"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;"
Eph 5:25

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Does God Like Nail Polish?

Slightly off topic today, but this is a subject I have to get off my chest. 

"Does God like nail polish?"

This was the question my daughter asked me recently. My answer came quickly and somewhat abruptly.


Upon further thought and prayer, however, I would now like to change my answer ... slightly.

Does God like nail polish?

Well, that depends on your motivation for wearing it.

The Bible doesn't specify whether makeup is good or bad, nor whether God is in favor of it. It's mentioned three times: 

2Kings 9:30
When Jehu came to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it, and she painted her eyes and adorned her head and looked out the window.

 Jeremiah 4:30
And you, O desolate one, what will you do? Although you dress in scarlet, Although you decorate yourself with ornaments of gold, Although you enlarge your eyes with paint, In vain you make yourself beautiful. Your lovers despise you; They seek your life.

 Ezekiel 23:40
Furthermore, they have even sent for men who come from afar, to whom a messenger was sent; and lo, they came–for whom you bathed, painted your eyes and decorated yourselves with ornaments.

While each of these verses address the use of eye makeup, I believe nail polish fall squarely into the category of painting your body, and as you can see, the God does not speak against it, but merely mentions it.

They grey area for me is in the motivation.  

Why do you want to paint your nails?  For that matter, why do you wear foundation?  Eye liner and shadow?  Colored lipstick? (Chapstick is protective and often necessary - NOT talking about that.)  There are three likely reasons. 
  1.  It's a creative outlet.  It's fun to change the color of something, or to paint a little flower on your fingernail.  If this is your motivation, I say go for it.  Everyone needs an outlet for creativity.  No problem.
  2. It's a way to get attention.  This is where sin starts to creep in.  Makeup is often used as a way to make oneself more sexually attractive.  The Bible clearly states that beauty should come from within.                                                                                                                                                    (3)Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear, (4)but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. (1 Peter 3:3-4) 
  3. It's a way to correct flaws. This is by far the biggest problem with makeup, as I see it.  Many girls have a poor self-image and they try to compensate by painting themselves to "look pretty."  The Lord God personally crafted each of us.  By correcting "flaws" with makeup, many girls are in essence saying, "what God made isn't good enough."  They feel the need somehow to improve on what the Creator Himself created.   How sad.    

    As husbands and fathers (or potential fathers) we need to make sure the young ladies in our lives know they are beautiful just the way they are, and that no amount of stuff they cake onto themselves will improve on what God intended them to be.  We have to reassure them that they are wonderful and that makeup, while it's fun, is not an upgrade.


    In my humble opinion, makeup is okay if the goal aim is to have fun. It becomes a problem, however, when you avoid going anywhere until your face, hair, nails, etc. are "perfect."


  1. Very sound reasoning.

    The two verses used by those who call makeup sin are Timothy 2:9-10 and 1 Peter 3:3-4. On the surface it does seem these verses forbid fancy hair, fancy clothes, nice jewelry, and by extension makeup.

    What we miss is that these scriptures use an ellipsis, a figure of speech. You will find a good review of this at http://bit.ly/WRnHud. See point III for the 1 PEter verse. The short version is that the translation should read "Don't do these things ONLY, but also do these other things which are more important.

    1. Thanks for your input. I've been reading and I think I feel a follow-up post coming on.

  2. You know, I found your blog via your link on The Alabaster Jar, and WOW what a great blog! I am so glad you are posting regularly and joined the half marathon. Your ministry is so needed!!

    That being said, my comment on this particular post is about beauty. When I was younger, I was in the trap of thinking of the Hollywood standard to define beauty, and then I heard something that changed my perspective forever: Think of the women in your life whom you love who have loved you through thick and thin...the mothers, step-moms, aunts, or even just ladies at church who really did what was best and acted on their love. Okay now are those women beautiful? OH YES!! You can see the beauty shining through their faces!! Are those women "Hollywood beautiful" or are some of them short, some fat, some with white hair or no hair, some with smile wrinkles, some with scars even?

    The women in my life whom I loved who loved me were all, literally beautiful women and there was no doubting that beauty...and yet not one was "Hollywood beautiful." Every one of them had some physical flaw, and it didn't matter one bit. Anyone's external vessel can be pleasing to view, but that is not beauty.

    1. Amen! The trap a lot of girls fall into the trap of feeling they aren't pretty enough, thin enough, etc. Then they try to "improve" the beauty God gave them, as if what He created isn't good enough.

      You're right about all the beautiful women in my life. Not one is "Hollywood beautiful," but their beauty far exceeds the status quo.

  3. Amen. Proverbs 31:30

  4. Thank you for posting this. I struggle with feeling I'm not pretty enough or as beautiful as others. This is exactly what I needed to read today.

  5. If using a little make up to replace what was lost through sickness, for example losing eyebrows through chemotherapy, what then

  6. What if you are using a little make up to replace features lost due to illness. For example lost eyebrows due to chemotherapy, would that be classed as vanity or would it be acceptable.

  7. Here is a comment stop dictating to women

    1. It God who dictates. You can not tell God not to dictate. If God says, that it'should sinful, then it is. This person is not dictating to anyone. All this person is doing is giving his interpretation of what God says in the bible. You don'the have to read it, if his perception bothers you that much.

  8. People trying to decode iron-age prescriptions to decide on mundane personal matters is ridiculous. Grow up. Think for yourself.