Childrearing

Don’t Teach Your Young Daughter How To Wear ‘Appropriate’ Makeup

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little girls and makeup My nine-year-old daughter has a makeup bag. It’s filled with all of my leftovers, lipstick shades I decided looked awful on me, garish eyeshadows that I attempted to make work once or twice, samples from department stores that came with my purchase. She has foundation and disco dust and mascaras in tiny little tubes and a plastic container of makeup remover wipes. When she is home from school she sits in her bedroom surrounded by stuffed animals and dolls and does her face, always too much blush and sparkly blue eyeshadow up to her eyebrows and lipstick smeared beyond the natural lines of her tiny little mouth. On occasion she draws flowers on her cheeks with an eyeliner.

She will ask me if she looks pretty.

Of course she does. She is my daughter.

But on occasion I have had to stop myself from correcting her, from teaching her, from showing her how to use a light touch when applying makeup and instructing her on what is age-appropriate. Because at her age, I don’t think any makeup, no matter how natural, is appropriate. I would rather have her look like some Halloween disco dolly reject than wear what is appropriate makeup for her age, a light dusting of powder, a hint of blusher, some clear mascara and gently sparkling lipgloss. That, to me, if far more troubling than a little kid who looks like a hybrid of Bozo the Clown and a Miss America contestant who has been left out in the rain.

She watches me apply my makeup. She watches videos of women and girls applying makeup. On YouTube you can find thousands of girls under the age of ten giving lessons on how to apply neutral, everyday makeup.

(Image: You Tube)

(Image: You Tube)

 

(Image: You Tube)

(Image: You Tube)

(Image: You Tube)

(Image: You Tube)

And us adult girls know, makeup is just makeup. It comes off with soap and water. Some days we feel like wearing it and some days we don’t. But for young girls, the entire world of makeup is fraught with so many other things, big things like self-esteem and feelings of attractiveness and sexualization and growing up. It’s not just makeup, it’s like a magic wand. Which is why I would rather my own kid wield this wand with a clumsy, heavy hand then with a more delicate one, because that’s where makeup becomes less about wearing a disguise and more about using it to look pretty. And at her age, she needs a few more years before she worries about how makeup will make her look pretty.

I learned how to apply my own makeup from swiping my older sister’s eyeliner and watching my mom do her face. I wasn’t technically allowed to wear makeup until I was 13, but I can remember starting before then, and I think that’s how it should be, at least until a parent is ready to haul their daughter to the Clinique counter and buy her age-appropriate makeup. I won’t be doing this with my own kid until she is about that age, because until then I really have no desire to add to the messages she will be inundated with her entire female life, that makeup makes you look better, prettier, sexier, and that is what women do. For now she uses makeup like a toy, like a fun things to do because it can make you look different. It’s dress up. It comes off with soap and water. Teaching her how to apply makeup that will bring out her natural beauty at this age is just me telling her that barefaced she needs improvement.

And considering she will hear that her entire life every time she sees a magazine cover or turns on the television, for now I’d rather her look ridiculous than feel like she has to look pretty using what these tubes and wands contain.

(Image: Dmitry_Tsvetkov/shutterstock)

90 Comments

  1. NoMissCleo...JustMe

    June 24, 2014 at 8:22 am

    Ugh. This kind of terrifies me. I teach middle school and some of the girls who come to my class throughout the day are GORGEOUS. Their hair is perfectly done, their outfits are accessorized, and their faces are flawless. There is no awkward stage to be had when you have YouTube tutorials at your fingertips and a Charming Charlie’s down the street. They do things with their hair and make-up that I wouldn’t dream of being able to do, and is it sad to admit that I get some of my fashion and beauty tips from them? Yikes.

    My own mother is a bare minimum kind of gal when it comes to hair and make-up, so I didn’t get a lot of instruction when I was in the awkward stage of middle school. (But would I have really accepted it from my mother? Who knows…) She pretty much left me to my own devices and just made sure that my tomboy self showered at appropriate times and had clean clothes on my body before leaving the house. Looking back, I used the tomboy-ness to cover up for the fact that I didn’t know much about doing hair and make-up….I felt very lost and immature in “girl world.”

