Youtube, TikTok, Facebook, or whatever social media application you have, it is without a doubt that makeup tutorial is one of the most searched content among these platforms. In today’s era, makeup seems to be a necessity. New makeup lines just pop like mushrooms. The Cosmetic Industry is booming. That said, not all buy this concept. There are still individuals who avoid makeup. One reason is the fear that it might be a sin. In this blog post, we will tackle if it really is a sin to wear makeup.
Here’s a verse that talks about makeup.
“You now who are doomed, what are you doing dressing in purple, bedecking yourself with gold, Enlarging your eyes with kohl? You beautify yourself in vain! Your lovers reject you, they seek your life.”
Another passage that is somehow related to makeup.
“Similarly, [too,] women should adorn themselves with proper conduct, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hairstyles and gold ornaments, or pearls, or expensive clothes, but rather, as befits women who profess reverence for God, with good deeds.”
Although the term “makeup” is absent, it still talks about how women should present themselves.
The Catholic Church does not have any teaching regarding wearing makeup. Just like other body decorations such as having a tattoo or body piercing, the Church does not prohibit one to wear makeup. However, depending on the intention, it could be a sin.
Since it is not specific mention in the Catechism, we could refer to the following.
CCC 2521 Purity requires modesty, an integral part of temperance. Modesty protects the intimate center of the person. It means refusing to unveil what should remain hidden. It is ordered to chastity to whose sensitivity it bears witness. It guides how one looks at others and behaves toward them in conformity with the dignity of persons and their solidarity.
CCC 2522 Modesty protects the mystery of persons and their love. It encourages patience and moderation in loving relationships; it requires that the conditions for the definitive giving and commitment of man and woman to one another be fulfilled. Modesty is decency. It inspires one’s choice of clothing. It keeps silence or reserve where there is evident risk of unhealthy curiosity. It is discreet.
According to the Catholic Apologist, Bob Kirby.
Modesty is essentially keeping covered that which needs to be covered and not adopting the spirit of the worldly culture which often undermines moral living and purity. Dressing attractively, which includes makeup and jewelry is perfectly fine when appropriate, so long as there is not the intent or effect of provoking lust, moral permissiveness, or impurity.
The intention is important in wearing makeup.
If one wears it to provoke lust or deceive others, then it could be sinful.
Wearing makeup is not one of the topics the Church has an absolute answer to. That said, there are perspectives among Saints about this. Here are some.
St. Cyprian of Carthage
First is St. Cyprian of Carthage.
According to him.“I hold that not only virgins and widows, but also wives and all women without exception, should be admonished that nowise should they deface God’s work and fabric, the clay that He has fashioned, with the aid of yellow pigments, black powders or rouge, or by applying any dye that alters the natural features. . . They lay hands on God, when they strive to reform what He has formed. This is an assault on the Divine handiwork, a distortion of the truth. Thou shalt not be able to see God, having no longer the eyes that God made, but those the devil has unmade; with him shalt thou burn on whose account thou art bedecked.’
Obviously, St. Cyprian seems convinced that it is a sin.
St. Thomas Aquinas
On another hand, St. Thomas replied with this.“As regards the adornment of women, we must bear in mind the general statements made above (Article 1) concerning outward apparel, and also something special, namely that a woman’s apparel may incite men to lust, according to Prov. 7:10, “Behold a woman meeteth him in harlot’s attire, prepared to deceive souls.”
Nevertheless a woman may use means to please her husband, lest through despising her he fall into adultery. Hence it is written (1 Cor. 7:34) that the woman “that is married thinketh on the things of the world, how she may please her husband.” Wherefore if a married woman adorn herself in order to please her husband she can do this without sin.
But those women who have no husband nor wish to have one, or who are in a state of life inconsistent with marriage, cannot without sin desire to give lustful pleasure to those men who see them, because this is to incite them to sin. And if indeed they adorn themselves with this intention of provoking others to lust, they sin mortally; whereas if they do so from frivolity, or from vanity for the sake of ostentation, it is not always mortal, but sometimes venial. And the same applies to men in this respect.
St. Thomas defends wearing makeup as not always a mortal sin as long as it is not for the “sake of sensuous pleasure or in contempt of God.”
Wearing Makeup can be a sin
So to answer the question.
Is it a sin to wear makeup?
It depends. If you wear it to provoke lust and deceive people around you, then it is a sin.
The world is indeed ever-changing.
People nowadays find their own ways to improve their confidence. One way is wearing cosmetic products.
We as Catholics can improve ourselves inside and out.
There is nothing wrong with decorating our bodies. Wearing makeup is not always a sin. But make sure your intention is good.
At the end of the day, modesty is what truly matters.
Let us always remind ourselves that pleasing God is our goal.
May we honor Him by being pure.
Loving Mother, pray for us.