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We gave 4 local women makeovers. Here are the amazing transformations.

We’re all secretly wishing for that movie-montage moment where we go from drab to fab, right?

blonde woman with curls looking in the mirror smiling
Kirsten Kiley was thrilled at the end of her makeover.

By Katie Bianco and Holly Gambrell // Photography by Christin Boggs Peyper

We found four deserving Northern Virginia women in need of a makeover and hooked them up with a glam squad. Keep scrolling to see the amazing transformations. Plus, find out who made our annual, reader-picked list of Best Salons here.

Makeover Winner 1: Katie Moncarz

blonde woman makeover shots before and after
Katie Moncarz, before and after her makeover

Age: 34
Lives in: Arlington

Why I Want a Makeover:
Moncarz, an interior designer for a local design-build firm, had two babies in two years (They’re 2 years old and 9 months now). She knew she needed a makeover when a family member told her—at a family get-together no less—“You’ve really let yourself go.” Says Moncarz, “Before having children, I prided myself on designer clothing, looking polished for work and events, and exercising five days a week.” But, caring for two under 2 is “a huge adjustment. I’m a full-time working mom. I was lucky to get three months of maternity leave, but it just goes by so fast and then you’re thrown back into [work] … I’m still getting used to that adjustment and it’s hard to find time for yourself … So, in short, I want a makeover to find myself again.”

The Vision:
At Bloom Salon in Tysons, Moncarz worked with salon owner and colorist Anne Landry and hair stylist Ruth Kim to dream up a fabulous, but low-maintenance, look. “I usually have about 15 minutes to get ready in the morning. I want something that I can wear both up and down.”

woman getting her hair cut
Bloom Salon stylists gave Katie Moncarz a textured cut. 

The Cut: “Time is something she does not have,” says Kim. But, rather than cutting it short (“No mom bobs,” jokes Kim), she gave Moncarz a “more modern lob,” which includes keeping it longer in the front and a bit shorter in the back, and adding some texture and layering to create volume. “Texturing the ends [which means the cut isn’t a straight line across her back] gives it a softer finish, so if you do a quick blow-dry it can have a tousled look, but curled under with a round brush it will look professional.”

The Color: It had been almost a year since Moncarz had her hair colored, so Landry gave her full highlights and lowlights using the foilyage technique. Three different colors of blonde add a natural brightness, and foilyage “makes the hair grow out more naturally [read: roots won’t show] so you don’t have to get to the salon as much,” says Landry.

How do you feel?: “I feel beautiful! It hasn’t been blonde like this for a year. To have it cut, it feels lighter in general. The color is huge. I can go out without blow-drying my hair and it feels finished.” And what will her husband think? “I don’t know that he’ll recognize me.”

Shot on location at Bloom Salon in Tysons
Hair: Ruth Kim
Color: Anne Landry
Makeup: Carmen Currie of T.H.E Artist Agency

Makeover Winner 2: Sharmini Shanker

indian woman makeover before and after photos
Sharmini Shanker, before and after her makeover

Age: 52
Lives In: Alexandria

Why I Want a Makeover: Shanker, who works in real estate, recently divorced and is “trying out being single again,” she says. Her youngest child is going off to college next year, and she’s ready for a positive change in life. “I have no idea how to do anything [with hair and makeup] anymore,” Shanker says. “My daughter says, ‘Don’t put makeup on like you’re in the ’80s.’ It would be nice to try a new look.”

The Vision: Claude Marcel Salon De Coiffure’s eponymous hair stylist, co-owner and artistic director, Claude Marcel, worked with Shanker to
create a haircut that would complement her body type and facial features.

claude marcel cutting a brunette woman's hair
Claude Marcel worked with Sharmini Shanker to find her ideal hair length.

The Cut: Shanker’s hair is naturally curly, and before the makeover she frequently straightened it for length. Marcel began by clipping Shanker’s hair back three different times, to highlight different length options for her cut. “When I put the hair up and down, this is how I decide with the person what is the best length,” says Marcel. “Everyone has a length that is specific to their body.”  Together, Marcel and Shanker decided a shoulder-length cut would accentuate Shanker’s best features.

The Color: The salon’s director, Jessica Zamora, a master stylist and colorist, helped to take Shanker’s purple, box-dyed hair from damaged to glamorous. “The challenge with box dye is that it’s made cheaply,” says Zamora. “It’s a lot more killer than filler. For Sharmini’s hair, we avoided bleaching it to get the color we wanted and took a different route to make sure we weren’t creating more damage.”

How do you feel?: “I like the hair. It looks like it will be easy to maintain. I learned about primer for makeup and other products used too. No more looking like the ’80s!”

