Bana & Saroop

Is makeup anti-Sikh?

By Lakhpreet Kaur

Should Sikh women wear makeup?

Makeup: Many women won’t leave their home without wearing it.  Others never put on the slightest amount.  It is the center of fights between teenager girls and their parents.

The question I explore today is, “Is it okay for Sikh women to wear makeup? or Is it wrong for Sikh women to wear makeup?”

Let’s consider both points of view.

NO. Sikh women should NOT wear makeup.

1. Wearing makeup will fill a woman with pride and ego, thus we should reject this form of ahankaar.

2. Wearing makeup is a type of lie. With makeup, a woman is covering up the truth of what she really looks like. Sikhs should always strive for truth, and so we should not endorse lying through our faces.

3. If a woman feels like she has to cover her self-declared “imperfections” with paint, it can encourage insecurities within her. A feeling of, “I am not good enough without alteration,” may arise. The Sikh spirit should be strong and not self-doubting. If makeup prevents such internal growth then Sikhs should avoid it.

4. If a Sikh woman wears makeup, she is not accepting the way Waheguru created her. This can prevent spiritual growth within her.

5. By wearing makeup, the Sikh woman is pandering to the way society wants her to be, she is changing herself to conform to societies’ standard of beauty, not the gurmat standard of beauty. Furthermore, by changing her body for societies’ demands, a woman is giving up her control to her own body. She is no longer sovereign over it.

6. Some cosmetics are unhealthy and toxic.

7. Spending time on makeup is time away from meditation or seva.

8. This line from the Rehatnama of Bhai Daya Singh Ji says not to wear makeup. So, there is historical precedent for Sikh women not to wear makeup.

Suramaadhik shi(n)gaar nehi(n) nehi(n) par tharunee sa(n)gi

“Do not wear makeup or jewellery. Do not commit adultery.”

9. The historical purpose of makeup in based in lust and attraction and thus it is full of kaam and should be avoided.

10. Not wearing or buying makeup saves time and money.

11. If someone wears makeup because she is afraid that others will judge her, she is basing her self worth on the opinion of those who don’t matter. The only one Sikhs need to “please” is Waheguru. Plus, those who like a woman regardless of what she looks like are true friends.

12. This shabad also say not the decorate oneself.

This shabad is by Guru Amar Daas Ji in Raag Marro on Pannaa 1047

Seegaar karae pir khasam n bhaavai

“She decorates herself, but her husband lord is not pleased.”

Gunava(n) thee sadhaa pir raavai sathigur mael milaaee hae 7.

“The virtuous soul-bride enjoys and ravishes her husband lord forever; the true guru unites her in his union.”

YES. It is okay for a Sikh woman to wear makeup.

1. The shabads that say adorn yourself with seva and Guru’s naam are not saying that makeup and Sikhi are mutually exclusive. It is only saying that to be truly beautiful a woman doesn’t need makeup; the gurbani does not ban makeup.

2. Bhai Daya Singh Ji’s Rehatnama is not in the panthic rehatnama and thus it is a personal choice to follow it. It cannot be applied to all Sikhs.

3. A recent study showed that women who wear makeup are seen to be more competent, smarter, hired more easily, earn more money, and climbing the corporate ladder more quickly than their non-markup wearing counterparts. (1)

4. Unfortunately, people make snap judgments about women. (2)  If Sikh women want to take advantage of that, and position themselves in a way for higher rates of social and career success, then seeming more competent through makeup can be an option.

5. Makeup can be used as a tool, just like any other social construct (ie: clothing, language, symbols).  One woman said, “There are times when you want to give a powerful. Give an, ‘I’m in charge here’ kind of impression, and women shouldn’t be afraid to do that, by, say, using a deeper lip color that could look shiny, increasing luminosity,” said Sarah Vickery, a Procter & Gamble scientist. “Other times you want to give off a more balanced, more collaborative appeal,” (3)

6. Women who wear more makeup conduct more respect, trust, and affection from their co-workers. Wearing makeup increases people’s perceptions of a woman’s likability. (2)

7. There is evidence that women feel more confident when wearing makeup, a placebo effect, said Nancy Etcoff, assistant clinical professor of psychology at Harvard University. (2)

8. “I just wanna be pretty!” Said one woman.

