Makeover Diaries tells the stories of women's real-life beauty transformations. Dawn Kiehl Beals, a customer service rep in southwest Pennsylvania, decided it was time to stop living with wrinkles, dry skin and yellow teeth -- and to take decisive action against the signs of aging.

The author, before and after. Courtesy Photos

It all started with a picture.

Sure, I'd caught glimpses of that poor woman in the mirror, with sagging jowls and yellow teeth. But one day, my husband snapped a photo of me. When I saw it, I could no longer deny that I needed a makeover -- fast!

I was 50, and tired of looking tired. I didn't want to compete with the 20-somethings, but it was important for me be comfortable in my own skin. And I no longer liked my skin.

Braving the mirror, I did a thorough assessment. The list was longer than I wanted, but doable.
Teeth yellow and dull from years of coffee and antibiotics. Deep lines around my mouth. Depressions under my eyes. Eyelashes short and thin. Skin dry and lifeless. Hair too dark for skin tone.

I tackled the easiest thing first and consulted my hair stylist. She agreed it was time to go a few shades lighter. Instead of dark brown, she colored my hair a lighter brown with red highlights. The new look perked up my skin tone but was still not enough. It was time to invest in some really good skin care. After discussing the pros and cons with a skin care consultant, I switched to Become skin care and never looked back. Within a week I could see a dramatic difference and by using the enzyme mask, firming gel, hydration serum and moisturizer my dry, lifeless skin is gone.

I was pleased with the results so far but still not 100 percent happy. My yellow teeth had been a source of embarrassment to me for years, so I decided they were next. After a few weeks of Crest Whitestrips, I knew I had a long way to go. Bleaching trays left me with sore gums and only semi-white teeth. Although it would be much more expensive and demand continual upkeep, I decided that porcelain bonding was the answer for me. Not only did I get the white teeth I wanted, my dentist was also able to reshape my front teeth into a much more aesthetically pleasing look. I was ready to move onto my next challenge – facial lines.

After meeting with my doctor, I discovered the benefits of Radiesse. The injections lasted up to a year and each shot builds upon the previous ones. The first injections I received were for the deep lines around and below the outer corners of my mouth. Because the doctor has to "massage" the product to ensure even distribution, I had dark purple bruising for a few days. However, within two weeks I could see amazing results. While Radiesse isn't a magic wand that takes all of the lines away, it does fill them in so that they are softer and less noticeable. A few weeks later I went back in for another set of injections along the top of my cheekbones to fill in the depressions under my eyes. This time there was no bruising and the effects were almost immediate. My transformation was almost complete. To add the crowning touch, I invested in Latisse, a product that encourages lash growth. By the end of the second month, my lashes were long, thick and dark.

I did this makeover for myself but I have received many, many compliments. The nicest ones are when I hear "I don't know what you did, but you look terrific"! The effect of my makeover has been exactly what I wanted, subtle yet profound. Was it expensive? Yes! Was it worth it? Absolutely, every penny of it! I'm now comfortable in my own skin again and that's the best return on the investment possible.

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