"W" editor Jamie Rosen sought out the four groomers at the top of their field, all striking thirtysomethings who work with some of the world's most handsome faces. Sorry, did you just bite your knuckles with envy?
Rosen first met Diana Schmidtke, who was promoting her career guide, "Shortcuts." "I was fascinated by what she did," Rosen told StyleList. "It's something people don't know about. She mentioned that there is this very small group of women at the top of their field."
When she cracked the club, Rosen found women with versatile professional chops, since actors generally use one groomer top to toe, while actresses command teams of several hair and makeup specialists.
The groomers also share an easygoing, guy's-girl approach; Schmidtke describes herself as a "wing girl." Groomer Natalia Bruschi appreciates that her male clients are more relaxed than female stars. "They're not as critical of themselves," she explained to StyleList. "They tend to joke around a lot."
Excellence in this field, though, comes by flying under the radar. Ideally, the primped and polished actors look completely natural on camera.
"[The groomers] are very good at adapting to situations," Rosen explained to StyleList. "If [clients are] going on TV, they'll go heavier on the powder. If it's for a red carpet with a lot of flashbulbs, they'll go heavier on the bronzer." Everything must be pulled off with a subtle, undetectable touch.
What happens when the groomers get hit with that most sensitive question, "am I losing my hair?" When Schmidtke gets asked, she keeps her reply calm and neutral. She revealed to StyleList, "I just say in a professional tone, 'I'll send you some information on it and we can discuss it further, but you need to choose what's right for you.'" Schmidtke keeps a list on non-surgical options on hand... and might resort to a few dashes of hair powder to give the illusion of fuller locks.
There is one unfortunate downside to the job: the women actually become immune to those gorgeous faces. Even Schmidtke, who worked with George Clooney, is impervious to the stars' twinkling eyes and melting grins.
We pulled together the pros' top grooming tips -- including some that translate for women!
And if you're looking for more guy-makeover inspiration, you can see Schmidtke work her magic on The Oprah Show's next "Make Over My Man!" episode, set to air in May.
5 Groomer's Tips Borrowed for Women
1. Change your hair part for a special event. For this year's Oscars, Bruschi gave Ryan Reynolds a fresh look by parting his hair to one side, instead of his usual up-and-tousle. Rosen took note: "For a woman it can make a big difference too. It's a great way of switching things up."
2. Grab the guy's shaving cream. Bruschi believes "women don't usually use shaving cream but it does leave the skin softer." She also recommends Tend Skin to soothe ingrown hairs or irritation from shaving.
3. Face up to stray hairs. Schmidtke cuts to the chase: "guys have to be very wary of the ear hair. All of a sudden, they turn 30 or 40 and it's there. But women will get a few hairs around their lips or chin so start taking a close look in the mirror." It's one of the unavoidable changes of aging but easily fixed with a good pair of tweezers.
4. Get a haircut to make your hair look thicker. Both men and women are sometimes guilty of growing hair long in a bid for volume. In fact, counsels Schmidtke, you should try cutting your hair and giving it blunt ends. "Cutting straight across (no texturizing scissors!) will help hair appear thicker."
5. Know when to say "when." Since groomers work hard to make their clients look effortlessly great, they're keenly aware of overdone makeup. Schmidtke pays close attention to skin texture. "If you take it all away, it looks artificial," she stresses. "Crow's feet are my favorite wrinkles. They man up a guy but they look good on women too!"
1. De-puff like Paul Newman. One of Bruschi's clients taught her a full-throttle trick and credited it to Newman. When faced with a puffy, out-all-night kisser, she fills a sink with ice cubes and water, then has her client dunk his head.
2. Tackle the T-zone. Many guys shy away from putting lotions on their face but an anti-shine cream makes a big difference. These are some of the most-used tools in the groomers' kits. Lines such as Korres and Kiehl's have special formulations for men.
3. Real men get in the pedicure chair. If a man's going to wear open-toed shoes or flip-flops, then it's his civic duty to have clean, smooth feet and toenails. "I get really grossed out when I see a guy wearing sandals and his toes are dirty. If you're a woman, you never want to go on a date with that guy," said Bruschi. "What's so difficult about it? I've seen men get a manicure or pedicure on set and at first they're embarrassed, but then they love it."
4. Pay attention to the back of your hair. Just because you can't see it doesn't mean the rest of us can't. Schmidtke reminds guys to apply product all the way through their hair, not just at the front. Bruschi urges men to trim the back of their hair between cuts. "A lot of guys don't get their hair cut that often and the hair in the back gets really long," she observed. "It's like overgrown weeds -- get it trimmed."
5. Reassess your facial hair. If you've had a certain facial-hair style for years, think hard about whether it's your best look. "Here's the message I'd give to the world of men: get rid of the soul patch!" exclaimed Schmidtke.