Vicki Gunvalson

Vicki Gunvalson, 46
Vicki, who runs a successful insurance business, works on her laptop whenever she has both hands free during the photo shoot. She knows what she likes and is very definite about it. Although she's game for her transformation, she wants more makeup ("I'm so excited I'm getting lip pencil!"). For everyday makeup, she wears mineral foundation, blush, eyeliner on top and lower lids, lots of black mascara, lip liner, and lipstick.

The hair: "Vicki's hair has been overlayered, so it's too short on the crown, which makes it look thin all over," says Paves. It's also very processed, so it's hard to style. Paves uses several hairpieces to add length at the top of Vicki's hair, while taking off about 6 inches from the bottom. Her haircolor is extremely yellow, so Paves uses hair with more beige, which still has texture and richness and warms up her complexion.

The makeup: Transformed, Vicki wears a matte foundation because she tends to get shiny, and going with a matte finish gives her a polished, professional look. She also wears a nude-pink blush, a dark mauve shadow on her lids, and a chocolate brown liner smudged at the lashline, concentrated on the outer corners to make her eyes look more open. A taupe shadow in the crease gives her some contour without any hard lines. Her nails are painted scarlet.

The clothes: Vicki is too blonde and too tan to wear pastels, says Adam; they make her look girly and unsophisticated. She's got terrific, long legs, which she should show off, so he gives her a pencil skirt to the knee, with dark hose and a matching heel to continue the line of her leg. The raised waistband accentuates her waist, and the open neckline with a soft bow lengthens her torso. She looks incredibly sexy and professional at the same time. Vicki has a few qualms about the dark hair and polish. "I think they add 10 years to my looks," she says, a little morosely. "I just want to get back to my California style quickly." But she loves her new clothes. "They remind me of my native Chicago," she says. "Though I would have liked to wear them with my pink and white nails."

Jacket, Narciso Rodriguez. Blouse, Max Mara. Skirt, Bisou Bisou. Necklace, M.C.L. by Matthew Campbell Laurenza. Watch and ring, Cartier. Tights, Wolford. Shoes, Gætano Perrone for Te Casan.
Lauri Waring

Lauri Waring, 47
Recently married ("For the third time!"), Lauri now oversees a family of her own three children and the four that her new husband, George, brought into the marriage. Still, she makes time for her daily beauty routine. She arrives at the shoot wearing no makeup ("Well, except for false eyelashes; I feel so bare!"), but she typically wears foundation, mascara, eyeliner, and lip gloss. All her life, she says, she has struggled with her flat hair; once she figured out a way to wear it ("about 40 years ago"), she stuck with it. "I'm such a blondaholic," she says.

The hair: "I want to keep the bombshell look that Lauri likes; it suits her," says Paves. "But instead of set, untouchable hair, I'm giving her a looser, fuller style." Paves uses hairpieces to give Lauri an underlayer of darker color ("It makes thin hair look a lot bulkier") and shorten it by 8 to 10 inches. Then he wraps sections of her hair around a wide-barrel hot iron to give her big, soft waves. "Lauri still looks sexy, and now her hair is thick and full of dimension," says Paves. All-one-color hair tends to look flat; adding highlights or lowlights can add dimension instantly.

The makeup: For her urban look, Lauri wears a sheer foundation, sand shadow on her lids, with chocolate brown in the crease and brown liner on the outer lashline, a sweep of taupe shadow under her eyes, and a couple of coats of black mascara. She likes to wear a lot of shine with shadow and gloss, but a matte makeup palette gives a classic feeling to her all-American beauty.

The clothes: Lauri still dresses the way she did when she was 20, says Adam. She chooses tops with little if any support in bright "look at me!" colors. It's easy to give her a more sophisticated look simply by shifting her color palette to neutrals. In a base of winter whites—from turtleneck to wide-leg trousers—and a casual caramel coat, Lauri looks more polished. Because the neutral theme is carried through from top to bottom, her long, lean silhouette is even more striking. As for her transformation: "I was definitely out of my comfort zone, but it was fun to experiment," she says.

Coat, AK Anne Klein. Turtleneck, The Limited. Pants, Alice + Olivia. Scarf, Vera. Gloves, Kate Spade. Clutch, Ralph Lauren Collection. Belt, Modus Rio by Basically Brazil. Shoes, Christian Louboutin.
Gretchen Rossi

Gretchen Rossi, 30
I sit near Gretchen while she sprays her hair for her "before" photo. For 20 minutes I ask her questions while she directs a cloud of sticky vapor in a wide wreath around her head. "Gosh," I wheeze, "you don't use this much spray every day, do you?" "Yes," Gretchen says, still going at it. She likes her hair sexy, sassy, big. It takes her an hour and a half to style it every morning. ("Do you work?" I feel compelled to ask. Short answer: No.) Without makeup, Gretchen is stunning. But she always wears an arsenal: foundation, blush, powder, eyeshadow, brow pencil, false lashes, lip liner, lipstick, and lip gloss.

The hair: "A ginger haircolor will make Gretchen's light blue eyes really pop," says Paves. She likes her side bang, which Paves keeps on the shaggy bob he cuts for her on one of his wigs. The all-one-color blonde of her own hair washes out her complexion, he says, but the deeper, rich color of her bob brings out her fair skin in vivid contrast.

