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    This Is What A Makeover Means To A Female Veteran

    In post-duty life, women face a different host of challenges than their male counterparts. One initiative, Operation Reinvent, is partnering with Benefit Cosmetics to offer a new kind of support.

    This is Marbelyn Cepeda, a Marine veteran who served in Afghanistan and is transitioning back to civilian life.

    While she was serving her country, Cepeda said she felt like she needed to suppress her femininity.

    "Before I joined the Marines, I enjoyed being all girly and done up. But while I was in, I just felt like that would have put more of a spotlight on me that I didn't want," Cepeda said. "It just felt like I couldn't be as feminine as I wanted to be."

    Julie Lewit-Nirenberg, founder of Operation Reinvent, an organization that helps female veterans transition back into civilian life with mentoring and career counseling, told BuzzFeed Life that the feelings Cepeda expressed are common. Women make up about 7.11% of the Marines and 15.7% of the armed forces, but enlisting in the military means shifting the focus away from every societal norm of what it means to express confidence as a woman. Boot camp, training, and duty are meant to standardize every person in uniform. But after they've finished their tour of duty, Lewit-Nirenberg said women can be left feeling like the identity they cultivated in the military doesn't have a place once they leave.

    Once they're honorably discharged from the military, women are faced with an unemployment rate that is 66% higher than their male counterparts, which means that finding a job can feel impossible.

    Operation Reinvent is an initiative that works to help female veterans transition back into a civilian life after serving in the military.

    One of the simplest, most powerful ways Operation Reinvent helps veterans become more confident is through makeovers.

    "It's not quite like getting into a Supergirl costume, but makeup makes me feel like a better version of myself," Cepeda said.

    "I never like to place so much importance on how I look because it's what's on the inside that counts, but it helps so much of the good on the inside come out," Cepeda said.

    On Saturday, Feb. 14, Benefit Cosmetics will offer free makeovers in any Benefit Brow Bar or Benefit Boutique location around the country for any female veteran who comes dressed in uniform.