Is Makeup a Sin in the Bible?
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Is Makeup a Sin in the Bible?

Makeup and cosmetics have been used by women since ancient times for beauty and self-expression. However, some Christians believe that the use of makeup is prohibited in the Bible and therefore sinful. In this comprehensive blog post, we will examine what the Bible says about makeup and adornment, key biblical principles related to modesty and vanity, perspectives for and against using makeup, and tips for God-honoring use of cosmetics.

Key Takeaways:

  • The Bible does not explicitly prohibit the use of makeup or call it sinful. Principles of modesty, moderation, and inner beauty are emphasized.
  • Arguments against using makeup cite verses warning against excessive adornment, extravagance, and seductive intent.
  • Arguments for using makeup in moderation appeal to biblical examples of women enhancing beauty and texts permitting adornment.
  • Practicing motivations of humility, respect for our natural self, and directing attention to inner beauty can guide use of cosmetics.
  • Taking care of our God-given body while avoiding vanity or causing others to stumble should inform our approach to makeup.

What Does the Bible Say about Makeup and Adornment?

The Bible does not directly prohibit the use of makeup or cosmetics. Biblical passages that address the issue of adornment focus more on principles of modesty, warning against excessive ornamentation, extravagant jewelry and seductive clothing.

Old Testament Teachings

Some of the strongest language comes from Old Testament prophetic books warning the people of Israel against pride, haughtiness and reliance on external trappings. For example:

“In that day the Lord will take away the beauty of their anklets, headbands, crescent ornaments, dangling earrings, bracelets, veils, headdresses, ankle chains, sashes, perfume boxes, amulets, finger rings, nose rings, festal robes, outer tunics, cloaks, money purses, hand mirrors, undergarments, turbans and veils.” (Isaiah 3:18-23, NKJV)

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” (1 Peter 3:3-4, NKJV)

These verses warn against an obsessive focus on superficial decorations and failing to cultivate inner godly virtues. This teaching does not prohibit women from caring about their appearance or enhancing their beauty in modest, respectful ways.

Other Old Testament passages describe women such as Esther and the Beloved in Song of Songs intentionally beautifying themselves, even with cosmetics and jewelry, in positive terms (Esther 2:12, Song of Songs 4:3). Therefore we cannot conclude that all use of adornment and makeup was considered sinful.

New Testament Principles on Modesty and Moderation

In the New Testament, teachings on modesty provide guidelines for appropriate self-adornment:

“I also want the women to dress modestly, with decency and propriety, adorning themselves, not with elaborate hairstyles or gold or pearls or expensive clothes, but with good deeds, appropriate for women who profess to worship God.” (1 Timothy 2:9-10, NKJV)

“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” (1 Peter 3:3-4, NKJV)

These exhortations encourage women to avoid extravagance and to focus on cultivating a gentle, humble spirit. Modest use of cosmetics and simple hairstyles are not prohibited, but ostentatious displays of wealth through expensive jewelry and clothing are cautioned against.

Overall, the Bible does not detail strict rules about makeup, but provides principles of inner beauty, modesty and avoidance of vanity that can guide our approach to cosmetics. As 1 Corinthians 10:23 (NKJV) says, “All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful.”

Arguments Against Wearing Makeup

Some Christian teachers throughout history have condemned the use of makeup and adornment as sinful vanity. Here are some key arguments cited:

Makeup Obscures God’s Design

Our natural facial features are designed and crafted by God, therefore artificially enhancing our appearance can be seen as an affront to God’s design. Make-up distorts what God intended.

Makeup is Deceptive

Cosmetics create an enhanced facial appearance that is artificial. This can be construed as deceptive to others. The true, bare face reveals what God created.

Makeup Inspires Vanity

Emphasis on physical appearance through makeup usage promotes vanity, self-absorption and pride which are condemned throughout the Bible.

Makeup Can Be Seductive

When used to intentionally allure or arouse lust, cosmetic enhancement conflicts with biblical principles of sexual purity and integrity. Throughout history, painted faces were associated with prostitution and immorality.

Bible Women Did Not Wear Makeup

Some argue that women of the Bible did not wear makeup or enhance their appearance artificially, therefore it should be avoided. However, evidence from Scripture and history showing some cosmetic usage makes this difficult to assert.

Church Tradition Prohibited Makeup

Some early Church fathers such as Clement of Alexandria and Tertullian spoke against cosmetics and adornment, setting precedent for prohibition in church history. However, these attitudes often stemmed from cultural associations between makeup and immorality.

