Is there “Modest” Makeup?

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By: Rachel Dahl

At Modest Fashion Network, we value being upfront and honest about how certain things from fashion, media, and products are affecting our purity. Many of us are already proactive about upholding our physical dignity by dressing modestly, but what about beauty products?

It’s controversial enough to talk about modest fashion, but what of “modest” makeup?

Here are some things that we generally get comments about regarding modesty in fashion and beauty, from the reasonable to the very strict:

FOR FASHION MODESTY:

  • How much skin is being shown? The less you show, the more modest!
  • Do you emphasize certain body parts (assets) more than your other body parts? If the body parts you are emphasizing or showing are generally sexual in nature (generally, meaning the majority of the population thinks that body part is so), then we can safely say that featuring that area is not modest. However, this seems to change from generation to generation. For example, Victorian ladies were considered highly modest but were allowed to show off their bosoms and their tiny waists, but never their ankles!
  • How much color is there? How bright are the colors? What patterns? Not sure about this one. To some, the more drab the colors are and the less pattern there is featured, the more modest.
  • Do you dress to emphasize that you are a woman and set apart from a man? Many women who dress modestly take this very seriously—no pants, no short hair, no shared garments or allowance of resemblance between the sexes. This application is based on Deuteronomy 22:5, “A woman must not wear men’s clothing, nor a man wear women’s clothing, for the Lord your God detests anyone who does this.
  • How much “frill” or accessories are you wearing? A reasonable question, yes. In the Bible we are told not to adorn ourselves with outward things—that includes accessories. In 1 Peter 3:3, we are told, “Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel.

FOR MAKEUP MODESTY:

With makeup, here are some possible questions one might ask a woman attempting modesty in this arena:

  • How much of your real skin is showing on your face? The more of your real face is showing, the more modest. Interesting how clothing is the opposite of this! With clothing, the less “you” you show, the more modest.
  • Do you intend to emphasize your best features (assets) on your face and make them “pop?” Not sure about this one, either. One of our goals in interaction is to have people look at our faces instead of our bodies during a conversation. At least, many of us feel this way. To some, complete invisibility is most modest.
  • How much color do you have on? The more natural or neutral your choice of color is, the more modest. However, we have noticed a trend with respectable modest fashionistas wearing heavy makeup. It does help to draw the attention to the face and away from the skin on your body! However, the science of makeup has shown that makeup tends to be applied on certain areas of the face to resemble the natural blush you get during sexual arousal and during ovulation. Of course, that implies that makeup was made to trick people into thinking you’re a healthy, fertile woman. On the other hand, ancient Egyptians believed that wearing eyeliner also prevented evil spirits from entering their souls. Both the secular crowd and the spiritual crowd have their reasons for using makeup.
  • Are you finding your security in earthly things instead of in God? Although this applies to clothing too, this question is most applicable to makeup. Makeup tends to hide what we perceive as flaws, even when they were made by God to be there. Obviously, this doesn’t apply to blemishes like pimples that happen due to our own choices from poor eating and sleeping habits.
  • How natural or safe are the ingredients? This is rarely on anyone’s modesty radar, but we believe that it’s very important and worthwhile considering the potential benefits. After all, our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit. We must take great care of it first so we can better help others. Certain harmful chemicals, combinations of chemicals, and even natural ingredients applied to certain skin types can potentially be very dangerous. We found that The Cosmetist does an excellent job writing about what is in your cosmetics and whether or not you should actually be alarmed by some of the ingredients you find.

Modesty is obviously a very broad topic, and therefore very controversial. What is modesty? That is something we constantly talk about here at MFN, both in its outward and inward forms, in our appearance and virtue. We take sexual purity very seriously, and that means exercising your sexuality where it belongs—only within marriage. However with all the differing opinions surrounding what modesty is and what it isn’t in terms of outward expression, we must all keep Colossians 3:12 in mind: “Since God chose you to be the holy people whom he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.

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About the Author: Rachel Dahl is the Christian blogger behind À LA MODEST. She writes about her personal style to inspire others to be secure in their own beauty, in various walks of life, through uplifting fashion.

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Rachel

About the author: Rachel writes on godly femininity, womanhood, and natural beauty.

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9 thoughts on “Is there “Modest” Makeup?

  1. hi rachel,
    thank you for the nice mention on this lovely fashion blog. Cosmetics are in direct contact with your skin, so yeah, we should all be more careful about composition, be critical about the marketing stuff and read between the lines. You are worth it… (ok that was easy 🙂 )

  2. I have to be the lowest maintenance person I know. However, I still like to look nice and feel beautiful. I am not very into make up, and when I do wear it I like the minimum. I am also pretty self-conscious about my body and never want to be flaunty (that isn’t even a real word-but hopefully it makes sense). It is important to know what is modest and what isn’t… People have so many different perspectives! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  3. great that there’s ideas such as these – i ‘m always amazed when i try and go clothes shopping – how much of the stuff out there is to put it mildly – ungodly…

  4. You bring up some really great points that I hadn’t considered. I’ve never really thought whether or not there is such thing as modest make-up. While I rarely put on any more than chapstick, I remember my grandma would never leave the house without putting on her “face.” Her “face” included bright pink lipstick that would smudge off when kissed you. Those are some of my favorite memories. To me make-up has always been a fun way to express yourself, but I know for others this isn’t the case. Thank you so much for sharing your perspective on this. You have given me a lot to think about. 🙂

  5. I have been wondering this for quite some time. As I am making a transition (a very hard one for someone that used to love being trendy and showy) the area of cosmetics was always a grey area. Young women in my church wear very subdued makeup- most likely very light powder, mascara, and tinted lipgloss. They still look themselves. I feel that is such an important point with beauty; you should not be unrecognizable or look like you are wearing a mask!

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