, she turned to what she calls “Facetune in a jar”—Creme de la Mer. Kwon applied a generous amount (“rubbed vigorously in the palms of my hands until it turned clear”) around his eyes and then La Mer The Moisturizing Matte Lotion on the rest of his face and neck to give him “moisture without the shine.”
To get ready for the big night, Riz Ahmed wanted to pay homage to his Sound of Metal character (for which he was nominated for Best Actor). He called on celebrity groomer Jhizet Panosian, to give his hair “a rougher, more jagged texture.” First she gave him a cut to get rid of Covid growth on the sides, but kept the top longer with textured layers. Then she applied a small amount of Baxter of California Thickening Style Gel on damp hair before hitting his hair with low heat from a hair dryer and combing the sides for a tighter look. Then she shaped his hair into place with Baxter of California Hard Water Pomade (“for a shiny finish”) and set the look with a few spritzes of Baxter of California Clay Effect Style Spray for extra texture.
One Night In Miami star Aldis Hodge showed up to support his movie in the best way possible—by looking dapper as hell. His white tuxedo may have stolen the show, but his skin was equally flawless. His groomer Amber Dreadon admittedly didn’t need to do a lot to his already pretty amazing skin, so she “let skincare do almost all of the work so that it looked perfect even and hydrated.” After cleansing, she applied La Mer The Treatment Lotion to “quickly hydrate and soften the skin without residue.” Then she followed with La Mer The Concentrate, to smooth his skin but also protect it from daily irritants.
Leslie Odom Jr.
A double nominee for Best Supporting Actor and Best Song, it was a big night for Leslie Odom Jr., and he took it seriously (just take one look at that gold suit if you weren’t convinced). And you can’t wear a gold suit, or be around all those gold statuettes, without glowing skin to match. The first step for groomer Eliven Quiros was to use Clarins Super Restorative Instant Lift Serum Mask, which she left on for 15-20 minutes before rubbing in the excess serum. She then followed with a Clarins Men Energizing Eye Gel around his eyes and her “secret weapon,” Clarins Double Serum, all over Odom’s face to keep it “glowing and hydrated.”
Judas and the Black Messiah director Shaka King’s rad personal style is undeniable—even at the Academy Awards. To keep him looking true to himself, groomer Jessica Ortiz “took time manicuring his beard to keep his grooming light and natural but red carpet ready.” She used an Andis T-Outliner and American Crew Barber Comb to shape up his mustache and get rid of any flyaways around his mouth and nose. Then she clippered the beard following the grain and smoothed it out with Bevel Beard Oil to keep it soft.
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