Thursday, December 5, 2013

What Really Bugs Me About "Before" and "After" Photos

I recently saw this photo on Pinterest about contouring makeup, and it really bugged me.

She's gorgeous, no? Before and after - stunning. 
And the contouring is very well done - perfect even.

BUT. Do you see the tricks used in the after photo to make it seem like the makeup can do more than it actually CAN do?

Here are my problems with the After shots: 

1. Her hair. It's greasy and pushed back in the before photos.  Little by little, it is pulled forward.  By photo 5, it is hanging in front of her shirt. In photo 6, it is clean, big, shiny, AND COVERING PART OF HER EYE AND HALF OF HER CHEEK. This is important - the image is meant to make you think that the makeup alone made her face "thinner." And it did. Her nose looks awesome, her cheekbones chiseled. But mostly, it was the covering her face with her hair that made it look smaller.

2. Her sweater. Same tactic. It stars pretty low, making her face/neck look large. In each photo, the sweater moves up a bit, making her neck smaller and smaller. The sloppy purple t-shirt is completely covered in photo 6, and the shirt is so high it could strangle her.

So, please know that my point in writing this is not to criticize the makeup artist (so talented), the model (gorgeous), or the photographer (great images).

My point is to show that what makeup can do is amazing, but we all should reign in our expectations, and be realistic. Women, including this model, can be gorgeous without makeup, with light makeup, and with heavy makeup. I happen to love the "lots and lots of makeup" look, like on this after photo. I just wish they had showed us the contouring without the hair and clothing tricks. I'm sure the model would have been equally gorgeous, and it wouldn't set unrealistic expectations for people who see it.


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  1. You are so correct! Sad but true. I hate before and after photos for these reasons. Thank you for this post, it's a great reminder.

  2. I saw this on Pinterest and thought immediately that the photo had been worked.
    Contouring with makeup has brought enormous interest even more recently with the Kardashasian girls marketing their faces more and more. The thing I wonder is - at the end of the day when you wash it all off will you recognize yourself in the mirror.

  3. By golly you are right! Its subtle but those things really do make a difference!!! Especially the hair over one eye making her face appear thinner. Overall though its impressive...but agree with your observations.

  4. Wow. So insightful.

  5. Wow that is amazing that you were able to pick that out! I guess thats what they all do to trick the eye! She was a lovely looking girl before and after.
    Great blog!