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Minimal scents smell of nothing but hypocrisy | David Mitchell

The trend for undetectable perfume and no-makeup makeup conceals a minefield of vanity and self-delusion

There are two types of cosmetics, in my analysis. Lipstick and mascara. Oh, and blusher. Hang on: and powder and eyeliner and moisturiser and perfume and hairspray. Blimey, there are loads. And styling mousse and hair dye and spray tan and unnecessary surgery. Do shaving products count? Maybe. Hats? No. Even tiny, sparkly impractical hats that don’t keep the rain off? Fascinators and tiaras and coronets and the like? No, I think we’re entering the realm of clothes and jewellery. What about stick-on sequins? And moustache wax? I’m thinking of changing my look.

But there are, I still think, two types of cosmetics. You can remember it like diabetes: type one is naturally occurring and type two is something you’ve clearly done to yourself. Except, obviously, nothing is naturally occurring in the field of cosmetics. So type one is what appears to be naturally occurring (ie a lie) and type two is the open truth. Concealer on the one hand, painted nails on the other. Or actually on both, as a rule.

It seems unfair on men that there’s shame attached to them dyeing their hair when women can openly colour theirs

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