Sarah, a natural blonde, came to us looking for a fresh new style for fall. "It's been three years since I've had a big hair change," she said. "I had it really short, and didn't like it." While she got highlights at beginning of the summer, they were starting to grow out, and we wanted to give her a style that would brighten and freshen up her look.
Luckily, we had the help of the masters at Salon AKS in New York City, specifically partner and stylist Susanna Romano, senior colorist Kathleen Flynn Hui, and makeup designer Sadah Saltzman.
"I absolutely love the final look!" Sarah said. "I feel like they really took into consideration the way my hair behaves and gave me a cut that plays off my natural waves. The contrast between the blonde highlights and auburn lowlights also worked really well. Afterward, my friends and family all commented on how my blue eyes seemed more blue because the color made them stand out."
After her cut and color, we steered Sarah over to the makeup station, where Sadah could work her magic and give Sarah a fall makeup look to match her lovely locks.
Vincent Longo Sun Moon Stars Eyeshadow Trio in Easy Rider
First Sadah applied primer on Sarah's face and eyelids to create a base for her makeup. She then applied Vincent Longo Sun Moon Stars Eyeshadow Trio in Easy Rider, a plum-hued eye shadow trio, to Sarah's lids, placing the lightest color all over the lid, the medium hue in the crease and on the lash line, and the darkest color on her lower lash line, keeping it away form the inner corner of her eyes and blending it outward with a slanted brush. "This is a great color for fall," Sadah said. "The plum undertone will really make her eyes pop."[Editor's note: Plum eye shadow shades are great for blue eyes!]
Bare Escentuals bareVitamins Prime Time, $21, sephora.com
Smashbox Photo Finish Lid Primer, $20, sephora.com
Vincent Longo Sun Moon Stars Eyeshadow Trio in Easy Rider, $30, drugstore.com
MAC Fast Response Eye Cream
Next, she used MAC Fast Response Eye Cream to clean up any eye shadow mess. "I like using this instead of a makeup remover," she said, "because it removes excess makeup while also depuffing and keeping skin moist. Just dab it under the eye and wipe the excess off. It's not too moisturizing, either, so it will just set into the skin."
MD Skincare All-In-One Tinted Moisturizer Sunscreen SPF 15 in Medium
Sadah then used a tinted moisturizer, MD Skincare All-In-One Tinted Moisturizer, on Sarah. "She has great skin," she said, "so we don't want anything too heavy." When we asked how to find the right tint, she offered this tip: "When testing out the color, check it on the sides of your face. Go a teeny bit darker than your natural tone — you want it to set into your skin tone and look natural. Sometimes if you go a shade too light, you end up looking pasty. Once you have the right tint, start from your nose and blend out. Don't go all over your face like a mask, just put it where you need it. The nice thing about using tinted moisturizer is that as you're moving through fall and into winter, you may naturally get lighter; you can just mix some regular moisturizer in with your tinted to lighten it and match your skin tone."
La Mer The Radiant Concealer SPF 15
Though she applied Sarah's La Mer concealer with a brush, Sadah said, "You don't always have to use a brush I actually recommend using your fingertips. Make sure to press the concealer into the skin under your eyes. This helps to keep it looking natural, like your real skin, and you avoid creasing and lines. Do the same when putting it wherever else you need it, like around your nose and mouth."
NARS Bronzing Powder in Laguna
After the application of a light mineralized blush to give Sarah's skin a dewy glow, a light powder was applied to set her moisturizer and concealer. Sadah then applied NARS Bronzing Powder in Laguna to her face. "I know we're moving into fall," she said, "but I still like to use bronzer to bring some natural-looking color to the skin. Use a large brush and blend right where the sun would hit: on the forehead, nose, cheekbones, and chin. Make sure to not just apply it to cheekbones, or it can start to look too contoured."
MAC Blot Powder, $22, maccosmetics.com
MAC Mineralize Blush, $22, maccosmetics.com
NARS Bronzing Powder in Laguna, $32, sephora.com
Fresh Supernova Mascara
Because Sarah's blessed with naturally long lashes, just one coating of Fresh Supernova mascara gave her a nice dramatic look without being too clumpy. And the final step to complete her makeover was a lip shine that was mostly sheer, just to give her a pop of color.
"The makeup is amazing!" Sarah said. "I look so glamorous, and I absolutely love how classic, yet fun, it looks with my new hairdo!"
Fresh Supernova Mascara, $25, sephora.com
Bobbi Brown Treatment Lip Shine SPF 15 in Mauve, $22, bobbibrowncosmetics.com
Mollie had been dyeing her long brunette hair a deep chocolate brown for the past two years. "It's always been long, and I've only ever dyed it darker than its natural color," she said. But when we proposed that she go shorter and lighter, she was a bit apprehensive about such a dramatic makeover.
"I've been nervous about going lighter," she admitted.
With Susanna's addition of some face-framing angles and layers, and Kathleen's added toffee and cinnamon highlights, Mollie's hair had much more movement and life.
"I love the haircut and color!" she said. "Since there's less length, I can roll out of bed and still have it look good, which is great."
NARS Duo Eyeshadow in All About Eve
To complete her dramatic fall makeover, Sadah gave her a striking makeup look. She started out using NARS Duo Eyeshadow in All About Eve, a metallic bronze color and a golden champagne color. Using a large eye shadow brush, she applied the bronze hue all over lid and under Mollie's brow line. "This really opens up her eyes and makes them look glowy," Sadah said.