While these arguments raise valid concerns, the use of cosmetics is not explicitly forbidden in Scripture. Therefore we must dig deeper into principles of modesty and moderation to discern God’s wisdom on the issue.

Arguments Supporting Wearing Makeup in Moderation

Here are some counterarguments Appeals to biblical principles that could support careful use of cosmetics:

God Desires Us to Care for Our Bodies

As God’s creation, our physical bodies deserve care and adornment out of respect for the Creator. Reasonable enhancement through cosmetics aligns with properly caring for our God-given bodies.

Outward Adornment Has Appropriate Place

The Bible recognizes the appropriate use of outer adornment in moderation. Examples include descriptions of women adding to their natural beauty (1 Peter 3, Esther 2:12) and God decorating His creation (Ezekiel 16:8-14).

Motive and Intention Matter

Rather than universally condemning makeup, motives and purposes for wearing cosmetics should be evaluated. If worn to glorify God, honor your natural self, and avoid vanity, makeup can be acceptable.

All Beauty Comes from God

Since God designed our physical forms and appearances, enhancing that beauty through makeup can honor the Creator when done moderately and respectfully. We acknowledge that our source of beauty is God alone.

Cultural Variances Exist

Appropriate use of cosmetics varies between cultures, time periods and occasions. Rigid prohibition overlooks these differences in how makeup is perceived and valued. Respectful wisdom should discern acceptable use in each context.

The arguments on both sides highlight biblical principles we need to apply. But the Bible does not provide definitive prohibition, allowing room for the godly wisdom of believers seeking to honor the Lord with their bodies and lifestyles. This leads us to consider how we can approach the use of cosmetics in a wise and godly manner.

How Should Christians Approach Using Makeup?

For Christians seeking to please God in every area of their lives, including their use of cosmetics, here are some guidelines that emerge from biblical values:

  • Practice moderation – avoid excessive adornment or obsession over appearance. Keep cosmetic enhancement modest, not designed to attract sensual attention or flaunt affluence.
  • Focus on inner beauty – spend more time developing godly virtues like compassion and nurturing spirit than applying beauty products. Inner radiance outweighs outward appearance.
  • Consider your motives – apply makeup to honor God’s creation and the natural beauty He gave you, not out of vanity or ego. Avoid seductive motives.
  • Direct attention to the soul – use makeup moderately to reveal inner joy and confidence, not to flaunt outward traits alone. Seek to direct attention to your spirit.
  • Show care for your body – make sure cosmetics are safe and healthy, avoiding harm to the body God made. See makeup as part of proper self-care.
  • Be wise about perceptions – recognize how makeup use can shape perceptions of your motives and values. Consider cultural views on modesty and discretion.
  • Avoid causing others to stumble – be aware that overuse of cosmetics could lead others to judge you frivolous, provocative or deceptive. Do not let your liberty in Christ cause others to fall.
  • Respect your natural self – do not feel pressure to hide or overly alter your natural God-given beauty behind cosmetic masks. Value the face God gave you.

The Bible does not establish universal rules about appropriate makeup and adornment. As 1 Corinthians 6:12 (NKJV) wisely reminds us, “All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful.” Therefore, principle-based wisdom and moderation should guide cosmetic choices for Christians who wish to honor God in all aspects of life. When used with the right heart motivations and modest approach, makeup can be acceptable within biblical values.


Throughout history, views on the morality of using makeup have varied drastically even among biblical scholars and church leaders. Upon close examination of the relevant biblical passages, we do not find clear prohibition of cosmetics. The emphasis is on developing inner godly virtues and avoiding excessive vanity or seductive motives in adorning the outer self. When applied in moderation, with careful motives and respect for our natural design, makeup can be used in a manner consistent with scriptural values of modesty, discretion and wise stewardship of our physical bodies. The truly sinful practices to avoid would be obsessive vanity, pride, immodesty or deceit through excessive cosmetic enhancement. With prudence and pure motives, the use of makeup can be an acceptable choice for believers seeking to honor God in all facets of life, including their physical presentation.

Pastor Duke Taber
Pastor Duke Taber

Pastor Duke Taber

All articles have been written or reviewed by Pastor Duke Taber.
Pastor Duke Taber is an alumnus of Life Pacific University and Multnomah Biblical Seminary.
He has been in pastoral ministry since 1988.
Today he is the owner and managing editor of 3 successful Christian websites that support missionaries around the world.
He is currently starting a brand new church in Mesquite NV called Mesquite Worship Center, a Non-Denominational Spirit Filled Christian church in Mesquite Nevada.