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FLOTUS’s personal makeup artist dishes on her beauty routine. By Kate Bennett

Official White House photograph by Chuck Kennedy.

The First Family is off for vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, but Michelle Obama didn’t leave town without lessons learned from her makeup artist, Carl Ray, who has worked with FLOTUS for the past six and a half years. “I’ve been changing up her looks and makeup textures according to the seasons, as well as the location of her appearances, since I started as her personal makeup artist,” says Ray, who is one of Washington’s most sought-after beauty gurus. When it comes to inspiration for the beauty looks, Ray incorporates the cultures, style, and surroundings of wherever the First Lady is traveling, be it a trip to China or a day at the beach. 

As for Mrs. Obama’s Vineyard getaway, Ray says FLOTUS isn’t overly made up. “She’s not trying to look totally glam. But polished and comfortable? Yes.” Ray cites Obama’s flawless skin as a great starting point. “I recommend drinking plenty of water, doing a light exfoliation, eating healthy, and exercising regularly.” Not a problem for the First Lady—or for her daughters. “Malia and Sasha know this, too, and have heard me say the recipe hundreds of times!” says Ray, who is based at George Salon at The Four Seasons when he’s not with Mrs. Obama. 

Ray recommends glosses like this pink one from his line.

Here are his five top tips for getting the First Lady’s summer makeup look: 

  1. “Sunscreen and moisturizer are a must—year-round. I like to use BB creams or tinted moisturizers for hot summer months. Most are available in a variety of different shades, and some have SPF built in.” 
  2. “Instead of bold or dramatic lip color, for vacation go with a sheer lipstick or gloss; again, there are plenty on the market that have an SPF component.” 
  3. “For that sunkissed glow, you can’t go wrong with a bronzer. Focus on your cheeks, but don’t shy away from a treating your entire face to a flushed, tan look with a few quick brush strokes.”
  4. “Swap out the darkened lashes and just go with one quick coat of waterproof mascara.”
  5. “Eyebrows are key. Don’t overlook the power of a great brow. Brush the hairs in an upward direction, and lightly fill in the brows with a pencil that matches your natural color.”

Posted at 04:00 PM/ET, 08/14/2014 | Permalink | Comments ()
Transform yourself into a fairy, a spider, and more. By Sarah Title

Halloween isn’t just about ghosts and goblins. (Or candy.) It’s also a tailor-made opportunity to test out some truly outrageous makeup looks. After all, how often do you really get to play around with the more extreme hues in those eyeshadow palettes? From fairies to flappers, we found four stylish makeup tutorials you can use to transform yourself this Hallow’s Eve.

Woodland Fairy

This beauty blogger shows you how to become that ethereal character, whether you call it “fairy,” “princess,” or “Tinkerbell.” The pretty, soft hues will let you live the dream of your inner seven-year-old—but with the sophistication of your adult self. Bonus: Half of her face is finished so you can see what the final product will look like.

Wicked Witch of the West

If you’re staying true to Halloween classics this year, this YouTuber puts a modern twist on the Wicked Witch. The look allows your inner wickedness to shine through with bold, dramatic shadows and dark, overdrawn lips.


Steady hands are a requirement for this intricate look, which uses a combo of white and black liquid liner and eye shadow to create a glam take on a spiderweb. Tip: Ask a friend to draw the web if you don’t trust your own hands.


Though the flapper is a perennial mainstay for modern costuming, we’re betting this year brings out more ’20s-inspired looks than ever (blame Carey Mulligan for the uptick). While this version is a little more complicated—it involves giving yourself an entirely new set of brows—the authentic result will make all your hard work worthwhile. It’s no wonder this vlogger won a $25,000 cash prize from NYX Cosmetics for her tutorial.

Posted at 12:19 PM/ET, 10/22/2013 | Permalink | Comments ()
Ready to change your hairstyle? Let us take care of it. By Sarah Zlotnick
Before and after shots of DC's Sacha Salazar. Photographs by Chris Leaman.

All right, ladies, we all know what it's like to be in a relationship rut with your hair. Bangs are permanently stalled in the growing-out phase, color has faded to a blah, lackluster bronze, and the shape--what shape? Some days, it feels like the only option is a boring ponytail, and others you're ready to pull a Britney and just shave it all off. Well, what if we could help you find a happy medium?

For an upcoming issue, The Washingtonian is seeking a few readers ready to rock a new 'do. We'll pair you up with some of the best stylists in town to transform your tresses--all you have to do is tell us why you want a new look.

Interested in applying? What you need to know comes next.

Posted at 03:15 PM/ET, 04/26/2012 | Permalink | Comments ()
Wardrobe troubles getting you down? The Washingtonian wants you for an upcoming makeover feature. By Sarah Zlotnick
A little taste of Washingtonian makeover magic. Just think—this could be you!

Weight loss. New job. Plus-size chic. Washington, we know you’re a smart lot, so don’t feel bad if there’s a fashion equation you can’t quite solve—figure issues and big occasions can leave even the most style-savvy fashionistas quaking in their heels. Instead of stressing, why not let us work out the answer?