    Eventually I figured it all out and went onto be a late bloomer when I was in college but now that I have a daughter, I don’t know how I feel about make-up, fixed hair, and everything “girly.” On one hand, I don’t want her to go into middle or high school feeling at a loss because I never taught her how to fix her hair or do her make-up, but I also know that that is MY issue from MY adolescence and she might not give two shits about keeping up with everyone else. Or she might discover YouTube for herself and be the little self-made beauty queen that sets the tone of what is cool for her school.

    Basically…this is a conundrum for many moms of daughters. Where do we draw the line? What and when do we deem things appropriate? Thank goodness I’ve got about six years until I’m in your spot. Right now I’ll stick with her feeling special when I let her put on my Chapstick.

    • Eve Vawter

      June 24, 2014 at 8:36 am

      I totally hear ya

    • The Actual Devil

      June 24, 2014 at 8:47 am

      She’ll ask you when she wants it. My friends started wearing it around 12, so I told my mom I wanted some and she got me lip gloss and clear mascara. I felt pretty cool. 🙂

      When I turned thirteen she took me to get a make up lesson thing and that was nice. But the important thing is that she doesn’t feel like she needs makeup to leave the house, it should be a fun thing. Just don’t push her to wear it or act like she needs it, of course!

    • Spongeworthy

      June 24, 2014 at 9:20 am

      I was also a major tomboy. I didn’t wear any makeup ever, except for HS dances. Partly because I didn’t know what to do, but mostly because I didn’t want to. My mom wasn’t hugely into makeup, but she wore it. My older sister, who was a year ahead of me in school, wore a full face of makeup and did her hair every day. Because she did that, and was pretty and popular, my mom sometimes would gently prod me with “do you want to wear a little makeup? It would look nice.” I know she meant well, and I don’t have any long-term issues because of it, but it almost put me off makeup more. It’s just not my thing. I wear it occasionally now, when I’m going out, but day to day I don’t, not even for work. I still have mixed feelings about makeup to be honest. I appreciate that it is a skill, and sometimes I would love to be better at it, but most of the time I’m just not into it.
      Sometimes I’m glad I have a son and not a daughter because of stuff like this. Like you, I still have very mixed feelings about makeup. The thought of 9-year-olds working on their “everyday natural look” kind of bums me out though.

    • K.

      June 24, 2014 at 9:21 am

      It makes me sad to see the primping in young girls. I used to think that the feminist critique that women spend their time on their appearance versus actually important things was overblown, but…I don’t think it is.

      With some students, you look at them and think–if you spent those 2 hours in the morning doing your homework instead of curling your hair and doing make-up, you might not be the girl who’s earning a B when she’s smart enough for an A.

      But hey, at least she LOOKS great…right?

      Sigh.

    • NoMissCleo...JustMe

      June 24, 2014 at 9:26 am

      Well, luckily the girls I teach can be smart and beautiful at the same time, which is awesome. I didn’t find any correlation between their grades and assumed beauty regime. For some of the girls, it is a self-esteem or acceptance thing, but for many…they just like experimenting with their hair and make-up. And I’m hoping that for some of the girls that were super into their beauty regime and not so much into school that they will enter the cosmetology apprenticeship program that is offered through the high school.

    • Spongeworthy

      June 24, 2014 at 9:30 am

      You’ve got to be careful with that though…just because a kid likes to do their hair and makeup doesn’t mean they can’t be smart too. I totally get what you’re saying about prioritizing beauty over intelligence, and there are many issues with how girls are taught that their appearance is more important than their abilities. But I don’t want to automatically assume that a girl who spends time on her appearance is doing it at the detriment of developing other skills.

    • NoMissCleo...JustMe

      June 24, 2014 at 9:36 am

      You said it much better than I did. Thank you. I used to coach volleyball and the girls would freak out when I dressed up and put make-up on for the games. It was boggling to their little minds that I could be athletic AND feminine at the same time. And now that I’m teaching math and not coaching? There were a few parents that were concerned that as a former coach, I wouldn’t be able to properly teach their child 8th grade math and Algebra. They weren’t singing the same tune at the end of the year. 🙂 I’m breaking down barriers every single day. Ha.

