The issue of pursuing beauty through commodities purchased in the marketplace is an issue of enormous complexity. The psychological effects of beauty representations in marketing communications and beauty objects as commodities can be profound and wide ranging in a culture. This article examines typical interpretations of beauty from a philosophical context and suggests that different philosophies of what comprises beauty often yield different psychological and cultural effects. This article offers a preliminary framework for understanding the function of beauty in the market, the physical appearance phenomenon, concern with unnatural perfection, the preoccupation-with-youth culture, and the decontextualization of beauty. © 1993 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.