This duality of nature and culture, of self-expression and ritual adopted
a third form: that of beauty care and treatment as opposed to make-up.
The Greeks distinguished between cosmetics and commoticus. The first term designated the art of adornment, including everything that enhanced natural beauty (jewel and ornamental accessoires) as well as products for protecting and maintaining this natural beauty (beauty care and hygiene products).
The second term encompassed the art of disgiuse, in other words, coveringup what was natural or even faulty - or at least that which was merely mediocre. This was the technique for courtesans and the lazy; make-up required lesseffort than upkeep, said Plato, more or less, in Giorgias: in other words, obtaining a relatively inexpensive beauty mask meant that you could avoid an effort that would, however, provide more long - lasting and true effects.
Therefore, our use of the world " cosmetics" today is not entirely correct; we should reserve it for beauty care; commoticus shoud be the proper term for make - up.
According to Galen, cosmetics are medicinal, while make-up is harmful. From this poin of view, and even leaving aside massages and other therapeutic methods, beauty care products penetrate and act from within. Make-up , however, acts on the surface, creates appearances.
Cosmetics versus commoticus reflects the opposition between depth and surface, even between reality and appearance - although this distinction is less straightforward today than in earlier eras. There is not a single make-up productthat doesn'tclaim to noirish, tighten, or at least moisturize as it covers. These characteristics are presented as curative. Even if we examinethe covering aspect alone, the contemporary viewpoint about make-up is far mor about internal aspects, as an expression of one's personality.
Make-up no longer mask and conceals; it reveals.
We could probably associate make-up trends with the specific self-image of any particular era. In a Balzac novel , the characters - the fictional ones as well as those from which they were certainly inspired - have so much depth, and are so sure of themselves and their existences that they use no make-up. With the nouveau roman and structuralism, the death of the subject and the dissolution of the caracter, everything that could lead to a concept in which "I am only what I reveal" announces the return of visible make-up.
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