Why I Wear Makeup



The first time I wore makeup I was 13, and I was getting ready to go to an event with my Bible study group.  We had just gone shopping for some back-to-school clothes earlier in the day, and for some reason my mom decided I was old enough for a little mascara.  I remember feeling so grown-up and pretty, headed off the the event wearing makeup for the first time.  There have been many times since then that I was grateful to my mom for introducing makeup and teaching me how to apply it, especially as I grew and encountered people who didn't share my feelings about makeup.

I remember being bewildered the first time I heard someone say they felt makeup was akin to lying.  I also didn't know how to respond when a friend stopped wearing makeup after her daughter was born, saying she didn't want to show her daughter by example that she wouldn't be pretty without it.

Honestly, I'm still not sure what to say about those arguments.  I suppose everyone has their own reasons for wearing, or not wearing, makeup. All I can really speak to is why I, personally, like to wear makeup, so that's what this post is about.  It's not an argument for why you should or should not wear makeup, it's basically some philosophical (and some silly) thoughts from someone who actually likes makeup quite a lot! 

Arguments Against Makeup

First I thought I'd address my take on the two arguments against makeup that I mentioned above, because though those arguments made me stop and think, they didn't make me quit it.

"Makeup is lying.  You are trying to make someone think you look better than you do."  

This argument didn't really stick for me because it's not as if I'm putting on makeup and then trying to tell people I'm not wearing any, that I'm just naturally this beautiful (ha!).  I assume they'll notice that I'm wearing makeup, and I wouldn't really have it any other way. If we're going to use this argument, we might as well extend it to clothes and say that choosing a flattering cut is "lying", and you must wear clothing that shows all your lumps and bumps if you're going to be honest.  Don't brush your teeth with mint-flavored toothpaste, or you might be "lying" by giving someone the idea that your breath naturally smells that good.  Sorry, it just doesn't fly.

"If I wear makeup, my daughters will think they need makeup to be beautiful."  

I was honestly a little taken aback with this argument when I first heard it, and I didn't know what to think.  I can see why my friend started thinking this way, but I came at makeup from such a different perspective that I couldn't agree.  My own mom wore makeup, and she taught us girls how to wear makeup, and I honestly never thought I was less beautiful without it because of something my mom said when she introduced makeup to me.  I vividly remember her telling me that makeup done right doesn't "make you beautiful" but rather enhances the beauty that is already there.  I took that to heart and always approached makeup with that in mind.

Why I Wear Makeup

So without further ado, the reasons I personally wear makeup, and why I'll show my girls how to wear it too.

I think it's fun.  

This is probably the most superficial reason why I choose to wear makeup, but nevertheless, it's true.  Over the years I've experimented with different makeup looks, found my favorite makeup products, and I honestly just find the whole thing pretty satisfying and fun.  For some women makeup is a an artistic expression, and while I wouldn't necessarily say the same thing about myself, I do appreciate the skill it takes to do it right.

I feel more ready for the day with makeup on.  

I got an email newsletter from Diana Kerr (a blogger I follow who is also a life coach) this week, and was reminded of this point.  I've heard it said many times that most people are more productive if they get dressed for the day instead of just staying in their pajamas.  Their brains takes getting dressed as the queue to get started with the rest of the day, and it's harder to get going without it.  Like it or not, makeup has become a similar queue for me.  On days where I don't do my makeup I typically am more tempted to be lazy.  When I wear makeup, I'm more ready to get on with my day and be productive.

I especially like the point Diana made about what effect our taking care with our appearance might have on how we serve the Lord.  Will we use our days to serve Him better when we feel more prepared to face the day?  And does makeup play a part in that?  Not for everyone perhaps, but for me, I think makeup might actually make a difference here too (as weird as it is to type that out).

We live in a sin-cursed world, and that does, unfortunately, affect our faces.  

We age.  We get wrinkles.  We experience sun-damage.  We get tired or dehydrated.  All things that wouldn't necessarily have happened pre-Fall, but things we have to deal with now.  I struggled a bit with this point when sitting down to write this point, because what exactly should we do about this anyway?  Is it just vanity, a "chasing after the wind" to try to counteract the effects of a fallen world on our faces?  It does feel vain in a way, but another part of me doesn't think it is necessarily wrong to try to bring out our natural, God-given beauty even while fighting against the impact of the effects of sin on our skin and hair.