    • Spongeworthy

      June 24, 2014 at 9:42 am

      Well you know us lady athletes! Either we’re all butch or we’re dumb jocks 🙂

    • Obladi Oblada

      June 24, 2014 at 10:02 am

      That stuff goes on so much…especially in the south. I played softball my entire life. I retired from playing when I was 35, took some time off and began coaching last year. I had questions about my ability to ‘know the nuances of the game’ and my ability to handle mouthy girls with attitude problems. Neither was a problem for me. I’ve even had arguments with umpires over a call where I showed them the rule in black and white and they would not concede that I was right. That one had the balls to tell me that I should check with my head coach (my assistant, who happens to be a man) before challenging a call. When I had him banned from my field and from any of my future games, he had a rude awakening.
      Beyond frustrating.

    • SunnyD847

      June 24, 2014 at 9:22 am

      I know what you mean about girls today. They definitely look more polished than we did at that age. Both my girls are wearing make up now, with varying levels of “success” but I always tell them they look great.

    • NoMissCleo...JustMe

      June 24, 2014 at 9:34 am

      I think the “polished” thing is especially true in my area because it’s an upper-class town which means the girls have access to not only the how-to, but the make-up, clothes, and accessories it takes to pull off these sophisticated looks.

      But I still wonder…there are many things that have changed since I was in middle school, but basic biology of teenagers has to still be similar. Perhaps they come to school looking gorgeous (in my opinion) but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they feel as beautiful as they look…does that make sense? Underneath all that make-up, hair, and clothes they are still adolescent girls who are susceptible to the normal teenage agony and angst. I also think that I was much more “beautiful” in my middle school years than I remember – perhaps my teachers and coaches thought the same thing about me and my peers as I do about the girls that I teach. (I don’t mean to sound conceited, I just think that teenagers aren’t always the best judges of their own beauty.)

    • SunnyD847

      June 24, 2014 at 12:04 pm

      The mall near us is in the middle of a bunch of upscale suburbs. I can’t believe how much the HS girls I see there look like the “plastics” from “Mean Girls.” They are so identical with their hair perfectly flat-ironed and all have Coach bags. I’m sure there are a lot of girls who don’t look like that, but these groups stand out to me. And, yeah, their inner feelings may not match their outer gloss.

    • Rachel Sea

      June 24, 2014 at 1:50 pm

      The weird kids all look the same too. I live near a high school, and every little clique clearly has a uniform, even though I’m sure they’d all tell you that their styles are unique.

    • pixie the Boozy Twerker

      June 24, 2014 at 2:04 pm

      I remember in grade 12 I took a creative writing class and one of the end of the year projects was to pick a topic from a list and argue the point. I chose Conformity vs. Non-Conformity when it comes to fashion in high school. I argued that the non-conformers conform to non-conformity. Or in other words, how they insist that they’re different and unique and not mainstream but still all look the same.

    • Celia

      June 24, 2014 at 10:31 pm

      yeah, thats my biggest pet peeve. you should check out the book “the rebel sell” its pretty much about how capitalism feeds of non conformity

    • pixie the Boozy Twerker

      June 24, 2014 at 10:51 pm

      I’ll definitely check that out. While I tend to lean towards a darker, more punk/goth look most of the time, I don’t try to insist that I’m a non-conformist since I’m not really. I’m just myself and have interests that line up with both the “mainstream” and “alternative subculture”. The phenomenon always interested me, though, because a number of my friends in high school were very much like that.

    • guets

      June 24, 2014 at 11:09 am

      The girls you speak of are the ones that made me feel bad about myself in middle school. They’re basically the Kardashians of the world. They always looked perfect, had the perfect bodies with no acne, perfect hair, skinny, great nails, highlights in their hair, and a face of makeup that I couldn’t replicate today if I tried. I could have given two shits about a girl in a magazine when I was in middle school… these girls I figured were on the same playing field as me and somehow were knocking it out of the park.
      So, for me, when I have daughters old enough I will take the time to take them to a “girl” store or give them options other than Kohls to get some clothes. I will show them how to do some decent makeup but also let them mess around with purple eyeshadow etc. I will just make sure that I don’t keep them in a corner feeling badly about themselves because their schoolmates families will take the time to let them express themselves through clothing, makeup, and hair..however they would like to.

    • Rachel Sea

      June 24, 2014 at 1:46 pm

      I would definitely teach a girl how to do her hair neatly. Once they know how, they can choose to use the techniques, or not. I was at a total loss in middle school (my hippie mom was no help) and I looked a mess. I hate pictures of myself from that time, because I’m no less embarrassed for myself now.

