Mother's Day

Three always-on-the-go moms enjoy some long-deserved pampering. From color to cut to makeup, the winners of Cleveland Magazine’s reader-makeover contest receive a new look and a day all to themselves.
Lisa Swboni
Age: 29
Makeover by: Charles Scott Salon & Spa, Rocky River

On any other day Lisa Swboni would be putting her patients or daughter first, but today she is soaking up four-plus hours of pampering at Charles Scott Salon & Spa in Rocky River.

“It’s nice to have time for myself for a change,” says the 29-year-old physical therapist from Brunswick and mother to 2-year-old Samantha. Since becoming a mom she’s noticed her priorities have changed. “First my family, then my career, then myself,” she says in order of importance. Every time she speaks of her daughter, her face lights up. “She’s 2 going on 6. The stuff she says! I ask her to do something and she says, ‘No, mommy. I’m too busy.’ ”

This Wednesday afternoon Samantha is with Lisa’s friend, giving Lisa some much deserved time for herself. “This was a good opportunity to thank her for all that she does for our family,” says Lisa’s husband, Jeff, who nominated her for the makeover and understands that she juggles different roles every day.

First is a new color. Lisa leaves it up to colorist Lauren Strang, who replicates Lisa’s natural color for the lowlights while brightening the blond and caramel highlights similar to her pre-makeover hair.

Chaz Henline, salon owner and Lisa’s stylist for the day, asks if there are any restrictions. “No bangs, please,” she says, adding that they would be too much of a hassle. Chaz agrees. “Hair frames a face,” he says. “We need to make sure we have the right frame.” He decides on a reverse shape, creating volume and layers in the interior of the hair. He cuts Lisa’s length from medium to short, a change that Lisa is more excited about than nervous. “I don’t think my husband has ever seen me with short hair. I’ll look like a different woman,” she says.

To finish the cut and style, Chaz has a few extra tricks up his sleeve. “With you being a mom, you need to have something easy,” he says. He first blows dry the roots of the hair, which dries the ends by pushing the moisture out. Lisa is particularly impressed with the amount of volume Chaz resurrects from her hair by using a vent brush at the crown of her head to brush in the opposite direction of the way the hair lays. “Always work upward,” he says. Lisa then struts over to where her makeup is applied. “I chose to go with greens and browns because they can be natural but still dramatic,” makeup artist Lauren Papotto says, with the intent of making Lisa’s eyes pop. For busy moms who have more time for microwavable meals than makeup, Lauren suggests just three key items for day — tinted moisturizer, blush and mascara.

After being stuck in a haircut and makeup rut for several years, Lisa finally took the time for herself. “I never realized how much a different cut and new color could update your look,” she says. And while at times Lisa struggled to relax, by the end, she left with a glowing smile on her face and a kick in her step complementing her brand new look.
— Ashley Sager

Leslie Szalai
Age: 41
Makeover by:  Spa West, Westlake

Even with the soothing music and promise of a new look, it’s hard for Leslie Szalai to relax as she sits waiting in a chair for her hairstylist at Spa West. The 41-year-old, stay-at-home mom has a hectic schedule.

Her day starts at 6 a.m. when she wakes up to get her three kids ready for school while her husband, Dean, heads to his job at John Lance Ford in Westlake. She then drives her two eldest children from the family’s home in Avon to school in Elyria. She rotates carpooling duties to her 5-year-old’s preschool in Westlake with other moms, which necessitates stopping at home between travels to drop off or pick up car seats. Shortly thereafter, the shuffling of kids from school to their various extracurricular activities begins. Even her weekends are full of chauffeuring the kids to sports and voice lessons, visits to see the grandparents and church on Sunday. Needless to say, with logging so many miles in her SUV, she has little time to fuss over her hair or makeup.

Now that it’s time for her to enjoy a day of pampering, she still can’t help but repeatedly check her watch. She explains that she has to pick up her kids at 3 p.m. and just can’t be late. “I don’t have time for all this pampering,” she says. In fact, she has so little time that she usually cuts her own hair, as well as her children’s locks, to save time.

Her husband and two of her kids are excited to see their “new” mom, especially her 15-year-old son, Corey, who entered her into the contest. However, her 8-year-old son told her that he likes Mommy as she is and doesn’t want her to change. But stylist Jennifer Montagu thinks otherwise.

