“When a woman is expected to cover her face with makeup in order to alter her appearance, to look more “professional,” or to be more attractive to men she is covering up an important part of herself: her face”
The above is an excerpt from a recently published article on the National Catholic Register, titled COSMETICS AND THE OBJECTIFICATION OF WOMEN
Some Catholics argue for women to use cosmetics and other Catholics argue against the use of cosmetics by women.
On the topic of cosmetics for us Catholic women, and in particular for us traditional Catholic women, where do we draw the line between being accused of vanity and exhibitionism, and being accused of being rigid, rad trads?
So, is there Catholic teaching on wearing makeup? Is it a sin to wear makeup?
What were the saints’ opinions on the use of cosmetics and makeup?
St Augustine condemned all makeup, period! Or did he really?
In actual fact, what St Augustine was condemning was the use of cosmetics and makeup to deceive, to create a false mask, and to completely alter the appearance such that the actual appearance cannot be ascertained.
In general, the use of cosmetics and makeup is part of feminine grooming and it is permissible to use cosmetics and makeup under the following conditions:
- It is done without pride, vanity or inordinate desire for attention.
- It is done in moderation, as excessive makeup shows lack of modesty and lack of humility.
- It is done to naturally ENHANCE what is already present, and NOT ALTER it.
- It is done to restore the order of nature, such as using makeup to cover up scars, acne and the like.
- The use of natural makeup is fine; makeup techniques like contouring is not as it alters the natural appearance and not just enhance it. If you are not naturally gifted with razor-sharp cheekbones, the use of contouring is deceptive and sinful.
Except in rare cases, tattooing is a no-no because it is a form of mutilation and it is also a sign immodesty.
Cosmetic surgery is generally a no-no unless it is surgery done to restore what was naturally present. For example, it is sinful to get breast augmentation surgery, but it is okay to get surgery on the nose if the nose was damaged in an accident or other circumstance.
Pius XII condemned the use of cosmetic surgery undertaken for the sake of mere fashion, caprice or vanity, or in order to increase a person’s natural seductive abilities and thus easily induce others to sin.
It is okay to take care of the bodies that God gave us, with proper grooming and the rightful, modest use of cosmetics and/or makeup.
Now, what about Marian or Marylike modesty?
What would Our Lady do? Would Our Lady have worn makeup? Most likely, yes!
Would she have dyed her hair in a shade close to her original hair colour? Possibly.
Would she have used makeup techniques like heavy contouring, dyed her hair blue, or undertaken cosmetic surgery like lip enhancement or breast augmentation? Most likely, no!
Our Lady, model of perfect beauty and femininity, pray for us!
ad Jesum per Mariam