Should Christian Women Wear Makeup?

Christian women seeking to walk in the path of righteousness often ask whether it is permissible to wear makeup. They are often dissatisfied with the common answer of “it depends.” However, the correct answer truly does depend on your motivation for cosmetic enhancements.

To gain perspective on your own motivation, ask yourself a few important questions:

  • Why am I wearing this?
  • What is my purpose?
  • Is this makeup for myself or someone else?
  • Am I hiding behind a mask?
  • Has makeup become my idol?

The answers to these questions will provide important insight as to your intent of cosmetic beautification.

The First Use of Makeup

The first use of facial cosmetics is commonly attributed to the Ancient Egyptians around 7000 years ago. In fact, many Egyptian tombs discovered by archaeologists contained makeup canisters and kits. But the use of facial makeup can be traced to every culture known to mankind.

Researchers believe that Cleopatra used lip color that got its hue from ground carmine beetles. Other women used clay mixed with water to paint their lips.

But the most popular application of facial makeup in ancient Egypt was the use of kohl, which was used by women and men alike. Kohl was a mixture of metal, lead, copper, ash and burnt almonds used to color the eyes. The purpose of kohl was to deflect the bright desert sun from the eyes and also to ward off the evil eye and dangerous spirits.

Just as the Egyptians of ancient times wore makeup with a purpose, modern-day Christian women should also consider their primary purpose for wearing facial cosmetics.

It’s Complicated…

Whether or not Christian women should wear makeup, jewelry, or perfume seems like a never-ending debate with opinions that vary as widely as lipstick colors. But many arguments for or against the practice overlook the most important factor: intent.

Some women prefer to wear makeup to hide scars or blemishes while others seek to appear more attractive to others. While the same cosmetic products can be used to achieve both goals, the intent is where the differentiation lies.

Let’s be honest. Makeup enhances your appearance. However, these enhancements can and do send different signals about who you are. For example, eyeshadow colors that closely match your skin tone can provide slight enhancements that highlight your natural eye color. But the popular “smokey eye” look can appear seductive to both men and women.

One popular technique preferred by women is to thicken the appearance of the lips by exaggerating the natural outline with lipstick or a lip pencil. But you must consider the image you are attempting to convey with this look.

Why do you want to accentuate your lips, eyes, or cheeks? For many women, the answer is simply to feel more beautiful. Feeling more attractive and confident for yourself is not a sinful intent. But if the goal is to more attractive to other people, you should take a deep look at whether you have crossed the line into carnal intentions. Your intent is everything!

The Jezebel Dilemma

The way you wear your makeup can say a lot about you and this is the point where many Christian denominations find fault. The idea of too much makeup is very subjective and involves variables like face shape, skin tone, and even personality.

Some Christians identify too much makeup as an act of defiance or rebellion. This opinion is often associated with Jezebel who painted her face in the Bible. But the face paint that Jezebel wore is clearly not the kind of makeup that we find at MAC Cosmetics.

Then Jehu went to Jezreel. When Jezebel heard about it, she put on eye makeup, arranged her hair and looked out of a window.

2 Kings 9:30 New International Version (NIV)

Why Did Jezebel Paint Her Face?

Jezebel had a husband, King Ahab, who had just been killed and Jehu, the new King, was searching for Jezebel. She had killed many prophets and was seen as an enemy of God and Jehu sought to kill all of the enemies of God.

So Jezebel knew that she would be killed and she painted her face, put on her crown, and dressed in her royal garments in an act of defiance to Jehu. Essentially, Jezebel dressed up for her own demise and faced it head-on by glaring from her window.

The story of Jezebel teaches us that it was not her makeup that was against God, it was the sentiment of her heart and her defiant spirit. The issue was her intent, not her makeup.

Conclusion

Many Christian denominations promote various levels of abstinence from facial cosmetics. But many of these doctrines are based upon hypocrisy and psychological control. For example, some advocate that lipstick is bad – even a sin in some cases – yet, a girdle or Spanx contour undergarments that serve a similar aesthetic purpose is acceptable.

How can you credibly differentiate one from the other when the intent of both is the same? The purpose of both of these items is to improve one’s public appearance and you can’t convince me that wearing either one is a “sin.” However, your intent might be.

The entire debate about makeup hinges on the intent of the wearer. Are you simply trying to camouflage blemishes? Are you trying to coordinate your face with your outfit? Or are you trying to oversexualize your appearance in order to attract someone toward your carnal desires?

As you can see, makeup can serve many purposes, but when it comes to your personal relationship with God, it’s just that: PERSONAL.

Seek a pure relationship with GOD. Read in-depth into His word and determine the pure desires of your own heart. You are the only one who can truly answer the questions required to determine if you wear makeup with a sinful intent. If your motives are not sinful, your actions aren’t either.

When Jesus met the woman accused of adultery in John 8, He commanded her “Now go and sin no more.” When Jesus healed the invalid man in Bethesda (John 5:1-15), He also commanded him to stop sinning. Get it? As long as your intent for wearing makeup is not sinful, the act itself is NOT A SIN.

Now get your mind right with God, get your heart right with God, put on your best red lipstick, and “sin no more.”

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