When people see you they instantly notice how you look. How is your hair styled? Are you wearing makeup? “That shirt looks really cute!” “My word, those shoes are hideous! What were they thinking when they bought them?” But often what is the most beautiful about a person is something that can’t be seen at first glance – and it is what really matters.
Inner beauty is something everyone should strive for. Although in current times society is calling for layers of makeup, the perfect hour glass figure, smooth, flawless skin, hair styled perfectly, and clothes that not only say who you are, but beg for that second glance. Everyone struggles with whatever the current trend is and how they are going to fit into it. Almost every woman starts her day by getting dressed, styling her hair, and putting on makeup. For a stay at home mom it may be slacks, tennis shoes, chap-stick, and a bag that has that perfect spot for the baby’s bottle. For a woman off to a busy day at work it may be a pencil skirt, heels, eyeliner and mascara, and a Coach purse. A study shown by CBS reveals that an average woman spends three years over her lifetime, one hour and twelve minutes a day, to get ready. But how much time are these women putting into their inner beauty? After all, someone’s outward appearance can only be slightly altered (unless surgery is involved), but one’s inward appearance can be completely transformed into something that truly is completely gorgeous.
This doesn’t mean that outward appearance doesn’t matter – just that inward appearance matters more. But for someone’s inward beauty to be seen, they must first “give off” the right message with their outward appearance. How is their hair styled? Are their clothes appropriate for the current event? How are they acting (Are they smiling, being friendly, introducing themselves to people they don’t know)? All of these highly influence first impressions, and without the right first impression you may not get a job, build a friendship, or make a situation better. If you have a bad first impression with someone they might think you are one thing, when in fact on the inside you are something totally different.
This is a major problem for many people, such as some of the homeless who can’t afford the luxury of buying items to improve their wardrobe, or a woman overseas who has been told all of her life that she doesn’t matter just because she is a woman instead of a man. There are other cases when someone has inner beauty, but they have forgotten about it. Hospital patients, care takers, or other people who are having a rough time in life often need a pick-me-up and a reminder of the beautiful person they really are. All of this can be accomplished by Christian ministries incorporating image consulting and cosmetology into their form of outreach. A Christian ministry would be able both give someone the appearance they need to make a good impression on people, and the long lasting inner beauty that gets to be known well afterwards.
Cosmetology and image consulting can be used to help the homeless. Because many homeless people have trouble finding a job, which is why most are homeless, most of them don’t have the opportunity to spend money on their appearance. Also, because they don’t own a home, they don’t get to do many of the things that people with homes get to do on a regular basis; such as washing their clothes in washing machines, taking a nice bath or shower, or even eating a hot meal. IHN (Interfaith Hospitality Network of Greater Johnson City) is a wonderful ministry that helps homeless families by giving them places to stay, giving them free meals, and helping them find jobs. If a ministry such as this were to incorporate cosmetology and image consulting into their form of outreach, IHN might be able to help the homeless even more. Some people who own businesses often don’t want to hire a homeless person. They may think that they are unreliable, unfriendly, wouldn’t act professionally, or that they got fired from their last job for a bad reason. Although it is true that many homeless people are unemployed and homeless because they have a disability, whether mental or physical, some of them are not and would be capable of holding a job if the chance were given to them. But if a business owner or employer didn’t know that a homeless person were homeless because they looked just as professional (or possibly more so) as the people who owned a home, the homeless person would have a better chance at getting a job. An Image consultant and/or cosmetologist could be a great service to the homeless, helping them see that they do have a chance, and that they are beautiful.
Cosmetology services could also be taken into hospitals. Although the cosmetologist would have to be careful about the odors of their products and the cleanliness of their tools, they could still give patients a smile with their beauty skills. Many hospital patients, especially the ones with illnesses that make them look pale or lose their hair, or patients who have had to stay in the hospital for a long amount of time, sometimes need a pick-me-up to remind them of the beautiful people they really are, inside and out. A cosmetologist could go into the patient’s rooms and give the girls complete makeovers. The little girls could become little princesses, and the older ones could become mature beauties. This would give a sick girl a brighter day and would make her feel special; reminding her of the inner beauty she had all along. Also, assuming that the cosmetologist were a Christian, this would give the cosmetologist the chance to minister to their “clients”; which would give the patients the chance for true inner beauty that would last for eternity.
