Video: The Best Health Challenge grande finale

Look at her now! In the final instalment of this year’s Best Health Challenge, Kelly Mathews gets advice for her skin, hair and what to wear

Video: The Best Health Challenge grande finale

Source: Best Health Magazine, Dec. 2011; Photo by Michael Alberstat; Video by Nick Perry

Style consultation

Fashion stylist Afiya Francisco, who is a guest expert on TV programs such as ET Canada and The Marilyn Denis Show, visited Kelly’s home and went through her closet to hone in on the right clothes for her new body. The closet still contained clothes Kelly had kept from when she was a size 10, and that she hoped to fit into again one day. That day was here. ‘When it comes to clothes,’ says Afiya, ‘I discovered that Kelly knows her style and what looks good on her.’

Kelly excitedly pulled out a pair of dark jeans she had been using as a benchmark: ‘Every week since the Challenge began I’ve tried to fit into them’and now I finally do.’

Updating your wardrobe means adding a few trendy items, says Afiya. ‘Embrace the now, but new pieces have to work with your existing wardrobe. Kelly can take that pair of dark jeans, add an emerald top’very trendy this season’top it with a cute jacket, slip on some heels, and she’s done!’

Kelly already has the perfect shoes, too: a pair of five-inch heels in a nude shade”identical to Kate Middleton’s, my fashion hero.’ Kelly had never worn them because she felt she was too overweight to pull them off. Afiya reminded Kelly that heels lengthen the legs, making them appear thinner, and told her to start wearing them. ‘If you aren’t feeling great in your clothes, then you aren’t shining. Kelly has worked so hard, she should shine,’ says Afiya.

For Kelly, finally fitting into her old size 10 clothes actually brought her to tears. ‘It feels so amazing when you put on something that you couldn’t get past your knees before.’

Hair and skincare advice

Rob Pizzuti, a colourist and the owner of Exit Salon in Toronto, had to convince Kelly to tone down her platinum-blonde colour. ‘Seasons change, clothes and skin tone change, so hair needs to change, too,’ says Pizzuti. To achieve a creamier blonde that would complement her skin tone, he added three layers of lowlights in different shades of blonde, giving Kelly’s hair more depth. ‘We then added a glycerine gloss, which fills in any damage and works like a topcoat, adding depth and shine.’

Exit hairstylist Leland Olson also had to fix a previous bad haircut’short layers that made Kelly’s hairstyle appear wider at the bottom, giving it a triangular look. To make it easy to manage as she grows it out, they kept the length, cut in some longer layers and added a side-swept fringe. Kelly loves the new ‘do, and how easy it is to manage.

For the past decade, Kelly has had a simple skincare regimen: cleanse, tone and moisturize’with whatever products were on sale. ‘She isn’t focused on skin care, but her priority should be healthy skin,’ says Dr. Fred Weksberg, a dermatologist we asked to give Kelly a consultation. ‘My main concern was the sun damage I saw on Kelly’s face.’

He gave her this program:
Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser It’s hypoallergenic, and affordable. (Cetaphil products are available at drugstores.)
SwissTec Tri-Foliant ‘Exfoliating twice a week takes away dead cells and helps skin look fresher,’ says Weksberg. (SwissTec products are available at dermatologists’ offices.)
SwissTec CIC2 Cellular Serum ‘This is an antioxidant that lightens skin pigmentation, wakes up cells and reverses the look of sun damage,’ explains Weksberg.
Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion He advises using this twice daily as moisturizer.
A good sunscreen Choose one with a minimum of SPF 30 and broad-spectrum protection, and wear it daily year-round.

‘I know I have to manage my skin better,’ says Kelly, who now wears sunscreen whenever she’s going outside. ‘You don’t care about this stuff in your 20s, but now that I’m in my 30s I want my skin to look its best.’

A new makeup routine

When it comes to cosmetics, a little goes a long way, says makeup artist Luisa Duran, who did Kelly’s makeup for this issue’s photo shoot. ”I don’t like to wear a lot,’ says Kelly. ‘Luisa showed me that foundation doesn’t have to feel like clown makeup’it can feel like you aren’t wearing anything. But you have to use quality products.’

Here’s how to get Kelly’s look:
Prep your skin. Cleanse, then moisturize. Before foundation (Luisa swears by Calgary-based Face Atelier), apply a primer to ‘seal’ pores, allowing the foundation to go on smoothly.
Start with your eyebrows. Consider having them professionally shaped. An eyebrow pencil is a good addition to your makeup bag.
Pick either your eyes or your lips to be the star. ‘If you’re going to do a red, full lip, go subtle with eyes; if you want to do glamorous eyes, go light on the lips,’ says Luisa.
Contour your face. ‘You can do this with bronzer: Brush it on under the cheekbone, along the jaw and on the sides of your forehead; then blend it. Add blush to the cheekbones, then a little bronzer on top for the final touch,’ says Luisa.

Undeniably, the Best Health Challenge is a turning point in Kelly’s life. ‘I’m beginning to believe in myself again,’ she says. ‘I know you have to make time for your workouts, eat regularly and stop the negative self-talk. Anyone can do what I’ve done. But you have to move from wanting it to actually doing it.’

Thanks to having this attitude and the support of her partner, Kevin, she’s now loving playing competitive softball again, finding passion in writing, and is planning a month-long trip to England’s Lake District in 2012. A year ago, she could never have imagined this: ‘I was working 70 hours a week’the idea of a month away, visiting places I’ve never been, is incredible.

‘Most importantly, I have learned I can put myself first. You’re no good to anyone when you’re not focusing on your health. A healthy life is not a destination’it’s a journey.’

This article was originally titled “Whole-life makeover: The big reveal” in the December 2011 issue of Best Health. Subscribe today to get the full Best Health experience’and never miss an issue!