MAC Eye Shadow in Carbon
Next, a charcoal-hued MAC eyeshadow was used as eyeliner. Sadah wet a slanted brush, dipped it in the shadow, and drew it on top of Mollie's lash line. "If you're not good at drawing a precise line," she advised, "try drawing it on and then use a Q-tip to smudge it for a smokier effect. Because we're going for a dramatic effect with Mollie, though, this straight line works best." She also applied the charcoal shadow on her lower lash line, but kept it dry and stayed toward the outer corners of her eyes to keep them from looking closed off.
Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge for Lips and Cheeks in Blushed Rose
After that, a light moisturizer was set with loose powder and followed with Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge for Lips and Cheeks. "I love using cream blush," Sadah said, "because you can use it for your cheeks just smile and put it on the apples of your cheeks! and it's also a great natural color for your lips. We're going into fall, so we don't want anything too bronzy; this gives off a nice warm glow without being too metallic and shimmery. It's especially great for dry skin, because it helps keep it moisturized while also providing nice color."
MD Skincare Hydra-Pure Oil-Free Moisture, $78, sephora.com
Bobbi Brown Sheer Finish Loose Powder, $34, bobbibrowncosmetics.com
Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge for Lips and Cheeks in Blushed Rose, $22, bobbibrowncosmetics.com
Ardell DuraLash Naturals Individual Lashes
To give Mollie that dramatic look she was looking for, Sadah applied Ardell DuraLash Naturals Individual Lashes. "If you're doing it at home, it might be easier to use strip lashes," she said. "Or, if you're handy, you can use individual lashes and apply them with tweezers. Put them right on your lash line, not your lid. Using the tweezers, get some lash glue on the ends and sweep the false lashes from the base of your natural lashes to the tip and then place the false lashes right on top of your real ones. It does take practice, because you have to be at the right angle, but once you get it, you get it!"
NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dolce Vita
Two coats of mascara and NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil, a dusty rose lip liner, finished off Mollie's transformation. "My makeover was incredible," she said. "Afterward, my dad decided I looked like a '60s movie star, and my friends really took to the highlights and said they complement my coloring really well. As for my false eyelashes, I kept them on for the day and had so much fun with them. They came off easily with a swipe of makeup remover!"
L'Oréal Voluminous Mascara, $7.25, drugstore.com
NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Dolce Vita, $13, maccosmetics.com
In her own words, Julie had done "everything imaginable" to her hair in the past. "There's absolutely nothing I haven't tried," she said. "I've dyed it with Kool-Aid, had it shaved at one point, tried out a pixie cut and it's been dyed so much that I really don't even know what the natural color is anymore. I'm ready for anything!"
We proposed a rich red color to complement her skin tone and a shorter cut to help Julie grow out her thick, layered locks. "I'm definitely ready for a color change and I love red hair, so I'm hoping to see a lot of bright red in it. And I am trying to grow it out, but if [Susanna and Kathleen] want to take it shorter, I trust their expert opinions."
"Julie has the brightest, biggest eyes," said Kathleen, "and I love the auburn that's happening in her hair's undertones, but her highlights are blending with her skin and taking away from the great blue-green color of her eyes. I'd like to stay with auburn, instead of blonde, highlights, and I want to make them more about gold and copper tones to bring color into her face."
Kathleen also put some of the auburn color in her hair on her eyebrows. "This only slightly changed their tone," she said, "but this is really going to bring out her eye color."
"I love my new look!" Julie said. "My hair looks so fresh and current, and the color is simply fabulous. It's not as short as I feared it would be, and this cut is going to make growing it out a cinch!"
MAC Studio Finish SPF 35 Concealer
Sadah wanted to give Julie an easy but modern makeup look to match her new hairstyle. She started out using MAC Studio Finish SPF 35 Concealer in NC20 to minimize redness and set it with a loose powder.
MAC Studio Finish SPF 35 Concealer in NC20, $16.50, maccosmetics.com
Bobbi Brown Sheer Finish Loose Powder, $34, bobbibrowncosmetics.com
LORAC Red Carpet Reveal Eye & Cheek Palette
Next, using the LORAC Red Carpet Reveal Eye & Cheek Palette, with cream, taupe, dark brown, and rose colors, she used the cream hue as the base on Julie's lids, and blended the medium color into her crease. The darkest color was smudged into Julie's upper lash line and used as liner on her bottom lashes. The pink color from the palette was used as a blush on Julie's cheeks.
MAC Fluidline Liner
After that, Sadah used MAC Fluidline Liner, a gel liner, and applied it with a thin, slanted brush. "A great brush set is essential," she said. "And it really will be an investment, so it's okay to spend a bit more on a good one than to skimp and end up with a set that has bristles falling off all over your face."
MAC Fluidline Liner, $15, maccosmetics.com
Kevyn Aucoin The Mini Brush Travel Set, $140, drugstore.com
Anastasia Brow Wiz
Sadah finished off Julie's mod look with Anastasia Brow Wiz in Medium Ash, an auburn brow pencil, to fill in her eyebrows, two coats of mascara, and a light gloss on her lips.
"My makeup looks great," Julie said. "So natural, but so chic. And it's definitely something I can do at home!"
Anastasia Brow Wiz in Medium Ash, $20, sephora.com
Fresh Supernova Mascara, $25, sephora.com
Nars Lip Gloss in Sweet Revenge, $24, narscosmetics.com