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Orthodox Christian women wearing makeup


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#1 Kyranna

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 11:36 AM

As a convert, I would like more clarification or information about Orthodox women wearing makeup. In the "Guide to Confession" pamphlet under the section "Yourself" (#7) it says "Do you seek attention and glory from people? Do you wear perfume and makeup and change the look your creator gave you?" I do wear makeup modestly to cover up imperfections and to look more feminine and healthy. I have worn makeup for so long; I've always been a "girly girl" (without it, I think I look less feminine and tired or sick almost) I also like to be attractive for my husband and if I did not wear it, I wouldn't want him to be tempted by other women who do. I have also noticed that the majority of Orthodox women at my church wear it to church and even receive Holy Communion with it on. It is so obvious that if it is a sin (falling under vanity?) why do they wear it and why is it not corrected by the priest or clergy, etc? Is this a sin that needs to be confessed and repented of?

#2 Angie

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 01:06 PM

Hi Mrs Kyranna and welcome!

Firstly, I dont wear make up at all. In my opinion, it is like telling God I need redder lips, or rosier cheeks. Again in my opinion husbands should love their wives no matter what they look like. It is the inside that counts.

As for partaking of Holy Communion with lipstick, is a big no, no. Priests forbid this, as other people take Holy Communion and the priest has to drink it at the end, its not very pleasant with the lipstick floating on the top.

I used to wear make up years and years ago, but now I dont, and love it this way. I still have a long way to go on my spiritual journey. Still learning :)

Hope this helps you

#3 Christina M.

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 01:31 PM

Excellent answer, Angie! I completely agree with you on everything, and I also do not wear makeup anymore either.

One thing I've noticed is that certain women actually look worse when they wear makeup, but they don't realize it because they are so used to how they look while wearing it. Also there are certain cultural paradigms that are influencing us to believe that we are prettier when we wear makeup. True beauty comes from a healthy soul which is in love with God. When I've tried to convince those women that they actually look much prettier when they are not wearing makeup, they seem to be completely oblivious to my opinion, as if they think I'm crazy or something.

But, Mrs. Kyranna, if your husband prefers that you wear makeup, then IMHO it's better to obey your husband and to make him happy. In this way, obedience and humility cover everything.

(Please no one bring up "don't judge those who wear makeup". That's not what we're doing.)

#4 Andra K.

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 01:53 PM

Well, there is makeup and then there is makeup LOL. I wear modest makeup and yes that is possible and is not an oxymoron LOL. I wear mineral foundation to even out my skin tone and mineral blush that is a fairly subtle color I dont see anything wrong with this on a spiritual level, especially when I am at work and am in a professional role. My makeup use is not to draw attention to myself nor is it too outrageous or colorful as to be a distraction. I also wear burts bees brand lip gloss/chapstick kind of thing and it gives just a hint of color. My objective for wearing 'makeup' is not to try to change who I am but I understand that makeup can serve that purpose.

I personally think I look better with some makeup.

I do not judge anybody on how they look, makeup or not. Nor do I think that you are trying to judge us (giggle giggle).

As an aside, I have seen men wearing makeup.

#5 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 02:26 PM

Society is indeed growing more narcissistic and there has always been an over-importance placed on appearance. Holy Scripture tells us the most fitting decoration for a Christian is modesty.

Lipstick and icons do NOT get along together. I do wish women would wear less lipstick and learn to wipe it off before communion and certainly before reverencing icons, if they have to use it at all, but that might just be me.

Herman the no-makeup Pooh

#6 Marie A.

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 02:29 PM

I would never have known about #7 of the confession booklet about makeup and perfume if I had not visited some monasteries. I never heard about this in the parish so I think that most women aren't aware of it. It surprised me when I first heard about it. I began to follow it then but now I have gone back to wearing some makeup modestly. I have been ill and look really sickly and bad without it and it draws attention to myself. I would much rather go without though.

#7 Theodora E.

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 02:45 PM

We're not Amish, nor are we Protestant fundamentalists who forbid women to cut their hair, wear makeup, or wear pants.

There is middle ground between a bare face and painting yourself like a street walker.

Moderation, anyone? I wear minimal makeup to church (gasp!) but no lipstick due to icons, but our icons out for veneratiom are under glass, in any case.

#8 Michael Albert

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 03:03 PM

Why wife never wears make-up to Church and rarely outside of Church. She is beautiful without make-up!

I believe that lipstick and perfume in Church are the main offenders.

Lipstick because of obvious reasons: Holy Communion, Icons, priest's hand, priest's hand Cross, etc.

And heavy perfume because of those who suffer from severe asthma and sensitivities to odorous chemicals in the perfume.

#9 Herman Blaydoe

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 03:27 PM

My wife has asthma and simply cannot wear much makeup because of the scents often associated with them, and heavy perfume can alomost be lethal. She looks beautiful to me regardless. I have noticed my own ability to be in the presence of heavy perfume has lessened over time.

Herman the unscented Pooh

#10 Marie A.

