The Beauty Diaries

What these local ladies do to look their best.

Photograph by Kate Warren Photograph by Kate Warren Photograph by Getty Images. Illustrations by Paul Dickinson. Photograph by Shutterstock/Blend Images. Image via Shutterstock. Photographs by Kip Dawkins. Styling by Marcie Blough. Image via Shutterstock. Illustration by Ryan Snook. Photograph by Jamie Grill/Corbis. Photograph of Thomas by Roy Cox Photography. Photograph of Jones by Andrew Propp.

1. The Pageant Pro: Raquel Riley Thomas

Age 41, mom to Danielle, 21, Kennedy, 14,Maria, 8, and Sophia, 5

Not many women can list both pageant queen and Army officer on their résumé. But most women aren’t suburban Maryland mom Raquel Riley Thomas. After leaving the military in 2002, Thomas signed with Elite Model Management and Ford Models to do commercial work before winning the title of Mrs. Maryland America in 2010. Shortly thereafter she bested 50 challengers to become runner-up to Mrs. America. These days, Thomas is the executive producer of Mrs. DC America, and she is active in philanthropic service. On top of all that, she’s mom to four.

But don’t assume that Thomas is high-maintenance—beauty queen or not, her daily ten-minute makeup routine is “very no-nonsense,” she says.

Skin Care

“I wash with coconut-oatmeal cleanser, use a green tea toner, and blackberry moisturizer every morning using Shir-Organic products. In the evening I not only clean my skin, I also add a citrus-based AHA scrub to ensure that all of my makeup is completely off and my pores are clean before applying night cream. It all smells wonderful, uses natural and organic ingredients, and helps to keep my skin’s pH balanced.”


“I am a stickler about looking polished. I start with MAC concealer, foundation, and cream blush. I dust translucent loose powder over my entire face to set the makeup for the day. I use MAC neutral eye shadows, a kohl eye pencil to line and define my eyes, and a coat of L’Oreal Voluminous Butterfly mascara. A nude lipstick and a hint of gloss pull my look together and I’m ready to walk out the door.”


“I love the handmade body butters I get from Waterfalls Wellness Center in Vienna. They’re made with natural shea butter and organic coconut oil. I’ve started using two topical mild pain relievers, U-Tri and Biofreeze, for minor aches I might feel during a busy week. U-Tri warms up the muscles, and Biofreeze cools them down. I get 60-minute massages about every six weeks.”


“I’m up at 5 am, so it’s pretty much brush-and-go. I get a shampoo and style once a week with Janelle Wright at Styles by Janelle so my hair is maintenance-free. She has been doing hair for more than 20 years. I absolutely love Luster’s Pink Glosser. It’s great for all hair types and textures. The finishing mist delivers mega shine, and silkens my hair for an unbelievably smooth look.

2. The Salon Owner: Melanie Smith Jones

Age 33, mom to Stella, 6,and Georgia, 4

As owner of Dupont Circle’s trendy hair salon Urban Style Lab, wife of local musician Justin Jones, and mom of two, Melanie Smith Jones embodies the sort of rockstar-meets-motherhood lifestyle you might expect, possibly even envy. When she’s not logging ten-hour workdays at the salon, she’s shuttling the girls from the skate park to a dance recital or coordinating play dates with her nine nieces and nephews. But come nighttime, this Arlington mom loves to hit the town, taking in shows at downtown music venues and scoping out the hottest new restaurants with a close-knit group of friends.

Since she’s a hair expert by trade, it’s only natural that Jones has unlocked the secret to perfect no-fuss tresses. Hint: It’s all about finding the right products.

Skin Care

“My mom is Filipino and a grandmother of 11, and she still has the skin of a 20-year-old. Her swear-by secret? Pond’s Cold Cream! Now it’s my own go-to product. One of my best girlfriends has worked with Bluemercury for more than ten years, and she never fails to steer me in the right direction. She got me hooked on Bluemercury’s M-61 Hydraboost Eye hydrating peptide and vitamin B5 eye cream.”


“I’m totally loyal to two hair-care lines: Oribe and R+Co. I love a lived-in look, so I only wash my hair about twice a week. I apply Oribe Creme for Style at the roots and blow-dry with a Mason Pearson brush for volume. I leave the rest of my hair pretty damp. I have a blond ombre, so I try not to heat-style my ends. Instead I apply Oribe Foundation Mist and Gold Lust Nourishing Hair Oil and let them air dry.”


“Depending whether it’s a work day or a night out, I can get my face on in 5 to 15 minutes. For everyday, I stick to Laura Mercier’s Tinted Moisturizer in Almond, Bobbi Brown’s Velvet Plum Eye Palette and Gel Eyeliner in Jet Black, Trish McEvoy’s High Volume Mascara in Pitch Black, and Trish McEvoy’s Sexy Nude Lip Gloss.


“Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! I work super-long days at the salon, and sometimes the only thing I can do for myself is to drink tons of water. There is a Jrink Juicery a few doors down, so I’ve been relying on their blended juices for energy. Doing hair can be hard on the body; I try for a deep-tissue massage every three months or so. I get a gel manicure every three weeks; it’s worth the extra $10 to have it last longer.”