Shot on location at Claude Marcel Salon De Coiffure in Alexandria
Hair: Claude Marcel
Color: Jessica Zamora
Makeup: Carmen Currie of T.H.E Artist Agency

Makeover Winner 3: Errin Kunkel

african american woman's makeover before and after photos side by side
Errin Kunkel, before and after her makeover

Age: 39
Lives in: Round Hill

Why I Want a Makeover:
New to NoVA, Kunkel and her family moved to the area from Texas last summer—and she’s been getting her three kids, 10, 8 and 6, settled in ever since. “It’s easier to think, when it comes to the day to day, ‘The kids need this, that or the other.’ I can always convince myself there are priorities with the kids before me. But all three of my kids, especially my girls, I want them to see me doing something for me. It would be great to have a makeover and see just Errin, not a stay-at-home mom, a wife and a homemaker.”

The Vision: At Bloom Salon in Tysons, Kunkel worked with colorist Nsombi Hale and hair stylist Moira Grasso, both co-owners of the salon, to come up with a look that could keep up with Kunkel’s three kids. Kunkel had cut her hair when her children were younger and, she says, “I don’t have the time to grow it out, so I’m looking for something with easy maintenance.”

woman cutting an african american woman's hair
Errin Kunkel received an easy-to-maintain haircut.

The Cut: Because Kunkel is usually busy getting her kids ready for school in the morning, Grasso wanted to give her a style that’s “wash and wear. She wears it natural and it should be something easy to style.” Grasso cut the base of Kunkel’s hair shorter and then gave it a “strong shape” on top. “Her hair has a dense texture so I want to lighten up the curls, so it will be really pretty, even when she does nothing to it.” A leave-in moisturizing conditioner and curl cream should be the only products to keep her hair looking its best, says Grasso.

The Color: Kunkel requested no blonde, but other than that she was open. Hale gave her a chocolate-color base with auburn and honey-colored accents for highlights on top. A quick toner added some shine. “I gave her hair some interest with the red and honey-toned highlights. They accentuate the length [on top] and show off her curls and texture really nicely,” says Hale.

How do you feel?: “I feel beautiful. I can’t believe that’s me. My hair feels so fine and light. I feel grown-up, not like a mom who’s crazy trying to get her kids ready.” And what will her husband and kids think? “They’ll be excited. I did something for me for a day and said, ‘I’m just going to take care of Errin and be me.’ It’s practically a life-changer.”

Shot on location at Bloom Salon in Tysons
Hair: Moira Grasso
Color: Nsombi Hale
Makeup: Carmen Currie of T.H.E Artist Agency

Makeover Winner 4: Kirsten Kiley

blonde woman's makeover before and after shots side by side
Kirsten Kiley, before and after her makeover

Age: 24
Lives in: Herndon

Why I Want a Makeover: “In college, I definitely went for the sporty-girl-on-the-go look most of the time,” says Kiley of her former routine. Think hair in a ponytail, minimal eyeliner and a touch of mascara. “Now as I’m entering the next season of my life as a working professional, a new wife and a woman who cares deeply about serving others and her community, I’ve found myself wanting my outer look to reflect those inner changes.”

The Vision: At Claude Marcel Salon De Coiffure in Old Town Alexandria, Kiley spoke with Claude Marcel, hair stylist, co-owner and artistic director, and Jessica Zamora, salon director and master stylist and colorist, about how she wanted to add some oomph to her look.

The Cut: Marcel clipped back Kiley’s hair multiple times to show her how she would look with different lengths. Kiley held up a mirror to the salon mirror behind her to get a full look at herself, and was instructed by Marcel to “take in the whole form,” to see which haircut worked best with her body type. He gave Kiley a shoulder-length cut, with several layers to naturally pull the hair back from her face and to give her hair more volume. “It’s not just about facial features for the length,” Marcel says. “It’s visual and about the body. Having long hair is nice, but when it’s down it can make the body look heavy.”

The Color: Kiley had previously only gotten blond highlights put into her hair, but here, Zamora did a combination of highlights of classic foil patterning and balayage. “She already had lightness to her ends so I moved color into that softer bold, and into the lighter pieces, so we kept that warmth,” Zamora says. “We didn’t stray too far from her natural color.”

How do you feel?: “This is a great reveal. I love this. The volume and the sweeping away from the face … I think I’ll put more effort and care into my hair routine now.”

Shot on location at Claude Marcel Salon De Coiffure in Alexandria
Hair: Claude Marcel
Color: Jessica Zamora
Makeup: Carmen Currie of T.H.E Artist Agency

This post originally appeared in our January 2020 issue. For more beauty, style and shopping articles, subscribe to our weekly e-newsletters.

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