Story by Rachel Rucker
Photography by Beth Bouknight
Meet Heather Tweten:
Although it’s not necessarily uncommon today to be a single, working mom, it is slightly more unusual for that woman to move across the country to a place she’s never been, where she knows absolutely no one. That, my friends, is exactly what Heather did about three years ago.
Heather moved from her native state of Iowa to Bluffton when she got an offer to be a social worker at Bluffton Middle School. She decided to take the plunge and move approximately 25 hours away from her family and friends because she had always felt a pull toward the coast.
“I always thought that South Carolina just sounded so nice before I had ever even been here. I had just broken up with my boyfriend and just felt like I needed a clean break—a fresh start. This was perfect for both of us,” she said.
That pull was so strong, Heather moved with her then 6-year-old daughter before they had a permanent place to live. After two days, they both had grown tired and weary from the Holiday Inn suite, where they were staying. With a lot of faith and little luck, Heather and her daughter found an apartment and were completely moved in within a month.
Her now 9-year-old daughter, Neveah (which is Heaven spelled backward), is for many obvious, as well as ubiquitous reasons, the love and light of Heather’s life. With the iron will and infinite love she has for her daughter, as well as the students she helps through her job, Heather deserves a relaxing day of luxurious pampering and The Heavenly Spa at The Westin absolutely came through.
The Westin’s cosmetologist, Gene Hall, had the perfect tricks up his sleeve to transform Heather from an overworked mom into a brunette bombshell.
“I used to bleach my hair; I’ve used the color-in-a-box kits and I usually cut my own hair a few times a year. I use a thinner to thin it out some times, because it gets so thick and frizzy, especially in the summer,” Heather said.
Gene quickly let Heather know she should never again use a thinner on her hair. He explained that those types of scissors leave the hair frayed and uneven in places that it shouldn’t be; leaving it looking less full, and usually, fried from root to end.
His solution was to keep most of the length she had, enhancing the cut with several layers in the back, as well as around her face. To create a rich, healthy all-over color, Heather and Gene agreed on a mahogany brown, with enough shine, to bounce light off of her piercing blue eyes.
“A deeper color will not only make her hair look more natural and healthy, it’s the contrast between the dark of the hair and the light of her eyes that will make it perfect,” Gene said.
After a long and anxiety-ridden wait, Gene shampooed and conditioned Heather’s hair to reveal a rich, gorgeous deep brown. Heather was thrilled at the results, and couldn’t wait to see what else Gene had in store.
As expected, Gene had a clear and precise idea for what he envisioned as Heather’s final cut. One word: bangs. Just the word can send some women running in fear, remembering the deeply-buried third-grade picture with those bangs that are cut a good five-inches above the eyebrow. Those bangs, however, were not what Gene had in mind.
Albeit with a good bit of convincing, Gene took the scissors and began to work his magic. With the final cut, Gene feathered Heather’s hair with a dab of Paul Mitchell’s Awapuhi Wild Ginger Styling Treatment Oil to tame flyaways and frizz. After a thorough blow-out, Gene turned Heather’s chair so she could see her reflection. She died. Not literally, but almost, as she was "over the moon" at the complete perfection that was her hair. The two key components being: color, and of course, bangs. Both worked to create a staggering before-and-after transformation.
Using the KROMA airbrush foundation and color palettes, Gene created a soft, feminine look with natural colors for makeup. With a little liner and mascara, we found that not only does Heather have the most crystal-blue eyes you’ve ever seen, her eyelashes look like the false sets most swoon over.
With many thanks to Gene and his awesome skills, Heather was ready to complete her new look with a fall-ready sweater dress we picked out at Gigi’s Boutique in Bluffton. Anna Pepper Hewett, co-owner of Gigi’s along with her sister, Emily Burden, had the perfect necklace and cuff to add the glam.
After a wardrobe change, making her look and feel effortless, Heather was told her plans to babysit that night may need to be rescheduled, with her complete and utter gorgeousness on full display. But Heather went home to see her daughter and help a friend out who needed a babysitter for the evening because that’s just who she is. Heather is not only downright gorgeous, more importantly, she is selfless beyond measure and shows bravery in many aspects of her life.
Book Your Own Makeover:
The Heavenly Spa at The Westin is open Sunday through Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Thursday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Relax with a massage at the spa for your own “makeover” at their salon. For a complete list of services, including haircut, color, style, manicure, pedicure, and full spa, go to westinhiltonheadspa.com or call 843.681.1019.
Gigi’s Boutique is open Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. It is on historic Calhoun Street in Bluffton. Visit their website at gigisbluffton.com or call 843.815.4450 to find out more. For fashion updates, like them on Facebook at Gigis Bluffton.