Is it a sin for Christian women to dye or color their hair?

by Matt Slick

I see nothing in Scripture that prohibits a Christian woman from dyeing or coloring her hair. However, the Bible does tell us that women are to dress appropriately. Let's take a look at some of the Scriptures that talk about a woman's appearance. 

  • Proverbs 7:10-12, "10 And behold, a woman comes to meet him, dressed as a harlot and cunning of heart. 11 She is boisterous and rebellious. Her feet do not remain at home; 12 She is now in the streets, now in the squares, and lurks by every corner."
  • 1 Timothy 2:9-10, "Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments. 10 but rather by means of good works, as befits women making a claim to godliness. "
  • 1 Peter 3:3-4, "And let not your adornment be merely external—braiding the hair, and wearing gold jewelry, or putting on dresses; 4 but let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the imperishable quality of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is precious in the sight of God."

We can see in Proverbs that women can dress "as a harlot." Of course, this is not defined with a list of things not to wear. Therefore, it is difficult to say exactly what is and is not proper dress. But we can say that when a woman dresses seductively in an attempt to draw attention to her sexuality, then she is failing to dress modestly and, therefore, is failing to dress appropriately.

In 1 Timothy 2:9 Paul tells the women to dress with "proper clothing," modestly, not with braided hair, gold, pearls, or costly garments. We have to understand that in the culture where people did not have frequent access to bathing or the ability to go down to the local fashion store, that when they would dress up, it was often to show off. Such "dressing up" could easily be interpreted in that culture as an attempt to show wealth and superior social status since clothing was often used exactly for that purpose. Braided hair was part of that as would have been wearing golden pearls. These things in themselves are not sinful, but Paul was using the examples of self-adornment common at the time as examples of what not to do. Think about it--modesty is an attitude that is manifested in how we present ourselves. If someone is adorning herself outwardly, then it's a reflection of inward attitude.

Modern women with modern clothing styles need to be aware of what they are wearing but also why they're wearing it. So, if a woman has a particularly nice shape, she should not dress in a way to show it off if her reason is to bring attention to her sexuality. There's nothing wrong with a woman displaying her feminine shape, but it should be done with taste and modesty. Such is the case with my wife who has a very nice shape, yet she's also very concerned about modesty. She will sometimes ask me if something she is wearing is appropriate for a particular situation. I give her my input, and she makes a decision. This is the idea that Paul is talking about when he says to have "proper clothing" where the Christian woman should dress "modestly and discreetly" in a manner that is appropriate for the situation.

So, back to the original question. Is it okay for a Christian woman to dye or color her hair? Of course it is, provided the reason is not ungodly.


About The Author

Matt Slick is the President and Founder of the Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.