In (Beauty) Treatment
Her Backstory: Lauren, 26, started using Sun-In in junior high, moved on to salon highlights at 16, and was a full-on platinum blonde by 20. When we met her, she had graduated to lightening her hair herself, mixing peroxide and bleach at home. "I've always been obsessed with blonde hair, the whole Marilyn Monroe look," says Lauren, who spends much of her time in Los Angeles, surrounded by other platinum blondes. "Over the years, my hair's gotten lighter and lighter...and lighter." The prospect of going darker is terrifying. "My biggest fear about making a change is that I'll look plain, that I won't be noticed," she says. "When you're really, really blonde, you get a lot of attention. It's not always the right kind—but it's attention."
The Beauty Counsel: "Overbleached hair is incredibly damaged, and must be eased toward a more natural color," says colorist Rick Wellman. "If you just put a dark dye over the blonde, the result will be moldy green." So he added golden tones before weaving in brunette pieces. If you're coloring at home, choose low-peroxide or no-peroxide formulas, like Clairol Natural Instincts; look for golden and apricot shades and avoid anything that says "ash." With more depth to the color, Lauren's hair instantly looked much thicker; hairstylist Patrick Melville also trimmed away her frazzled ends.
Lauren's Reaction: "I never imagined what an immediate and positive impact I would feel from this change. A few days after I got my new color, I landed my first role in a major feature film—and the actress I beat out was a platinum blonde! I realize what a stereotype I had been playing into before. Now I actually feel sexier—like people are looking at me, not my hair."
Orange and pink sapphire bangles, Daniel K; 888-841-7676. Gold bangles, Mimi So; 212-300-8655. Ring, Sara Weinstock; 412-687-7600.
Her Backstory: Even Leslie's most streamlined makeup routine takes 20 minutes, "but sometimes I spend a full hour on weekends," she says. "And I never leave home without my supplies." She usually gives the most attention to her eyes, often rimming them in heavily pigmented blues and greens. "I love color, and it helps put the focus on my eyes, which I think are my best feature," explains Leslie, 43. But her makeup routine is more than just an aesthetic spotlight. It's a spirit lifter. "In my job, I follow strict guidelines all day, but I can be creative with my makeup in the morning," she says. "Without it, I feel like something's missing. It really does affect my mood."
The Beauty Counsel: "Leslie gets great pleasure from makeup, so I don't want to take that from her," says makeup artist Sandy Linter. "She can still use a variety of products, but in a more subtle way." After brushing a beige shadow over Leslie's lids, Linter blended a charcoal one into the creases of her gorgeous deep-set eyes. With black liner on the upper and lower lashlines and two coats of mascara, Leslie's eyes remained a major focal point. Linter used a light foundation (Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer in #16) to even out Leslie's skin tone and dotted a cream blush (Lancôme Color Design Blush in Chic Cassis) on the apples of her cheeks. A sheer brown-berry lip gloss completed the understated, but no less stunning, look.
Leslie's Reaction: "After Sandy finished, my eyes stood out even more than before—with so much less makeup. I realize now how much I was overdoing it. I still love color—I picked up a new sea-foam green shadow the other day—but I'm using it with a much lighter touch. It doesn't look as dramatic—but turns out it's just as much fun."
Dress, Tadashi; $348; TadashiCollection.com for stores. Earrings, Jennifer Miller; $150; 212-734-8199
Her Backstory: Several times a week, Jaclyn, 22, drives to a tanning salon, strips down, and lies on a bed lined with 100-watt UV bulbs for 15 minutes. It's a routine she's been loyal to since her senior year in high school. "I hate being pale," she says. "It makes me feel ghostly and sick. I look healthier with a tan." But what about the potential effects on her skin—the age spots, the wrinkles, the cancer? "By the time I have to worry about that, they'll have something to fix it."
