I will be on the red carpet in six days. Yikes!
Besides what you've witnessed me experiencing thus far, I've also been busying myself with other get-gorgeous quick fixes that may not translate as well on video. Have I mentioned the Master Cleanse? Count that as one example.
Also in the not-so-much-fun-to-watch bag of borrowed-from-stars tricks is teeth whitening. What says "movie star" more than a perfectly white smile?
Although this process is not terribly exciting to watch, I can tell you with the utmost authority (well, with the utmost authority via my father, who is a dentist) that the best way to whiten teeth is by using the gel and tray method. The so-called miracle light treatments merely dry out the enamel on your teeth and make them look bright temporarily.
But that gleam only lasts a few hours, until the moisture returns to your teeth (In fact, there are no scientific studies that support this method as effective.)
These treatments get you to drop a lot of unnecessary cash to sit in a chair for an hour or so to see a short-term result; often the dentist sends patients home with a bleaching tray maintenance kit, which ultimately is what will make the teeth white.
The drugstore bleaching strips may work over time, but many people I know don't have the patience to keep them on their teeth as frequently as necessary to yield the desired results.
Instead, the best option is to visit your general dentist (you don't need to drop megacash for a "cosmetic" dentist) and have him fit you with custom trays. It's a simple process: Impressions are taken of your upper and lower chompers, sent off to the lab, and in a couple weeks your couture bleaching trays are ready. Then, before bed, squirt a few drops of professional bleaching gel in the trays, pop 'em in and wake up to a brighter smile. I noticed an extra gleam immediately, and maximum results happen over about a four- to five-day period, if used correctly.
However, if visiting your dentist isn't possible (although you should do it twice a year… and don't forget to floss!), I recommend visiting www.myfirstblush.com for a surprisingly effective over-the-counter alternative. For about $80, you get a do-it-yourself kit complete with bleaching trays that mold to your teeth after a quick dip in boiling water, along with professional-grade carbamide peroxide. Follow the directions on the box, and you're good to go.
***More from Dr. Szish regarding the Master Cleanse, of which he wholeheartedly disapproves, not just for nutritional reasons but also for potential teeth-damaging ones. The cleanse mixture is essentially comprised of sugar and acid, which is an instant recipe for eroding tooth enamel and therefore can promote tooth decay. In a recent e-mail Dad wrote: "If you're going to continue that un-nourishing, cavity promoting liquid regime, please rinse with plain water every time after you use it. Also use a fluoride mouthwash (such as ACT) and rinse for a full minute before bed."
Got it? Good.
But, enough about the behind-the-scenes stuff. Here, the continuation of my Red Carpet Boot Camp Diary:
I had put the inevitability of exercise off for long enough, so I headed to fitness and nutrition guru Adam Zickerman. Adam, owner of New York City's Inform Fitness studio and author of the best-selling book "The Power of Ten," has been inflicting well-intentioned pain on me for the past seven years with impressive and noticeable results. However, I have recently fallen off the workout wagon and was in need of serious help.
Everything about Adam and his method of madness is different from the stereotypical trainer. Adam is not a muscle head, nor does he dress like one. He wears Brioni dress shirts and tailored trousers. He doesn't bark commands, opting to quietly talk you through the most excruciating and rewarding of workouts. His workouts don't include cardio, dripping sweat or bass-pumping music. Instead, one-on-one weight-training sessions are in a small, quiet studio. They last for about 20 minutes, and you can actually work out in your street clothes. Oh, and you only have to work out once a week.
But don't be fooled -- those 20 minutes are some of the most physically intense you can imagine. How does it work? According to www.informfitness.com:
"The 'Power of 10' exercise program focuses on a deliberately slow and controlled repetition. Since each repetition is one up-down cycle, a complete 'rep' takes 20 seconds. Moving at this speed eliminates any chance of cheating by using the weight's own momentum. During this time we focus on correct body/motion form. Therefore, your muscles do 100 percent of the work. You spend about 90 to 120 straight seconds working into the deepest layers of muscle fibers to achieve total muscle failure. Your work is finished for that specific muscle group in one set! Five to six more sets gives you a total body workout ? and then you're ready to go home and REST!"
As you can see, Adam isn't into quick fixes, but he agreed to put me on a special event plan that he does not recommend for anything other than a short period of time… such as a two-week Oscar boot camp.
So, here's my plan from Adam: Inform Fitness sessions three times per week and moderate cardio sessions at least twice a week, in conjunction with a low-calorie (no more than 1,200 calories per day) diet. I inquire about the Master Cleanse (of which he also does not approve), but he grudgingly admits that it's OK to stick to it for 10 to 12 days in preparation for an event as big as the Oscars. If you stay on such a fast for an extended period of time, you risk damaging your organs. Enough said.
I can barely walk because my muscles are so sore (thanks, Adam), but I manage to make it to the Mete Turkmen salon on the Upper East Side for a double dose of beauty.
First, it's brow time. So, I settle into Koray's chair. He seems to get a charming yet demonic glow every time he rips a hair from a follicle. Besides being a bit of a sadist, Koray is also a former principal international ballet dancer. Before that he was a makeup artist with Max Factor in Paris, and his client list includes a bevy of beautiful celebs. Koray's eyebrow "torture" is based on the ancient art of "threading," which also happens to be the current trendiest eyebrow-shaping method.
He somehow captures all those stray hairs with a single strand of thread hooked in his teeth. If "contact flossing" were a sport, this is what it would look like. He also tweezes and trims and threads some more, until he has achieved the perfect brow, customized to each individual client. The results are nothing short of miraculous. Who needs a face-lift when you have Koray?!
After getting the perfect brows, I sit back into the chair of Jon Patrick, one of the country's most respected colorists. He promises me a hair shine treatment that will make light dance upon each and every strand of hair on my head, giving me the glow of a true starlet, so naturally I oblige.
Jon Patrick, a silver-haired flirtatious imp whose personality is a close second to his impressive artistic ability, performs a Kerastase Chroma-Reflect ritual on my hair. The deep conditioning and repairing masque and massage leaves my tresses looking fabulous and ensures that all those flashes on the red carpet will bounce off my head with striking brilliance. Jon Patrick rules.
Days Six and Seven
The weekend! I stick to the Master Cleanse, but I skip working out in favor of extra sleep. At least all has balanced out, right? I'm left wondering if celebrities are celebrities simply because they are born with otherworldly willpower.
Tune in to the Szish Dish tomorrow. I'll be back for day eight with custom makeup potions and day nine with not-so-scary needles. Then, it's off to Los Angeles for the final Oscar red carpet countdown!