Makeup and vanity?


#1

Hi everyone,

I’m curious if the Catholic Church teaches anything on women wearing makeup? Lately I’ve been struggling with wearing makeup…I wake up every morning and feel like I NEED to wear mascara for the day or else I will look completely ugly and no one will pay any attention to me, or respect any of my ideas. Granted, I do not wear a lot of makeup - usually natural looking mascara, subtle brown eyeliner, and a touch of blush. Yet, I’ve worn this everyday since I was 13 years old (I’m 23 now) and lately have felt like I am not satisfied with the face the Lord has given me unless I have this little bit of makeup on!

So is this vain? Is the Lord displeased that I wear makeup and to desire to look pretty everyday? If there is no particular Catholic teaching, what do you all think?

Thanks!


#2

If you want to wear slight makeup I see no problem. Heavy Makeup may be another story in that it may be seen by members of the opposite sex as enticing.


#3

Nah…

But wearing A LOT of make-up might be a sign of vanity - to me also of bad taste :stuck_out_tongue:


#4

I’m actually trying to get make up banned and have developed a theology on make up. Yes, the Lord would not want you to wear make up and God gave you your face and it is a beautiful face already. It is female oppression. I don’t wear make up as it comes from the word for mask in certain languages. Women shouldn’t wear masks on their faces every day but it’s OK for fancy dress or a night out.


#5

God created makeup, however indirectly. Like all the rest of His creation, it is good in and of itself, bad if abused.

A little mascara to boost your confidence, even if you wear it every day, is not an abuse - like the wine Paul recommended Timothy take it ‘gladdens the heart of man’.

It’s something of an art as well, like fashion, hairstyles and the other visual arts. Most of us take at least some pains to select clothing and hairstyles that flatter us and makes us look our best, and don’t just wear any old rags or go totally uncombed and uncoiffed.

It is not vanity to do so - not unless you are totally obsessed and spend an exorbitant amount of your time/money/energy worrying about what your clothes look like or adjusting or reapplying your makeup.


#6

Depends,

I don’t see where the sin is at though. The Virgin Mary in her appearances have beautiful gowns- is that a sin?


#7

Mascara comes from the Spanish for mask. It is a mask over the eyes which are windows to the soul. It has actually come from Geisha make up:

fotosearch.com/STK011/cwe2858/

To doll oneself up means to turn oneself into a material object. Geishas try to look like porcelain dolls but many women in the West try to look like Barbies. If I’m a doll then I don’t have a soul and it might be a sign of a lack of spirituality in my life at the moment.

To put on make up is also referred to as putting on a mask. When I make myself up, I am also telling a lie. Make up is a form of deception on the face. Make up enables a man to fantasise in the sexual act but then he may not be making love to the real me. This is why it is used in prostitution and on screen.

The chief means of my identity is in my face for example used on passports. Make up takes away part of my identity in the same way as a mask and also takes away some of my humanity and therefore is venial sin. The primary purpose of this is so that I can be used in the sexual act by a man. Therefore make up makes me look cheap. It has been made popular due to Hollywood.

It should not have a role in Christian marriage.


#8

Craisin, a little bit of makeup, such as you describe, is consistent with what is considered good grooming. To wear makeup like this is to show respect for yourself and others. To omit it might indicate a carelessness about your appearance that would cause others to draw negative conclusions about you, which would be detrimental to you in the workplace and in your personal apostolate.

Betsy


#9

Absolutely!!! This is just good grooming for goodness sake. It is like anything else, done in moderation it is hardly sinful. There is absolutely NOTHING wrong with a woman wanting to take care of herself, look nice, and feel good about her appearance.

My gosh - telling someone it is a sin to wear a little mascara is horrendous and possibly damaging to someone who has a tendency to be overly scrupulous. :mad:

~Liza


#10

I know it’s modern etiquette but why am I painting my face? Am I just colouring it in a bit like a painting with numbers set? Make up is a form of body paint. Am I doodling on my face? Does a woman’s face have integrity or is it just a blank sheet to colour in?

