Ever notice how big girls tend to have long hair? It's a way to deflect attention away from the body. Of course, I totally get it — as a fashion stylist, I update my wardrobe regularly, but I'm lucky if I submit my tresses to a trim even three times a year. I know some plus-size divas who avoid the salon chair altogether, convinced that their bum-grazing locks are as good as Spanx for camouflaging bulges. So is it any wonder that when my Marie Claire editor informed me that I'd been booked for a beauty makeover, my legs nearly gave way? Not my hair — anything but the hair!
Thankfully, my stylist, hair guru Ted Gibson, the soft-spoken miracle worker from TLC's What Not to Wear, had no intention of giving me the Victoria Beckham Special. "The shorter the hair, the wider the hips," he chirped. His advice: soft layers, which highlight bone structure, even on a big girl. Another super-slimming trick: volume. Plump up hair with hot rollers or a volumizing spray — think Beyoncé, not Snooki — for full waves that flatter all figures.
The simplest technique for slenderizing a chubby face: Play up the eyes. This tip comes from celebrity makeup artist Trish McEvoy, also on deck for my transformative salon day. First, McEvoy lined the top and bottom outer rims with eyeliner, but only halfway, from the mid-lid to the outer corner. Then she lacquered my lashes with mascara. My eyes looked as big as half-dollars. To downplay my double chin, she showed me how to use a fluffy brush to apply bronzer along the jawline. (Careful — too much and you'll look like you have a 5 o'clock shadow.) Once you get comfortable with the technique, apply a darker tone underneath the chin, blending into the neck. The illusion of depth and definition can subtract a good 10 pounds from your face.
My makeover culminated with a coat of soft-pink lipstick. Turns out, if you're not Angelina Jolie, a deep-red hue is difficult to pull off, unless it's sheer and absolutely the right shade for your complexion. Too brown and you'll risk making your lips look thin, which only emphasizes a fuller face. So take heed when dipping into your crimsons. Here's another insider tip I snagged from the pros: Celebs juice up their puckers by dabbing a sparkly powder to the cupid's bow — the "V" part of the top lip — and a bronzer to the center of the bottom lip.
Needless to say, I sashayed home from the salon feeling like a knockout, and even caught a few guys checking me out along the way. Best of all, I learned how to re-create the look in 10 minutes — it takes me more time to figure out which shoes to wear each morning. Now it's your turn! Share your no-fail, face-flattering hair and makeup tips at marieclaire.com/ashley. I'll spotlight the best ones on our Website!