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Thursday, March 5, 2015

Testimony of Christian modesty: What made me decide to stop using cosmetics


 Je dédie ce témoignage de ma sœur bien-aimée Caroline et sa mère

Today, I'd like to share with you how God has guided me to stop using cosmetics.And especially,I want to dedicate this article to my little French sister Caroline, who is "striving to enter the narrow gate (Luke 13:24)" regarding cosmetics and modesty.I also deeply appreciate my Japanese sister Sanae who knows French and kindly explain to me about the contents of Caroline’s French blog.

Cosmetics had been my necessities for many years. It was necessary partly because I did not have confidence in my appearance and partly because I thought it was a social norm which we should follow.



One day, as I was trying to curl my eyelashes in front of the mirror, a question came into my mind;

“Why am I trying to curl my eyelashes upward with difficulties? You see, my Asian eyelashes want to go downward and you are forcing them to go upward. I was not born like a French doll which has long curly eyelashes. I was born as Japanese. So how come you are trying to show yourself something different than your actual self?”

And I said to myself; Our Creator created me like this with His wisdom. He created my straight-short-downward eyelashes and thought “it was good.” Is it one part of our reverence and worship toward God when we simply accept how we were created and preserve them as they are without affectation?

So I decided to not tamper with my eyelashes anymore and let them be as they are. After a while, I thought about face powder and rouge on my cheek.

“Our Creator who is definitely the best artist decided my skin color like this. It is not snow-white like that of Western ladies. But this yellow color must be the best fit for me. Also, isn’t it more awesome and natural if my cheek blushes out of natural bashfulness than because of artificial rouge?”

Thus I said good-bye to my cosmetics one by one.

Against internal and external falsity and pretense

Pretense, falsity and hypocrisy can exist not only on our exterior but also in our hearts. So, even if we don’t makeup, God still displeases when our hearts are full of pretense and hypocrisies.

However, it is also true that our external changes influence our inner beings. (ex. You can read Tessa’s testimony on long hair and short hair here). After stopping cosmetics, I felt I could behave more naturally toward myself and toward others. I noticed that others also found it easier to approach me than before.

Of course, our spirituality does not depend on our using/not using cosmetics. But it certainly affects our inner and outer person to some degree. For me, abstinence from cosmetics has brought more freedom and consistency. It’s like I am facing God, people and myself without any artificial mask.

wild birds : source

We find deep rest in nature because there is no artificiality in it. Trees and birds are worshiping God as they are created. I also want to worship our Creator by simply accepting everything about my attributes as they are.

Thank you for reading my testimony.

Words of Early Christians regarding cosmetics and modesty.
"Do not paint your face, which is God's workmanship. For there is no part of you that lacks beauty. For God has made all things very good. But the wanton extra adorning of what is already good is an affront to the Creator's work."  ---Apostolic Constitutions (compiled A.D.390), Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol 7, p 395. 
"Nor are the women to smear their faces with the ensnaring devices of wily cunning. But let us show to them the decoration of sobriety."  ---Clement of Alexandria (A.D.195), ANF, Vol 2, p286. 
"Both sexes alike should be admonished that the work of God and His fashioning and formation should in no manner be adulterated-either with the application of yellow color, black dust, rouge, or with any kind of cosmetic....God says, 'Let us make man in our image and likeness.' Does anyone dare to alter and change what God has made?"  ---Cyprian (A.D.250), ANF, Vol 5, p 434. 
"O good matrons, flee from the adornment of vanity...Overcome the evil one, O modest women of Christ!"  ----Commodianus (A.D. 240), ANF, Vol 4, p 214.
What the Early Christians Believed About Modest Dress & Cosmetics

6 comments:

  1. Dear Kinuko,
    Thank you for sharing this with us! I also, have been on a similar journey. A couple years ago, I threw all my makeup in the trash. I went a full year without wearing any cosmetics at all (only a little face powder and lip gloss for pictures). Then, a year ago, I bought a few items to have on hand for special outings with my husband. I realized that, even though I want to accept myself the way I am, and I DO by now, I am also competing with a lot of long-eyelashed, smoky-eyed, glossy-lipped females, that my husband has to see every day at work, at the store...everywhere! Then, he comes home to me, and I might possibly look plain by comparison.

