LOS ANGELES —
Many women look forward to Valentine's Day as a time when they can share a romantic day with their loved one. But for wives with husbands in the military, Valentine's Day may be difficult, especially if their husbands are deployed overseas. One beauty school is trying to brighten the day for military wives with a day of pampering.
Monique Collier chats and smiles as she artistically puts makeup on one woman with a face sprinkled with freckles.
"I've always had a passion for fashion, hair, makeup, helping people just feel good about themselves," she said.
That's why Collier signed up for beauty school after retiring from the Navy - with eight months in Afghanistan under her belt. She'll be graduating from Bellus Academy in San Diego in two months. On the week of Valentine's Day she's connecting with her clients at a much deeper level. Bellus Academy
is offering free Valentine's Day makeovers for wives with husbands in the military.
"It makes the wives feel good about themselves. It makes it so that way when their husbands can't really be there, they can feel confident about themselves," said Collier.
Lily Madrigal, whose husband is a Marine deployed to Afghanistan, says, "He's been gone for a month and 10 days. We have three little ones, so they are always constantly asking where is Daddy? We miss him."
Madrigal says her husband may not be home to see her makeover in person, but her children will sure appreciate it.
"They realize when you do your hair and makeup... 'Oh, Mommy, you look beautiful today.' They like it too," she said.
Military wives whose husbands are home also get free makeovers. Melissa Langdale says some quiet time away from her active 5-year-old son is much appreciated.
"You do lose time for yourself because you put the kids and the husband first a lot," she said.
The complimentary Valentine's Day makeovers started three years ago by Bellus Academy owner Lynelle Lynch. Since then, she has extended the free service for the Veteran's Day and Memorial Day holidays.
"We realized there were so many husbands who were deployed overseas from San Diego," said Lynch.
Lily Madrigal says life without her husband right now is tough.
"Definitely tough. My little kids, I have them and they have me. I'll take them out and have a good time. It's fine," she said.
Madrigal says she'll send her husband a photo of her makeover with a picture of their children and a card for this Valentine's Day.