In Makeover Diaries, women tell the stories of their real-life beauty transformations. Jasmine Watts, a recent college grad, was intimidated by her trendy classmates during a year in New York City, until she discovered a gorgeous style all her own.

Photos: Courtesy of Jasmine Watts

My first few years of college, at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, I thought makeup was hassle and never wore it. My wardrobe consisted of sweats and a t-shirt; jeans on a good day. But when I spent a year in New York City as a visiting student at the Fashion Institute of Technology, I was astonished how trendy and beautiful everyone was, without even trying. The classrooms at F.I.T could pass for beauty competitions. My classmates dressed to impress and applied their makeup like professionals. If I was going to make it here, I was going to have to fit in, and I resolved to begin my transformation.

I grew out my relaxer, which made my hair softer and more manageable. I washed it once a week using Pantene Pro-V Nature Fusion Moisture Balance Shampoo and Conditioner. After blow drying, I use a dime-sized drop of Proclaim Glossing Polish to give my hair a shine without weighing it down. I flat iron my hair once a week.

My daily makeup routine expanded as I got better at applying my own makeup. I started with a Maybelline eyeliner pencil, which I used to outline the tops of my eyelids. Then I added on, using mascara every day. I started with the signature Mary Kay mascara, but switched to L'Oreal Double Extend Mascara, which made my lashes longer and fuller.

I was set against using foundation since I felt it clogged your pores and aged your skin. Then my mom sent me a foundation that was lightweight and easy to apply; the Maybelline Powder Foundation with Micro Minerals. This was easy to put on and light on my face. Confident with this makeup routine, I got a little bold and invested in a few colors of lipstick - my favorite was a Revlon cherry red.

Luckily for me, I had a huge closet full of clothes I never wore. Living in New York City finally gave me the courage to haul them out. Many of my clothes came from Ohio thrift stores, and my vintage clothes now seemed fashionable. I also made the occasional purchase from Forever 21 or Urban Outfitters. I bought a pair of teal blue straight leg Levi jeans from Urban Outfitters, a long chain necklace from a local jewelry boutique, and a pair of black leather Etienne Aigner rider boots. I didn't change my personality; I just dressed with more confidence and flair. One thing that looked good on my hourglass figure was wearing a knee-length skirt as a dress with a waist belt to make is a cute babydoll dress.

After my year in New York, I moved back to Ohio to finish my last year of college. My friends and family were astounded at how different I really looked. I had a sense of style that was unique and I really stood out among my classmates. Now, I look like a grown-up, not a student. With my new look came a bold confidence in my personal appearance that I did not have before. Standing out in a crowd with my wardrobe would have been humiliating in the past. Now it is something I look forward to when I leave my house!

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