The makeup: For Gretchen's urban look, she wears a sheer, matte foundation that matches her skin tone, black eyeliner, black mascara, a taupe cream shadow from the lashline to the brow bone and a little taupe powder on her brows, a pink cream blush, and a nude gloss on her lips. Keeping makeup colors light and sheer accentuates Gretchen's natural radiance. Her nails are painted pale pink.

The clothes: With her supermodel figure, Gretchen is a perfect clothes hanger, says Adam. But dressing very young makes her look older than she is. "There's nothing sexier and more timeless than a waist-cinched, well-fitted trench coat," says Adam. "And navy, surprisingly, can be a very sexy color when it's paired with bold statement jewelry." The shine from the pearls and chain brightens Gretchen's face; the hat is sassy and fun, and gives her a bit of panache and intrigue. "I want to be a good sport," she says of her transformation, "but I feel like a granny wearing nylons. And I also feel boyish, too, because of the short hair. Oh, anyway, it's fun."

Trench, Burberry London. Turtleneck and pants, Ralph Lauren Collection. Hat, Granville Millinery Company. Necklace, Napier. Bracelets, Fallon.
Tamra Barney

Tamra Barney, 40
Tamra is the mother of four, ranging from a toddler to a 21-year-old, though she doesn't look much older herself. She loves her O.C. style. "When I was in New York City once," she tells me, "I kept asking, 'Why don't the women wear any makeup?'" Tamra usually wears foundation, blush, a smoky eye with lots of shadow, several coats of black mascara, lipliner, and gloss. She thinks the urban look doesn't suit her. "This feels like Halloween," she says. "I look like a librarian." I make some noises expressing disbelief. "No, really," she says, "I like more of a sexpot style. I've always been a sexpot."

The hair: "Tamra has a gorgeous, strong jawline and high cheekbones, so I'll use my hairpieces to give her a shorter cut, angled around her face, accentuating her bone structure," says Paves. "Her haircolor is too beige, which makes it blend with her skin tone, fading her complexion." Paves deepens Tamra's color with a honey reddish tint, takes 6 inches off the length, and blows it out straight, rolling the ends under just a little. A whisper of richer color, especially along the hairline, gives Tamra's features even more definition.

The makeup: For her urban look, Tamra wears a sheer foundation to allow her creamy complexion to show through; neutral cream eyeshadow to bring out her deep-set, dark, chocolate brown eyes; black mascara; a soft pink cream blush; and a beigy pink lipstick topped with a clear gloss. Before, what you noticed about Tamra first was her makeup; now you notice her delicate features.

The clothes: Tamra, petite and curvy, never met a print she didn't like, says Adam. But because prints can be overwhelming on a small woman like Tamra, less is more; wearing a solid color from top to bottom is most streamlining, and makes a person appear taller. "Because Tamra likes to look sexy, I want to show her that she can still be sexy while being less exposed," says Adam. This sheer, dusty violet blouse drapes in a way that lets the lines of Tamra's body show through, and the color contrasts beautifully with her dark eyes.

Blouse, Alberta Ferretti. Earrings, Sasha Primak. Ring, House of Lavande Vintage.
Jeana Keough

Jeana Keough, 52
Jeana is a former Playboy model, a separated mother of three, and the most zaftig of the housewives. And by zaftig I only mean not skinny. She has a touch of the Earth Mother about her and is generous with advice. "Why don't you wear a little eye makeup?" she suggests to me as we wait for a shot to be set up. Jeana typically doesn't leave the house without a full-coverage foundation, eyeliner, shadow, mascara, blush, lip pencil, and a matte lipstick. She loves the old-world movie star look Paves gives her. But she isn't sure about losing her blonde streaks. "When you're blonde, you get more attention," she says wistfully, being the only brunette in the group.

The hair: "The ashy streaks in Jeana's hair aren't doing anything for her complexion," Paves says. Using his hairpieces, he gives Jeana a rich chestnut haircolor with caramel highlights, which instantly brightens her skin and makes her very blue eyes more vivid. Though Jeana is used to wearing extensions to add length and fullness, Paves cuts the hair to her shoulders and layers it around her face. "The shorter length with a side bang is more chic than long and straight," he says.

The makeup: For her transformation, Jeana wears a sheer foundation, which looks polished but not heavy; a rose powder blush; mauve shadow on her lids; brown liner smudged along the lashline; black mascara; and a neutral mauve lipstick. Her nails are rounded to a more natural shape and painted a deep plum.

The clothes: Jeana loves colors and prints, and showing off her body; the biggest challenge for a large-busted woman is how to look tastefully sexy, playing up her assets without letting them take over. (An underwire bra with lots of support works better to slim a silhouette than a push-up bra.) This two-button jacket, fitted at the rib cage, elongates Jeana's torso; the strong shoulder and fitted sleeves draw attention away from her chest. The jacket's tailoring highlights Jeana's curves—it's sexy but understated. Checking out her new cosmopolitan self, Jeana says, "I think it's really hot."

Blazer, Yves Saint Laurent. Blouse, Luciano Barbera. Pants, Lauren by Ralph Lauren. Necklace, Lanvin. Scarf, Banana Republic. Bracelet, Jarin Kasi for Jennifer Miller. Ring, David Yurman. Clutch, Tod's.

— Valerie Monroe

Now that you've seen the transformations, go behind the scenes with the stars and see O's beauty director Val Monroe get her own Orange County makeover!