As in so many things, a lot depends upon the attitude with which we use makeup.  Certainly makeup can be used in a vain, prideful way, but does it follow that makeup is always used that way?  I don't really think so.  I read something in Eve In Exile by Rebecca Merkle that made me think about this a little differently.  Running throughout that book is this theme that one area that God often gifts women is an ability to take something and improve it, make it beautiful. Overall, Merkle applied the idea to much more meaningful things, like bringing beauty and reflecting Christ into our homes and families.  But the idea really stuck with me, because I think it explains some of my (and many women's) love of beauty, and desire to take something less then attractive and bring some beauty to it.  That could show up in hobbies like photography or other art forms, in the way we decorate our houses, the way we cultivate gardens, or yeah, maybe even in the way we use makeup.  And I don't really think that's a bad thing, if we can avoid focusing on our own glory in the process of using makeup and rather try to bring glory to God by taking care with our appearance.  Something to think about. I'm still mulling it over.

When Makeup Goes Wrong

I started thinking about this post in the first place because I somehow found myself in a section of the library next to all the books about makeup.  Weirdly, I didn't know there was such a section, even being a fan of makeup myself.  "How fun!" I thought to myself, and grabbed a couple of the books to peruse at home.  

I read a few chapters, and I have to tell you, something just wasn't sitting quite right.  I wondered if I should really be spending all this time thinking about my outward appearance.  Not to be cliche or anything, but there is that whole verse: "Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7

Now, I don't think that verse is necessarily saying that the way we present ourselves outwardly doesn't matter at all.  There is, after all, the Proverbs 31 woman who looks after the outward appearance of herself and her family, dressing them in "scarlet" and herself in "fine linen and purple", and she is commended for it.  We are representatives of our families and ultimately of Christ to a watching world, so being a slob is certainly not a virtue.  But the idea, talked about further in 1 Peter 3:3-4 is that we should take care to cultivate a good character above worrying about how we look.  

So I started thinking, how does the time allotment compares when it comes to caring for my outer appearance and taking care to cultivate "gentle and quiet spirit which is precious in God's sight"?  Do I spend more time doing my makeup (and fixing my hair and getting dressed) each day than I do reading God's Word?  Maybe that's a problem.  I think the most significant way I use makeup wrongly is by getting distracted by it and focusing too much on my physical appearance.  I often want to look good for other people, so that I will feel good about myself, and so I prioritize applying makeup.  

This is the one reason I wear makeup that I feel is the wrong, and even a sinful, reason.

Going forward, I am hoping to think about these things further and make sure that I am approaching makeup with the right attitude as a Christian woman - and especially making sure I am prioritizing time in God's Word over applying makeup in the morning.  Because a good thing to remember is that for those of us who put our trust in Jesus to save us from our sins, someday this old, sin-affected body will be replaced with a perfect, glorified body, with a glorified face, and there will be no reason to put makeup on.  I think it's fine to wear makeup while I'm here, but it's certainly not the most important thing.  It's infinitely more important to make sure I'm investing in things that will last when makeup no longer matters at all.

So what do you think about all this?  Do you wear makeup?  What role do things like makeup play in our walk with the Lord?







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12 comments

  1. I love your reasons for wearing makeup. Personally I don't feel like I have to put it on every day, but on the days when I do wear it, I do feel more put together and polished. I've noticed that a lot of moms like to wear makeup because it feels like a form of self-care, something they do just for themselves, and I really like that.

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    1. I agree, I definitely think it's a self-care thing for me. Occasionally I'll purposefully not put makeup on to give my skin a break...but I do, I get so lazy when I'm not wearing it! Haha! It's like my brain thinks that if I'm not wearing mascara it must be time to sleep. *sigh*

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  2. I don't wear makeup except for maybe once a week, but I don't judge others for wearing it or have anything personally against makeup. I like the idea of in enhancing beauty that is already there. I think for me one thing that I do think is problematic is the whole "no makeup selfie" movement where it's a huge deal for someone to post a photo of them without any makeup on. If someone has that much of a hard time showing their no makeup face, they should reevaluate some things. But I totally think makeup is an art and admire when people are really good at it!