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 05:04 PM

A little off topic...but where does this "Guide to Confession" pamphlet come from? I've only seen it in monasteries. Have most of you heard of it? Do you have it in your parish?

#11 Nina

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 05:11 PM

As a convert,


I do not have time to read this thread now but I thought you were one of my best friends since she is named that way!!! :) But when I started to read your post I realized you are not since she is cradle. Great choice of Saint and name dear Kyranna. Welcome to the forum.

Christ is Risen!

#12 Alice

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 06:27 PM

We're not Amish, nor are we Protestant fundamentalists who forbid women to cut their hair, wear makeup, or wear pants.

There is middle ground between a bare face and painting yourself like a street walker.

Moderation, anyone? I wear minimal makeup to church (gasp!) but no lipstick due to icons, but our icons out for veneratiom are under glass, in any case.


I couldn't agree more.

Sensible and natural looking makeup items and pressed or mineral powder (to even out skin tone, blot excess oil, and cover dark circles for example) and groomed eyebrows and hair are not a sin in the Orthodox church. I have grown up Orthodox in the U.S., and have never, ever heard such a thing. Even priest's wives and daughters wear makeup. Most women do not make themselves up to bring attention to themselves but to present themselves as well groomed in a respectful manner (unless perhaps they are madeup like Cleopatra or Lady Gaga! LOL) Ofcourse some women with flawless skin, and naturally beautiful coloring, especially young women, look very nice without any makeup.

I wouldn't let my husband out the door without grooming (cutting all those stray white eyebrow hairs that have just now started popping up and looking crazy--LOL), shaving, cutting his hair, etc., and there is nothing sinful about that, so why should there be anything sinful about a woman exhibiting good grooming in moderation?

Regarding perfume: it is not sinful, but one should be careful that the scent they wear agrees with their body chemistry. This is something which you need to ask someone who is close enough to you (to be honest about it) or it can actually be offensive, even if it is a very expensive cologne or perfume. Alot of women do not actually know this.

Department stores will give you samples to try at home if you ask, for this very reason. Also, less is definitely, definitely best, even if it is a wonderful expensive designer scent, and also you may want to skip it at church and save it for a social occasion.

IMHO, I think that one needs to be careful to what extreme they interpret the sinfulness of vanity, or else bathing, mouthwash, and deodorant can start seeming sinful too (eke!)

Edited by Alice, 03 May 2011 - 06:55 PM.


#13 Nina

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Posted 03 May 2011 - 06:43 PM

We're not Amish, nor are we Protestant fundamentalists who forbid women to cut their hair, wear makeup, or wear pants.


LOL Awww I see my dearest sistah has come a long way! Hmm I wonder if my influence (and my expression we are not Puritans) had anything to do with this! LOL Love ya. Love your words but I am biased because as you know I love eye pencil, gloss, perfumes, my dresses and such (I do not use make up the thing you put on your face). Well why should not I? I am a girly! lol Plus in my culture is not bad to be a girly.

On a serious note, you are right and also we must remember that in our Church happens a great transformation in our soul. This is not forced. This is gradual. With our fullest consent to God. And He works gently and patiently with us. he does not force us and respect our free will (and who are we not to respect the free will of others?). This attitude is that of the Holy Fathers too.

For instance there is the story when a mass murderer went to confess to a priest and was preparing to kill the priest had he told him not to kill from now on. The father confessor enlightened by God told the murderer: "Ok from now on do not kill children." The next time the father confessor said: "Ok now do not kill women and children." and so on. See there was no instant transformation (metamorphosis). If we expect instant transformation from others we must require that from ourselves first!!! As I said in another thread even during the Metamorphosis of our Lord, not all Apostles/Disciples were there. Why? Because we are at different stages in our spiritual life. And the metamorphosis of each of us should not be forced but gradual and gentle.

#14 Deborah Valentine

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 12:27 AM

I wear makeup and feel that is it always a personal choice. Perhaps, the greater sin is to judge women who either wear makeup or who don't.

Deborah Agapi

#15 Paul Cowan

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 01:08 AM

From a dude's perspective, what a waste of freakin money. 49% of the worlds population (men) already don't wear the stuff. (ok, yes there are 1 or 2 who do) media and entertainment people don't count.

No judgement here ladies. Why can men get away without wearing it but women feel they must (in general)? My wife also does not wear makeup and I think she is prettier for it. One thing to consider...when you wear makeup and kiss or snuggle your man, he doesn't like to have it transfered to his lips or cheeks. Trust me. It's greasy, it tastes nasty, it smells and it stains clothes.

Regarding church, see all the above reasons.

Paul who has nothing against good grooming.

#16 Nina

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 01:15 AM

IMHO, I think that one needs to be careful to what extreme they interpret the sinfulness of vanity, or else bathing, mouthwash, and deodorant can start seeming sinful too (eke!)


I agree. Some monastics do not take showers (or baths) often. In monasteries (at least the ones I frequent) you can not even check yourself out in the mirror because there are no mirrors let alone fragrant deos and such. Male monastics also do not get a haircut and do not shave but I see lay men shave, cut their hair and who wear goatees - I personally feel ewww about goatees. Isn't the time and care spent on a goatee (or shaving) same as it takes a woman to apply some cream, mascara etc. ?

