o magazine makeovers

Photo: Sergio Kurhatec

Cynthia Joy Dixon
In 2010, Cynthia's coarse salt-and-pepper hair was transformed into a sleek, light brown bob with the help of a dye job, a shoulder-grazing cut, and a flatiron. Eyebrow shaping and elegant makeup (including a tomato-red lipstick and lots of black mascara) added polish. A flattering all-white top-and-pants ensemble gave her a long-and-lean look.

What worked... "I loved the haircolor and feeling gorgeous. The whole pampering experience was a first for me."

What didn't... "Every time I had my hair dyed it came out a slightly different color. And though the photo in the magazine was beautiful, it didn't look like me. I want to be able to recognize myself!"

How life intervened... "Keeping up my new look was too hard. So I decided to embrace my natural hair texture and color."

What she needs now... Advice about how to play up her curls and her gray.

And how she got it... Starting about an inch from Cynthia's roots, hairstylist Ken Paves painted honey highlights and dark golden lowlights for a warm, textured calico effect. He touched up her natural curls with a ¾-inch-barrel curling iron. Makeup artist Andrew Sotomayor emphasized Cynthia's eyes with black gel liner, a dark bronze eyeshadow all over her lids, and a matte black shadow pressed delicately over that. He kept the rest of her face understated, finishing with a nude, supermoisturizing lip gloss.

The Fashion

A cobalt wrap dress flatters Cynthia's curves, and the knee length gives her the coverage she prefers. A chunky necklace and heels add subdued shine. (Dress, Rickie Freeman for Teri Jon, $450. Necklace, Gerard Yosca. Shoes, Rupert Sanderson.)
o magazine makeovers

Photo: Sergio Kurhatec

Monica Greenawalt
In 2011, we cut Monica's moussed and gelled mullet into a sophisticated crop and brought her overprocessed hair back to the strawberry-blonde shade she had as a child. Peach blush and neutral lips completed the natural look. A modern teal dress replaced the shoulder-padded Melanie Griffith–in–Working Girl clothes she used to favor.

What worked... "The color, the cut, the style. The makeup looked natural but still enhanced my features."

What didn't... "My hair is curly, but I like to wear it straight, and I didn't have time to blow it out every day. So I give myself straightening treatments. I tried having the color replicated, but the salon wound up covering up all the highlights."

How life intervened..."After 13 years, my guy and I got engaged this past summer. I've gone back to school, so I'm currently working and a full-time student. And I have two grandchildren!"

What she needs now... A deeper haircolor to brighten her complexion and a cut with more modern proportions.

And how she got it... Paves gave Monica a richer all-over color and added back the coppery and golden highlights she had lost. He contoured the layers around her neck and jawline. To let Monica's freckles show, Sotomayor used a sheer, peachy-gold foundation. He created smoky eyes with bronze and copper shadows. Bronze lip gloss enhanced her eye-color palette.

The Fashion

The lavender shade of Monica's dress works beautifully with her new, brighter haircolor. (Dress, Lela Rose. Earrings, Sheila Fajl Designs. Bracelets, Jemma Wynne.)
o magazine makeovers

Photo: Sergio Kurhatec

Janine Okabayashi
In 2008, we deepened Janine's mousy brown hair to chestnut with caramel highlights, then cut off eight inches and added layers that enhanced her natural waves. Soft makeup and ruby lipstick played up her lovely complexion; a sparkly sweater skimmed her curves and showed off her party-ready hair.

What worked... "I started paying attention to my hair and wearing a little makeup."

What didn't... "Eventually I just didn't have the time to keep up the hairstyle. And I let the color grow out. Now I never wear more than mascara and lip gloss."

How life intervened... "Right after the makeover, I ran into my old boyfriend. I think he saw that I was making an effort with my appearance, and he liked that. We started dating again, and around two years later we married. Nine months after that, we had our first baby. Our second was born last March."

What she needs now... A wash-and-go hairstyle and a quick and easy makeup routine.

And how she got it... Paves cut five inches from Janine's hair but left it long enough for her to pull back. He enriched her natural color with an all-over gloss and gold-toned highlights. Sotomayor used a creamy, light foundation that gave Janine a dewy glow. He upgraded her beloved gloss to a candy-apple red; for nights out, he defined her eyes with black liner, smudging it a bit and adding a brown shadow for softness.

The Fashion

This formfitting dress has built-in shape wear that makes Janine look sleek and feel confident, while the hot-pink shade sets off her porcelain skin. (Dress, Nue by Shani, $320. Necklace, Anton Heunis. Rings, Sheila Fajl Designs. Shoes, Monique Lhuillier.)
o magazine makeovers

Photo: Sergio Kurhatec

Angela Butler
In 2011, a layered bob gave Angela's formerly straight dark hair swingy movement; subtle makeup—defined eyes, peachy lips and cheeks—added sophistication. Jewel-tone separates perked up her formerly conservative look, but we topped the colorful pieces with a drapey black blazer to keep the outfit work appropriate.

