The reason: Karen Peterson, 46, hadn't really changed her appearance since college. "People who knew me 20 years ago say, 'You look just the same,' which can be good and bad," she said.
Peterson had been a stay-at-home mom for her two boys, now 10 and 13. About a year and a half ago, she divorced and began a career as a freelance writer in marketing and communications. She still works at home in Bloomington, but now also meets with clients.
"You get to the age where you stop thinking about yourself, that you're Ben's mom," she said. "It's time." And how: Her horoscope on the day of her makeover said, "Take bold chances on most anything (your haircut)."
The new look: Her makeover involved brightening her home-colored reddish hair to strawberry blond; the mix of golden shades should prove easier to maintain between colorings. Hopkins shaped her hair on the diagonal at the neckline because the eye follows the slant, lifting the face and drawing attention away from a double chin or drooping eyes.
As Hopkins snipped, Peterson kept sneaking peeks at the mirror. "I can't stop smiling," she said. The eyebrow wax was more sobering -- or at least startling when the first rip came. Hopkins said women underestimate the impact of a well-arched, smartly shaded brow. "Next to a good bra, it's the best thing you can do for a lift."
Makeup came next. Powder foundation went all over, eyelids and all. A bit of bronzer at the hairline and jawline helped shape her face, while pinkish-blush went on the apples of her cheeks. Eyeliner was applied as close as possible to the lash roots, turning up and out at the corners to lift, then again beneath the lashes for more definition. Then came brown shadow, then concealer patted below the eye, each well blended.
"Even without my glasses, I can see my eyes," Peterson said. A few strokes of lip liner later: "I have lips. I didn't five minutes ago."
The reaction: When the last brush finished flicking across her features, she stared hard at her reflection. "It's amazing, like it's me, but it's not me."
When she got home, wearing "more makeup than I have probably cumulatively had on in 15 years," she decided to tone it down a bit before showing her sons. "I am glad I did, as they had mixed reactions," she said. "They could see I was happy, so they tried to be positive -- it was sweet! But overall they were not too crazy about it. I think it was just a reaction to change -- any change -- in their mom's look." By the next day, her older son said he was "liking the haircut better."
"As far as my delayed reaction, well, I love-love-love the haircut," she said, adding that she now spends less time on her hair -- time that she now devotes to applying makeup. So far, so good. "Don't they say you need 21 days to turn something into habit? So ask me again in three weeks!"
Kim Ode • 612-673-7185