A Season of Beauty

Meet three local beauty pros whose expert advice can help you look your best for the holidays.

Hair Apparent

Give yourself the gift of great hair—which could include a fresh cut, new color or a totally new look. This a luxury anytime and even more so if you are stepping out for a special occasion. Just as fashion styles change with each season, the same can be said of hairstyles.

“I’m seeing a lot of requests for curtain bangs,” asserts Rowell. “They frame your face very nicely and are customizable to emphasize your best features. I’m also doing big body curls—big, voluminous curls that fall beautifully. That is something you can also do at home. Just use a 1 1/2 inch curling iron and be sure to curl away from your face.”

Rowell says a lot of her clients love their salon blowouts.

“One thing I like about blowouts is they also are very customizable,” she explains. “If you want straight hair, we can blow it straight. If you want volume, we have techniques to get all the volume we can. We can even curl the hair with a round brush with a small barrel.”

Orio says half the battle in achieving a hairstyle you love is to not force your hair to do something it doesn’t want to do.

“Once you have a system, it’s not so bad,” explains Orio, who has been a lead hairstylist for the Golf Channel and a hair stylist and makeup artist for opera productions at the Bob Carr Theater in Orlando and on tour with recording artist Tiffany.

Her tips for do-it-yourself styling at home before heading out for a holiday event include “curling your whole head first.”

“That’s a good place to start because you can then take a lock or two and pin it back, or play with twists and braids to create a style that works on your hair,” she offers. “You can create an updo or something that feels a little more put together than just your everyday style.”

McQuade says that a lot of people are cutting their hair a little bit shorter to get rid of those summer dead ends and choosing lower maintenance styles for the holiday season.

“Bigger hair is coming back. More curls are coming back. More natural hair, not straightened as much,” she reveals. “People are wanting more pops of color, more reds and rich browns. And you can still have highlights and lowlights to give volume, definition and depth, which is always nice.”

She adds, “I always ask, ‘What does your dress look like?’ If it’s got a beautiful back, you want your hair up for people to see it.”

As for hair health, McQuade says if you are using any kind of heat—blow dryer, curling iron or especially a flat iron—“you really, really need a heat protectant.”

“Keeping the edges trimmed helps keep hair looking healthy,” she declares. “If long hair is stringy, sometimes a healthy cut is what’s needed.”

She suggests these at-home tips for when you are between stylist appointments and a party pops up on your calendar.

“Color Wow makes a palette you put on roots and they have a huge assortment of colors,” she states. “You can also use dry shampoo to give hair volume, if you can’t get in for a haircut.”

The experts all agree that if you plan to work with a stylist, it is more important than ever to book ahead—and keep your appointment.

“If you normally do color every six weeks, book ahead of a big party,” McQuade states. “It’s easier to change the appointment than to squeeze someone in. It helps your stylist too, as we’re still trying to ease our way back into how things are and make everybody happy, especially with the extra precautions.”

Makeup Magic

Orio believes the most important part of a makeup routine is good skin care.

“The better condition your skin is in, any product you use will go further. And if you’re taking care of your skin, you’ll have fewer blemishes and may find you’ll be more comfortable with less makeup,” she asserts. “The biggest thing is finding a system that works for your skin and then making adjustments as needed. When you put your foundation on and it looks like it’s pulling into the skin or looking dry, you probably need to up your moisturizer or add a moisturizer. I think serums are a sort of ‘special sauce’ and can potentially do the most work in your skin care routine.”

For those times when you want your makeup to go the distance, Orio is a fan of the airbrush technique. It is a method that is very popular with her clients. 

“It is simple and quick, and the big advantage is a flawless face that lasts,” she contends. “In Florida, with it being so humid, a lot of times makeup will run or move. I was recently in a wedding and the air conditioner was broken at the venue. My airbrush makeup lasted 10 hours.”

She also advocates for a more glam look for holiday parties and says that creating a smokey makeup effect at the corner of each eye is really easy to do.

“It doesn’t overwhelm the eye. It’s more universal for every eye shape,” she says. “Use a deeper shade on the outer corner, then lighter on the inside, with a light pop of shimmer in the inner corner.”

As for lip color, she suggests exploring a seasonal palette.

“Think of beautiful berries and don’t be afraid to try something different, such as burnt orange with a hint of a red tone instead of your regular cool red,” she suggests. “Change it up a bit. Play around and see what you like.”

Rowell says she also can help clients with makeup to coordinate their outfit.

“If you’re going to an event, you can bring your dress in or show me a picture. I can customize the makeup to your dress to emphasize the features,” she offers. “I can get your hair and makeup looking glamorous in about two hours. We also do manicures and pedicures.”

Adorn Me

Rowell reveals that among the trends she is seeing are headbands and hair accessories.

“One thing that is really big this year is accessorizing,” she notes. “For example, you can do a hard part on one side, with more volume there, and then add hairclips in the back.”

And, when you accessorize with a great evening bag, Orio advocates that you include two essential items.

“Always have your lip color with you. And if you’re wearing a liquid matte, have a lip balm because as the night goes on and it starts to wear, rather than applying matte on matte, which gets really cakey, use the balm to rehydrate,” she suggests. “Also include a compact with translucent powder and a sponge so you can blot during the evening.”

Indulgent Offerings

If you are searching for the perfect gift for your mom, sister or your favorite girlfriend, consider a gift of beauty. A blowout or makeup session at a local salon or at home is a particularly thoughtful and personal present. It’s also something that one might not think to book for themselves, but could sorely use in such a frenetic season. It’s also a great indulgence for yourself, especially if you’re hosting a festive soirée or making the transition from work to an evening event and need a little help to look and feel your best.

Orio says she recently provided her services, for example, at a fun event in which a small group of women wanted to have a dinner party in a safe environment.

“They met at one woman’s home and brought me in to do their hair and makeup while they sipped wine and chatted,” Orio offers. “They had a ball and felt comfortable being able to be together in that setting.”

We hope these suggestions will help you to get your glam on this season and that you avail yourself of the talents of some of our favorite beauty specialists.

Contact the artists:

  • Becky McQuade, Hello Gorgeous Salon, (352) 351-5358
  • Nicole “Nicci” Orio, Pretty n Pinned, (732) 977-8497, Prettynpinned@icloud.com,   @prettynpinned
  • Elizabeth Rowell, Breeze Day Spa, (352) 401-0800, breezedayspa.com
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