Mom With Hair Bleached Since 70s Has Epic ‘Makeunder’ on Oprah, Looks Decades Younger

August 2, 2019 Updated: August 6, 2019

We’ve all watched and loved an epic makeover. Maybe we’ve even been treated to one ourselves. But this one’s a little different.

Not only is Deborah’s transformation a “makeunder,” but it’s a hugely uplifting throwback segment from the Oprah Winfrey Show way back in 1999! Back-combed hair and shoulder pads at the ready, ladies!

A model holds three types of Mary Quant eye crayons against her cheek, snapped in 1971 (©Getty Images | Evening Standard)

Deborah was a mom and hardworking police officer from Chicago who had got herself into a relatable rut, style-wise. Pretty Deborah had been bleaching her hair an aggressive white for well over two decades, and what were formerly luscious locks had become weak and tired-looking.

To add insult to a thoroughly injured routine, Deborah’s makeup was just as tired; with white frosted eyeshadow, heavy black eyeliner, pale skin, and no blush, Deborah may as well have been auditioning for a bit-part in the Rocky Horror Picture Show!

Oprah Winfrey attends the Sesame Workshop’s Second Annual Benefit Gala in New York City in 2004 (©Getty Images | Peter Kramer)

One look at the beautiful mom could tell you that she had huge potential, but Deborah’s style comfort zone had become so comfy that she’d forgotten how to venture out of it. Confused dresser Deborah even admitted to the camera that she sometimes wore pantyhose under her blue jeans.

“It’s a way of expressing myself,” she insisted.

©Getty Images | Evening Standard

Well, enter Deborah’s sister Sandy! Sandy, a vibrant redhead, had begged her sister on numerous occasions to try a softer look but to no avail. So she contacted Oprah’s makeover team with her wish list.

Sandy wanted Deborah to “remain blonde” but with a “nice, soft glow,” instead of the brassy white. “So that you can see her pretty eyes!” Sandy insisted sweetly.

Illustration – Shutterstock | Olga Ekaterincheva

“She has a nice smile,” Sandy continued, “and I think the whole world should see it.” Deborah, no doubt bowled over by the opportunity to get a “makeunder” from the industry’s finest, agreed to take part.

In the awesome clip in which Deborah revealed her new look in front of Oprah’s live audience, you can witness the magic for yourself. She looked (easily) 10 or even 20 years younger!

A young, dolled-up girl waiting to appear in the Sydney Eisteddfod wearing stage makeup circa 1970 (©Getty Images | Keystone Features)

“Deborah gave up the bleach and threw away her pastel eyeshadows,” Oprah told her expectant audience, right before Deborah’s big reveal. “You’re not gonna believe this.”

Oprah is the queen of getting it right, and Deborah’s transformation was no exception! Wearing a newly styled, short haircut with warm blonde tones and softer makeup (no heavy black eyeliner in sight!), Deborah looked completely refreshed. “She’s feeling herself,” Oprah exclaimed.

And boy, we’re feeling her too!

To eager applause from the audience, both the stylist and Oprah showered a happy-looking Deborah with compliments and confidence-boosting affirmations. She deserved every single one of them.

“You don’t have to look like you’re 56!” Deborah’s makeunder guru exclaimed to the 46-year-old mom. And her very best, most timeless advice? To keep it simple!

Oprah Winfrey on the red carpet at the Academy Awards in Hollywood on Feb. 29, 2004 (©Getty Images | Carlo Allegri)

“Will the guys at work recognize you as being a police officer?” the stylist asked Deborah, out of curiosity. Deborah’s answer roused a laugh from the audience: “I’ll find out tomorrow!”

It’s a mood-boosting clip from the archives to brighten your day, but we can still learn a valuable style lesson from this epic transformation: you don’t have to dress like you did 20 years ago to look 20 years younger!