I think some women are giving themselves “a lick of paint” a bit like a car, a door or the bedroom wall to cheer themselves up and a touch of gloss on the lips a bit like the skirting board. My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit. I’m not purely a piece of wood or a piece of metal which needs a new coat every day.

Here’s some self help for self painters:

j-walkblog.com/old/images/paintbynum.gif
allcraftsupplies.com/c-8440/paint-by-number.html


#11

I am astounded by how insulting your posts are to suggest that those of us who do use a bit of make up are nothing more than a car or a piece of wood, and the links are just beyond the limits of decency.

If you body is “a temple of the Holy Spirit” then why do you treat others so horribly? If you don’t like wearing make up, then don’t wear it. But don’t come here and imply such nastiness to those who do choose to use it themselves.

~Liza


#12

[Job]
{42:12} And the Lord blessed the latter end of Job even more than his beginning. And he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand pairs of oxen, and a thousand she-donkeys.
{42:13} And he had seven sons and three daughters.
{42:14} And he called the name of one, Daylight, and the name of the second, Cinnamon, and the name of the third, Horn of Cosmetics.
{42:15} And, in the whole world, there were not found women so beautiful as the daughters of Job. And so their father gave them an inheritance along with their brothers.

~ Job names one of his daughters ‘Daylight.’ Another daughter is named after a rare spice, ‘Cinnamon.’ Cassia refers to the spice, cinnamon, rare in that part of the world at that time, since it originates in China.

~ The name of the third daughter is two Latin words joined together: Cornu-stibii, literally meaning, ‘horn of antimony’ (an ingredient in make-up). In Hebrew, the name is rendered ‘keren-happuch,’ which means ‘horn of cosmetics.’ The name indicates this daughter’s beauty, but also her affinity for displaying her beauty by the use of cosmetics. It is a complement with an edge (or a built-in criticism). Thus, Cornustibii (Horn of Cosmetics) could also be rendered as ‘container of make-up,’ or, much more loosely, ‘make-up girl’ or ‘cosmetics girl.’ But the intention of Job was most likely a complement with an edge, not an insult, so another loose translation would be ‘Horn of Beauty.’


#13

I can’t imagine how wearing a little makeup could be a sin. Even a lot of make up is more a matter of insecurity than sin. Sure, some women wear make up out of vanity, but most of us think we aren’t pretty enough to go without it. We’re very hard on ourselves, comparing ourselves to others and finding ourselves lacking.

I don’t wear makeup more than 2 or 3 times a year. I just don’t want to wear it. I’d rather use the 10 minutes it takes to put it on in the morning asleep! And I tend to break out from make up. When I did wear it, I wasn’t hiding anything except maybe a pimple or red eyes from allergies or a cold.

Wear make up or don’t wear it. Wear a skirt or wear pants. Wear a chapel veil at Mass or don’t wear it. These are choice we have and neither choice is a sin. I’d be more concerned about trying to make someone feel bad about herself because she made different choices.


#14

:thumbsup:

~Liza


#15

Hi, I’m a make-up wearer too. I view make-up as a part of fashion–and I view tasteful make-up as a part of my getting dressed to go out in public. In my own situation, I’m not a young woman–I’m a mom with lots of kids. Make-up helps me look pulled together. It’s perfectly normal for women in our culture to wear make-up, and it’s not inately vain to wear make-up. Trying to distinguish vanity from normal care can be difficult. Certainly vanity* is* a sin (and it’s a sin women commonly struggle with), but I don’t know if the desire to look pretty is inately vain. :confused: Vanity is an excessive pride in oneself or one’s appearance.