    • elle.m.jay

      June 24, 2014 at 8:41 pm

      I wish someone had taught me how to do make up and hair when I was a teenager. At 32, I’m mostly clueless and get frustrated if I want to look special for date night or a party. I don’t really have the time (or desire, truthfully) to spend hours learning techniques and practicing.

    • Shea

      June 25, 2014 at 10:40 am

      Agreed. My mom never taught me how to put on makeup (although she spent most of my teenage years badgering me to wear some, because I’d “look so much nicer!”) and consequently I reached my late twenties without knowing how to properly do more than put on some blush. Like you, I was always frustrated when I wanted to fancy it up for a special occasion, because I had no idea how to do it right and it never ended up looking good. Fortunately, my boyfriend noticed my pre-date-night makeup bitching, and for my birthday this year he gave me an appointment with a makeup artist at a spa. She taught me how to put on basic makeup right, and helped me pick some good colours for my skin tone. It was really instructive, and I wish I’d known it about 10 years ago.

    • ted3553

      June 24, 2014 at 2:33 pm

      My husband and I took our little guy to the park this weekend and I said to him that I was actually glad I had a boy instead because my poor girl would be ostracized having to wear her one piece bathing suit and no make up unlike the girls I saw at the playground. My thinking is that if you’re still using the playground, you shouldnt’ be wearing makeup.

  2. shm

    June 24, 2014 at 8:28 am

    One of the best things my mom did for me when I was old enough to wear make up was take me to a make up artist and have them give me a lesson on how to wear it (we did not have youtube then). It was my middle school graduation present. I did not care about it at the time, but a few years down the road I appreciated the fact that when I applied make up I did not look like a hooker out of pretty woman.

    • Eve Vawter

      June 24, 2014 at 8:30 am

      I can totally see doing it for older girls but those under 10 really rubs me the wrong way

    • The Actual Devil

      June 24, 2014 at 8:32 am

      Yeah, for my thirteenth birthday my mom did that and it was fun and exciting and very helpful, but under 10? NO NOT GOOD ABORT MISSON

    • NoMissCleo...JustMe

      June 24, 2014 at 8:45 am

      Thankfully my husband and I have a bevy of middle and high school girls at our fingertips since we both coach and teach – if my daughter shows interest, I’m hoping to employ their talents and skills to instruct my daughter.

    • shm

      June 24, 2014 at 8:45 am

      I was like 13 or 14 when she did this. I don’t see any need for a middle schooler to wear make up aside for maybe clear lip gloss or perhaps some light blush, light eye shaddow, and light mascara for a very special occasion.

    • Spongeworthy

      June 24, 2014 at 9:27 am

      I think that’s a really good idea if the kid seems interested in wearing makeup and wants to learn. But if my mom had taken me to something like that and I hadn’t a asked, I wouldn’t have been happy about it. I didn’t wear any makeup, ever, and the few times my mom kind of prodded me with a gentle “why don’t you try some makeup?” It sort of felt like the way I looked wasn’t ok.

    • Lisa

      June 24, 2014 at 8:34 pm

      That’s how I felt the first time I got my eyebrows waxed! It wasn’t something I requested, it kind of just happened. It was a shitty experience.

      To be fair to my mom, my eyebrows used to be…wild. But still. I thought I looked ok, and I was apparently wrong there.

  3. The Actual Devil

    June 24, 2014 at 8:30 am

    Oh, no, I do not like this. This is not playing with lipstick swiped from an older sister or putting bright colors on for fun- this is how to look better, prettier, at an age when girls REALLY do not need that.

    • Eve Vawter

      June 24, 2014 at 8:34 am

      The devil wears eyeliner

    • The Actual Devil

      June 24, 2014 at 8:35 am

      SO MUCH EYELINER

    • Eve Vawter

      June 24, 2014 at 8:45 am

      this gif is the creepiest 4ever

    • Michelle Pittman

      June 24, 2014 at 8:45 am

      grrrr…sorry – didn’t mean to post it so many times!!!

    • the actual devil

      June 24, 2014 at 8:49 am

      ohmigod that is scary

    • shm

      June 24, 2014 at 8:50 am

      Holy balls! WTF is that?

    • Guest

      June 24, 2014 at 8:45 am

      oh really…

  4. Ursi

    June 24, 2014 at 8:36 am

    My parents were mental about makeup. It was strictly verboten in our household, not even to play with, until suddenly it wasn’t.