The Beauty Counsel: Jaclyn can turn to self-tanners to get the complexion she craves; they're cheaper and easier than ever to use. She can also enhance a sun-kissed look with makeup, applying a tinted moisturizer with golden undertones (like Lancôme Bienfait Multi-Vital Teinté in Sand) and blending bronzer along her cheekbones and the outer edges of her face. Linter also used charcoal eyeliner and a soft lavender shadow to make Jaclyn's beautiful green eyes—and her skin—glow.
Jaclyn's Reaction: "I'm not ready to stop tanning completely, but Dr. Wechsler's advice did make me seriously consider cutting back. And I loved everything that Sandy showed me—I never thought I could look so healthy and glowing without a tan."
Dress, Notte by Marchesa; $1,155; Neiman Marcus. Earrings, Ippolita; $1,295; Ippolita.com
Her Backstory: Alexandra, 28, had not so much as snipped a split end since 2006. She became seduced by the versatility of her long hair—pulling it back or letting it air-dry into smooth waves—and she felt that it was her defining feature. "I like to look distinct, and my long hair is definitely dramatic," says Alexandra. "It's comforting, too. I can cover my body with it. In the summer, I literally use it as protection—spreading it over my arms to block my fair skin from the sun."
The Beauty Counsel: Melville braided Alexandra's hair before cutting it so she could donate the 12 inches to Locks of Love (for more information, go to LocksofLove.org). Then he set to work fine-tuning her new long bob. "An A-length silhouette—a bit longer in the front than the back—will help bring out the natural wave in Alexandra's hair," explains Melville. And while the new cut certainly doesn't provide the same cape effect as her old style, the layers around her face allow her to hide a little if she needs to. The final look is proof that a shorter cut can still be dramatic—and inspire positive attention.
Alexandra's Reaction: "I love my new cut! I was so afraid about losing versatility, but I can still wear my hair curly, and even pull it back on top. And I'm ready to buy some new clothes to go with my new hair. I've had a very relaxed, bohemian style these past few years, but now I'm attracted to styles that are more colorful and a little less modest. I don't feel like hiding as much as I used to."
Dress, Alberto Makali; $630; eDressMe.com. Ring, Marcia Moran; $138; Shop-MarciaMoran.com.
Her Backstory: A single mother of 10-month-old twins who often works a 60-hour week, Karen, 41, doesn’t need to think long when asked why she rarely puts on makeup: "No time." And even when she can find a moment, she's too overwhelmed to focus on the task at hand. Having decided to apply some eye makeup at a stoplight during a recent morning commute, "hours later a colleague commented on the 'interesting' look I was trying—I'd only done one eye before the light turned green," she says, "and never finished the job." But there's another reason eyeliner and mascara are no longer part of her life. Karen feels less feminine since her daughters' arrival. "I never expected this," she says. "I thought giving birth was the most feminine thing you can do." But her new identity as a mother has overshadowed not only her old morning makeup routine, but her femininity, too.
The Beauty Counsel: "With her beautiful wide set eyes and high cheekbones, it won't take much makeup for Karen to look polished," says Sandy, who formulated a pared-down, four-step plan: 1. sheer foundation, 2. black eyeliner pencil (along the upper lashlines), 3. taupe eye shadow (over the lids), and 4. mascara. (For her after shot, she added a couple of extras: blush on the apples of her cheeks and a rosy lip gloss.) And when Karen only has time to apply one thing? "Eyeliner," says Sandy definitively. "Like many overworked women, Karen usually reaches for concealer first, but focusing on what you perceive to be wrong—like dark circles—often highlights it; play up something else and what you were trying to hide suddenly disappears."
Karen's Reaction: "From the moment I left the shoot I could see that people were noticing me—I'd almost forgotten what that's like. It feels good! Now I'm taking five minutes every morning to apply a light foundation, eyeliner, and mascara. And I've ditched the concealer completely. I'm even bringing a little bag of makeup to work with me so I can touch up in the afternoon." Dress, Jovani; $900; eDressMe.com. Earrings, Kendra Scott for Jennifer Miller; $95; 212-734-8199.
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