For an upcoming feature in our July issue, we’re on the hunt for Washingtonians who feel they can’t quite get it right in the sartorial department. Send us your wardrobe woes, and you could be selected to receive a free style consultation, plus a shopping budget to go with!

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Posted at 05:26 PM/ET, 03/08/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
The rumors are true: TLC’s “What Not to Wear” is headed to Washington, and producers are looking for your nominations By Sarah Zlotnick

"What Not to Wear" hosts Clinton Kelly and Stacy London. Photo courtesy TLC.
Though we didn’t quite believe the initial whisperings, it looks like someone has finally knocked some sense into the production executives at TLC. The network’s beloved makeover series, What Not to Wear, has officially landed in Washington—at last, a reality show this town can use—and producers are looking for your nominations. The program, beloved for hosts Stacy London and Clinton Kelly’s sassy, tough-love commentary and inspiring style transformations, offers selected participants an all-expenses-paid trip to New York City, a well-chaperoned $5,000 shopping spree, and complete hair and makeup restyling. All you have to do is agree to an on-camera closet overhaul. Know a marvelous gal whose sartorial ignorance is seriously hindering her ability to move forward in life? The show isn’t currently accepting self-nominations, or, for that matter, male nominations, but we bet that woman will (eventually) be resoundingly grateful for you sending her info along.

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Posted at 07:56 AM/ET, 09/20/2010 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Washingtonian is looking for makeover candidates for an upcoming issue.

Tired of your look and looking for a change? You're in luck—The Washingtonian is seeking men and women from the Washington area who would like a hair, makeup, or wardrobe overhaul for a feature in our December issue. Subjects should be willing to make major changes in their appearance, including hair color and length, and they must be comfortable being photographed for the article.

Interested? To apply, send an e-mail to explaining why you would like a makeover and what makes you a great candidate. Please include your name, place of residence, contact information, and a recent snapshot. The application deadline is Friday, September 25.

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Posted at 08:32 AM/ET, 09/11/2009 | Permalink | Comments ()
Welcome to Make Me Over, our monthly feature where we give one style-starved reader an overhaul. Our subject this month is Caroline Stoga, a twentysomething college graduate turned young professional in search of a look that more closely matches her job d By Lynne Shallcross

Caroline before her makeover. Photograph
by Chris Leaman

Caroline Stoga, 23
Executive assistant at an international strategic advisory firm in DC

Why she wanted a makeover:
In her second year at a “pretty serious job,” Stoga felt ready to trade her college-era locks for a more professional appearance. “While I try to keep my wardrobe looking fun yet professional, my hair and makeup don’t always project the same image,” she says. “Although I’ve played with color and texture in the past, I currently have some pretty fake-looking blond highlights that are growing out. The color was fun in the summer, but it doesn’t cut it under the halogen lights of the office.”

Date of her last haircut:
“Good question. I have a habit of being really lazy with my hair maintenance. Normally I’ll wait until I wake up one day and it’s just totally unmanageable, then I’ll make an appointment with whoever can see me that day for a cut or color.”

Reaction when she found out she was getting a makeover:
“I was mostly surprised because I had forgotten that I’d even applied. Once it settled in, though, I realized how insanely lucky I am—talk about a belated Christmas present.”

Reaction from her friends and family:
“My friends think it’s really exciting. My mom’s first reaction was jealousy—she’s absolutely gorgeous but claims she needs a makeover, too. The worst one was my boss—he told me that I’ll still look a hot mess afterward! Guess we’ll just have to prove him wrong.”

What she likes and dislikes about her current look:
Stoga switches her look often, but in general she likes the look of being a blonde. What does she dislike? Well, everything, she says: “My color right now is not well done, and it makes me look washed out and even paler than I already am. Plus, I’m totally uninspired by my cut.”

How she wants to look afterward:
“I’d just love to look a little more put together—a style that I can show up at a meeting feeling confident with and one that will also look in place when I’m out on U Street on a Saturday night.”

How she doesn’t want to look:
“I hope I don’t come out looking like Steve Guttenberg! Probably not much of a concern, but you never know.”

See Caroline's transformation after the jump!

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Posted at 08:05 AM/ET, 02/05/2009 | Permalink | Comments ()
Welcome to Make Me Over, our monthly makeover feature where we give one style-starved reader an overhaul. Our subject this month is Sacha Salazar, a 30-year-old newlywed living on DC’s Southwest waterfront who wanted a completely new look to make up for y By Jesseka Kadylak

Sacha before her makeover. Photograph by Chris

Sacha Salazar, 30
National Security Sector consultant

Why she wanted a makeover:
Sacha had to follow strict hair restrictions for close to ten years because she was in ROTC and the Air Force. She and her husband, Juan, were married in August, and now that the wedding photos are out of the way and her parents have formal documentation, Sacha says she’s free to do what she wants: “I don’t normally do anything really drastic in terms of dress, makeup, or hairstyle. I was very limited on how I wore my hair. I don’t think this look will be something that I maintain. It’s more of a new me that I just need to do.”

