In Makeover Diaries, women tell the stories of their real-life beauty transformations. This week, Bobbi Leder, a 40-year-old "cocker" mom (to her English cocker spaniel) and freelance writer from Houston, Texas, realized that a more mature look could make her look younger.

Makeover Diaries Grown-Up Style

The author, before and after. Courtesy photos.

As I've grown older, I've tried to hold onto my youth -- wearing my hair longer than I did in high school and dressing in t-shirts. But once I turned 40, I realized that if I didn't do something soon, my husband would nominate me for the TV show What Not To Wear. Instead of making me look younger, my long hair made me look older. The t-shirts were frumpy and shapeless. Even my makeup was dated. I wore lipstick, eye shadow, and bronzer that were all way past their sell-by date.

I started with a trip to CVS to buy new makeup. At first I tried an anti-aging under eye concealer by L'Oreal but it just made my skin dry (which made me look older) so I switched to Physician's Formula. That turned out to be perfect for my sensitive skin. Maybelline Lash Blast mascara worked brilliantly, giving my straight lashes volume and definition. I added nail polish to my routine, making my hands look more feminine and less childlike.

I also bought some Avon makeup from a friend. Avon's Glazewear lip gloss was perfect because it had the right combination of color, shine, and moisture without making me look dated or trampy. I played up my best feature, my eyes, by using Avon's Big Color Eye Pencil in two colors: celadon and eggplant. They were softer than my usual black or brown eyeliner and yet they still brought out the slight hazel I had in my brown eyes.

Next came my wardrobe. I wore T-shirts most of the time: they were comfortable but probably made me look frumpy rather than chic and sophisticated. I do not possess the female shopping gene so I took the least painful route by avoiding the mall and went straight to T.J. Maxx. I picked up a few flattering pieces to suit my body type and saw that without T-shirts I could actually show off my shape.

The biggest change came by accident. I went to one of the best salons in Houston, The Upper Hand. The hairdresser and I agreed on a style she called the "lob" -- a long-angled bob. It sounded great, until the hairdresser accidentally cut off several more inches than we agreed upon. She snipped my hair while my head was down, I looked up and saw what was left and was mortified. "Where's my hair?" I asked. I knew it was on the floor but I thought that if I said it out loud my hair would magically return. She apologized over and over again and did not charge me for the haircut but I was traumatized. My hair was gone and I was devastated.

I was nervous about my husband's reaction, but he actually loved it! His constant compliments forced me to finally look in the mirror and play with my new hairstyle. It was youthful, cute, playful, and sassy, suiting my personality.

Now, when I look in the mirror and think I look chic, sophisticated, and grown up – something I've been avoiding for years. Maybe 40 is the new 30 after all.

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