    I never learned how to do makeup. Now in my thirties I wear nothing but powder because I can’t really do anything else. Though I don’t blame Mom, my mother never left her blue-eyes, blue-eyeshadow look from 1968. Yikes.

  5. I don't know why, but...

    June 24, 2014 at 8:55 am

    The girl at the top is FREAKING ME OUT

    • Jessie

      June 24, 2014 at 10:03 am

      That is what we call “retouching-to-hell-and-back-so-that-the-person-in-the-photo-no-longer-looks-entirely-human.”

    • Alex Lee

      June 24, 2014 at 10:12 am

      Maybe I should teach my daughter how to photoshop…

      #all-the-cool-kids-are-doing-it

  6. Liz

    June 24, 2014 at 8:56 am

    I don’t think there’s anything wrong with teaching a girl how to use makeup properly. My mom never did, and I wish she had. Maybe then I wouldn’t cringe at my old pics!

    • Really?

      June 24, 2014 at 8:57 am

      At ten, tho?

  7. LadyClodia the Modest Rat

    June 24, 2014 at 9:01 am

    Make-up just seems like it’s so expected of girls. And I love make-up and I always have, although I don’t think I started wearing it until around middle school. My mom hardly had any or wore any, but my Mimi ordered from every Avon catalog. I grew up in the 80’s and make-up was everywhere, even the guys wore a lot of make-up (I watched a lot of MTV.) Besides my actual baby dolls, all of the other dolls that I owned had pre-applied make-up even if they were more childlike than adult. And while I don’t spend much time in the girls’ aisles of the toy store now, I know it’s not any different. But even then, I don’t remember any of the girls wearing make-up in elementary school, except when we all had to for our school play, even the boys.
    And I’m not making a value judgement about it, but it seems like so many kids, teenagers, and some younger adults feel that they always have to be camera ready. There are reality shows that make it look normal, and there are selfies to be taken, and there are followers to acquire on YouTube and Instagram, and all of that looks like the new baseline now.

    • Ursi

      June 24, 2014 at 9:17 am

      I agree that everyone having camera’s nowadays has contributed to an obsession with our appearance at all times, but mostly I blame peer pressure. I didn’t have female friends so I never felt strange about not wearing any. It’s awesome that parents don’t push their kids towards learning to young but one can never underestimate to pressure young girls put on each other to apply makeup at an early age. Girls my age started earlier because one girl in the group did. I made it through high school without anything more than a CoverGirl compact of pressed powder. The only one who ever wanted to do my makeup for me was a church friend who was obsessed with eyeliner. And 30 minutes to do my face was waaaay more effort than I wanted to put into anything. Nobody else ever bothered me about it.

    • LadyClodia the Modest Rat

      June 24, 2014 at 9:31 am

      I had female friends in school, but our friend-group was really diverse when it came to make-up. Most of my female friends probably didn’t wear any, and a few of us probably wore too much, and there were some that wore a little bit. Besides academically there wasn’t much peer pressure in our group, but we also didn’t talk about personal stuff very often.

  8. momjones

    June 24, 2014 at 9:10 am

    I really never said “You can’t wear make up until you are age #,” but I also wasn’t a big makeup person myself. This was a result of my need to get 5 more minutes of sleep before getting ready for work; powder, concealer, neutral lipstick, and a bit of shadow were the extent of what I wore. I also was not a big fan of nail polish for myself, so I didn’t even have any in the house – my girls will tell you I was a cranky “no nail polish on little girls mom.” Well, my oldest daughter, the teacher, is the same as I was – she wears very little make-up, because she, too, needs that morning sleep. And my darling CMJ? Well, she is the make-up queen, an expert. But it didn’t come from me. I’m sure her involvement in theater in high school had something to do with it, (though neither of the girls wore makeup to high school since it was an all girls school, and hardly anyone wore makeup, or combed their hair for that matter). I would even wager to say that CMJ would love to chuck it all and work as a make up artist 🙂

  9. Fallopian Twerker Phillips

    June 24, 2014 at 9:23 am

    My mom and my stepmother were both minimal makeup wearers (although my mom, now in serious age-denial, piles it on like she’s about to enter a glitz pageant for grandmothers.) I remember playing in the bathroom with their makeup as a little girl (because even though neither of them wore much, they both had plenty of it.) Later on, when I was allowed to wear it out of the house, I wasn’t really given a directive, and therefore went through that typical preteen phase of wearing way too much. However pretty early on, I came to adopt a minimal makeup style similar to theirs –mascara, a little creamy blush or bronzer, and maybe eyeliner if I’m going out on a date with Ryan Gosling or something. So while they didn’t exactly teach me about makeup, I think they did–just by example.

