Is it permissible for a women to make up in the religion of Islam?

The Details of the Question

There is information regarding adorning, but more particularly, I want to learn about makeup...

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

The religion of Islam allows adorning and putting on some paints under certain circumstances. As it is known, during the era of mujtahid imams, most of the paints and make-up materials of today did not exist. However, there were some paints obtained from henna and roots of some plants. Therefore, in their ijtihads, they usually gave general decrees and determined the principles to be applied for the new make-up materials to be produced later.

A woman or a man can adorn and make up in order to seem more attractive to his/her spouse in their house; it is permissible. However, if they do it in order to attract the attention of other men or women, it is makruh; it can even be haram based on their intentions and attitudes.

The Adorning of Women: Women can paint their bodies with paints that do not form a layer over the skin in order to appear beautiful to their husbands. They can wear make-up unless it is too much. However, they must not wear make-up and they must wear hijab (cover their bodies except their hands and faces) when they go out or where non-mahram men can see them. It is not permissible to do otherwise.

There are two objections to women growing nails and applying nail polish. The first one is that it is definitely makruh (abominable) to grow nails. The second one is that it forms a layer on the nail and prevents water from penetrating to the skin while making wudu (ablution) and ghusl (full ablution); thus, it causes the wudu and ghusl to be invalid. Then, we advise women the following: The woman is the mother and housewife. She can only adorn herself for her husband. She must not polish her nails because she cooks, does the washing, makes wudu and ghusl. If she makes up on her face only for her husband and pays attention to cleanliness, she will get rewards. It is sunnah for man to be clean and attractive for his wife, too.

In addition, it is haram for women to show their hair to non-mahram men. If she makes up and adorns herself in order to seem more beautiful, her sins will increase. When a Muslim woman makes wudu and ghusl, if the paint or the substance on her skin does not let water penetrate to her skin, her wudu or ghusl becomes invalid. Then, it is not appropriate for women to adorn themselves and to make up except for appearing beautiful to their husbands. If a woman has put on make-up and has adorned herself for her husband, it is necessary for her to remove the paints that prevent water from penetrating to the skin and then to make wudu or ghusl. (see Kaynaklarıyla İslam Fıkhı, Celal Yıldırım, IV/209-210)

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