The Red Carpet Facial: Origins of an Icon

The year was 2005, and Oscar prep was as crazy as always. 

Nominees and presenters were flocking to Kinara Skincare Clinic and Spa to receive a last-minute facial before stepping onto the Red Carpet: Hilary Swank and Annette Bening were wishing each other good luck in the changing lounge, while Leonardo DiCaprio was finishing up his treatment in the next room. The three days before the Oscars were always filled with electricity and anticipation, but for my team and I, giving clients the most flawless complexions humanly possible (or even inhumanly possible) was just another day at work. 

Our famous clients weren’t there for just any run-of-the-mill facial. We had developed a bit of a reputation for our “hot & spicy” peel that made skin glow within the hour but didn’t have any side effects. At the time, we didn’t even really have a name for this treatment, even though clients thought it was “magic.” 

But it wasn’t really magic at all—just a precise combination of acids that I made myself in a compounding pharmacy. Over time, I had perfected just the right blend of acids, in just the right ratios, with just the right pH, and the results exceeded everyone’s expectations. (To be honest, even I was surprised.) 

On the very last day of Oscar prep, my PR agent at the time, Marilyn Heston, was exhausted from long hours of working with celebrities and their managers, so I offered to give her a facial as we were (finally!) wrapping up. As I was doing the peel, she suddenly said, “Olga, you should try to bottle this for all the people that would never have the opportunity to experience it in the spa.” It’s truly a Red Carpet Facial and that’s what you should call it!” A few months later, I invited my brilliant formulator to witness a live demonstration of the peel, to see if he could possibly make a sellable version of the formula. And the rest is history. 

By the summer of 2007, the Red Carpet Facial kit was born. Over the years, this formula has been imitated more times than I can count…famous dermatologists, estheticians, and brands have all tried to make some version of this peel system and so far, I have to say, have had very poor results. Often imitated, but never duplicated—I credit the success of my product to the luck of finding just the right combination of acids that work well together, never ever cutting corners, and my fabulous formulators, John and Bethany. Its success inspired me to take my other acid combinations and create more professional-grade products for at-home use. And since then, these transformational results have been available to everyone—celebrities and non-celebrities alike—year-round. Why wait for Oscar weekend? 

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