News & Politics

Great Hair: “I Need a Makeover”

Six women and six stylists show what a difference a new look can make.

Washingtonian Great Hair > "I Need a Makeover" 

Daria Akers, 31, Burke

Why she wanted a makeover: The mother of two girls–a three-year-old and a nine-month-old–Lanham has little time for herself: "I would like a sassy style that requires little prep in the morning."

We sent her to: Avatar Salon & Wellness Spa, Silver Spring.

Brandy Lanham, who spends her workdays drumming up membership for a nonprofit association, had so little time for her hair that she usually pulled it back and attached a ponytail extension.

Bruce Johnson, owner of Avatar Salon–and the man responsible for Condoleezza Rice's hairdo–thought all that hair detracted from Lanham's pretty face. He also found the color too dark.

After taking out the extension and relaxing her hair, Johnson lopped off five inches, shaping the cut to flatter her features.

Colorist Ayindé Holland added a warm red to Lanham's base color, and coppery red and golden copper highlights. Instead of typical weave highlights, he did bolder block-coloring.

"I love it!" says Brandy. "The best part is that I don't have to do anything to it.I shake my head a little, run my fingers through it in the morning, and I'm off."

Gabriela Arevalo, 26, Adams Morgan

Why she wanted a makeover: "I am so in need of a makeover," said Daria Akers. "I was the mother of two special-needs kids. Unfortunately, something went wrong during my younger daughter's surgery in March and she passed away. Cassie was 19 months old."

We sent her to: Sugar House Day Spa & Salon in Old Town Alexandria.

Stylist danita Sharp felt that Daria Akers's Dutch-boy cut needed softening, so she cut wispy, textured layers that added volume–but that could be pulled back, because Akers, a quality-assurance engineer, is a busy mom.

Colorist Erin Madore put in a red base color all over–to bring out Akers's blue eyes–and strawberry-blond highlights. Madore also did Akers's makeup, choosing warm, peachy tones from the salon's Bare Minerals line of cosmetics.

Sugar House's warm, friendly atmosphere also gave Akers a lift. "They are wonderful people," she says.

"I am loving my look," she said the day after the makeover. "My husband is thrilled but not nearly as impressed as my three-year-old, Lesley. She kept pointing at me and saying, 'Mom, haircut!' "

Brandy Lanham, 26, Alexandria

Why she wanted a makeover: She decided she'd worn her hair the same way for too long: "I wanted to look different."

She went to: Jacqui Davis, at PR @ Partners in downtown DC.

Gabriela Arevalo, a medical assistant, had never had color put in her hair and didn't usually blow-dry it. She was a natural kind of woman.

Jacqui Davis was sure she could give Arevalo a more flattering style that wasn't much work: "I thought she was very striking, but she needed softening."

First Davis chopped off nine inches. The shank of thick hair was donated to Locks of Love, a nonprofit that provides hair pieces to disadvantaged children who have lost their hair due to medical treatment.

Davis texturized Arevalo's hair, to remove weight, and cut it in a fringe that cascades down her face. She put in warm brown and honey highlights to brighten Arevalo's hair color and enhance her face shape.

Then Davis waxed Arevalo's eyebrows, applied plum-toned makeup–the salon's own Pretty by PR brand–and was done.

"I like it," said a beaming Gabriela. "I'm so happy."

Monica Trucco, 30, Arlington

Why she wanted a makeover: Sick of her cut and color, she usually pulled her hair back.

We sent her to: David's Beautiful People in Rockville.

In her search for hair she liked, Monica Trucco has been a blonde, a redhead, and a brunette–all in one year.

She'd been longing for a better cut, too. Her fine hair tended to get flat.

David Cohen took one look at five-foot-eleven Trucco, with her broad athletic shoulders, and knew if he cut her hair too short she wouldn't look feminine.

An attorney in the Navy's Judge Advocate General Corps, Trucco needs to look professional. Cohen chose a bob but cut long and short layers. Trucco can smooth it out for work or, on weekends, use a pomade to flip out the ends and go wilder.

Trucco asked to lighten up her natural brown color. She wanted the hair Reese Witherspoon sported in Sweet Home Alabama, so the salon's Valerie Banda gave Trucco alternating highlights in copper, blonde, and brown.

"It's great," Trucco said after the makeover. "I'm a blonde at heart. And the hair is easy to style. It fell into place."

Melissa Jones, 39, Crofton

Why she wanted a makeover: She's turning 40, and she's getting married.

We sent her to: Karen Walter at Eclips Salon and Day Spa in Ashburn.

Melissa Jones felt like the right haircut and color were out there but eluding her. With her wedding coming up next June, she vowed to make a change.

"There's so much hair, it takes so long to get ready," said Jones, a USDA Forest Service employee, premakeover. "I want it to look great but be easy."

The length was dragging down Jones's face, and the ends were overprocessed from having highlights on top of highlights. So Karen Walter cut off threeinches.

Walter layered and texturized Jones's thick, wavy hair. She added warm brown lowlights, as the repeated highlights had taken Jones far from her natural color.

Five days after her makeover, Jones was still getting used to her new style.

"It does seem easier to take care of because there is less hair, but so far I haven't noticed that I've saved time in the morning," Jones said. "But it's a great summer cut, and it's going to be perfect for going to the beach and pool."

Lisa Rich, 28, Union Bridge, Maryland

Why she wanted a makeover: She'd had the same hairstyle since high school.

We sent her to: Jamie Simon, co-owner and stylist at Salon Cielo in Dupont Circle.

The mother of a four-year-old son and a two-year-old daughter and the wife of a Marine Corps recruiter who works "100 hours a week," Lisa Rich didn't have much time for her hair. "Salon time is a distant memory," she said before her makeover. "I haven't had my hair cut ina year."

Jamie Simon thought Rich needed more height on top, more movement throughout her hair, and a cut that played up her blue eyes.

Simon and Salon Cielo's manager, Rob Chanel, both knew that if Simon cut Rich's thick, wavy hair short, it could get too wide. So Simon undercut the hair–making the layer underneath, on the back of head, very short–to avoid too much fullness. Simon then added gold and copper highlights to bring out her eyes.

"I was in such a rut, and I feel completely reborn," Rich says.

Executive Editor

Sherri Dalphonse joined Washingtonian in 1986. She is the editor in charge of such consumer topics as travel, fitness, health, finance, and beauty, as well as the editor who handles such cover stories as Great Places to Work, Best of Washington, Day Trips, Hidden Gems, Top Doctors, and Great Small Towns. She lives in DC.