Just before Christmas, we ran an amazing competition with Guess Watches that allowed one lucky CQ reader the chance to win their mate a head-to-toe makeover. We had a tough time choosing a 'victim', but eventually we went with Dana’s entry, which told us the plight of her ‘bag lady’ friend Mary by reworking the opening to Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet.


The prize was a day of pampering across London, starting with a styling session and outfit, watch and jewellery from Guess, followed by makeup at B Never Too Busy To Be Beautiful, a slap-up lunch and, finally, a hair makeover by Zoe Irwin, Creative Director at Headmasters. I spent the day with Dana and Mary, and (of course) got it all on camera. You won’t believe the transformation… Click the image above to play video.

I never thought I'd have so much fun seeing the transformation of someone else, but from the moment I met Mary (who was cautious, quiet and - dare I say it - a bit unenthusiastic about the whole thing to begin with) I knew the challenge would be worth it. Here was a really beautiful woman who just didn't realise what she had to work with, and we had the perfect opportunity to give her confidence a boost.

Once she realised we weren't going to chop off all her hair, put her in drag queen make-up and force her into clothes that weren't her style, Mary really opened up and started to chat, ask questions and get the most out of the day. We chose clothes from Guess that were smart but chic, and since she loves colour, had a splash of boldness about them. A purple silk top hid what Mary deemed her problem areas (whatever!) and a pair of tailored black trousers - skinnier than she'd ever usually go for - showed off her great legs. We also picked out a great faux fur poncho (sounds awful, looked fabulous!) for warmth. With the addition of some glam jewellery (Mary picked out a gold coloured necklace and matching earrings that looked like they were made from sparkly safety pins) and her watch - a subtle gold bracelet style with sparkles it - easily took her from day to night.

To compliment the purple top, Nathalie at B Never Too Busy To Be Beautiful gave Mary bold purple eyes (with a bit of their trademark sparkle) and subtle, shimmery shades elsewhere. I think we all picked up some useful tips during the make-up, and the girls both went home with some goodies of their own to keep up the good work.

Finally, stylist to the stars Zoe Irwin worked her magic on Mary's hair. Who'd have guessed that under her woollen hat Mary was hiding the most amazing head of killer curls? After two intensive moisturising treatments, a head of bold new highlights and a very gentle blowdry, she looked like a different person, as you can see in the amazing video above.

By the end of the day, as corny as it seems, I really felt like we'd made a difference to Mary. Seeing her so happy with the finished look made my day, and I left the girls with a massive smile on my face and a plan to do many more of these makeovers in the months to come!