I love celebrities. "US Weekly" is my holy grail and I devour PerezHilton.com for breakfast with my morning cup of Joe. So when Zooey Deschanel says it's her $4 Rimmel mascara that gives her falsie-looking lashes and not actual falsies, I will go to CVS and buy a tube. And when Reese Witherspoon says her blemish-free skin is due to adding a tablespoon of liquid chlorophyll to her water cup, I'll keep a bottle of the stuff next to the office water cooler.
It's not that I'm a gullible person. I'm aware that celebrities have entire teams of trainers, dermatologists, and stylists, but I still think if I can copy just some of their tricks then I, too, can have abs of steel, wake up with perfectly tousled hair, and sport flawless skin.
But, as you can probably guess, that never actually happens. Instead, I look exactly the same, just with a few less dollars in my wallet.
Well, no more! I asked experts to bust some of the beauty lies that Hollywood's biggest A-listers tell. Guess what, Reese, I'm onto you …
Journalists are guilty of spreading this particular rumor even more than celebrities. Think of the number of magazine cover stories that start with the line, "She was completely makeup-free and looked gorgeous." The likely truth, however, is that the star was wearing very strategic makeup. "It takes a lot of time and attention to get the 'no makeup' look," says Suki Kramer, founder of natural skin care line, Suki.
"It actually takes more time to look like you're not wearing any than to get the glam look." After all, how many women -- beautiful celebrity or not -- would show up to an important interview completely barefaced? When Lady Gaga appeared on the October 2011 cover of "Harper's Bazaar" without makeup, she explained in the interview that it's not as simple as washing your face and posing for a picture. "There's this idea that it's all natural, but everything's been staged to look natural," said Gaga. "Don't you think that what's on the cover of a magazine is quite artificial?" At least she's willing to admit it.
Most celebrities don't flat-out deny wearing extensions, so this one is more like a lie by omission. But it's important to acknowledge that the looks we see on the red carpet are the result of hours of professional styling and countless products, hairpieces, and enhancements. When it comes to hair growth -- which scientists estimate at half an inch per month -- celebrities appear to be setting records. Remember when Katie Holmes got tired of her bob haircut? It transitioned from short to super-long in a matter of weeks, not years. Since that's pretty much impossible, she was almost certainly wearing extensions to add the extra inches.
The postpartum bounce-back rate among celebs is incredibly fast, with models like Gisele and Heidi Klum winning the race. Six weeks after giving birth to her son, Benjamin, Gisele was back to pre-baby shape, telling "Vogue" that she hadn't exercised much and saying, "I think it was muscle memory." When asked what a "normal" amount of time to get back to your pre-baby figure would be, Erika Schwartz, MD, an expert in hormone therapy, starts with the ideal scenario: "Without complications during birth, if a woman follows a healthy diet, increases sleep to 8 hours a night, and gets exercise three to five times a week while breast feeding for an average of three months," she says, "it takes about eight months to a year." She also warns that if you don't take care of yourself, you may never get back into shape. While Gisele may have bounced back into shape, many celebs turn to extreme workouts. Kate Hudson reportedly exercised three hours a day after her first baby, and Halle Berry worked with trainer Ramona Braganza, using the 321 Baby Bulge Be Gone method and putting in at least an hour a day.
Alicia Silverstone is just one of many enthusiastic vegans in Hollywood, and she credits her diet for her appearance. But swapping turkey for tofu isn't necessarily the healthiest route for you. "You need to listen to your body," says Frank Lipman, MD, founder of Eleven-Eleven Wellness Center in NYC. "Some people do really well on a vegetarian diet, but some people just aren't meant to be vegetarians. If you're not feeling vital every morning -- your skin should look good, you shouldn't have bloating and fatigue -- then whatever diet you're on is probably not for you."
Beyoncé famously used the Master Cleanse to drop 20 pounds before filming "Dreamgirls." "I lived on water, cayenne pepper, and maple syrup for 14 days," she said. "It was tough; everyone was eating and I was dying." Gwyneth Paltrow and Naomi Watts have both professed their love for Organic Avenue juices. But it's important to know that not all juices are created equal. "Juicing is a great way to get nutrients into your body -- but drink green juices," Lipman says. "A lot of the juices are too sugary." Fruit-based juices can actually cause you to gain pounds, and Beyoncé's Master Cleanse juice had hardly any nutrients at all -- not exactly a healthy way to lose weight.
Demi Moore told David Letterman in 2008: "I was in Austria doing a cleanse and part of the treatment was leech therapy. These aren't just swamp leeches though -- we are talking about highly trained medical leeches." She went on to say how fantastic she felt, explaining that the leeches had "cleaned her blood." But if you're looking for a new, effective way to cleanse, this probably isn't it. "It's an old Asian remedy, and it's not really detoxing," says Lipman. "It may work on a small part of the detox system, but you need to support the liver and the gut for a true detox." Lipman advocates the Be Well Cleanse, a combination of supplements and probiotic shakes that also incorporates two small meals a day, and ditching the water parasites.
Heather Graham recently told "People" that she needs 11 to 12 hours of sleep every night to look her best. While most doctors agree that a good night's sleep is necessary for your health, there's no "more is always better" rule. "Everyone needs different amounts of sleep," says Lipman. "Some people need six hours, some people need eight hours -- 12 hours is a little much. Usually between six and nine is right." A study conducted by the Sleep, Health, and Society program at the University of Warwick -- which analyzed data on 1.5 million people -- confirmed that both too little and too much sleep can be harmful, and even lead to premature death.