Reaction when she found out she was getting a makeover:
“I was shocked and happy. I really want to do this, so I scheduled an appointment with my local beautician to do it if I didn’t get picked. I was floored.”

What she likes and dislikes about her current look:
“I like that I can change my hairstyle. I can wear it straight or curly, which is my natural look. I don’t like the fact that because I go a long time between haircuts, I get triangle hair—it’s a curly-hair problem. My mom tells me I don’t have a hairstyle. It’s sort of just medium length and kinda curly and brown.”

How she wants to look afterward:
“In the military you must have a natural hair color. You’re allowed to have most haircuts, but you have to be able to pull it back with less than one inch of bulk, like if you put it in a French twist. Or it must be cut right at the collar or above. No braids. You can wear clips or bands, but they have to be exactly the same color as your hair. It’s the same with makeup and nail polish—very natural-looking. I just want something color-wise that’s totally new for me. I want to surrender to the stylist and trust her.” Sacha has been told that a cut similar to Victoria Bekham’s would be flattering for her, and she wanted color similar to Reese Witherspoon’s blond.

See Sacha’s transformation after the jump!

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Posted at 10:13 AM/ET, 01/08/2009 | Permalink | Comments ()
Welcome to Make Me Over, our monthly makeover feature where we give one style-starved reader an overhaul. Our subject this month is Leigh Mayrhofer, a 34-year-old new mom living in DC’s Penn Quarter who needed a stylish look that’s easy to pull together o By Lynne Shallcross

Leigh before her makeover. Photograph by
Chris Leaman

Leigh Mayrhofer, 34.
Assistant principal at a school in Woodbridge, on maternity leave.

Why she wanted a makeover:
As a surprise, Leigh’s husband, Tom, nominated her for a makeover after she had twins in August. “I think a makeover would be a wonderful way to help her feel better about herself as she recovers from pregnancy,” he wrote. When we told Tom we’d chosen Leigh as a makeover candidate and he passed the news along to his wife, she was thrilled. Four months after becoming a new mom to Brandon and Leyton, Leigh was eagerly looking to trade her go-to ponytail for something more stylish but still easy to do. She has very little time for herself, especially when it comes to primping in the bathroom. “I definitely take less time taking care of myself, with them being so young.”

Date of her last haircut:
February 2008.

Reaction when she found out she was getting a makeover:
“I was, of course, surprised because my husband submitted me without me knowing, but he knew this would be something I’d enjoy. I assured you all after having the babies in August that I’d be a great ‘before’ candidate. I was delighted to be chosen—to have the opportunity to let talented professionals help me try to look my best. It was fun to turn all decision making over to them.”

What she likes and dislikes about her current look:
“I think it’s natural, and it’s been easy for me to maintain,” she says. But on the downside, it’s pretty much the same style she had in college. “I was ready for something a little different and ready to get some expertise in choosing a hairstyle and cut.”

How she wants to look afterward:
“I’d like something that looks current but not overly styled and something that I can do with ease whether I let it dry on its own or want to blow dry it and have a more styled look. If I were to go out to dinner, I’d want to make it look polished, but it could look more natural during the day.”

Read on to see Leigh’s transformation after the jump!

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Posted at 12:48 PM/ET, 12/04/2008 | Permalink | Comments ()
Welcome to Make Me Over, our new monthly makeover feature where we give one style-starved reader a hair and makeup overhaul. Up first is Erykah Jeffers, a 24-year-old from Fairfax who needed help going from recent college grad to sophisticated professiona By Emily Leaman

Erykah before her makeover. Photograph by
Chris Leaman

Erykah Jeffers, 24
Sales and marketing assistant, Ritz-Carlton, Tysons Corner

Why she wanted a makeover:
Six months out of college and working her first “real” job, Erykah wanted to trade her long, plain-Jane locks for a more professional, age-appropriate style. “I was a bartender when I was in school, so there was very little I could do with my hair because I needed to pull it back,” she says. “Now I’m ready for a change.”

Date of her last haircut:
February 2008.

Reaction when she found out she was getting a makeover:
“I think I screamed.”

What she likes and dislikes about her current look:
“I like that it’s low-maintenance, but that’s about it. I’ve never particularly liked the color of my hair and that it has no style to it. I want layers to volumize. The last time I colored my hair was three or four years ago. It was highlighted and I liked it, but it wasn’t easy to maintain.”

Her makeup dilemma:
“I put makeup on—usually a loose powder and a little mascara—but no one ever notices. When I darken it up with a little eye liner and shadow, people are like, ‘Oh, wow, you’re wearing makeup today.’ But I wear it every day! Why make the effort if no one notices?”

How she wants to look afterward:
“I’d love my hair to be shorter. I’ve always liked Meg Ryan’s hair in You’ve Got Mail, sort of short and choppy. But mostly, I want to come out of it looking and feeling more sophisticated, and with tools and tips for styling my hair and doing makeup at home.”

See Erykah’s transformation after the jump!

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Posted at 11:16 AM/ET, 11/06/2008 | Permalink | Comments ()