 Final thoughts

So, if Sikh women do not wear makeup, will they be disadvantaging themselves from a financial, social, and career standpoint? Is spirituality pitted against social advancement? Can women have both? or are they mutually exclusive?  What if one does seva, meditates, lives a good honest living and also decides to wear a little makeup during an office formal; is that wrong? Or is it that one may start off wearing makeup but as she become more spiritually wise, her desire to wear makeup fades away? An idea of Sikhi is to empower women to make their own choices, perhaps one could argue, makeup included. But is choosing to wear makeup really a choice or is is socially constructed and manufactured by the medai; a false wish, if you will?







  • Ravkiran Kaur
    08/20/2014 at 10:05 am

    Hi Lakhpreet didi! I commenting too much! 🙂 My opinion is that you should be able to wear makeup, but not that all you do is put 2 pounds of makeup. Just enough you need daily grocery shopping. (or other reasons when going out somewhere in public) I believe this can relate to miri piri. Miri is spiritual power and Piri is temporal power. You shouldn’t unbalance miri and piri, but you should have both. You may wear makeup to parties or special occasions, but you shouldn’t put it daily for no reason. Most you should put daily might just be foundation. Parties.. well that is your decision. I personally am not allowed to wear make up unless it is for a play or wedding until I am married and I’m okay with that! 😉
    This is a very interesting article!

  • Gurbani
    08/26/2014 at 1:48 pm

    This article is a joke. Why are we leaning towards only one type of woman and not all women? Should Christian women or hindu women be the only people on the planet to wear make-up?

    Also, why do you wear make-up?

    I can’t believe this article exists.

  • Anoopa Kaur
    09/05/2014 at 8:17 am

    Within these worldly affairs, surgical treatments, an intake of medicine and camouflage make up are all practiced for the significance of one’s development or sustainability emotionally and physically.
    Why do us gursikhs rely on medicine to heal ourselves physically when medicine is tested on four million animals within the UK annually. The animals die and in some cases from articles that I have read, failures have occured resulting in the death of humans. Why not practice a life of singing kirtan and eliminating our self of the physical diseases rather then promoting unfair treatment towards Akaal’s worldly creatures. Guru has informed us to sing the shabad of waheguru to eliminate any illness of the mind and physical state. Promoting such trauma within the world may be deemed to be seen as untruthful living to those associated in the buying and selling of medicinal drugs.
    Our Guru, as you will see from many Sakhi’s, demonstrate compassion towards humans. An individual who has grown up comfortable within their natural physical state could have endured suffering from natural occurring accidents or non which could result in the requirement for surgery or need for camouflage make up. The utilising of this creative means could enable one to feel liberated to a certain degree within themselves. Some individuals live for the freedom of self expression and self approval and not for others.
    Us humans live within a country where many will bully others for their physical appearance so by wearing make up for confidence and self esteem, it may enable one to grow spiritually as they will feel comfortable to be seen in public, thus generating feelings of ease when praying and attend to programmes where the saadh sangat are sat. Guru will enlighten the human and will bless them with the confidence through all efforts made.
    It is tricky because by attempting to follow the intellect of the mind one may feel they are following the rehat, yet they may be practicing hypocrisy or sinning unconsciously by not following other divine spiritual wisdom. The easiest way to live life is to follow the feeling in the heart and once you have reached a stage in your spiritual journey you will feel the cleanliness from the inside and the desire to feel pure from the outside will automatically commence forth.

  • Anoopa Kaur
    09/05/2014 at 8:46 am

    I also feel that within this time era, us Gursikh’s ought to practice diplomacy before raising the spiritual sword. ( mentioned within the 50 hukams of Guru Gobindh Singh Ji). In regards to the bully sector that I mentioned above this, some will feel that our Guru’s also fought for the opressed and some Kaurs will feel to take action against comments made by the public whilst embodying a worrior spirit for what they see to be as truthful living.
    However, an individual experiencing the transitional changes of having healthy skin to perhaps physical burnt marked skin may thank Waheguru for the blessing of being burnt as it may have enlightened them towards the truth and understanding of truthful behavior within society. There is often confusion of individuals true motives of wanting to talk to other humans yet if experiencing a physical change of beauty, a realisation towards attitude change will arise. The friendly positive attitudes by men will change as they are usually instinctively friendly when feeling lustful. This is a man’s innate state and they will often misconstrue feelings of love and lust. The change of female attitude will also be noticed. Woman who are physical pretty will gain respect from other females so alternatively the imperfection of the face or illness will generate opportunity for females to start bullying as not embodying the pretty factor is weakness. Some individuals cannot deal with the comments on a day to day basis and on a large scale; only Guru can heal us of our state.

  • Anonymous
    07/03/2022 at 1:20 pm

    i agree with Anoopa kaur
    its true we must understand that

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