If you look at any television channel or flip through a magazine, you can’t miss the ornate jewelry, hairstyles, makeup or other embellishments on display. It’s big business; in 2021, the global beauty industry market was valued at $511 billion, while personal jewelry consumption hit $94.6 billion.
Still, what does the Bible say about jewelry and makeup? Is wearing makeup considered sinful in the eyes of God or wrong? Are God’s children allowed to wear eye makeup, lipstick, silver and gold necklaces, or extra beauty enhancements? Many people of faith have differing opinions on whether people should or shouldn’t wear jewelry or makeup. However, the Bible doesn’t outright condemn makeup and jewelry and doesn’t discuss them in detail.
What does the Bible say about jewelry and makeup?
The Bible doesn’t say much about jewelry and makeup, but it did exist in ancient times. The Bible discusses two women of faith wearing adornments. Genesis 24 details Abraham’s son Isaac giving Rebekah two gold bracelets, a gold nose ring, and other precious silver and gold jewelry that she wore for him. It also talks about how Esther, who risked her life to save the Jewish people and became queen, went through a year of beauty treatments, including makeup, to get ready to meet the king in Esther 2:12. Other parts of the Bible discuss jewelry in a positive light, saying that God cared for His people like an affectionate husband would care for his wife, giving her bracelets, necklaces, rings, and a beautiful crown like a queen in Ezekiel 16:9-13.
However, other parts of the Bible speak of wearing makeup or jewelry in a negative light. In 2 Kings 9:30-33, the Bible discusses how the mean queen Jezebel did her hair and eye makeup before her execution. In Jeremiah, the prophet mourns Jerusalem’s destruction for its many sins, comparing God’s people to a woman trying to make herself pretty, specifically in Jeremiah 4:30. Ezekiel 23 compares Jerusalem to a prostitute who courts men by taking a bath, putting on jewelry and eye makeup, then sitting on a sofa in front of them.
Makeup and jewelry are also mentioned in the New Testament. 1 Timothy 2:9-10 discusses the apostle Paul’s urging Christian women to focus on their good deeds instead of their vanity by dressing moderately and avoiding extravagant hairstyles, pearls or gold. 1 Peter 3 also discusses how women’s beauty should come from the inside, not outward adornment like gold jewelry.
Is wearing jewelry or makeup a sin?
With this information, some people are baffled about whether wearing jewelry and makeup is allowed for people of faith. Still, the Bible never says it’s sinful or wrong to wear jewelry or makeup. The evil queen Jezebel wore jewelry, but other women of faith, like Esther and Rebekah, wore it as well. In comparison to Jerusalem, the prostitute wore jewelry and makeup, but she also sat on a sofa and bathed, which aren’t sinful or immoral behaviors.
It’s not wrong to look beautiful on the outside or to wear adornments that enhance your outward beauty. However, it’s sinful when someone uses outer beauty to entice, attract, manipulate, or become an idol. The Bible repeatedly says that what’s on the outside of the world is temporary. Our souls live on when our earthly bodies die. Proverbs 31:30 tells us that beauty is fleeting and charm is deceptive. Isaiah 40:8 also says that God’s word will live forever while grass withers and flowers fall.
Our confidence shouldn’t come from temporary things like makeup, jewelry, or other short-term items because they’ll eventually fade away. Instead, our faith should come from Christ, who lasts and lives forever. This sentiment is what Peter was talking about when he said that women should focus on inner beauty instead of outward adornment and external appearance. Wearing makeup and jewelry isn’t wrong or evil in itself, but when the beauty of the flesh is emphasized over one that lasts forever, it’s a bad thing. We should value what endures over what fades.
We should prioritize the beauty of our inner selves and the everlasting beauty of a quiet and gentle spirit, which is worth more in God’s eyes. In other words, you can line your eyes, gloss your lips, wear sparkly earrings, and curl your hair. There’s nothing wrong with celebrating our outer beauty. However, we should remember that our true selves, our souls are what’s most important.
Does God care about our outer appearance?
God loves all of His creations. He loves the old and young, big and small, and the statuesque and shrunken. He wonderfully and fearfully designed us, put us together in our mother’s womb, saw us, and appreciated everything about our outer appearance. Still, God values us for what’s inside, not outside. In 1 Samuel 16:7, the Lord told Samuel that He looks at the heart, not what other people look at. John 7:24 expresses a similar sentiment. Beauty isn’t the problem; God cares about the contents of our hearts. Are we trying to enjoy our beauty, or are we using it for evil purposes, like seduction?
Can Christian women wear jewelry and makeup?
Christian women can wear jewelry and makeup like Christian men can wear an eye-catching tie, good looking suit, and a nice watch. Still, we should remember that our outer appearance isn’t the big picture. In James 4:14, the apostle asks, “What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little then vanishes.”
Not every woman wants to focus on their outward appearance, and they might feel called to push away from that side of themselves to focus on who they are on the inside, which is acceptable. Whether you disregard outer appearance or celebrate it doesn’t matter; all that matters is that you recognize what’s important, which is honoring your God-created soul and prioritizing salvation. The Bible says that while our earthly bodies will die, our souls will live forever, either with God in heaven or separated from Him.
Still, loving our earthly bodies and treating them well is good—our bodies house our souls, which we should treat with honor, respect and care. Wearing makeup and jewelry isn’t immoral, but don’t let that overshadow what’s truly important.