  10. K.

    June 24, 2014 at 9:25 am

    To me, make-up and primping has felt more imprisoning/limiting than creative and freeing, so when I see younger girls putting on make-up, it makes me sad–I feel like they’re signing up to be self-conscious early.

    I was the sort of girl who’d paint Chinese characters on her cheek and stuff (and I mean in like, high-school, as a statement); I was not a “proper and appropriate ‘natural look'” kind of chick, though…

    • pixie the Boozy Twerker

      June 24, 2014 at 9:52 am

      In second year university I decided it was cool to do my eye liner styled like the “eye of Horus” on one eye with the other eye just regular eyeliner (there’s a makeup option in the Sims to do that and that was my inspiration). I wasn’t known for my “natural look” make-up, either. Go big or go home.

    • Ursi

      June 24, 2014 at 9:54 am

      hell yeah!

    • Kelly

      June 24, 2014 at 2:49 pm

      I’m probably the least self conscious person I know and I wear a lot of makeup. Not every day though and I have no problem going to the store with my blotchy, makeup free face and messy hair but I do enjoy my makeup.

      I have easily hundreds of dollars (possibly thousands) worth of product and it fills two full drawers in a three drawer chest. I love being creative with it. I’ve gone out and had people I see all the time not recognize me because I look so different which is fun to me.

      So don’t feel bad when you see a girl playing with makeup. It doesn’t necessarily mean she has self esteem issues. For some of us it’s just artistic expression. I’ll never be able to decorate a cake that belongs in a high end bakery window or sketch anything that impresses a person over the age of four but I can execute a kick ass eyeshadow or lipstick effect that makes strangers stop and ask how I did that. It’s my thing and it’s nice to have a thing.

  11. C.J.

    June 24, 2014 at 9:29 am

    My kids are dancers so they learned about make up very young, not from me. Every year when they go in for their make up classes they are told that heavy make up is just for the stage because the lights are so strong. They know how to apply make up because they have to. The 11 year old sometimes wears a little bit of make up to school. The 9 year old has no interest. I think because they have to wear such heavy make up for the stage it isn’t that big of a deal to them. I’ve noticed most of the older dancers don’t wear a lot of make up, they get tired of wearing it on stage. I rarely wear make up so when I do want to I have to borrow it from my 11 year old.

  12. Alex Lee

    June 24, 2014 at 9:32 am

    I use more products than my wife. We’re lucky enough to *not* have the makeup battle with our 8 year-old – it’s not an issue at school or home. None of her friends are pressuring her to wear it. The shows she watches don’t make a huge deal out of it. And she knows she’s cute without needing enhancement (this presents its own set of problems).

    Sometimes, her school will have “Crazy Hair” day where I can spike-cement her hair into a mohawk and spray it green. We also go over-the-top for Halloween (face paint, eyes, costume, wigs, shoes, and accessories).

    She really doesn’t like to get stuff near her eyes, though.

    Picture attached because humblebrag

    • Katherine Handcock

      June 24, 2014 at 9:58 am

      That is such an awesome picture!

    • Jessie

      June 24, 2014 at 10:02 am

      She is adorable!

    • pixie the Boozy Twerker

      June 24, 2014 at 10:20 am

      Great costume! 🙂

    • UterineDudebroWhoLikesOlives

      June 24, 2014 at 12:47 pm

      Cool picture!

      I love “crazy hair” day at our school and daycare. My son has the perfect hair for product. (I, sadly, do not.)

    • SA

      June 24, 2014 at 1:12 pm

      Fantastic!

  13. Katherine Handcock

    June 24, 2014 at 9:44 am

    I think that at the middle school age, makeup should really be about play – as in, doing it at home and exploring with different, crazy styles. (I’m remembering a certain look I created with a VERY sparkly green eyeshadow when I was ten…) But it does bother me when girls that age are wearing makeup (other than something like tinted lip balm) daily. It just seems like such a major expectation to get into so young, including in terms of time and money committed to it.

