For as long as there have been beauty treatments, there has been a stigma attached to getting them. Even very common beauty practices like dyeing one's hair were supposed to be kept a secret. Remember Clairol's famous hair-color catchphrase? "Does she or doesn't she? Only her hairdresser knows for sure."
As medical cosmetic treatments become both more advanced and more accessible, a growing number of patients have become open about their choices. And although there's arguably still a stigma associated with these procedures, celebrities like Christie Brinkley and Courteney Cox are setting an admirable trend of talking candidly about these once-taboo treatments, and the latest star to open up is Will & Grace's Debra Messing.
"Whether or not someone else wants to judge me because I want to go into a dermatologist's office for an hour and have fat frozen off of my body and three months later I can feel a little bit better in a bathing suit — I don't care," Debra told GoodHousekeeping.com. "I don't care about that judgment."
She's talking about CoolSculpting, an FDA-cleared device that uses controlled cooling to eliminate fat in areas where it can be particularly resistant to diet and exercise, like the abdomen, upper arms and inner thighs. During the nonsurgical procedure — the technical term is cryolipolysis — the fat cells of the selected area are crystallized, and within a few weeks, those cells die; new ones can't come back in their place. In other words, CoolSculpting essentially promises to permanently freeze away stubborn fat. (Just remember — if you're considering it for yourself, talk to a board-certified dermatologist or plastic surgeon to learn more and make an informed decision.)
Debra, who became CoolSculpting's brand ambassador after trying it for the first time earlier this year, is especially impressed with what it's done for her belly fat.
"I gave birth. I had a little pouch on my stomach that wouldn't go away. We have hormones. Things happen. Things move," Debra says. "And I'm lazy! I don't wanna do sit-ups for four hours a day. I'm a single mom and I work full-time."
She's not ashamed to admit that she has undergone this procedure, and furthermore, she wishes more people — especially celebrities — would do the same.
"It's incredibly important to be open about doing things to improve how you feel about yourself. The myth that there are people walking around Hollywood who were born perfect and age perfectly is very dangerous, especially for young girls," Debra says. "I'm not embarrassed at all."
She also opened up about the wild way she went from being a brunette to having the iconic auburn hair for which she's so well known.
"I went off to do the first movie I'd ever done, A Walk in the Clouds," she says, recalling that they originally wanted her to wear a blonde wig but settled on making her a redhead.
"But they didn't want to pay for it. So instead of sending me to a fancy salon to have it done, they had the male director's colorist take me into a Motel 7 and stick my head in the bathtub, and she just put bleach on it," Debra remembers. "The top half of my head was one color and the back half was another. And then she proceeded to alternate and dye different sections — it was bleached 13 times."
At this point, she was a strawberry blonde, and the colorist was crying.
"Then she just put on this crazy neon Titian red and said, 'That's all I can do,'" Debra recalls. But as traumatic as the experience sounds, it changed her life for the better.
"I had been auditioning for a year as a brunette and all of a sudden, when I turned red, I started getting jobs. And that's when I said, 'I'm gonna stay a redhead.'"
In fact, it was around that time that she landed none other than a Clairol hair color commercial.
So, does she or doesn't she? Debra Messing does — color her hair and get cosmetic procedures — and she wants the world to know.