Elder Iakovos Tsalikis would not take frequent showers but even when he washed he would not look at himself so he had a vestment on when washing and so on.

Saint Arsenios of Kappadokia reprimanded a woman who would wear brightly colored headscarf since it was sent to her from France (and she was the only one in Farasa with such headscarf) and he would admonish her to not use it and not bring Frankish/Latin influence in the Greek village and flock which he was trying to lead.

And many more instances. If we start talking about these we must get rid of mirrors first, should not wear anything with color, but should wear black, should not use anything with fragrance, should not wash frequently, should not shave, cut our hair and so on. I mean I look cool in black but if I would take a shower every month or so I assure you my husband would divorce me lol and I can go to a monastery and be a nun then.

Interestingly enough tomorrow we celebrate Saint Pelagia - she dealt with such problems of vanity. I love and adore her and pray to her to guide me to offer the best to God. May she intercede for us all.

P.S Theodora, I forgot. We take often drives through the Amish county and to be honest I admire and love the Amish. :)

Edited by Nina, 04 May 2011 - 01:35 AM.


#17 Angie

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 04:09 AM

Not judging here, but, if you look at our icons eg St Rafael, St Nicholas, St Irene - St Irene wears no make up, actually none of our female Orthodox Saints wear any make up and look how beautiful they look. Honestly, if you compare someone that has make up to someone who has no make up, then the no make up always looks better. :)

Also after make up were will it lead, dying your hair? And then what next?

#18 Ned Toporowski

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 04:24 AM

I agree. Some monastics do not take showers (or baths) often...Elder Iakovos Tsalikis would not take frequent showers but even when he washed he would not look at himself so he had a vestment on when washing and so on.


Eeeewweeezz!!!!!!! That's supposed to make you holy? That just shows what religious fanaticism can do to a person.

Saint Arsenios of Kappadokia reprimanded a woman who would wear brightly colored headscarf since it was sent to her from France (and she was the only one in Farasa with such headscarf) and he would admonish her to not use it and not bring Frankish/Latin influence in the Greek village and flock which he was trying to lead.


This is one of the most horrible saint legends I have read, according to the version I read, if I'm thinking of the right saint, the woman refused to change her headscarf and the guy told her her children would die. She refused to listen to him, and then came back repentant after they did die. Sheesh. That's good news for ya.

And many more instances. If we start talking about these we must get rid of mirrors first, should not P.S Theodora, I forgot. We take often drives through the Amish county and to be honest I admire and love the Amish. :)


Yeah, the Amish. They have restrictions of their own. Like for instance: when a man marries, he must grow a beard like a biblical patriarch. But he must shave the mustache. Why in blazes? Because, 200 years ago, mustaches were popular in the military, and they are pacifists. I obviously need not explain how ridiculous, pointless and illogical a restriction this is. Today, mustaches and the military have nothing to do with each other. So how come the Amish haven't banned high and tight haircuts, that at least would make some sense.

#19 Ned Toporowski

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 04:28 AM

From a dude's perspective, what a waste of freakin money. 49% of the worlds population (men) already don't wear the stuff. (ok, yes there are 1 or 2 who do) media and entertainment people don't count.

No judgement here ladies. Why can men get away without wearing it but women feel they must (in general)? My wife also does not wear makeup and I think she is prettier for it. One thing to consider...when you wear makeup and kiss or snuggle your man, he doesn't like to have it transfered to his lips or cheeks. Trust me. It's greasy, it tastes nasty, it smells and it stains clothes.



Regarding church, see all the above reasons.

Paul who has nothing against good grooming.


Oh, I must partly agree with Paul, here. While I am not against women wearing makeup if they so choose, I consider it a NONESSENTIAL, that is, I don't like the idea many women seem to have that they are missing something if they go out without makeup on. Makeup does not equal good grooming and hygiene, it is a decoration over and above that I would consider 100% optional and unnecessary. Including if you are at work or even at a very formal event. It is an extra, and I think it's healthier to see it that way.

#20 Nina

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Posted 04 May 2011 - 04:44 AM

Not judging here, but, if you look at our icons eg St Rafael, St Nicholas, St Irene - St Irene wears no make up, actually none of our female Orthodox Saints wear any make up and look how beautiful they look. Honestly, if you compare someone that has make up to someone who has no make up, then the no make up always looks better. :)

Also after make up were will it lead, dying your hair? And then what next?


Saint Irene was 12 years old when martyred - I never wore even lip balm at 12, nothing. Just soap and water. That is why I often have asked God why He did not take me when I was very pure which was even past teens.

Our Saints of course do not wear make up (although there are many who used to wear it like Saint Pelagia we celebrate today and who was reformed). But who said I am a Saint?

I do not dye my hair but if people want to they can. I do not think it is a sin - it can harm the health though :( . I use oils and creams to nourish my hair because they are long, so that can be considered vanity by some. But to each their own.

Edited by Nina, 04 May 2011 - 05:15 AM.





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