To be beautiful is to shine God's glory out through your skin. To be vain is to grab for glory for yourself.
Evil is good, twisted. Our enemy has no power to create, but corruption is his expertise. When you see a beautiful flower, you know that God made it. When you read Alice in Wonderland and hear the Queen of Hearts rail about the accidental planting of white rosebushes, because they aren't "her" color of rose... that's vanity.
I feel like I dance on the precipice of vanity all the time. Whenever I take pleasure in my own beauty, I wonder... am I being vain? When I write about beauty, I wonder... should I write about honor instead? Is it vain to care about loveliness?
But simply because something is easily perverted doesn't make it evil.
God made this world beautiful, and Heaven is glorious. I think He puts some value on it. People care about beauty. We gain information, we gain pleasure through the gates of our eyes. Oh, so easily can we look at ugliness instead of beauty. So easily can we grab beauty and twist it. But though it is delicate, beauty has always represented the door to another land.
And since I am begging my Christian readers to call others out to our far Country, shouldn't I ask you to be beautiful?
It's not like I think that you picked out your hair or eyes or cheekbones... then it *would* be a matter of taste, and you could brag about your superior sense of aesthetics. But you were given your face. You were given the body you have. The choices you've made in life and the actions of entropy, they've shaped what you started with - but nothing can fundamentally change the raw materials.
God gave all of us the blue of the sky. No one can take that from you (unless they blind you). It belongs to all of us. To every one of us belongs the green of a leaf, the sound of the wind, the bright red of a rose.
Your beauty is not simply in face or figure. It is in every word you say, every gesture you make. When you are kind - you are beautiful. When you are honest - you are beautiful. Grace is beautiful. Sweet words are beautiful - and so are smiles. (Have you noticed how hungry for smiles people have become?)
Inhabit beauty. It's become so twisted these days - twisted into sensuality, twisted into vanity, twisted into showmanship - that it is the work of a child to take it back. Simply be who God made you, offer back the best that you have been given, and take childlike pleasure in being a creation of the Master. Delight yourself in the Lord, and let it shine.