This is a guest post by Bint Kashmir.
For many young women, their desire to wear make-up usually starts in high school. As young women, we often see our friends doing something that is considered “cool” or “grown-up” and just follow suit. However, this change is usually much to the dismay of our parents, who look on in horror at the innocent face of their little girl now coated in layers of chemicals.
Wherever you look today—whether it’s social media, TV, advertisements, etc.—there are images all over the place with woman adorned with flawless make-up. Men mindlessly ogle at these images believing this is the standard for what their wives should look.
Unbeknown to them (and also to many women too) is the ridiculous amount of cosmetics and the numerous hours of photoshop retouching that goes into producing these images.
Young women see these images and then gaze upon their natural beauty in the mirror, and they’re simply unable to understand why they too don’t have the same silky-smooth skin, dazzling eyes and voluminous locks.
The more you scroll, the more insecure you become. Even the most confident women can easily become a victim to this. I was one of those women, and honestly I still struggle whenever such an image pops up on my screen.
My personal make-up journey started in high school. Prior to this I was blissfully oblivious regarding the vast array of products that are available. My friends were the pretty girls who always looked their absolute best, and I wanted to be just like them.
As a young and naïve teenager, I drifted into the trend of striving every day to look like some kind of supermodel. During my last year of high school, as well as the years that followed, I had significantly upgraded my make-up.
It was no longer just foundation, blush and mascara. Now there was also concealer, eyeliner, eyeshadow, highlighter, bronzer and gloss. These products, which contained numerous harmful chemicals, messed with my skin and caused it to break out and become more inflamed than ever before.
And thus began the vicious cycle.
I would cover up my acne with make-up, only for it to suffocate my skin and cause further breakouts.
As shameful as it is to admit, I couldn’t even leave the house without wearing make-up. I was so insecure about my natural looks due to the constant bombardment of pictures of these so-called “flawless” and “perfect” celebrities.
It was only after I moved abroad and witnessed women casually wearing the niqab that I also started wanting to wear it. You can either cover yourself with make-up, as society dictates, or you can cover yourself with niqab as enjoined by Islam.
For me personally, the niqab is a shield which protects me against the stares of random men with vile thoughts and also against the glances of envious women.
”O Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers to draw their veils all over their bodies. That is most convenient that they should be known and not molested.” (Surah Al-Ahzab, 59)
As soon as I came across this verse and studied its meaning, everything just seemed to make sense. The reason I lacked confidence was because I hadn’t been following what Allah Almighty had commanded. I’m not here to put my beauty on display, but rather to conceal it and only reveal it to my husband.
That inner peace that we all desperately seek can only be discovered submitting fully to Allah Almighty. I am witness to this truth. The moment you let go of the Haram (unlawful), Allah Almighty blesses you in ways you’d never imagined.
The beauty and personal care industry is one of the largest and most unregulated industries in the United States. It is currently valued at $534 billion.
These products may include hormone disrupters which can lead to birth defects in children as well as components that can lead to cancer. These businesses also support unethical sourcing and inhumane working conditions.
Our bodies are not our personal property. They belong to our Creator, Allah—The Lord of all that exists. It is our responsibility to take care of our bodies and ensure that we do not misuse or abuse them.
Make-up products are infamous for causing severe allergic reactions, making the skin age prematurely and blocking natural sunlight. For centuries, sunlight has been used to treat several skin conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis. With its antibacterial properties, 10-20 minutes of sunlight a day could be all the skincare that you need.
I’d like to conclude with three valuable tips that have greatly aided me in overcoming my previous negative thoughts:
- Be grateful for the beautiful face that Allah, The Most Beautiful, has blessed you with. He chose your features specially for you. So give thanks to your Lord profusely.
- Delete all social media which triggers insecure thoughts and unfollow all influencers who push unrealistic beauty standards.
- Know that your worth is not measured by how beautiful you are perceived to be by society; but rather by how beautiful you are in the sight of Allah, your Creator.
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet ﷺ said:
”Allah does not look at your bodies or at your forms, rather He looks at your hearts and deeds.” (Sahih Muslim)
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