Tuesday 20 May 2014

Little Lady and Make-Up

One of many things I and Little Lady have in common is our love of make-up and out inability to apply it very expertly. Little Lady is 11 now and people might think that is way too young for her to be interested in make-up. I have a friend who complained about her daughter’s interest in cosmetics at about the same age. Her daughter was naturally beautiful and very tall for her age and my friend decided that she didn’t want her wearing make-up at all. Instead her daughter was sneaking opportunities to wear make-up and wearing it in a very grown up way. As my friend put it, she looked ridiculous being caught with blue eye shadow and bright red lips.

In contrast Little Lady has had some form of make-up or toiletry to play around with since she was quite small. My mum used to let her have the flat stubs at the end of her Clinique and Estee Lauder lipsticks and the sample size little perfumes she used to get. I don’t much recall her using any of them, but happily collecting her little stash in one of her little purses. I do remember the time she got into my handbag and smeared dark lipstick over her face and wiped thick black kohl all around her eyes. She was quite impressed with her handiwork.

Little Lady's current lip-balm and lip gloss collection - which actually never gets used

When I was a young teenager, my mum never stopped us from trying out her make-up if there was an occasion: Eid or a wedding. Admittedly this consisted of a slick of pink or red lipstick and more of the same dotted onto our cheeks and rubbed around with our fingers. Family weddings in Pakistan were extra special so my mum’s giant kit with 100 eye colours was cracked open and everyone is sight went to town applying it everywhere they could think of (eyes, cheeks, who knows where else). Being the early 90’s in Pakistan, this was then covered with a layer of glitter (everywhere else did this in the 80’s, but we seemed to be ten years behind).

We grew up watching this lady (Anjuman) in Pakistani films (image source)

You would think that having been exposed to such things at a young age, I would be expert at applying the stuff by now and wear tons of it. The reality is quite the opposite. I wear kohl because it is sunnah and over the years I have found that it prevents eye infections. Occasionally I wear nude or natural looking lipstick. Much as I love mascara and blush (which I am always too liberal with, so better off avoiding), I don’t wear them because of the inconvenience of having to remove every time I make wudhu (ablutions for prayer). My only exception on a special occasions is my lipstick. I clearly remember my mum explaining to me that good girls wear light coloured lipstick, mainly brown, but never dark red. Clearly her advice didn’t stick, because my signature colour for special occasions is a dark, gothic, red, usually with a bit of black eyeliner mixed in for good measure. Don’t worry it’s more this:

Than this:

Okay so maybe not as good as the first one, more like somewhere in between.

Now that Little Lady really is becoming a young lady, I have noticed her interest in make-up. Rather than ban it completely, I have decided to guide her towards things that are appropriate for her age and subtle. So she is allowed tinted lip balm from the Body Shop and on special occasions like the party we threw her when she finished Quran she was allowed to try my lip gloss and blush (I think I was probably too liberal with it again) and wear nail varnish. She prays her five daily prayers now so nail varnish’s are a bit of a thing of the past now (you can’t make wudhu with nail varnish on), but as a treat for a few hours was okay.

I have had to be a bit firmer with some things, on a few occasions, she invited the neighbours daughter around (a year older than her) to for her make-up. We had various variations of blue eye-shadows and pearly pink lipstick and some funky hairstyles. She couldn’t see why I thought she should wash them off, but had to. On another occasion she get her make-up done by her artist-next-door especially for her school party the night before. I had to convince her that she would ruin her skin and couldn’t sleep with it on. The next morning I let her borrow a light lip gloss. This was enough to bring out our resident haram police, my son Gorgeous, who declared it was haram for women to leave the house with make-up. We both just ignored him.

Now that both Little Lady and her artistic neighbour are a bit older, they seem to think that blue eye-shadow is rubbish (thankfully) and are both too busy for make-up sessions. Instead I am trying to get Little Lady to focus on the importance of taking care of her skin. One reason I don’t wear make-up is because I think it is important to be grateful for what Allah (SWT) has given you and to take care of what you have. So rather than plaster make-up across your face to create an illusion of youth and good skin, I would prefer to teach her to do the things she needs to have healthy, glowing skin: drink water, eat well, clean her skin gently and use natural products when she needs to (she has sensitive, slightly dry skin).

Another reason I don’t wear make-up is because I find when you wear it every day, you feel unattractive without it. I used to wear mascara every day until I started praying at work and had to make wudhu there. At first I felt horrible, eventually I learned to love my face as it is and be happy with it in it’s natural state. I want the same for my daughter, to be grateful with and confident in what she naturally has and not feel a need to try and hide or improve what Allah (SWT) had made perfect already alhamdulillah.

So regarding make-up and eleven year olds, I am not banning make-up outright. I would rather guide her on what is appropriate and for us to deal with this issue openly, than her sneaking lipsticks to high school. I also think we should not take it too seriously and let it be a source of fun for our own girly time at home or for when we throw girly parties. I’m sure Gorgeous will put us straight if we overstep the mark anyway.


  1. Anonymous21 May, 2014

    Lovely advice! I really like your final emphasis on guiding her towards skin care, rather than a dependency on makeup.