What worked... "I was all about neutrals, but after the makeover I switched from neutral makeup to a red lipstick. And I learned to think differently about color in my wardrobe."

What didn't... "I've decided to let my hair grow into its natural texture. And though I became more confident about wearing color, I'm still afraid to mix and match."

How life intervened... "I changed jobs; the work environment is more casual. And I travel more."

What she needs now... An updated hairstyle to accommodate her natural curls. And a refresher about playing with color and pattern in her clothes.

How she got it... Paves lightened Angela's hair to a rich sable brown. To help her see how it will look when her relaxer grows out, he washed and air-dried it and simulated her natural texture with a 3/8-inch-barrel curling iron. To keep her foundation looking natural, Sotomayor used a slightly lighter shade than Angela's skin tone under her eyes and in the center of her face, where the sun would hit. He played up her eyes with a saturated-copper cream shadow on her lids and finished her look with a berry lip gloss.

The Fashion

Angela's flirty printed dress easily goes from work to cocktails—she can just remove the sweater once she leavesthe office. (Dress, Clover Canyon, $295. Sweater, Equipment, $318. Necklace, Lulu Frost. Ring, Rachel Zoe. Shoes, Sergio Rossi.)
o magazine makeovers

Photo: Sergio Kurhatec

Judson Allardt
In 2008, we cut Judson's shoulder-length blonde hair into a glamorous bob with sideswept bangs, played up her eyes with warm beige shadow, and accented her lips with a raspberry stain. The finishing touch? A sexy low-cut silk jersey dress that was a complete 180 from her usual corporate look.

What worked... "I liked the slightly darker haircolor, and I've continued with that. Oh, and the berry lipstick. And I take care of my eyebrows."

What didn't... "The shorter hair length was hard to maintain—so I let it grow. Now I usually wear a ponytail, especially on summer weekends, when my husband and I live on our boat."

How life intervened... "In March 2012 I married the guy I was dating when I had that first makeover. He still has my first 'after' photo as his iPhone wallpaper. But he likes my hair long."

What she needs now... A stylish, low-maintenance haircut and makeup that suit her busy, often outdoorsy life.

And how she got it... Paves kept Judson's length but cut long layers of face-framing fringe for texture. Sotomayor traced a black liquid liner along Judson's upper lashline and smudged black gel liner into the roots of her lower lashes. A peach blush and a complementary peachy lip gloss look both natural and polished.

The Fashion

A cap-sleeved teal dress is professional and feminine. "Being well dressed doesn't mean you have to wear a blazer," says Judson. (Dress, Roland Mouret. Necklace, Anton Heunis.)
o magazine makeovers

Photo: Sergio Kurhatec

Angela Sherrer
In 2007, subtle layers defined Angela's formerly shapeless haircut; chestnut tones warmed up her haircolor. Eyeliner, mascara, and shadow put the focus on her eyes. Her drab uniform was tossed in favor of a fitted blazer and skirt.

What worked... "I always remember to add a pop of color because I wear a lot of black. And I carry a red lip gloss."

And keeps working... "My mom—she died in October 2012—was so proud of me after the makeover. Maintaining what I learned reinforces what she wanted for me: that I take care of myself. It's not always easy, since I've gotten married and have two young kids."

What she needs now... A quick way to refresh her hairstyle and an easy upgrade for her makeup.

And how she got it... Angela's hair tends to frizz at the root, so Paves showed her how to use a fine-tooth comb to smooth on a bit of gel at the hairline. Red gloss is Angela's signature look; Sotomayor amped it up by layering a brick red lipstick underneath.

The Fashion

Mixing patterns and textures is easy as long as there's one shade—in this case, a cheery yellow—that grounds the look. (Blazer, Club Monaco, $259. Top, Banana Republic, $80. Skirt, Banana Republic L'Wren Scott, $98. Necklace, Tory Burch. Shoes, J.Crew.)
o magazine makeovers

Photo: Sergio Kurhatec

Maria Ramos
In 2009, Maria's transformation was all about the brows: We thinned her inner brows with wax and a trim before using a blonde pencil to even them above and below the arch. Stray white hairs were disguised with a brown pencil, using feathery strokes.

What worked... "I never really thought about my brows until eyebrow expert Eliza Petrescu showed me how to shape them and fill them in with pencil. She told me to quit plucking them; I did. What a huge difference it made!"

And keeps working..."Everyone loves my brows. People are always complimenting me on them and telling me how beautiful my eyes are."

What she needs now... More defined eye makeup to take her look to the next level.

And how she got it... Sotomayor curled Maria's long lashes and applied two coats of black mascara—wiggling the wand close to the lashline for an eyeliner effect—to define and open up her large brown eyes. A creamy concealer under the eyes keeps her looking refreshed.

The Fashion

Rose gold jewelry highlights Maria's striking features. (Dress, Alice + Olivia, $550. Earrings, Robert Lee Morris. Bracelets, Leah Alexandra.)

Next: Fabulous at every age: 11 looks that never get old