    However, as a parent, I don’t like assigning arbitrary ages to things my kids can do, or dictating what they can and can’t do with their allowance/gift money, so it’s possible my daughter (or my son, who knows?) will someday declare that she wants to buy makeup, and if she does, I would rather she learn how to apply it correctly and with a deft hand — and remove it properly. I’m hoping that, if she ever does that, she’ll realize very quickly that it’s a lot of time and money to maintain.

    She’ll also have to learn her makeup skills from someone other than me! Fortunately she has a very fashionable aunt who can show her 🙂

    • AP

      June 24, 2014 at 1:08 pm

      I agree with this. My mom was very anti-all-beauty products because she thinks they’re a ripoff and we were didn’t “need” them. However, tiny things like having the same lip gloss as your friends, or buying a conditioner and hair gel that works well with your hair type, can do wonders for your self-esteem.

      I dislike people who are obsessed with beauty products and outward appearance, but there’s no reason to be wandering around painfully self-conscious and feeling like a disgusting slob because your hair isn’t as smooth as everyone else’s when you can solve it with a $7 purchase at Target.

  14. wispy

    June 24, 2014 at 9:57 am

    I am all about the makeup community on youtube, but I have not known until now that there were kids under age 10 doing tutorials??? WTH?? That just freaks me out a little bit. I couldn’t even wear powder til I was in like 8th grade and didn’t have anyone to show me anything anyway bc my mom doesn’t wear any makeup. I cannot imagine worrying about my “face” at that age. Geez.

  15. Jessie

    June 24, 2014 at 10:11 am

    This is where I’m torn. In no way do I believe young girls should need to learn how to wear makeup properly, but also… I’m a dancer. I have been since I was three, and as such I have been learning since the age of seven how to apply makeup for both on and off the stage. Now, my parents never allowed me to wear makeup to SCHOOL until I was thirteen, but special occasions or just out and about with mom/for fun was okay. When I was finally old enough to wear makeup without parental approval, I was grateful that I had been learning from a young age how to do it. It also helped me when I got into the Goth subculture, because let me tell you, we Goths love us some elaborate makeup from time to time. 🙂
    So for me, this is one of those “It helped me, but would it really help any child I had?” situations. I guess you just have to be in the situation directly before you really know what you would do.

  16. Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

    June 24, 2014 at 10:38 am

    I completely concur. Even the first time I had my face “done”, I was eleven, and it was my aunt “sneaking” me some make up and putting it on for me. It wasn’t a big deal, and it wasn’t a tutorial. It was just fun between girls, if that makes sense. When I was 13, my mom started teaching me the basics, but it still wasn’t for “everyday” wear.

    And random somewhat unrelated story, my three year old recently walked into the kitchen while I was cooking and said, “Am I pretty, mama?”

    And of course, I said yes. Then promptly told him to stay out of my makeup case even if I do leave it open in the bathroom…

    • SA

      June 24, 2014 at 1:11 pm

      The CUTENESS!

    • Wicked Prophet Kay Sue

      June 24, 2014 at 1:15 pm

      Thanks. I like to think so. 😉

  17. Guinevere

    June 24, 2014 at 11:03 am

    My mom never wore make up. She says that’s why she still looks young. I was never much of a friend-haver, so no one ever showed me how to do make up. I started learning after college watching Carmindy on What Not to Wear. My husband, who used to wear eye liner, has asked me multiple times, “Who taught you how to do make up?” Or, “Will you let me show you how to put on eye liner?” Hopefully, by the time my baby is interested in such things, her dad can teach her, or somehing. It’s too late for me!

    • guest

      June 24, 2014 at 11:12 am

      I’m so thankful for shows like that that teach people what not to do. I wish when I was at that age we had youtube videos to watch to lay it out for me cause my mom was clueless.

  18. RevBex

    June 24, 2014 at 11:06 am

    My daughter is almost 11, and for the 5th grade graduation (that I was already going to miss because of a no-excuses grad school seminar) I let her wear sheer pink lip gloss and clear mascara, mostly so she’d show up better in pictures from the stage, as that was all I was going to see the day of. It’s possible I’ve created a monster – she knows the mascara is only for special occasions, but I’ve been seeing that lip gloss every day! I’m a little uncomfortable with it, but she seems to wear it when she’s trying to be “grown-up”, usually when helping out with chores or writing her stories next to me as I type papers. She’s also fallen in love with fashion this summer- bold jewel tone tunics, denim skirts, black capris and black ballet flats with everything. I figure it’s a phase, and admittedly I’m glad her styles are so nice looking – I was a 6th grader in the early 90s and it was not a great time for fashion! She won’t be able to wear anything

    With my almost 8 year old, she wears powder/concealer in some formal pictures; because she’s practically translucent, fearlessly adventurous, and has always acquired new bruises and scrapes just before any family event.

