A stay-at-home mom's decade dropping makeover

Elisabeth, 42, Stay-at-home mom
Aging Culprit: Shapeless, severe haircut

How layers can save the day: Sideswept layers on a high forehead like Elisabeth's transform a face, making features look less severe. Hairstylist Ted Gibson refined Elisabeth's harsh blunt cut, giving her a shorter, graduated bob that accentuates her long neck and beautiful jawline.

Why highlights might be a good idea when covering gray: Jason Backe at the Ted Gibson Salon in New York City gave Elisabeth a richer version of her natural brown hair color to eliminate the gray. To ensure that the darker color wasn't too harsh against her angular features, and to warm her pale skin tone, he added chestnut highlights.

One makeup technique that's a good idea to avoid: Working a blush brush along your cheekbones accentuates the hollows of the cheeks, which already become more pronounced as we get older. Makeup artist Sonia Kashuk dabbed a cream blush only on the apples of Elisabeth's cheeks, rounding them out and giving her a rosy glow.

Why Sonia loves cream blushes: Powder blushes can sit on top of the skin, drawing attention to fine lines. But creamy formulas seem to melt into the skin, leaving a youthful, dewy finish.

Elisabeth's revelation: "I had no time to fuss with my hair. No time. But now I see why I should make some time."
A film editor takes years off her looks with hair and makeup.

Jane, 54, film editor
Aging Culprit: Dull complexion, coarse, gray hair

Why Ted decided on a shoulder-length cut: So he could use long layers to take the bulk out of Jane's thick hair for a lighter silhouette. To create a softer look, Jason chose to cover the harsh gray that was sucking color from Jane's face. Because he thought going too dark would have a similar effect, he picked a medium brown shade and added golden highlights.

Why covering gray makes hair shinier: Gray hair has a thicker cuticle, so it looks rougher; coating it with dye makes each strand smoother and more light reflective.

Sonia's trick for camouflaging redness: A sheer, yellow-toned foundation was perfect for counteracting the ruddiness of Jane's complexion. Sonia applied it only where necessary—over her cheeks and around her nose. As long as you find the right shade, Sonia says, foundation can be used as a spot treatment. A pink-orange blush brought dimension back to Jane's cheeks, and a peach lip gloss added polish to the look.

Jane's revelation: "I thought I wasn't attached to anything having to do with beauty. I realize now how deeply attached I was. And about my glasses—I'm going to get contacts this weekend."
A daycare center owner's beauty makeover to look younger.

Noelle Alfonso, 37, daycare center owner
Aging Culprits: Darkness around her eyes; shapeless hair

Why Ted cut Noelle's hair: He cropped her heavy mass of curls to open up her face and reveal her striking neck and cheekbones.

The danger in a short cut: If it's too short, there's the unfortunate possibility of emulating your grandmother's conservative wash-and-set style.

…and how Ted avoided it: By giving Noelle bangs on one side and maintaining some length around the ears and in back, Ted kept this look playful and soft. Jason warmed up Noelle's base color to a chocolate brown to cover the gray, and wove in caramel highlights to add dimension to her curls.

The trick to disguising very dark undereye circles: Sonia minimized the shadows by blending a concentrated (but still creamy, to avoid cracking or caking) concealer under Noelle's eyes and on her lids. The makeup on the rest of Noelle's face was also chosen to offset those shadows. Sonia used only very light, fresh pinks and beiges—a pink blush, pale rosy gloss, beige eyeshadows—not a single dark color.

Noelle's revelation: "Yes! Yes! I have potential!"
A 20-something gets back her glow and sexy hair.

Lauretta, 26, policy analyst
Aging Culprits: Drab, too-short hair; droopy, tired-looking eyes

Why her bob wasn't working: With relaxed hair like Lauretta's, a simple bob can be lank and conservative. Ted and his team wove in extensions that gave her extra length and a more youthful—yet polished—look.

What else besides color can brighten hair: A gloss, which contains some pigment, evened Lauretta's growing-out color and left her hair super shiny.

Why Lauretta's eyes looked tired: Her very fine lashes and brows, Sonia pointed out, made Lauretta's beautiful eyes the last thing you noticed about her and gave her an exhausted look.

…and how Sonia woke them up: She lined Lauretta's top and bottom lids with a dark brown pencil, swinging it up a bit at the outer corner of her upper lash line to give her eye shape a slight upward tilt. She then curled Lauretta's lashes and applied two coats of black mascara, making her look more wide-eyed. A creamy foundation and a tawny blush gave Lauretta's complexion a glow. Her lips have a gorgeous natural color, so Sonia applied only a neutral gloss.

Lauretta's revelation: "I work with people who are older than I am, and I was trying to fit in. I can still fit in…but I see that I can also stand out!"
A mom gets a makeover for dry skin and faded complexion.

Sharon Cunningham, 44, mother of five and part-time waitress
Aging Culprits: Gray roots; faded complexion; thin, dry skin

How a great haircut can work like a facelift: Sharon's triangle-shaped cut was dragging down her face, so Ted took off the heaviness on the bottom and cut layers in front to frame her features. Bangs are not only youthful but also camouflage wrinkles. A few shorter layers on top added volume at the crown, which draws attention upward and away from any sagging.

Why richer haircolor has a similar effect: Sharon's old dyed-blonde color was ashy and made her skin look tired and sallow, so Jason added richer, gold tones to give her haircolor depth and brighten her complexion.

What's just as aging as dark circles: The redness around Sharon's eyes. Dark circles may be more common, but Sonia pointed out that pink around the eyes can make you look tired, too. She neutralized Sharon's pink tones with a green-tinged concealer (yellow concealer also works) in the corners of Sharon's eyes and just under the lower lids. Foundation neutralized the sallowness and ruddiness that made Sharon's skin look dull and rough.

How the right makeup colors can soften features: Sonia used only neutral browns and champagnes on Sharon's lids to enliven her blue eyes; black or deep brown would look severe against her light coloring. A touch of gold shimmer on her browbone added light and lifted her lids. Baby pink gloss and a tawny-colored cream blush kept the look delicate and natural.

Sharon's revelation: "I had neglected myself; I'd given myself over to my kids. And I so much wanted this help. My family barely recognized me. Look! I've got back my smile."