Often times it is not only the patients that need their days brightened, but the care takers. Many people have devoted their lives to taking care of their loved ones. A lot of people are stuck in what is known as the “sandwich stage”, which is when your parents are elderly and need your help because they have illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, and their children are entering college and also need their help. There are also care takers out there that have children with diseases or other illnesses that need constant attention. These care takers are invisible to the world and have decided to give up their lives for the ones they love. The life of a care taker can also be very stressful. Bill Thies, the chief medical and scientific officer for the Alzheimer’s Association states “The caregivers are going to suffer as well with decreases in their quality of life, decreases in their own health and often shortening of life span," (NursingKnow). A cosmetologist could go to this care taker, because they often do not have the time or the ability to spend hours away from their loved ones in need, and give them the special attention they deserve, relieving some of their stress. The cosmetologist would also get the chance to share the love of Jesus with the care takers, giving them the inner beauty that is essential. Care takers need to be taken care of too, and sometimes getting a smile is the best way to do it.
Ministries could also used cosmetology to help the unemployed. A cosmetologist could give an unemployed person a new image, with makeup tips (if it were a woman), clothing tips, a new, more professional hair cut, and tips on how to act and what to say at an interview. This would not by any means guarantee a person a job, but it would definitely help. Moreover, the ministry could give the unemployed a job themselves. They could open a cosmetology school and then teach the students about cosmetology, how to use cosmetology in ministry; how to best help their future clients, and have them take classes that teach about Christianity. After finishing the cosmetology schooling the student would have had the chance to have a better relationship with God, have a valuable skill, and would have a great testimony to use when ministering to other people that are in the situation that the student used to be in before they came to Christ and attended the cosmetology school. Pathways Tech, a Christian cosmetology school in Pennsylvania, has already integrated ministry into their education process with their Biblical Integration – Christian Service Assignment, “Students will have opportunity to do Ministry with Cosmetology by going into Nursing and Senior Homes to do whatever services would be permitted and by visiting Battered Women’s Shelters where many of these women feel of little to no value,” They continue to say, “Our students will be able to provide various free salon services for these women, helping to perk them up and will thereby share the love of Christ through these visits. Cosmetology is about building relationships -- often the stylist becomes the client’s ‘Family,’” (Pathways Tech). This would give the ministry great workers and would give the once unemployed a job that would enable them to share the love of Christ on a daily basis.
Cosmetology ministries can also be taken overseas. A beauty salon in a nation such as Cambodia would do a lot of good. In Cambodia women are treated lowly. They often have very low self esteem, and do not expect much of their lives. I have seen this myself on multiple mission trips to Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia. It would give young women a chance to go to attend a cosmetology school and to find employment. It may even serve to the community, giving women the chance to feel beautiful and giving them self esteem. It could also help support a local church, utilizing the extra funds from the salon. Having a salon overseas would also provide the chance to witness to many people; the owners would just have to make sure that the workers were genuine Christians. This is a proven method, as told by Dr. Stella Spicer-Davis, the CEO and founder of the CCIA (Christian Cosmetology International Association), “Allen had a special bond with Hairstylist because he received his salvation in the Beauty Salon when his stylist at the time put the Bible in his lap and planted the seed of the Word in his life in 1977. He accepted his call to ministry and became Assistant Pastor to Dr. Frederick K. C. Price and Dean of the School of Ministry at CCC,” (CCIA). Although this has been done in the United States before, it has not been done overseas. So much can be done with cosmetology overseas, that it is a wonder that it has not been used as a ministry overseas before.
There are many ways cosmetology can be used in ministry, such as helping the homeless, brightening hospital patient’s days, helping the unemployed get jobs, giving abused women a makeover, giving care takers a special day, supplying employment for people overseas, and more. Although cosmetology is not being properly utilized in ministry yet, it does not mean that it will not be soon. Maybe one day beauty will be seen as something completely different than what it is now – it will be seen as a way to brighten someone’s day and to share the love that Jesus Christ has shown to us.
CBSNews, (2009, July 10, 1:00 PM). Women Spend Three Years Primping. Retrieved from http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/07/10/earlyshow/living/beauty/main5149971.shtml
Dr. Stella Spicer-Davis, Christian Cosmetology International Association (CCIA) http://www.christccia.org/.
IHN, About. Retrieved from http://www.ihnjc.com/about
NursingKnows, (2011, 15 March 10:21) Report: Alzheimer’s Caregivers Suffer as Well. Retrieved from http://www.nursingknow.com/index.php?option=com_content&view content&view=article&id=139:report-alzheimers-caregivers-suffer-as-well&catid=5:news&Itemid=14
Pathways Tech, http://www.pathwaystechccte.com/cosmetology.html.