Desairology? Is that a thing? According to, “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.”

But wait! Like everything in funeral service, Desairology is in the process of morphing.

In her commentary for Mortuary Management, Kim Stacey describes how a young woman named Monica Torres, a licensed funeral director, embalmer, Desairologist and owner of NXT Generation Mortuary Support Services, is pushing the boundaries.  Monica agrees with many funeral professionals who believe poor feature setting and terrible body appearance have helped push people away from traditional funerals. She integrates her skills as embalmer and cosmetologist to create a life-like look that will leave families with positive memories of their loved ones. It’s a blend of restorative arts, embalming and cosmetology.

Pimthida / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND
Pimthida / Foter / CC BY-NC-ND

Monica is also taking implementation of Desairology to the next level by encouraging families—particularly cremation families–to participate in dressing and cosmetizing the deceased. She launched a program at her firm called Assisted Family Dress Experience that prepares families for what they will see and do, then provides professional guidance for clothing, styling the hair, preparing the skin, applying makeup and doing the nails of the deceased. I’m calling it “Family Desairology.” Compare that to wheeling grandma out on a gurney to get identification out of the way.

Is creating a Family Desairology program worth the effort? Here are five reasons forward-thinking funeral professionals should consider its merits:

  1. Family Desairology provides a unique and rewarding way to say goodbye.
    Families who opt for Monica Torres’s Assisted Family Dress Experience describe it as a deeply rewarding way to come to terms of the loss of their loved ones.  This may be especially important to cremation families.
  1. Family Desairology boosts revenue by offering value.
    Offering families options to enhance their memorialization experiences can help make up for traditional services they forego.
  2. Family Desairology can distinguish your funeral home from competitors.
    A consumer study conducted a few years ago concluded that most people think funeral directors are incapable of designing creative funeral experiences. Show them you’re the exception.
  3. Family Desairology will make you the expert on home funerals.
    Like it or not, home funerals are making a comeback. You can choose to let someone else handle them or you can offer your expertise and professional services.
  4. Family Desairology offers an alternative for unused funeral home space.
    Make your square footage pay off! Now that 50 percent of Americans claim to have no religious affiliation, that second chapel may be more productive as a comfortable gathering space where families can take part in the celebratory preparation of their loved ones.

Not every family will find this option appealing. Not every funeral home owner will consider it appropriate. But as funeral guru Doug Gober recently said, “We can no longer afford to play it safe. We need to be bold or we’re going to go out of business.” Let’s do bold!

Do you offer any of these services at your funeral home?

By Mark Allen, OGR Executive Director