In Makeover Diaries, women tell the stories of their real-life beauty transformations. When her marriage ended, Cindy Pierce, a government employee from Dallas, Texas, traded her "good-girl" style for a youthful, sexy new look.

Photos: Courtesy of Cindy Pierce

I've always been a compliant "good girl." I followed the rules and did what was expected. Twenty years ago, I married a man with a 3-year-old child and strove to be the absolute best stepmother possible. I succeeded at both my job and at instant motherhood, but unfortunately, I lost myself in the meantime. When my husband and I broke up after 13 years of marriage, mutual friends said he felt I was a fuddy-duddy. He wanted his daughter to pattern herself on a hip, attractive woman – not a conservative one like me.

Although I truly do not think I looked bad, I have to agree that I didn't turn too many heads. I was still functioning in "safe" mode. Getting back into the dating scene in my mid 40s, I realized I needed to update my look and I certainly needed to rev up my sex appeal – as uncomfortable as that was going to be!

The first thing I decided to do was grow out my short,"corporate neckline" hairstyle. It took a little while, but within six months I was already feeling my hair brush against my neck. The feel of longer hair brought back such youthful feelings inside of me! I was able to alter the way I wore it and accessorize it differently from day to day – something I had not been able to do with my short look. As my hair grew, my hairdresser, Tunde Wyatt of Cutters in McKinney, Texas, wove in brighter highlights that added depth and dimension to my longer locks.

Secondly, I visited a Clinique make-up artist at Macy's at Stonebriar Mall in Frisco, Texas. I wanted advice on how to look youthful and less tired. My main complaint was puffy eyes due to heredity and allergies. The artist taught me how to "lift" my eyes by creating a strong, arched brow by filling in my sparse brows using a pencil. To further accentuate my eyes, she taught me to highlight along the brow bone, using a white or off-white shadow. These tricks drew attention to my eyes and not to the puffiness under them. I also learned to use color correctors to conceal the ruddiness in my face due to broken capillaries and rosacea. The result of this free consultation? A smooth complexion with youthful, vibrant eyes!

The third and final part of my transformation involved fitness. I decided to begin walking on a treadmill in the break room after work. I typically walked for 20 to 30 minutes every other day. I only lost about 8 pounds, but the shape and firmness of my body changed dramatically. My energy increased and I looked forward to going places and doing things, even after working an eight-hour day. I was able to wear updated styles and fashions, even venturing over into the junior section of the stores.

When my stepdaughter, whom I had not seen for five years due to the circumstances of my bitter divorce, arrived on my doorstep last year, the first thing out of her mouth was, "Mom! You look great!" Not only was I happy to reconcile with her, but her words were the absolute icing on the cake! Now, I enjoy spending my leisure time with my stepdaughter, my extended family and the many new friends I've met via church and community classes. I've particularly enjoyed my horticulture classes - and so does my new beau!

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