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    1. Oh, I definitely agree! I think I posted a makeup-free selfie a while ago to enter a contest, but it was so NOT a big deal. I think if it becomes a huge insecure thing, then those women have probably bought into the idea that they aren't beautiful without makeup, and that makes me sad!

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  3. I didn't wear makeup much in highschool, and started experimenting more after watching episodes of What Not to Wear and had a lot of fun. Then I married my husband who doesn't care for make up, so I haven't been wearing it as often but I think it is fun to experiment with different looks!

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    1. Yes! I loved watching What Not To Wear for makeup ideas! I miss that show. :-D

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  4. Honestly, I've hardly thought about this! I guess the modest-clothing discussion is what always grabs my attention. Now that I have a daughter though I feel like I need to set a good example, and I tend to be frumpy, so I'm probably someone who needs to primp a little more. I agree that wearing makeup is a form of self-care. If you've ever visited the FlyLady site (probably not since your house doesn't seem cluttered), she talks about getting dressed to shoes. To me the equivalent would be swapping sweatpants for jeans and putting some lipstick on. I'm not a morning person and I know that feeling put together would probably make me more productive. I like a little blush and lipstick myself. I don't get along with eye makeup. I feel like it's not worth it if I'm wearing glasses, and if I wear contacts it just makes my eyes bloodshot. As far as "lying," my husband does sometimes say I look funny if I'm wearing a lot of makeup. And I remember hearing a funny story about a husband getting a big surprise waking up next to his new wife without her makeup on. So I guess moderation is probably good, but I don't generally have a strong reaction to women who wear a lot of makeup.

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    1. Haha, I think I heard that story too! I think if you are wearing so much that you don't look recognizable without it...that's probably too much, haha! I don't think I get dressed to the shoes either, but jeans and lipstick definitely make me feel more capable to tackle the day!

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  5. I actually largely stopped wearing makeup when I was in school for my cosmetology license, mostly because I was saddened by stories from my fellow classmates, declaring that they never even let their own parents, siblings, or boyfriends see them without a full face on, that they avoided swimming or water sports or other activities that weren't conducive to makeup, etc. I decided that for that season of life, I'd err a little more on the side of being an advocate for natural beauty by going makeup-free myself. Now that I'm no longer in that world, I do wear makeup more often, a couple times a week. I like eyeliner and lipstick and since I got some eyeshadow for Christmas I've been experimenting with that a little more. I love the creativity and color of makeup. For me, the "Makeup is lying" argument really doesn't stand up because...like you said, if you expand the argument and apply it to all of life, things get a bit ridiculous and we'll all end up not wearing deodorant or not combing our hair.

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    1. Oh, I am totally on the same page! I think that's so sad that those women weren't comfortable with anyone seeing their face without makeup. That's definitely another way makeup can go wrong, when you start to think you AREN't beautiful without it!

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  6. I, too, grew up seeing makeup as a way to enhance my beauty, not give a false persona with it. I prefer wearing makeup each day, and make sure even when I'm home alone, to have it on. I just feel better as a whole and think making an effort is important. There was a time I went makeup free for work for six whole years, so I'm no stranger to stepping out blank-faced, and not caring, but nowadays I wear makeup (natural look) and don't think twice about it.

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  7. I loved this post. My mom's family comes from Texas, and she grew up being told she couldn't leave the house without a full face of makeup. To my grandma's dying day, she wore tons of makeup every day before letting anyone see her. We couldn't even Facetime with her when she was on her death bed unless she had lipstick on! My grandpa would make my mom put red lipstick on before going to the grocery store. It was crazy. She wears makeup still, but because of all that I kind of grew up with the mentality that makeup is a burden--a necessary evil. I wore it, but very minimally. I'd like to think I have a healthy balance now. I'm perfectly comfortable going around in public without makeup, but I also really enjoy using it too. I tend to wear a bit more than I used to, and I've recently become more interested in it, and I've been experimenting with different lipstick colors and things like that. Honestly, the one thing that keeps me from wearing it more is knowing I have to wash it off at night, haha.

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