Does the Bible teach it is wrong for women to wear makeup?

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Does the Bible teach it is wrong for women to wear makeup?

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The modest use of makeup by women is culturally acceptable in the Western world at this time, and does not conflict with the teaching of the Bible.

This subject comes under the general topic of personal grooming. Perhaps the clearest statements in the Bible on a Christian woman's personal grooming are in 1 Peter 3:3-4 and 1 Timothy 2:9-10. Both references counsel women to concentrate upon the "grooming" of their inner character in a way that is pleasing to God, in contrast to placing undue emphasis on their outward appearance.

Personal grooming can and often does reflect one's attitude, as we see amply demonstrated in everyday life. It's easy to spot people—men and women alike—who want to "make a statement" of rebellion through grooming that is against the accepted norm. Grooming that makes a woman stand out as odd or different from culturally accepted norms of good taste detracts from a godly emphasis on her inner character. Such indiscretion—in stark contrast to the above scriptural guidelines—characterized the rebellious "daughters of Zion" mentioned in Isaiah 3:16.


  • Dtomalley

    I believe it's good to maintain a separation in certain aspects of the culture of men and the culture of women. Make up is an art given to women who want to enhance their appearance. Also women have certain needs at certain times of the month to add in a little color. I have noticed women who don't wear make up sometimes fail to attend to their personal appearances. Femininity adds a sparkle to women that can lead to an effort to both beautify their homes, their clothing and their personal appearance, with or without make up. Men need to leave that alone. They may not understand it, but I think they enjoy the expression of femininity that draws them into marriage. Let men be men and women be women as God made them to be. Viva la difference!

  • Jacob_Pride

    I was wondering about men who do makeup. Me and my boyfriend we're wondering this.

  • United Church of God

    Hi Jacob, what kind of makeup do you mean? Do you mean facial makeup, the kind of makeup a woman generally does, such as lipstick, mascara, eyeliner, and other cosmetics? 
    God created human beings male and female and He expects everyone to maintain their rightful gender identity. That means God wants men to look like men and women to look like women, and that still allows a great deal of variety in choices of clothing, jewelry, hair styles, etc. See Deuteronomy 22:5 that forbids transvestitism (cross-dressing). And see 1 Corinthians 11:1-16 where the apostle Paul is explaining that a woman’s head should be “covered” with longer hair while a man should have shorter hair. So in principle these scriptures show that God does not want a man to try to look more like a female with female-type makeup.
    However, if the purpose of the makeup is simply to cover up blemishes or scars, that is certainly okay. And it is okay for men and women to seek to be more tanned by exposure to sunlight or ultraviolet light or

  • Skip Miller

    Hi Jacob, God's Word says that men should not wear that which pertains to women and vice versa.
    That having been said people wear make up for various reasons: to cover up a black eye (so that they don't have to explain how they got it) to look normal under hot studio lights (especially if they are professional actors/actresses.) I guess why you want to wear it makes a big difference.

  • Lilliana Uhler

    I am glad to read this information.

  • Ausban

    The article said,"Grooming that makes a woman stand out as odd or different from culturally accepted norms of good taste detracts from a godly emphasis on her inner character". Seriously? the cultural accepted norms are now the guidelines? Unfortunately this is true, and why the "church" is in such big trouble. We have the Holy Spirit and the Word of God to lead, guide, direct, and protect us. Why would we use mans "culturally accepted norms"?

    The world is looking at what the church does to set its standard. If the church is doing the same both will fall into a pit.

    Luke 16:15  And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God. 

    Man is not the standard! Tattoos, piercings, and make-up all have there origins from the world and not God. They are all vanity. Even well meaning Christians are vain in trying to add to what He has already made beautiful. Who is the one telling you that you are not pretty enough? Not Jesus!

  • Steven Britt

    Hi James, I'd like to point out that the article does not in any way advocate letting the extreme fringes of modern culture - particularly those that are opposed to the way of God - determine what is acceptable. But there are many aspects of life that are purely cultural, neither right nor wrong in themselves - for example, the clothes you wear every day were designed by "the world." Jeans and suit pants are equally modest, but one is considered nicer and more respectful than the other - this is a purely cultural phenomenon.

  • ClarissaFerguson

    I agree that make-up is vanity, however, what if a woman had burn marks or a terrible scar on her face that she wishes to hide? Burn marks or scars or other impurities (like acne, dark marks, and so on) are not beautiful and make us feel insecure. Like for me, I am very insecure about how I look since I have some discoloration and acne scars (I haven't worn any make-up but I am slowly started to consider it.) I am struggling with this decision since I truly am not sure if it is really Godly or not, but sadly I just do not feel beautiful.