    He never has had a problem with skirts and dresses, because he always liked seeing me in them before. I look more feminine, and he likes that. Besides, he doesn't have to worry about guys staring at my behind (as is possible in tight pants), so he's more comfortable with it in that respect. Headcoverings--as long as they are pretty, he thinks they are fine. I think he likes to see that I am trying to remind myself to be a respectful, and respectable, woman. Then we get to makeup, and he actually DOES like me the way I am. There are those times, however, when he thinks I look especially beautiful with a little eyeliner and mascara applied. To put it bluntly, he's a man, and he's EVEN MORE attracted to me with those dark, romantic eyes! That being said, I no longer pile on the makeup, like before. I keep it at a minimum, and use neutral colors for eyeshadow, to look as natural as possible. And I only use cosmetics on those special occasions with my husband and family. Out to a restaurant, or on a trip, or to a special gathering. At home though, most of the time, I wear no makeup at all. And to tell you the truth, I have come to like myself this way!

    You're right, that God made us a certain way, and by wearing makeup, we MIGHT be communicating that we are unhappy with the way we were created. So, makeup, for me, is just a way to look extra pretty sometimes for my husband (as a gift to him), but not to hide the real me. I think our motives certainly need to be examined. Are we wearing makeup because we're insecure with our looks? Are we trying to be prettier than the next woman? Are we competing with Hollywood? Do we secretly think that we look ugly without makeup? Do we think that without covering up our "flaws" everybody else would think we're ugly, too? Has makeup become a crutch for us because we don't think we could stand up without it to all the scrutiny and comparisons? Why do we even care what everybody else thinks?

    Ah, Kinuko, this is a deep subject that I think we don't pay enough attention to! But we should. Thank you for posting this article. It has made me think even more about this topic, and I would love for you to publish more articles on things like this in the future!
    Your friend, Jessica

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    1. Dear Jessica, thank you so much for your super honest sharing on cosmetic issue. What made me feel encouraged is that someone responds wholeheartedly toward the issue which I have searched, struggled, and written with all my heart. And you have been doing the very thing! As Sanae told me, one of the strong characteristics of head covering sisters is their earnest truth-seeking attitude. And I am so grateful that the Lord has guided me to be in a community where we can be honest and seeking the truth together. In Christ, Kinuko

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  2. Kinuko- I very much appreciate you discussing this topic, and it is interesting to see what the early Christians say about it. My personal conviction was that I was spending too much time and money on it. Now I only have cover-up for blemishes and do paint my toenails. It is so encouraging to hear what others sisters have learned from reading the Word and keeping in step with the Spirit. Let's keep loving Him that first loved us!

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  3. Dear Sister MB, thank you so much for reading my testimony and gave me such an encouragement! Yes, the writings of the Early Christians have inspired me as well. When I read the Roman culture and customs, I realized how pagan Roman ladies liked elegant dresses, expensive cosmetics, jewelry etc,,So, like us who live in the 21st century, it was not easy for Early church sisters to live modestly in the midst of those cultures. I am so glad to read your response. Yes, let's keep loving Him that first loved us! with love and thanks, from your fellow pilgrim, Kinuko

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  4. Dear Kinuko,
    My personal use of makeup began in high school when my friend let me use some of hers. You see, my parents didn't allow me to use makeup, so I sneaked it behind their backs. Eventually, I forgot to wash it off before going home, and my parents found out. I did get into trouble, but I was relieved in a sense to have that sin brought out into the open. They did allow me to begin wearing light amounts in keeping with my natural appearance. When I had a job, makeup usage became the norm every time I stepped out the door. After I married and had children, I used it more for church and special occasions. In my late 20's early 30's, I became convicted of vanity. Why was I wearing contact lenses? Why was I wearing makeup? My husband loved me for what was on the inside, not what was on the outside. He actually liked it better when I didn't wear any makeup at all. At that point, I tossed all my makeup out, and I decided that I wanted to be an example to my sons and daughter that you do not need makeup to be a beautiful woman. I fall far short of being the Proverbs 31 woman, but in that passage verse 30 says, "Favour is deceitful, and beauty is vain: but a woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised."
    Thankyou for taking the time to address this issue. I know it's more of a personal choice, like dying your hair, but it's neat to see that there are women who have been down the same road and have made similar choices regarding makeup.
    Blessings to you and your family :-)
    Ruthie

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    1. Dear Ruthie, wow! Thank you for your testimony. It is such an encouragement to know that the same God has spoken the same things to you and to me.

      I used to spend much money on cosmetics but now I just use washing soap which costs only 70 cent and so I can use the extra money for helping the poor, buying Bibles for refugees and so forth. And I am so grateful for this change, too.

      Ruthie, I feel that you are a God-fearing, home-loving woman of God. And I admire your honesty and transparency. May God bless you and your family richly. Kinuko

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