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What’s the difference between “having a makeover” and “image counseling” ?

In our profession, we hesitate to use the term “makeover”, particularly in the case of Smart and Light, as the reality is that this profession has been in existence for a long time, and the most accurate term for it is “image counseling”.

At our Smart and Light center in Paris, where our priority is the well-being of our clients during a period of physical and mental transformation, we’re not aiming to achieve an “overnight metamorphosis”, but rather to take as much time as necessary for  each person we mentor, in order to help them regain confidence in themselves in every sense of the word: not just by reviewing their wardrobe, but also in the way they do their hair and makeup, and getting in touch with what really makes them unique.

The first priority is to focus on their personality, which has often been hidden, and to do this in a harmony of color, style and detail which will allow each client to recognize their own profound essence and originality.


Towards an evolution in sync with the real “you”!

Most overweight people who come to us use every means possible to try and hide their figures, which may well be assets, and deliberately make mistakes in fashion and taste in an attempt to remain as invisible as possible: dark clothes that are too big, unsuitable fabrics, little or no makeup, hair done without care, ordinary glasses, in short a compendium of “go anywhere unnoticed” which tarnishes their personality and often reveals only a deep malaise. Those who know New York know that one of the first plus-size shops for women carried the somewhat evocative name “Forgotten woman”…No, above all don’t forget yourself…

The overall principle of the mentoring which I am delighted to offer you is to turn your complexes into trumps.

My number one objective is that as this program progresses, you no longer feel the need to remain in hiding. It is essential for you to be aware that your body, your shape, your mentality will start to change during this period of transformation. And that should be a powerful impulse for motivation! You are going to change; you are once again going to become the person you want to be. If you no longer feel any gap between the image you see in the mirror and the way others see you, you will be all the more stimulated to achieve your goals. You are going to discover more energy, feel younger, tone up, take control of yourself, and be in charge of your own changes and your own future. And we are here to guide you…

My wish is to ensure that you never again experience the desire to forget or hide yourself.  Instead, develop a taste for the new concept of aligning your values with your personality, your lifestyle and your image. This is the path that we will take together during the two months of your guidance, at your own pace and shaped by who you are and your own particular objectives.

The various stages of this journey of transformation, in which I look forward to being your guide, will be for you to learn to look at yourself in the mirror with pleasure, to know yourself better and to explore all the positive aspects and differing facets of your image. I’ve been doing this job for a long time, and I do it through love and through the conviction that we all have the ability to improve and to shine.

It will give me great joy quite simply to return to you the keys to the freedom that is already yours by right, to enable you to recognize your beauty and your positive assets. My plan is to help you relearn how to love yourself, and, as Plato said, “It is through love that one desires, and discovers more and more beautiful things.” If you love yourself, you will discover aspects of yourself that will give you wings and allow you to find the energy to improve all the various facets of your life.

Our coaching at Smart and Light is not merely aimed at making you “just lose weight”. To lose weight on its own means nothing. It was Sophie who made me aware of this. When I met her two years ago, she talked to me about the program, whilst showing me photos of her clients. Beyond the obvious weight loss, there was something else in the photos: a self-assurance, a radiance, an expression of happiness expressed in a deep and radiant smile, a visible rediscovered identity in each person, a success story visible to the naked eye, and this well beyond the simple weight loss. For me, the spectacular results of her method were to be found in these specific elements, and I “got it” straight away.

It was also in discovering Sophie herself, her vision and her career that I launched myself into the venture of Smart and Light alongside her.

She had such a different outlook towards overweight people, and on makeovers; her argument was not to makeover the participants of her program at the very end once they had lost weight – but from the start.

She is so passionate about this profession of mentoring, she has such great conviction and love for others that you can’t help but follow her. It’s what I did.

It is true that the gratitude of our participants is an inestimable present for us; we feel truly useful when we have helped someone regain confidence and recover their life, helped them become radiant and happy. These are great moments of happiness for the whole team.

It’s in this manner that I met the fabulous Axelle. A business woman and an adventurer!

Over the course of four months Axelle’s evolution was remarkable as the alignment of her style with her new image was gradual, gentle and simply natural!

Axelle had a somewhat complex request: as the creator of a tailor-made travel agency, she has to wear two hats. She has to go on research trips as a simple tourist, in order to test and find the most original itineraries for her clients, but then, as a follow-up, she has to meet her clients, whose demands are often very specific, with all the implications of chic, luxury and lifestyle. So, to achieve success in juggling these two personalities and to be able to simultaneously please the adventurer with her rucksack and the glamorous Parisian business woman, was not an easy task, especially given the fact that she was covering up her figure.

Steps crossed…

Before any work could begin, a coaching diagnosis was necessary to define all of Axelle’s goals in relation to the image she had of herself when she started, and the image she wanted to achieve in the near future. At the time, it was easier for her to disguise her curves in adventure sports outfits than in chic tailoring… Nevertheless, her goal was to be able to flit easily from one role to the other in her professional life, without forgetting her 3rd aspect that of her life as a woman, in clothes more suited to both of her tasks, but more feminine above all.

In the first place, we focused on her pretty face and set about working out how to emphasize it.

Our first step was to help her master the art of doing her makeup. Together we worked on different styles, ranging from the most natural to the most sophisticated, so that she would know how to adapt her appearance by herself, to suit the day’s requirements.

She learned the textures best-suited to her skin type, the colors appropriate for her skin tone, the various essential stages of a good makeup routine, in any given circumstances Axelle shone every step of the way…

The next logical step was to address her hairstyle, so it would fit in with her new image. My hairdressing partner Jérôme Guezou styled the cut according to the shape of her face and hair type. We discovered with emotion our new Axelle, happy business woman and adventurer, but above all a radiant woman.

After these first big changes, and before engaging upon the creation of Axelle’s style, a colorimetric analysis was needed to find the colors that would best suit her skin tone.

Her appearance was already changing, as was her expression, and I set to work with her on the creation of her style…

Impressively, two months later, Axelle’s shape had already changed, and she had lost more than twenty pounds.

We then moved on to the next stage, which was dress style and body shape.

This involved creating a style which would suit her way of life, looking for the right fabrics, discovering new, tailored styles which suited her gradually changing shape, but also understanding the effect of the patterns and color combinations. Together we found the accessories which best corresponded to her image and her needs. As the sessions progressed, Axelle developed a taste for the idea of dressing differently, lending herself to the game of trying on clothes that she had never dared try on before, and finding out about herself through these trying-on sessions. She was delighted at the sight of each of her outfits, no doubt envisaging herself, in her dual worlds of explorer and business woman, as she looked at her reflection in the mirror and saw a seductiveness that was new to her.

A sort-out of her wardrobe was then necessary to part her without any regrets from her useless, oversized clothes, so that she could move on to an efficient and more tailored approach to shopping, working with the “basics” and the “statement pieces” which are indispensable for the creation of her own unique style, of “Axelle’s style”.

A note of freshness lifted her image, and a vital touch of fashion set the tone for our dear Axelle’s newly acquired femininity, leaving her radiant and more of a femme fatale than ever.

Mission accomplished as far as I, Flavien, am concerned…I am delighted, especially when I see Axelle so radiant.

A complete, global turn-around of her image from A to Z for an impressive result! Bravo to you dear Axelle and thank you for your example.