The one thing that stands out to me in your post is that you fear no one will pay attention to you or respect you if you don’t wear make-up. That doesn’t sound like pride to my mind-rather it sounds like you lack self confidence when you don’t wear make-up. Couple of questions I suggest you ask yourself: What type of attention are you looking for when wearing make-up? Normal attention so you don’t fade into the background? Or excessive attention from men?

Regarding attracting attention,* not* wearing make-up can attract attention too, and it might be negative attention. Like it or not, we live in a very visual culture and people judge us based on our appearance. I don’t think it is beneficial to our faith if all women with strong faith suddenly start looking like they should be featured as magazine “fashion don’ts” or guests on “What Not to Wear”. A pretty young woman who witnesses good taste along with strong moral virtues can help make faith and virtues attractive to others.


#16

I do not mean to treat horribly but people view make up in widely different ways. As a woman I would seriously ask myself the question why I wear make up when a man does not wear make up. Is my face of equal value to a man’s? Why does a woman cover over her face in public when a man does not? That is just my point of view but I don’t judge women who wear it as I don’t judge on appearances. As an educated woman I would never wear it except for very few occasions.


#17

First of all, let me say that I am do not think wearing makeup is sinful.

But . . . . Baltobetsy and lizaanne, if makeup is just “good grooming”, why is the same not expected of men? I do think there is an element of objectification in the use of makeup. Certainly I do not think such objectification is conscious, generally.

I am very aware of this as a father of two young girls, and of the husband of a wife who at one time also felt, and sometimes still feels, that she is not attractive without makeup on (due to the influence of her mother, I think - - mom has that attitude about herself as well).

Let me try to explain where I am coming from.

My bride is so beautiful to me, just the way she is, as God created her - - she is a beautiful person. She used to color her hair - - highlights, really - - we used to joke about her going to the “natural sun machine” as I did not realize she was getting highlights! Then she felt she needed to put on various types of makeup to have her skin tone better match her highlighted hair. Then her skin would get irritated, necessitating various other products to address that.

I suggested to her that her natural hair color, without highlights, was just gorgeous. Lo and behold, when her hair was its natural color, she did not need makeup - - her hair and skin tone went together. No more skin irritation, either. Who would have suspected that God knew what he was doing in creating her, including her hair and skin color?

There are still times when she doesn’t feel like she is attractive or looks good without makeup, but I try to reassure her that she is beautiful, no matter what, the whole person of her is beautiful.

I do not want my daughters to ever get the idea that they are not pretty without makeup. Are there not enough attacks against their self-image, their innocence, their self-cofidence in the media and society without making then think they need makeup to look attractive.

Sadly, their grandmothers apparently do not agree, at least as to themselves, as they have said things like, “Grammy has to put on her makeup, or she will look like Frankenstein” I want to shout Noooo! You are a child of God, the King of the Universe himself, created in His own Image! You have dignity and worth far beyond your physical appearance! Please don’t lay the foundation for self-image problems later, Grammy. Of course, I don’t actually say that, although I do always try to reinforce that they (my daughters) are pretty just the way God made them, and that anyway being kind, loving, etc. is more important than how one looks.

We have fingernail painting, dress up, etc., be something that they do for fun, not because it is needed to look pretty.

I think a lot of women have the idea that, as has been expressed in this thread, they are not pretty or not pretty enough without makeup. I strongly oppose that mindset. I reiterate that there is a component of objectification, as if one doesn’t have worth unless one meets a certain physical standard (completely unrelated to physical health).

I know, I know, I am coming off as a kook, and in moderation I suppose it is innocuous, but I think there is a real danger in this society that it goes beyond moderation to “I need this to look good”, and that a woman’s value is therefore tied up solely or disproportionately in appearance. And I know it’s easy for me to criticize, because I am male, and the standards are different. I just do not want my wife and my daughters to feel that they are less valuable or not pretty because of some arbitrary standard that objectifies them.

Ladies, let the natural beauty Our Lord created you with shine through! You are His precious daughters!