  • Steven Britt

    Hi Clarissa, the United Church of God teaches, and I personally believe, that it is not a sin to wear make-up. For personal matters like this, Paul established a principle in Romans 14:23 - "whatever is not from faith is sin." If you have doubts, then you should definitely avoid it until you have settled the matter. Continue to pray, study and think about it until you can firmly act in faith, one way or the other.

  • ScholarHB

    I agree with you too Steven, I am still struggling with the fact that my church says pants are men's clothes and as a woman, if you join the church you must throw all of them away. I find this hard because back then (when the Bible was written) women were limited to certain professions, and most were housewives. Do we expect a female Technician to climb a ladder with a skirt, with non-christian male colleagues standing under her or should Christian women not be engineers?

  • Lena VanAusdle

    Hi Hillary,
    Women can be engineers, and you are correct, it would be impractical and immodest for a woman to be climbing a ladder whilst wearing a dress or skirt. During the time of the Kings of Israel men routinely wore robes, similarly they did so during the time of Jesus. Because of the robes they routinely wore, God required Aaron and the priests to wear linen trousers to "cover their nakedness." There is no where in the Bible where it instructs women to wear skirts, dresses, pants, or shorts. As Christians we must present ourselves in a modest manner, but the way we do that is a personal decision.

  • Skip Miller

    Hello Hillary,
    I think your agreement with Steven shows that some "absolute" statements by some organizations or even persons, need to be reconsidered. Perhaps your church is justified in telling you what to wear but perhaps it is not. I would suggest a conversation with someone who understands where you are coming from. There are churches with Godly, Biblical dress standards which also realize and teach Spiritual Truth.

  • theso
    About tatoos, i think it's the same as piercings. If we shouldn't have tatoos we shouldn't have piercings either, though the majority of women in the world(all religions included) have atleast one pirecing on their ears and that does not mean that they think God made mistakes in creating them....that would mean that women shouldn't shave their legs because God created them with hair on their legs. Not all people color their hair because they don't like the color of their hair, somme do it for fun and most of the time , in that case it's temporary and that has nothing to do with God. All the things people do with their bodies is not aiming to question Gods creation. What matters is the inner body not the outside.
  • KARS
    Makeup hides old age. Lets face it; there is no "fountain of youth". It's used in the entertainment world to change the color of the actor or actresses hair to play the role they have chosen to play. My best friend put it this way; "They are never satisfied with what God gave them. So they think they have to change the color of their hair to be satisfied." If we women just took the time to examine our eating and drinking habits, we could have a healthier glow about us and our skin wouldn't age so fast. Just a simple walk each day can make a big difference. And a cup of water for inner cleansing.
  • dshfrh
    About the fact when makeup or paint of the face is mentioned in the bible, it's talking about whoredom. I don't know why anyone would want to be like jezebel. She wore makeup to try and seduce. That's not Godly at all. Not to mention. The Bible says that we were created in his image, of the Lord God, Jesup Chirst. So who are we to say that he messed up in his creation and try to fix that. He makes no mistakes and loves us for us, the way he created us not the way we think we should look. Makeup to me is very ungodly and should not be worn, regardless of what is accepted in our world today. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever
  • Steven Britt

    emil, the intent of Leviticus 19:28 is that we should not mark our bodies in the same manner as that of pagan religious practices. Tattooing is a custom of indisputably pagan religious origin, either in honor of their gods or in honor of the dead (as the scripture states), and until modern times tattoos have been used almost exclusively for that purpose. Though there may be a contingent of secular tattoo enthusiasts in America today who do not associate it with any form of worship, many people today do still use them for religious purposes, even well-meaning (but misguided) Christians who get tattoos that they believe honor God.

    On the other hand, a history of the use of make-up shows that it has been commonplace for aesthetic purposes in almost every culture since ancient times with no apparent specific use as an act of pagan worship that I am aware of. There are some non-tattoo religious markings in various cultures, such as the ornate henna painting in India. I feel that these would distinctly fall under the jurisdiction of Leviticus 19:28 even for a person who does them for a secular purpose because, just like a tattoo, it is specifically imitating an act of pagan worship.

  • dziwczyna

    How does modest make-up defile women?

    Christ Himself spoke to the Pharisees who were concerned about outward defilement that our heart (inward evil attitudes and thoughts) defile us:

    "There is nothing that enters a man from outside which can defile him; but the things which come out of him, those are the things that defile a man." Mark 7:15

    God made women to be beautiful, and modest makeup enhances a woman's beauty.

  • Ausban

    How do we enhance what God has made beautiful?

  • emil65300p


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