Everyone has a least-favorite physical feature. According to the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery, more than 7 million cosmetic surgery procedures are performed in the United States each year. Some could use some nonsurgical help as well. So whether you're a straight guy in need of a queer eye or someone with a serious cosmetic issue to correct, you'll need a game plan.
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Decide just how dramatically different you want your new-andimproved self to be. Making a list of what you'd like to change (hair, makeup, wardrobe, job, friends) will help you prioritize your goals.
Consider the costs. Include wardrobe additions, hair and makeup styling, fitness and nutrition consultants, new furniture and remodeling fees, as well as potential surgery and several weeks or more to recover. A drastic new look doesn't come cheap.
Based on this information, establish a budget that will help you set your makeover limits and keep things in perspective. See related articles on How to Design a Savings Plan.
Hire an image consultant to evaluate your current style, make wardrobe and beauty recommendations and tailor a makeover just for you. He or she will also connect you with the best stylists for your particular look. A full day's consultation usually runs about $1,200. To begin your search, check the yellow pages under "Consultants" and "Image Consultants."
Test new looks on Websites such as the Makeover-o-Matic at Substance.com, VirtualMakeover.com and MyPersonalStyle.com. Scan your own photo and then test various hair and makeup schemes onscreen before you commit. Print your top picks on a color printer and bring the images for your stylist to work from. Style magazines are also a good source of ideas.
Take photos (front, sides and back) of your new style, cut and color. Then bring these photos when you return to the salon to make sure they get it right every time.
Get in shape and shed those extra pounds Choose a weight loss plan you are comfortable with and design a workout schedule for your body.
Decide what type of surgery you're interested in. Popular cosmetic surgical procedures include breast augmentation, eye lifts, face lifts, upper arm lifts, dental work, nose jobs and liposuction. Prices range from $3,000 to $12,000 depending on the surgeon, your geographic region and how much surgery you're having performed.
Interview several surgeons and ask how many procedures similar to yours each has performed, which is particularly important with new treatments. Identify a top-notch plastic surgeon via referrals from your physician and satisfied friends.
Make sure a prospective surgeon is certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery and is a member of the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (plasticsurgery.org). The ABPS requires a five-year surgical residency plus two years of specialized training. Ask if doctors have surgical privileges at a hospital; if not, it's possible their credentials fell short, so tread carefully.
Make the most of every cosmetic surgery consultation, which will cost you around $50 to $100 each. Ask questions about the surgeon's education, specialties and experience. You'll want to know everything about what will be done to you. Make sure that you understand all the possible risks and complications involved with the procedure.
Plan conservatively on a two-week minimum rest period in order to facilitate recovery and tissue repair. If you break the recovery discipline by doing too much too soon, you might tear your sutures and cause long-term damage and put yourself right back in the hospital.
Get organized, overcome clutter and clear out your home. Throw away old useless junk and old bank statements. Keep sentimental items, but be reasonable--you don't need every birthday card you've ever received.
Throw out or give away pieces of furniture that have seen better days. Have a yard sale or put items for sale on craigslist or in the local newspaper.
Experiment with bold colors and put a fresh coat of paint on your house--inside and out.
Create a budget, make a list of what you need to buy (clothing, furniture, decor) and prioritize your list to keep costs in line. Shop to increase functionality and style at the same time--take a friend whose opinion (and taste) you trust, or hire an interior designer. Call your favorite department store and ask if they have a personal shopping service available.
Step out of your comfort zone and take a class in something you've always been interested in--wine tasting, art history and so on. Meet new people, make new friends.
Enjoy the new you!