This is part 6 of my modesty series. Read the rest:
Makeup has been around for a long time. Throughout the centuries, women have come up with (sometimes ridiculous and strange) ways to enhance their features and become more beautiful. (Seriously, how about putting burnt matches on your face? Or insect blood? Just a few of the strange things ancient women used.)
Today, makeup is everywhere. It’s a booming industry, with all kinds of products available. And with the advent of the Internet, tutorials all over the place can make any woman a makeup artist.
How are we, as Christian girls, supposed to respond to this? How do we view makeup through the lens of Scriptural modesty? Are we supposed to shun makeup altogether? Or does it not matter? What does the Bible actually say?
The truth is that, while the Bible does have several verses about beauty and adornment, there is no command that says “Thou shalt not wear makeup”. Therefore, this is an area of Christian liberty. Every girl has to make the decision for themselves whether or not they believe wearing makeup is okay for them.
Things to Consider
First of all, always follow the rules your parents set. The Bible is very clear that Christian children must honor and respect their parents at all times.
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.”
“Hear, my son, your father’s instruction, and forsake not your mother’s teaching.”
“Children, obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord.”
If you feel like you have to hide your makeup from your parents or put it on when they aren’t around, it’s probably not a good sign. If you aren’t sure what they think of makeup, then ask them! Explain why you want to wear it and listen if they have concerns. If they say yes, that’s great, but if they say no, being disrespectful or going behind their back are not good options.
If parental permission isn’t a problem, examine the heart attitude behind your desire to wear makeup. What is your motivation? Is it just another way of making sure you look polished and present yourself well? Is it something that you have fun with and use as an art form? Or is it something that you have made an idol in your life?
Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions—is not from the Father but is from the world.
-1 John 2:15-16
Charm is deceitful and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.
If something becomes more important to you than your relationship with God, it has become an idol. At that point, it is a sin, and you need to take action to get it back under control.
So, if you find yourself relying too much on makeup for your self-confidence, unwilling to go without it for a day or even a few hours, or spending more time working on your outer beauty than your inner beauty, it’s time take a step back.
And one final note: if you’re too young, just don’t. It’s really up to the discretion of your parents, but personally I think that makeup is inappropriate on anyone younger than about twelve.
Wearing Makeup Modestly
If you do decide to wear makeup, keep it tasteful and age-appropriate. Modesty applies to makeup the same as it does to clothing; if it distracts people from your faith and inner beauty, it’s too much.
Keep in mind that what is appropriate for a twelve-year-old will be very different from what is appropriate for a twenty-year-old. Only use the makeup that you need to give you that extra boost of confidence and help you feel more put-together.
Learn how to use makeup correctly. As Christian women, we are called to present ourselves with dignity to the world around us. It’s okay to take time watching tutorials or doing research; wearing makeup incorrectly can be just as off-putting to others as wearing too much. Always present yourself well.
Finally, monitor yourself. If makeup seems to be turning into an idol in your life, take a break from it. Maybe go for a few days or a week without wearing any; remind yourself that it is possible to live without it. Always remember that makeup is a tool and not a crutch.
I do wear makeup; I am quite girly and enjoy trying different looks in the same way that I enjoy putting together outfits. I don’t believe that there is anything wrong with wearing makeup; however, I do think that it requires a conscious decision to not let it become anything more than a tool or artistic outlet.
It really all comes down to one question: which is more important to you, makeup or God?
And the answer should always, always be God.
What do you think? Do you wear makeup? Why or why not? Share in the comments below!
Also, be sure to ask any questions you might have about anything related to modesty, as I hope to do a Q&A post near the end of the series!