Beauty, Part VII ~ So Is Make-Up OK?

I was emailing with a lovely Christian lady recently and we were talking about this series on Beauty. Derrice shared the following experience and has kindly agreed to share it here:

“When I did my confirmation course, I was the only woman in the church who had make-up on. This was in about 1983. I used to be a Beauty Consultant so it was my job to wear make-up and I had been used to wearing it since leaving school to start work. When it came to having the talk with the vicar at the end of the course, he said he didn’t think I was ready to be confirmed, because I wore make-up. This left me feeling very disappointed and I did not want to be confirmed because I thought I was not good enough … This whole experience really confused me, and left me very downhearted … After that I didn’t “backslide,” but I did feel that I had done something wrong and was not worthy. I left the church. I still wore my make-up though!”

The story has a happy ending! Derrice really sought God on this issue and He revealed passages of scripture which freed her to continue enjoying make-up, and be close to Him at the same.

Derrice’s experience highlights the confusion though that may still exist for some of us as Christians about make-up, and raises the question of the extent to which we should invest in our appearance as Christian women. So is make-up OK?

In the first post of this series, I mentioned the way that women can often receive a lot of joy and pleasure from being made up or “pampered” at a salon once in a while. As a trained Beauty Consultant, Derrice commented, “I did make up at a church convention last year… for ladies 60 and over. Do you know that some of them had never worn make-up and I loved to see the look on a woman’s face when she saw herself and felt good.”

From the point of view of being a source of joy and pleasure, and also giving a boost to the way we feel about ourselves, we can see the positive role that make-up can play.

In the Bible we also see cosmetics and ointments being used for the purpose of enhancing beauty and attractiveness. In the beautiful ‘Song of Songs’ the man speaks of the allure of the oil or perfume of his lover, “how much better than wine is your love, and the scent of your perfumes than all spices!” Song of Solomon 4:10. Another example is Esther, before she was brought before King Xerxes she had to complete “the twelve months of prescribed beauty treatments” which was made up of “six months’ treatment with oil of myrrh followed by six months with perfumes and various cosmetics” Esther 2:12. These examples show us how longstanding the use of cosmetics and fragrances is, and their purpose of enhancing beauty and appeal.

So if make-up is OK, what role should it play in our lives? How much time and focus should we invest into our outward appearance? Pastor and author, John Piper, has a really good answer to this question in his book A Godward Life. “With God at the centre – like the ‘sun,’ satisfying a woman’s longing for beauty and greatness and truth and love – all the ‘planets’ of food and dress and exercise and cosmetics and posture and countenance will stay in their proper orbit.” *

So what I learned from that statement is that when God is the focus of our lives, and our identity as women is found in Him and His love for us, then we will have an inner discernment about the priority and place of investing in our looks.

An appropriate concern about our appearance is OK and a good thing! Enjoying and expressing our femininity through make-up and clothes and beauty treatments can be really fun! After all, “God gives us richly all things to enjoy” 1 Timothy 6:21. But as with everything, the balance is always led by the Holy Spirit and discerned in our hearts. Tomorrow we are going to be hearing from the guys, so come back then for A Man’s Perspective.

*Reference: John Piper, A Godward Life, Book Two (Multnomah, 1999), 64

© Copyright 2007 Birgit Whelan


~ by Birgit on August 16, 2007.

3 Responses to “Beauty, Part VII ~ So Is Make-Up OK?”

  1. Hi, I am not into make-up at all, i didn’t even wear make-up when I worked at an office. I don’t think it’s fair that women are kind of expected to wear make-up, hide their real skin and have to look perfect all the time. Men just go out with the face they have, whatever kind of bad skin day they have. I think from a Christian view we shouldn’t spend much time and money on make-up and not make it a priority in our daily occupations. By the way, I love aromatherapy, the Bible mentions scents a lot! They don’t just smell good, they do us good, too. I only use natural cosmetics, for the good ingredients and because I am against animal testing, which is cruel. I think it just cannot be that they torture animals so we can have another wrinkle ointment!!

  2. i used to NOT really wear make up… but now i like it.
    but i’m REAL interested in a man’s perspective!
    keep it coming.

  3. A small amount of makeup and jewelery enhances any woman and certainly adds to her attractiveness.Few women are so goshdarned naturally attractive that they can get away without using any beauty products at all. If there is too much it is a turn off.
    Its the subtle things about women I enjoy. A women who just hints at being beautiful and somewhat mysterious is much more appealing and intriguing than a woman who is dressing provocatively.

    And who enjoys looking at a dirty dented car? A well maintained car, just like a well maintained body,face etc is something desirable to look at and will get you more respect and credibility. And for the replie that says men dont care what they look like or, etc……umm well…… just dont know some of us that well.


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