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“I’d Like To Thank My Skin Finisher…” How To Get Hollywood’s Golden Glow

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We won’t pretend to be big Giuliana Rancic fans, but last night, as the E! correspondent was live on the Golden Globes red carpet, she did make our lives a little easier with some stealth beauty reporting. “I’m standing right next to her, and I want everyone to know she’s hardly wearing any makeup,” Rancic said of an Erdem-clad Sienna Miller, whose skin, for the record, looked positively glowing. After a little sleuthing, we learned that Miller didn’t need much in the way of foundation and bronzer, because she had enlisted the services of Fiona Locke. “All of what I do is done within a couple of days in advance. [Yesterday] was the big reveal. It has a Christmas-morning feel,” explains the St. Tropez skin-finishing expert who has become something of a secret weapon for the Hollywood elite. “Ninety-eight percent is about the confidence [self-tanner] gives you, and not having to worry at all about your body—it’s that feeling-great factor,” Locke says, pointing out that a little skin finishing goes a long way on the red carpet. Quick to dispel the long-held stigma attached to more primitive forms of insta-tan products, Locke points out that the practice of booking a custom self-bronzing appointment before awards season is as commonplace these days as securing a hair-and-makeup team. The artistry that Locke and her glow-giving cohorts bring to the table further helps the likes of Nashville‘s Connie Britton, Miller, and perhaps most important, Amy Poehler—the evening’s cohost—feel and look great. Here, Locke reveals the insider secrets to a great, effortless bronze—no streaks or sun (or orange after-effects) required.

So how far out are you typically working with your celebrity clients in advance of an awards show?
If we’re trying for a darker, more dramatic color, we tend to do it closer to the event. Some people I do two to three days in advance because I really want the color to fade a little bit beforehand to give a really supple finish to the skin.

How does the process evolve, as far as arriving at the right skin tint for each client?
I often take into account what they’re wearing—it’s sort of like getting ready for your wedding. [Amy and I] talked about how many wardrobe changes there would be. But the biggest part of her look was having her feel confident that no matter what outfit she put on, there was no need to add body makeup, because this beautiful golden color would be there. I worked with her on Saturday morning, so she wasn’t afraid to have a nice healthy amount of color that looked very fresh for Sunday.

Do you typically go with a spray or a buff-on mousse for something like the Globes?
I went with St. Tropez Skin Finishing solution spray. It’s the same formula as the classic self-tanner mousse. In some cases, I will use the bronzing mousse and mitt, depending on variation, but it is the same formula. The spray is good if you have time limitations—Amy had rehearsals all day—as it doesn’t take a lot of time to apply and allows me to do a little bit of contouring if needed.

What about on the face? Do you use the same spray?
I do actually use the spray on the face. It’s absolutely gorgeous. Because of the fairness of Amy’s hair, it looked so pretty on her face. I definitely spray a little less onto the face, but I do love the blend it gives from the chest to the neck. The [stage] lights do wash you out, too, and in HD, everything shows up. The skin finishing balances out any unevenness. It takes the edge off, and to leave it without any color, you tend to get what we refer to as a “floating head” in the industry.

Ha ha. You clearly don’t want that. Did you give Amy anything to take with her for pre-carpet prep, to help freshen up her skin?
I gave her the St. Tropez Skin Illuminator in Gold, in keeping with the idea of really fresh-looking, glowing skin. It enhances and highlights areas so well—the shoulders, collarbones, shins.

How do you have clients like Amy or Sienna prep their skin before you start in with the sprays and mousses?
I have all my clients use the St. Tropez body polish in advance, to leave the whole body free and clear of moisturizer or lotion until right before I apply product. I use a very light layer of moisturizer around the whole hand—top and bottom and cuticles—feet, knees, and elbows. Those areas tend to over-absorb color. The lotion allows enough color to absorb but keeps it very natural. Hands are a dead giveaway that you’ve self-tanned, and those areas I do focus on, so they look flawless. I even go back in and clean around the nails and the cuticles with wipes. I don’t put any moisturizer on [the limbs], because it’s not necessary. The lotion comes in afterward and helps to maintain the color.

Were there any precautions you left Amy with to make sure there was no streaking—or unfortunate sheet runoff —before the show?
As someone with white sheets, I know what you’re talking about! I suggest wearing loose dark cotton clothes after application—that you could even sleep in at night, as I suggest [my clients] keep the spray on at night. No showering for a minimum of six to eight hours. In Amy’s case, we put it on very, very early, but I suggested that she keep it on all night. The top layer of cosmetic bronzer will then wash away, but that beautiful color will have developed underneath.

Photo: Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Moet; Wire Image

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