A good friend of mine mentioned realizing as a teen that she looked more like the "before" picture in a teen magazine's "before and after" feature. Which raises an interesting question for all of us: Do you consider yourself a "before" picture, an "after," or a "before" who must be transformed into an "after" prior to leaving the house? Please share your answer in the comments.
I am relatively unconcerned with the standards of beauty as put forth by fashion magazines. Objectively, one would call me a "before," as I wear precious little makeup. My hairstyling regimen consists of blow-drying my bangs and waving the blow dryer around the rest of my hair (no mousse, no gel, no Transforming Paste—though Mr. Tangerine loves his Transforming Paste). I often don't brush my hair again for most of the day. I see myself in the mirror, but I don't often really look with any degree of critical attention. (Is that enlightened self-acceptance or slovenliness?) But since I'm content with the results of my minimal efforts, I rather feel like an "after." It's telling: before a photo shoot for a major newspaper, the only extra grooming I did was trying to cover up some zits, using the lightly tinted moisturizer with sunscreen instead of the plain, and topping the moisturizer with some green powder to counteract my standard redness. I dampened my hair and did another round of blow-drying, and I added a touch of lipstick. (My poor mother-in-law: ever hopeful, she asked, "Did you fix your hair for the picture?" Yep, same blow-drying as ever! No products, no hairspray, no nothing.)
So, ladies and gentlemen, are you "befores" or "afters"?