Thursday, January 29, 2009


Desairology. It's a word you hear rarely, if at all.

The art of desairology involves caring for the hair, skin and nails of the deceased in a funeral home preparation room. The specialty is performed by a desairologist who is licensed in cosmetology under state law. ~U.S. Legal Definitions

It's not defined in the Oxford English Dictionary, and in fact the Wikipedia entry was pulled, citing the belief that the word - along with the word cosmecare - was coined by Noella Charest-Papagno coincident with the 1980 publication of her book Handbook of Desairology for Cosmetologists Servicing Funeral Homes. The most high-profile desairologist is American actress and comedian Whoopi Goldberg, although she prefers her current occupation of performer: "All my life. It's the only thing I really love. I've been a hairdresser and makeup person in a mortuary, a bricklayer and carpenter." It seems the word desairology fills a certain void. I could not find a one-word synonym and when I googled "hairdressing + corpse," all I came up with was this spoof article about Amy Winehouse's hair extensions having been stolen from the grave!

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