Beauty work, cosmetics, and background reading

I am reading for a paper at the moment, and thought that this might be of interest to those who do beauty work. If you forget the rest of the piece (on modernity, Paris arcades, the rush of the crowd, intoxication) you might focus in on the section on cosmetics and put yourselves in the shoes of those C19 people who, like Baudelaire who writes this, think of cosmetics in relation to coverage. Interestingly, cosmetics, as I read in a Derrida seminar, is etymologically connected with cosmos, cosmo-politanism, and all that the city scapes and scaffolds in linking up into a second nature, that “cosmetics” that create:

“successfully designed to rid the complexion of those blemishes that Nature has outrageously strewn there, and thus to create an abstract unity in the colour and texture of the skin, a unity, which like the tights of a dancer, immediately approximates the human being to the statue, that is to something superior and divine.”

In coming across this, I thought it might be of interest and add dimensions to thinking through beauty work, in working beauty and working cultivation?



I have notes. Executive producer says “doesn’t feel organic.” I expect them addressed by 3pm. I’m not worried about this.


Yes, one has to be in cont(r)act with the shifting sands of the cosmos, the cosmopolitan and the cosmetics of the moment, in seeking to transcend and to stay a while. Whether this activity and this work is taking place out at the conscious “front” or, alternately, the dull-nagging “back” of a head, which one cannot turn away from, without staring back at it, immediately, if not sooner, and straight away. Executive decisions and executions, and wilful executors are here, and then there, and Heraclitus is streaming in rivers. Mad Men feel the vein and the pressure and the presence of the pulsing rivers that are never stepped into twice, even if they may feel stable, in exactly that way?


Personally, I drift away from Herclitus and more towards Homer’s understanding of the mind.


Yeah all is strife, innit…