In an interview with Stylist magazine, make-up guru Bobbi Brown has spoken out against heavy make-up use and, more specifically, contouring saying, “I never contour, I’m 100 per cent against it.”

For any make-up novices out there, contouring is the technique of using shadowing and highlighting to (re)define and shape the features on the face. As the founder of a cosmetics empire Bobbi Brown clearly isn’t opposed to makeup but has strong views as to how it ought to be used. “I believe in highlighting the positives. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with people’s faces. Contouring tells a woman something’s wrong with her face.”

As the contouring fad consumes the time and Instagram accounts of our teen girls, how should the Church respond?

Rather than simply speaking out against this phenomenon, the Church needs to create a culture of intrinsic beauty. Not the Dove advert “I’m beautiful no matter my size” kind but where we consistently acknowledge the spark of the divine in each woman (and man). We need to say to our young women, “You are beautiful because you are made in God’s image - you are chosen, redeemed and raised with Christ. You are enough”.

As we create this culture of intrinsic beauty, our female church leaders need to take responsibility for their position as role models. Young women look to them for an example of what a life in Christ looks like. A life in Christ ought to look different to a life without him but as I look through the PR photos of various Christian speakers they look no different to those found on secular speakers’ pages. This is particularly true of the women.

How much effort are the men beside you making?

I’m not saying that women have to look like they’ve been dragged through a hedge backwards. But it is worth asking, how much effort are the men beside you making? Newly washed hair? A little product? Maybe some light makeup depending on the lighting? Not a heavily made-up face in sight.

It’s all very well for speakers such as Shauna Niequist to confess in books to wearing sweatpants with scraped back hair most days, when all that I ever see is their perfectly coiffed on stage look. The image that remains in my subconscious is her glammed up look, not her homewear.

What’s the need for the make-up? Sure, define your features so you don’t look washed out by the lights but watch out for when this turns into compulsive preening. Your words are enough, please just share what God has laid on your heart and we, as your church family, won’t slam you using the world’s value system.

Coco Chanel famously gave the advice, “before leaving the house, a lady should look in the mirror and remove one accessory”. Female church leaders ought to take this advice and consider, what one thing they could do to tone down their on stage look.

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