  2. Anonymous21 May, 2014

    Salam aleikum! My daughter is 13 (14 later this year) and very interested in make-up and hair, I wasn't that much at that age so it is new to me! She can wear what ever she wants at home but not outside the home, we have agreed upon this together. And at home she puts it on very nicely and subtle, your hardly notice it. In the future she can butify herself for her husband so I have no problem with make-up! Ii is important to talk about goals in life: this life and hereafter to put everything in perspective. She once said; I am the only religious one in my class!! We live in Sweden so beliving in God is, well a bit strange.../S Susan

  3. Haram to leave the house with makeup on...that cracks me up! I think you are wise to try to teach her what and when is appropriate for makeup. That's one thing I don't have the opportunity to teach. Growing up, my mom would let us play with makeup at home, but we had to wash it off before leaving the house. We could wear it to school starting in 7th (age 13 or so). She would give opinions on how it looked, but it was our choice. Nowadays I usually only wear makeup to church or special occasions or school meetings. I usually don't feel like cleaning it off. Sometimes I only do mascara, because my lashes are blonde-tipped, and my eyes disappear without it. You have such beautiful skin and dark lashes, you really don't need it.

  4. my son Gorgeous, who declared it was haram for women to leave the house with make-up.

    May Allah bless him for his desire to uphold the rule of Allah and carry out Amr bil Ma'roof and Nahy anil Munkar (Enjoining the right, Forbidding the evil).

    Ignoring him would be poor upbringing. He might get the idea that the words of Ulama can be selected and rejected and ignored and followed, according to our whims. A better course of action would have been to tell him that what you ladies were doing did not fall in the scope of prohibition. Or that you would check with some knowledgeable person, then practise it.
    Women are indeed prohibited from displaying their Zinah (makeup, ornaments, etc.) outside homes (and only to non-Mahrams inside homes). Zinah also includes perfume, and a woman is forbidden from going out with perfume on her body.

    Allah Ta'ala says in the holy Quran:
    وَقَرْنَ فِي بُيُوتِكُنَّ وَلَا تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ الْجَاهِلِيَّةِ الْأُولَى
    Remain in your homes, and do not display (your beauty) as it used to be displayed in the days of earlier ignorance. (Surah Ahzab: 33)

    According to Tafsir Ibn Kathir (6/410), Muqatil ibn Hayyan (Allah's mercy be upon him) explains the prohibited Tabarruj (display of beauty) as:

    Women in the Days of the Earlier Ignorance (Our times is the Later Ignorance Period.), would put on scarf over their heads. But they would not fasten it, allowing their necklace, garland, ear-ring etc. to be revealed. This is Tabarruj.

    Mufti Shafi Sb writes in Maariful Quran commenting on the verse 24:31:
    When women go out of the house for some need, they should not wear any perfume, because that is also their hidden Zinah. (Maariful Quran Eng 6/418)

    Allah's Prophet said: ليخرجن وهن تفلات
    Women may go out (for a Shariah-valid reason) having not perfumed themselves. (Abu Dawood: 565)

    Allah's Prophet says:
    إِذَا اسْتَعْطَرَتِ الْمَرْأَةُ، فَمَرَّتْ عَلَى الْقَوْمِ لِيَجِدُوا رِيحَهَا، فَهِيَ كَذَا وَكَذَا» قَالَ قَوْلًا شَدِيدًا
    If a woman uses perfume and passes the people so that they may get its odour, she is so-and-so, meaning severe remarks (ie. prostitute or quasi-prostitute). (Abu Dawood 4173)

    Allah's Prophet says: الْمَرْأَةُ عَوْرَةٌ فَإِذَا خَرَجَتِ اسْتَشْرَفَهَا الشَّيْطَانُ
    A woman must observe the veil because when she comes out, the Satan seeks an opportunity to tempt her. (Tirmizi 1173)

  5. ... Gorgeous, who declared it was haram for women to leave the house with make-up.
    Of course, Gorgeous is not an Aalim, so he can't be expected to use the accurate technical words. However, it is makruh, nonetheless.

    لَا تَمْنَعُوا إِمَاءَ اللَّهِ مَسَاجِدَ اللَّهِ، وَلَكِنْ لِيَخْرُجْنَ وَهُنَّ تَفِلَاتٌ
    Allah's Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said:
    Don't forbid Allah's female servants from going to Allah's masjids. However, they should go out scent-lesss. (tafilaat). (Abu Dawood 565)

    Renowned Hadith-commentator Allamah Aini writes in Sharh Abu Dawood (3/51):
    The (old) jurists consider the command not to forbid women applies only to old women. ... Then there is a report from Aishah رضي الله عهنا :
    لو أدرك رسول الله ما أحدث النساء لمنعهن المسجد
    Had Allah's Prophet seen the new fashions of women, he would have prohibited them from masjid. (Abu Dawud: 569)
    In our times, the fatwa (final verdict) is on the opinion that no woman whether young or old should go out to masjid because debauchery has become prevalent, and sexual sins widespread.

    Even the old jurists (who permitted women's going to masjid) have prescribed many prerequisites for women going out like:
    1. She should not have applied any form of fragrance,
    2. She should not have applied any Zinat (makeup),
    [You are right, Gorgeous!]
    3. She should not be wearing anklets whose jingling can be heard,
    4. She should not be wearing exquisite clothes,
    5. She should not walk in the midst of men,
    6. On the way there should not be people who might be goaded into sin because of her,
    7. There should not be anything or anyone on the road which could cause sin or harm,
    (Allamah Aini's quote ends.)
    Obviously, the details regarding women going out to masjid applies to women going out anywhere outside as well. So, Gorgeous is almost right. If the makeup is visible to the people, going out in such a state is highly detestable.