Girls are wearing make-up three years earlier than they were a decade ago, according to a survey commissioned by beauty products site escentual.com. I’m not surprised by this at all, and I don’t really see it as a problem – particularly since their parents are obviously okay with it. It’s not like 11-year-olds buy a lot of stuff for themselves. Girls are obsessed with their appearances whether they have makeup on their faces or not, as far as I’m concerned.
A spokesperson for Escentual.com, who commissioned the survey, said: ‘Most women were against pre-teen girls using make-up regularly but said they realised that the majority of under 13s were doing it anyway.
They were concerned that these pre-teen girls might develop an unhealthy obsession with their appearance – over 62 per cent thought this was the biggest risk from younger girls starting to use make-up.
My stepdaughter started wearing make-up when she was around 11-years-old, too. I never thought it was a problem – she always stuck to clear lipgloss and really faint colors. She still does. Maybe I would have had more of a problem with it if her 11-year-old self had a penchant for red lipstick and black eyeliner. Who knows.
Basically, kids this age aren’t really in a position to buy anything for themselves, so if they have make-up it’s probably because their parents bought it for them. I don’t think that’s bad parenting. I think like anything else, you have to provide guidance in this area. It’s easy to jump to, Oh no! Too young!, but is it really that big of a deal? Young girls are going to stare at themselves in the mirror for hours whether they are wearing makeup or not. It’s a rite of passage.
I was taping Toy Story for my toddler a couple weeks ago, and I noticed during the commercial breaks on the Disney Channel, some tween or early teen stars from one of their shows were giving make-up tips. My first reaction was, that’s odd, but when I really thought about it, I realized that I started wearing make-up around the sixth grade, too.
In California, grades six through eight are middle school. It was the first time I wasn’t around a bunch of “little kids” and I wanted to fit in with those on campus who were older, I guess. Or my friends started wearing make-up and I thought it was a good idea. Or I was trying to emulate my older sister. Honestly, I can’t really remember why I started wearing it, but I do remember that I didn’t get any pushback from my mother. Looking back on those school photos, the make-up was subtle and fine.
I guess if my stepdaughter showed up looking like she’d spent the afternoon at the MAC counter, I’d have a problem with it – but that’s only because I think heavy make-up looks ridiculous. I would just trust each parent’s opinion on this – that they can do whatever they think is best for their kids – and realize that young girls are going to be self conscious and concerned about their appearances whether we allow them to wear a little lip gloss or not.