How Do I Look?

Are you ready for a shock?

I don’t wear make-up.

Shocked?  Well, maybe not, especially if you are one of the readers who knows me personally.  I can imagine that a few eyebrows probably jumped toward their respective hairlines, though.  The logical next question is “why not,” but I am going to skip that one and come back to it.

To me, make-up seems like a rather harmless thing, most of the time.  As far as I can tell, women wear it either to accentuate their good looking features or to mask their flaws.  Most of us wouldn’t fault anyone for wanting to look their best, but is there such a thing as carrying that too far?  When I’m going out, I generally want to look nice, but beyond making sure that my flyaway curls are at least reasonably behaved and that I’m appropriately dressed, I don’t worry about my looks.  I don’t want to be known for my outward adornment.  I want to wear Peter’s “meek and quiet spirit.”

Anthony over at Solomon’s Ledger describes make-up as a mask.  I think this analogy is a good one.  While I’ve known women who were judicious in their use of make-up, most of the time when I see someone wearing it, it makes me wonder why they couldn’t be content with their own face.

Are women afraid that people won’t like them if they don’t look pretty?  Or is it more driven by the youth culture of today where everyone is trying to look  (and feel) eighteen, or at least 10 years younger than they are?   I heard one woman say she doesn’t feel dressed without her make-up, which says to me that it’s a habit more than anything else.

Make-up makes sense for actors because stage lighting washes peoples faces out.  Also, make-up can be used to make actors look more like a particular character.  In this case, make-up really does function like a mask, and it is useful in terms of the actor’s profession.

Back to the “why” question now.  I don’t wear make-up because I don’t want to wear a mask.  It doesn’t hurt that I save plenty on cosmetics that I don’t have to buy, of course!  But I feel no need to wear even a little mascara or eyeshadow.  I’m content to be seen for who I am.

Actually, if I did wear make-up, it would probably be to look older.  I get taken for 16 more often than I’d like, and as a 22-year-old who got very used to being taken for several years older than my actual age throughout elementary, middle, and even early highschool, it’s still a bit odd to find myself suddenly older than I look.  People used to make the mistakes because I was tall and because I was a lot more respectful and quieter than nearly all the other girls of my age that they knew.  I enjoyed being thought more mature than my peers, and I have to remind myself that the mistake is now based on my looks and not necessarily my behavior.  Still, I’ve generally learned to accept the reversal and laugh over being thought the younger sister as often as not when Sister and I debunk the theory that we are twins (“actually, there’s four years between us, believe it or not . . .”).  So I don’t really have a reason to wear make-up.

Of course, I can’t say I’ve never worn any make-up.  I did once, when I was 15.  15 and trying to look 90.  Yep.  You read that correctly.  I was playing a very pregnant Sarah in a church play (got to practice my child-birth screams too!), so Mom, who did some acting in school herself, did quite a job with baby-powder and crows-feet.

Am I saying that make-up is wrong, or wrong for Christians?  No.  I just think it’s unnecessary, especially for Christian ladies.  To wind this up, let me encourage you young ladies to be content with your appearance.  I know some of you will be in my camp of doesn’t-wear-make-up already, but I also know it’s nice to hear some encouragement anyway as we walk the road less traveled.  Those who do wear make-up, whether all the time or only on occasion, whether heavy or light, I challenge to think hard about the reasons why you wear your “mask.”  Could you be content without it?

I may have some kind of advantage in the contentment arena because I didn’t grow up wearing make-up and my mother didn’t wear any either.  I’m used to being known by my real face and not a mask.  Does it look pretty?  Not always.  But it’s real, and when someone does give me a compliment, it means more because they are speaking of me and not of my make-up job.

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2 Comments on “How Do I Look?”

  1. a.w. marks Says:

    It’s great to read a woman’s point of view on this topic. I find it easy to disregard my feelings as a man, because I’ve been conditioned to believe that I can’t possibly understand the self-esteem that is attained through wearing makeup.

    I’m not against women feeling good about their presentation, but I never want a woman to feel obligated to impress me through physical means. I would desire my wife to know that my attraction is based in the unique demonstration of His creation as opposed to the common representation of worldly beauty.

    • Anthony,

      I wouldn’t disregard your feelings. Sometimes I wonder whether women would wear make-up so much if they realized that the men worth catching didn’t care about it.

      As far as the self-esteem goes, I’m afraid some girls get too much out of their make-up, giving them a false sense of worth based on outward appearance that then harms them as they grow older and still feel judged based on looks. Maybe it does help some girls get over the hurdle and feel like they are presentable to the world, and then they can go from there to basing their worth on something else more lasting. Of course, personally I try to base my feeling of worth not on my view of myself but on Christ’s view of me, always remembering that it’s only through Him that I am worth anything at all.

      I fully expect that your wife will appreciate your sentiments on the subject heartily, regardless of whether she uses make-up. It’s always nice to be judged by who you are (in Christ) as opposed to what you look like.

      Thanks for your thoughts!
      ~Homeschool Graduate

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