    • Celia

      June 24, 2014 at 10:28 pm

      what the hell is “clear mascara”

    • NoMissCleo...JustMe

      June 27, 2014 at 10:03 pm

      Exactly what it implies…it has the same purpose of regular mascara without the color added. I used it during the spring when my eye allergies are so bad that my eyes would water and I’d have black mascara smudged under my eyes or running down my cheeks.

  19. PAJane

    June 24, 2014 at 11:31 am

    There’s a guy at my mom’s church who works in a funeral home, and does hair and makeup on dead people to make them look ok for their services. He would do his 3 daughters’ hair and make up for special events and they always looked lovely and pretty and age appropriate. I always thought that was kinda cool.

  20. Larkin

    June 24, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    My mom pretty much handed me makeup and strongly implied I should start wearing around age 12… but she didn’t teach me how to use it, so I made some interesting choices. Ha. Makeup is a weird, fraught subject for me… I wear it most days, and I enjoy wearing it, but most of my early memories of it are about my mom straight-up telling me that I had to wear or else I wouldn’t look pretty enough, boys wouldn’t like me, etc.

    If I ever have a daughter, I’m hoping to delay the whole makeup thing as long as possible… and let her be the one to instigate it in the first place. If she wants it, cool. If she doesn’t, cool. Being told to wear makeup when I didn’t want to just made me feel all kinds of unattractive as a teenager.

  21. SA

    June 24, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    Wow! I literally jumped back from my computer when I saw that first picture.

    I agree. Make-up should be about fun and experimentation for young girls. I wasn’t ever taught how to put on makeup, but my mom did say I wasn’t ready to wear it out of the house until I could figure out how to wear it appropriately. While not a make-up lesson I think she meant until I was mature enough not to have eyeshadow up past my eyebrows which ended up being sometime in middle school.

  22. Verity

    June 24, 2014 at 1:29 pm

    Eh. I wore my first makeup on my fourth birthday– I begged my mom to put some on me for the tea party we were having with the family. For me it was about looking “grown up”– that’s very important to some kids, and I was one of them. (I have pictures from the event. You can’t really tell I’m wearing blush and clear lip gloss; more noticeable is the giant flowered hat)

    Maybe it’s because I’m from a family/culture that cares a lot about personal presentation in both genders (my great-grandfather and his brother were fans of regular manicures, and this was considered a sign of self-respect), but I’ve never gotten the political hullaballoo over makeup. Personally I’d be delighted if the stuff became gender neutral. Everyone has the urge to fiddle with their appearance now and then.

  23. Rachel Sea

    June 24, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    I would probably teach an interested 12 year old. That’s about the age where I might be okay with light special event makeup, and I would want a child to have practice doing it neatly at home, and remembering not to rub their face and smear it, before I let them out of the house wearing it on a more regular basis, perhaps when they were 13 or 14.

    I think I would probably start giving makeup leftovers to an interested 8 or 9 year old, with a little guidance about makeup being for yourself. There’s a lot of ugly messages that come from magazines and tv, and I expect that even if I kept them out of the house, and taught my kid exactly how the women were photoshoped to look the way they do, that they’d get those ugly messages at school and at friends’ houses. My friends and I started reading Seventeen and Cosmo when we were 12 and 13, I don’t imagine that’s unusual.

  24. Quinn Skye

    June 24, 2014 at 8:13 pm

    Not only that, but we shouldn’t tell our sons how or how not to wear makeup either. My four year old son loves to play makeup with mommy, and I tell him he’s pretty too.

  25. Quinn Skye

    June 24, 2014 at 8:24 pm

    My son playing makeup with daddy (he has pretty eyeshadow on too, but I ruined it because I’m paranoid).

    • gothicgaelicgirl

      June 27, 2014 at 9:51 am

      The dudes in your life are awesome

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  27. gothicgaelicgirl

    June 27, 2014 at 9:52 am

    I used to plaster myself in frosted make up.
    All my mom did was say I looked great BUT had I tried THIS way of putting on eyeshadow?

    Very supportive.

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