Naturopathic doctor Nigma Talib is like a super-skilled Photoshop artist—except her complexion-correcting toolbox is filled with foods and supplements.
Just how effective is the skin specialist’s inside-out approach? Well, flawless-faced stars like Kate Bosworth, Sienna Miller, and Penélope Cruz all credit Talib with giving them that airbrushed and filtered look, especially when a red carpet walk is on the horizon (like this Sunday’s Academy Awards). The process starts a minimum of two weeks before a big event, when Talib’s clients begin an anti-inflammatory diet and start taking supplements that regulate digestion and calm stress.
Talib swears a gut-centric approach to skin care begets unbelievable results.
Talib’s techniques are certainly not for commitment-phobes—long-time acolyte Rosie Huntington-Whiteley has described the diet, in particular, as “brutal.” But Talib swears a gut-centric approach to skin care begets unbelievable results. “Whatever happens in the gut will show up in the skin,” she writes in her best-selling manifesto, Younger Skin Starts in the Gut. “The gut is the control center of the entire body.”
And you don’t have to be famous to get Talib’s secrets to glowing skin. Here, she lays out the entire regimen she prescribes to her celebrity clients in London and at the Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills, from the initial two-week countdown until hours before they face the flashbulb firing squad. Most of these interventions are surprisingly easy to do at home before your next big spotlight moment—because a first date merits just as much prep time as the Oscars, right?
Read on for how stars get their skin red-carpet ready—the holistic way.
Two weeks before: clean eating
“Sugar creates advanced glycation end products that cause your skin to sag,” she explains. (Yes, that’s a real term.) “And wine is basically just fermented sugar.” As for gluten and dairy, Talib claims both can cause inflammation in the gut that may show up as puffiness, dark circles, and acne. “Cutting these things out a couple of weeks prior to a big event can really make a difference.”
“Cutting these things out a couple of weeks prior to a big event can really make a difference.”
Talib also tells clients to add a few things in, namely probiotics, digestive enzymes, and milk thistle. “Probiotics balance the good and bad bacteria in your gut to reduce bloating, which will show up on your skin,” she notes. “Digestive enzymes also help with bloating, especially if you’re eating on-the-go or are not chewing your food well. Milk thistle helps the liver process toxins and [eliminate them from] the body. It’s great if you’ve got a hormone imbalance, have been drinking more than normal, or are on the constipated side.”
And what would a holistic health regimen be without some adaptogens? Talib favors ashwagandha for balancing cortisol, a hormone that tends to fluctuate when we’re under stress. “If your cortisol is too high, you have that bloated look, and if you have too little cortisol, it can cause your lips and skin to thin,” she says. She’s also a fan of L-theanine, a compound found in green tea, for lowering stress levels—think of it as nature’s Xanax.
One week before: serums and sleep
In the week before a premiere or awards show, Talib summons clients to her office for a seriously in-depth topical skin treatment.
For most clients, the facial involves a deep clean, a smoothing peel, LED light therapy (which helps both acne and wrinkles), and a hyperbaric oxygen treatment that infuses skin with rejuvenating plant stem cells and hydrating sodium hyaluronate.
“The only things that should be happening in the bedroom are sleeping and sex. Sleep is the biggest beauty weapon.”
But the pièce de résistance is a mask made from jellyfish collagen (yep, that’s right), which is prized for its ability to hydrate and firm the face. “It’s very similar to human collagen,” says Talib.
At this point, she also tells her clients to make good sleep a priority, starting with banishing phones and TVs from the bedroom. “The only things that should be happening in the bedroom are sleeping and sex,” says Talib. “Sleep is the biggest beauty weapon.”
A few days before: ice, ice, baby
To rid the skin of any lingering redness and puffiness, Talib swears by a process called icing.
Here’s how it works: Combine 1/2 a cucumber, 3/4 cup aloe vera juice, 1/4 cup water, and 1/2 tsp turmeric root into a blender; mix it up; and then pour the concoction into an ice cube tray and freeze. Once frozen, wrap all the ice cubes in a washcloth and massage them over your skin until they’re melted—it’ll take about 40 minutes. (You can also do one ice cube per day if you’ve got the time. Just remember that turmeric may stain the skin, so avoid doing this right before a major event.)
“Icing reduces inflammation and makes the pores look more refined,”
“Icing reduces inflammation and makes the pores look more refined,” Talib says. And if you’ve got any ice cubes left over, you can throw them into a mocktail while you’re pre-gaming.
Skin regimen? Check. Now for that workout, this is Sofia Vergara’s go-to resistance workout. Or check out the fitness program that got Oscar nom Emma Stone ready for La La Land.
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