She decides to update Leslie’s shoulder-length, dark brown hair with caramel-colored highlights that will grow out with little maintenance required, perfect for a mom on the go. She also wants to add layers to give Leslie’s thin hair, which Leslie describes as being a job for “a magician rather than a beautician,” a little more volume. Leslie is initially apprehensive about what Jennifer wants to do. She worries that she won’t be able to re-create the ’do at home or have time to maintain the color. Finally, after some hand wringing and a phone call to a friend training to be a cosmetologist, she agrees. After being instructed how to style the new hairdo, she decides she likes it. “It looks great!” she says.

Now it’s time for makeup. As Leslie sits down in a chair, the makeup artist, Kelly McIntosh, asks if she wears a lot of makeup. “I use like three products,” she laughs about her daily routine of foundation, mascara and blush. “Three minutes and I’m out the door.”

After discovering Leslie’s evening plans, consisting of a monster truck rally with the family, Kelly decides on keeping her makeup low-key. She applies gray eyeliner to match Leslie’s sweater, mascara, mauve eye shadow and a matching blush. To finish her look, a berry lipstick is applied.

Her reflection in the adjacent mirror reveals a smile. “I’m not used to being the center of attention,” she admits, “This was fun. I owe my son.”
— Ilona Westfall

Darlene Roman
Age: 49
Makeover by: Marengo Luxury Spa, Cleveland

Wearing a gold necklace with the title “mom” dangling elegantly from it — a gift from her kids — Darlene Roman bounces into her 10 a.m. appointment at Marengo Luxury Spa at a prompt 9:15 a.m. With wide eyes and a bright smile, she is definitely ready to get started. “I’ve never won anything like this before,” Darlene says. “It’s very nice.”

As a 49-year-old mother of two from North Olmsted, it isn’t easy or affordable to indulge in such luxuries. On a normal day, Darlene gets her two kids — 17-year-old Matthew and 15-year-old Madelyne — off to school and then heads to work at Pierre’s Ice Cream Co. in Cleveland. She loves her job as an IT manager, and has been with the company for 20 years. “It’s an ongoing learning process,” she says.

Darlene is very proud of her children, who she’s raised on her own for the past 15 years. At times, “things have been hard financially,” Darlene says, but “they’re great kids. [Parenting] is the toughest job in the world, but my kids have a lot of respect for me and that’s what means so much.”

Between taking her daughter to the mall (Madelyne’s favorite place) and going to her son Matthew’s varsity basketball games, Darlene spends what little time she has left in the evenings doing the necessary household chores. As if all of this doesn’t keep her busy enough, Darlene is also active in her neighborhood association board. “It’s hard when you have kids to do things for yourself,” says Darlene. “I use to ski. I’d like to do that again, but by the time I get home and do the cleaning and laundry, there just isn’t time.”

Always selflessly putting the kids’ needs and desires before her own, Darlene recently took Madelyne to get her hair and nails done in preparation for the high school winter formal. But today is different; today is devoted to Darlene. “It’s always all about the kids, which is fine,” she says. “But now it’s my turn!”

Going for a look that is sexy yet easy to maintain, Marengo’s artistic director, Henri Catrett, chooses a base color similar to Darlene’s natural hair color to avoid a heavy break when her roots grow in. To complement her complexion and to bring out her eyes, he uses warm reddish tones, cinnamon hues and caramel highlights.

For her haircut, Henri wants to give Darlene a “kind of bob-length cut, and do some texturizing and shaping,” giving her a “lighter, sexier look.” Using Pureology moose, root lift and power dressing, he gives her a more seductive style that frames her face. The cut is “very versatile; you can have many different looks,” he says. “I’m really liking the color,” says Darlene. “It reminds me of summer.”

On to makeup: Victoria Cunningham uses a Mira Bella primer to help smooth out Darlene’s skin and provide a more flawless look, finishing with a mineral pressed foundation that “gives nice coverage, without being masky,” Victoria says.

To bring out her blue-green eyes, Victoria aims for a “modified smoky eye, not vogue smoky but something more appropriate,” she says. Next comes the fake lashes. “I’ve always wanted those,” Darlene says excitedly. “I’m dying to see this!” Finally, not much darker than her natural color, a subtle Amaretto lip tone is added to finish.

Looking in the mirror at the final result, she says, “ I feel like a celebrity. Now I need to go to winter formal!”
— Rachel Szuch

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