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How Does God Feel About Makeup?


How do you think God feels about makeup? Does wearing makeup mean I don’t think God made me pretty enough, even if I don’t overdo it? Does God not want me to wear makeup, and am I sinning if I do?

Steve Answers:

Someone asked a famous Seventh-day Adventist minister this same kind of question–Is it wrong to wear makeup? His answer was "If the fence needs painting, then paint it!"

The Bible doesn’t say much about makeup. Most people would agree that makeup fits into a larger category of outward appearance, including how we dress and how we adorn ourselves (jewelry and other "acceptable" Adventist items like neckties, scarves, pins, and Pathfinder paraphernalia).

One text that some use is 2 Kings 9:30: "When Jezebel, the queen mother, heard that Jehu had come to Jezreel, she painted her eyelids and fixed her hair and sat at a window" (NLT).* If you read the whole story, you’ll discover that it’s not about painting eyelids. Wicked queen Jezebel’s son, King Joram, had just been killed by Jehu.

Jezebel decked herself out and called down from the window to ask if Jehu had come in peace or not. Jehu reported that he hadn’t, and several people near the window ended up pushing Jezebel out the window to her death below. So I guess makeup on the eyes isn’t as useful as a parachute at times.

By associating wicked Queen Jezebel with painting one’s eyes, some think that if a person uses eyeliner or eyeshadow, that person will become a Jezebel. But Jezebel also fixed her hair and sat at a window. Are these equally as sinful?

Two other passages that refer to some type of makeup are Jeremiah 4:30 and Ezekiel 23:40. Jeremiah 4:30 says, "What are you doing, you who have been plundered? Why do you dress up in your most beautiful clothing and jewelry? Why do you brighten your eyes with mascara? It will do you no good! Your allies despise you and will kill you" (Jeremiah 4:30, NLT).

Ezekiel 23:40 says, "You sisters sent messengers to distant lands to get men. Then when they arrived, you bathed yourselves, painted your eyelids, and put on your finest jewels for them" (NLT).

The stories in both passages are similar. God is married to His people, but His people primp themselves not for God, but to go after other lovers instead of God. Makeup is not the issue–unfaithfulness to God is the issue.

If you apply this to yourself and how you dress, ask yourself, "Why do I dress the way I do?" and "Why do I accessorize the way I do?" and "Why do I want to look nice?"

Usually people dress nice so others will see them as nice-looking. Some think baggy clothes are nice, while others prefer tightly fitting clothes. Compare how adults dress to how teens dress. Both generations think they dress nice, and the other generation doesn’t.

Makeup usually is a female thing more than a male thing. As a male, I don’t understand why girls put on makeup to look "natural." A number of times my wife has tried to explain that looking "natural" means using makeup to give your face an even look instead of a splotchy look.

Unnatural makeup is usually a bold color, which makes lips or eyes or other parts of your face stand out and get noticed more than usual. I suppose that a flashing neon light around one’s face could do the same thing.

Let’s rephrase your question from "What’s wrong with makeup?" to "What’s wrong with looking nice?" For those who think that looking nice is sinful and looking ugly is spiritual–you’re wrong! Looking ugly isn’t spiritual; it’s just ugly! And some would argue that looking nice is the way to go because after all, we’re created in God’s image (Genesis 1:27).

It’s quite common for people of all ages to want others who matter to them to think they are nice-looking. Outward physical beauty is what people notice first, before your inner, character-quality beauty. But after the first impression, outward beauty goes down in value while inner beauty continues to climb.

So be absolutely beautiful! Develop your inner beauty so that it’s more beautiful than your outward beauty. Otherwise, an outward beauty without an inner beauty is like a gold ring hanging in a pig’s snout (see Proverbs 11:22).

Here’s how Peter put it: "You should not use outward aids to make yourselves beautiful, such as the way you fix your hair, or the jewelry you put on, or the dresses you wear. Instead, your inner beauty should consist of your true inner self, the ageless beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of the greatest value in God’s sight" (1 Peter 3:3, 4, TEV).† This doesn’t mean it’s a sin to look beautiful. It’s a sin when your outward looks are more beautiful than your character. That’s false advertising!

Keep in mind that there will always be suckers who are satisfied with outer beauty alone, as well as insecure females who will spend more attention on their outward appearance than on their character and even their personality.

What do people notice about you? What makes you nice-looking? 

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