Shannon Nelson, mom to 4 boys, launched A Girl’s Gotta Spa!™ in 2005 to provide quick and easy beauty advice for busy women (mostly moms!). She works as a social media consultant and has contributed to publications including Glamour and Woman’s World.
For most of my life, my mom, Paula Richards, dressed to hide her weight. Once a size 22, she opted for bariatric surgery, losing a lot of weight quickly. For the past two years she’s enjoyed dressing for the size 8 she’s become, while combating many of the side effects of this type of surgery and ultra-quick weight loss: sagging skin, hair loss and the prominence of the wrinkles that her plump skin used to camouflage. At age 61, my mom was in need of a makeover to complement the weight loss.
As Northeast Vice President of ANNA (American Nephrology Nurses’ Association) and the clinical manager of nine hospital-based acute dialysis programs as well as a public speaker, my mom was very clear that she was looking for a style that would make her stand out in a professional setting. I’m very proud of my mom for all that she has accomplished in her career and my own career in social media and public speaking is modeled after and inspired by her. In order to give my mom the look she was seeking, I enlisted the help of the Breathe Salon and Day Spa team: esthetician Maureen Barnes; hairstylist and colorist Katie Dietrich; and makeup artist George Serrano-Velez, as well as my sister Courtney Smith for fashion styling.
I’ve been telling my mom for a long while that the brassy, bright red home box color that she has been coloring her hair with for years needed to change. Due to hair loss on the right side of her head and thinning out overall, she wasn’t doing anything to give her hair lift and was unsure how to attain volume when a patch of hair was missing. Additionally, not dressing for her new shape gave the appearance that she no longer had a waist.
Hair “Do”: Get a Natural Lift
To start, Katie continued to use red on my mom’s hair, especially since red complements her hazel eyes, however, she crafted a deeper brown-red mix that removed the brass, making her look more vibrant. Since my mom did not want to go any shorter with her hairstyle, Katie simply trimmed and styled her hair to add volume. As she styled my mom’s hair, she walked her through the process of how to add volume to her hair simply by spritzing her roots with L’Oreal EverStyle Alcohol-Free Volume Root Lifting Spray and blow drying her hair in the opposite direction than she normally would. This provided a natural lift and helped lessen the appearance of the spots where she was balding. In fact, you no longer noticed it! My mom was thrilled with these hairstyling tips, as they were something she could replicate at home.
Makeup Magic: Smooth and Define
In between her cut and color, Maureen went to work on plumping those fine lines and wrinkles on my mom’s face, as well as prepping her face and eyes with primer. For primer, she used Hard Candy Sheer Envy and on eyes Cover FX Anti-Age Smoothing Eye Primer. For her anti-aging products, she first applied Murad Sheer Lustre Moisture Broad Spectrum SPF 15, then Freeze 24-7 Instant Targeted Wrinkle Treatment, Anti-Aging Eye Serum, and ArcticLift Firming Neck Cream. The primer helps to set a smooth canvas for makeup application and also helps makeup to stay in place all day. Since my mom works long hours, primer was the best way to keep her makeup intact on those lengthy work days.
Once her hair was done, George was on a mission to contour my mom’s face and give her brows life again. My mom has always had practically non-existent brows and the hair loss made that even more prominent. George used Beauty Never Sleeps Bailey Cosmetics Ombre Camel eye shadow duo to fill in and shape her brows and then handed my mom a mirror. She couldn’t believe how filled in brows could give her eyes an instant lift and frame her face. For foundation, a mix of 810 and 825 of CoverGirl Outlast Stay Fabulous 3-in-1 Foundation was used, and Ben Nye concealer was applied under eyes and to trouble spots. itcosmetics Anti-Aging Radiance Pressed Illuminating Powder was used to set everything.
My mom didn’t want to look overly done, and wanted a look that could take her from daytime board room to nighttime dinner with colleagues. For this, Beauty Never Sleeps Bailey Cosmetics Universal Blush was applied, MAC Paint Pot Chilled on Ice, Smashbox Photo Op Enhancing Eye Palette in Softbox and Mirabella Cosmetics were used for her eyes, L’Oreal Voluminous Mascara to bring out her thin lashes and MAC Boldly Bare lip pencil and mark Coral Fixation to keep the look neutral. Once my mom saw the completed makeup look, one could safely say she hugged George multiple times thanking him.
Style Solution: Create Some Shape
Next we made our way to JCPenney at the Montgomery County Mall to find a professional looking outfit that would be both distinctive, show off my mom’s shape, but also cover the areas where she still had sagging skin (arms and legs). Courtney came across a royal blue V-neck, gold button-front, pleated dress with belt that came to my mom’s knees. She paired it with a white shawl collar jacket. This added some professional flair, but also concealed my mom’s arms. Overall, the dress and jacket perfectly disguised what she wanted hidden but also brought out her beautiful silhouette.
In the end, we achieved the look my mom was going for, took some years off and gave her tips she could use to incorporate into her daily routine. She looked radiant and smiled often throughout the process, which made me incredibly happy.