#18

Your statement that “I don’t judge on appearances” rings pretty hollow in view of your earlier post basically equating makeup with prostitution and calling every woman who wears makeup a liar. (“When I make myself up I am also telling a lie.”) Further, what is this obsession with “masks?” Last I checked I haven’t seen many ladies on the street painted-up like a Geisha. Finally, not only are you dictating what’s allowable in a Christian marriage (“It should not have a role in Christian marriage.”) – has Christopher West tackled this one yet? – but you have judged men as intellectually unfaithful to their wives should they become intimate when the wife is wearing makeup! How dare you judge what my wife or anyone’s wife might want to wear to please her husband, as well as how me or any other husband reacts!!

Oh yes, something else: “I’m actually trying to get make up banned” you said. You might wamt to read up on American history. A woman named Carrie Nation went down that road concerning alcohol. I don’t think she wore makeup either, but she swung a mean hatchet.


#19

Dear OP,

I’m sorry you posted your question in this forum because I don’t believe it is a morality issue–and because the opinions you got vary from “no problem” to quotes from prophecies of the last days! How are you supposed to know?

The Bible can be used to prove almost anything–used in and out of context. My own opinion is that if you feel better about how you look, you tend to feel better overall and that spills over onto your interactions with others. It’s a personal decision.

Vanity goes to motive. It’s an accusatory word to use on yourself. I would ask God to show you His perspective. He is not as into legalism as the rest of us are.


#20

AH HA!!! So you DO wear make up - - when it suites you. How convenient. :rolleyes:

It is. Men are expected to be well groomed as well. Trim the hair from your nose and ears, shave or trim your facial hair, wash and smell nice. It’s all the same thing.

I am very aware of this as a father of two young girls, and of the husband of a wife who at one time also felt, and sometimes still feels, that she is not attractive without makeup…

I’m not talking about someone who has some sort of insecurity or self worth issues. I believe that may be the case with the OP. I’m talking about make up use in general with the majority of normal, healthy, and secure women.

My bride is so beautiful to me, just the way she is, as God created her - - she is a beautiful person.

My husband feels the same about me and tells me this all the time.

There are still times when she doesn’t feel like she is attractive or looks good without makeup, but I try to reassure her that she is beautiful, no matter what, the whole person of her is beautiful.

Again - I’m not talking about someone who NEEDS make up to feel adequate, beautiful, whatever. I’m talking about maintenance. That’s all.

I do not want my daughters to ever get the idea that they are not pretty without makeup. Are there not enough attacks against their self-image, their innocence, their self-cofidence in the media and society without making then think they need makeup to look attractive.

But what’s wrong with wanting to enhance someone’s already wonderful qualities? How is this bad or harmful? If used as a crutch or because a person can’t function otherwise, then of course that’s not healthy. The use of alcohol is the same - in moderation, to enhance a meal is a lovely addition. If you MUST have it to feel good then there is a problem. I’m not talking about someone who has a problem.

I think a lot of women have the idea that, as has been expressed in this thread, they are not pretty or not pretty enough without makeup. I strongly oppose that mindset.

I do as well. If you MUST have make up to feel good about yourself then you have a problem.

I know, I know, I am coming off as a kook, and in moderation I suppose it is innocuous, but I think there is a real danger in this society that it goes beyond moderation to “I need this to look good”, and that a woman’s value is therefore tied up solely or disproportionately in appearance.

You are not a kook - but I think you are blowing it out of proportion for a vast majority of women who just like to take care of themselves, and for them it includes a bit of mascara and some lip color.

Ladies, let the natural beauty Our Lord created you with shine through! You are His precious daughters!

And His precious daughters often like to give glory to His creation by highlighting His good works. :wink:

Don’t flip out - not every woman who puts on a little make up in the morning has massive self esteem issues or is emotionally dependent on the make up. It’s just make up folks, it’s grooming, it’s caring for yourself. That’s all. If it’s more important than that to someone then that’s an entirely different discussion.

~Liza


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