Childrearing

Mommy Confession: I Let My Toddler Wear Make-Up

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little girl make-up

UPDATE: Check out the segment on Good Morning America regarding this piece, and the follow-up article about what “pretty” means to a young child. Also, due to the dangerous nature of some comments that blame victims for their abuse, please remember that make-up (or any other action) doesn’t “invite” pedophiles

This weekend, my daughter had her spring pre-school performance. As we were getting ready, practicing her songs and pulling out her “good shoes,” she walked into the bathroom and reminded me that I needed to plug in the curling iron. “Mom,” she bellowed from across the house, “you need to turn on the hot curly thingy.”

Brenna and I have a pretty solid “dress-up” routine. Every holiday, performance, or any other event that she deems necessarily fancy, we pick out a pretty dress, curl her hair and then we apply a little make-up. Alright, we apply a full face of make-up. On both of us.

Ever since she could sit in front of my vanity, my daughter has loved make-up. The entire idea of painting her face was pretty exciting. She’s begged for blush and pleaded for a little lipstick. And for the past two years, I’ve obliged her.

I don’t wear make-up every day. Even when I went in to an office during the week, I only remembered to put on mascara half of the time. Foundation and eye shadow? Not a chance. I save my make-up for family functions where I want to look nice or evening events that require a little dressing up. And now I’ve created a pre-schooler who thinks that special occasions always deserve make-up.

As a mother with some feminist leanings, I’ve been worried about teaching my daughter that she needs make-up to be beautiful. I don’t want her to think that wearing make-up or curling her hair somehow makes her more desirable or loved. It seems like make-up is counter-productive to any goal I have about her self-esteem and confidence.

And yet… I keep letting her put it on.

For my little girl, make-up feels like something we do to show that an event is important to us. It’s an extra step that lets us spend a little frivolous time with brushes and powders. She sits in front of the mirror smiling as I apply a little blush to her cheeks and eye shadow to her eyes. Sometimes I don’t even put any actual make-up on, I just run the brushes over her skin. It doesn’t change the fun for her.

Every time I see another article about Suri Cruise and her lipstick, I feel mildly embarrassed. People throw a fit about the inappropriateness of bright pink lips on a girl just barely in elementary school. But I’ve let my daughter walk into Church on Easter with sparkling light pink eye shadow, pale pink cheeks and MAC lip gloss.

I know that other mothers must think I’m ridiculous, or that I’m inflicting horrible psychological damage on my little girl. I don’t want her to think that she has to have any additional help to make herself gorgeous. She obviously doesn’t. And I don’t particularly want her to set too much store by physical attractiveness.

But when we get ready together, it doesn’t feel like she’s worried about becoming pretty. It feels like a little girl who wants to pretend she’s a grown up like her mama. It’s a child who wants to have her own special routine to get ready for special occasions.

So yea, I let my toddler wear make-up. Eyes, cheeks, lips… the whole thing. And while I can think of a million reasons to feel guilty about it, I still do it. My daughter is intelligent and strong, she has interests outside of pretty, pretty princesses, so if she wants to dress up with her mom and throw on some eye shadow, I just let her have some fun.

What do you think? Is make-up for toddlers completely inappropriate or do your little girls play with your pretties too?

(Photo: Thinkstock)

106 Comments

  1. Melissa Murphy

    April 23, 2012 at 12:03 pm

    I let my daughter wear makeup too! It’s our special time to bond and I refuse to feel bad about it. Plus she looks extra cute with sparkles on 🙂

  2. Jules

    April 23, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    Honestly- when I was a little girl I LOVED playing with my moms makeup and part of the reason I loved dance so much was putting on the makeup and fun costumes for recitals. I never felt like I needed it to make me more pretty or loved. Those values and discussions are instilled in kids by parents. My mom told me I was beautiful no matter what. I think what it comes down to is what you teach her about beauty and how that’s separate from appearance or makeup. The fact that this is something your even conscious of sounds like your doing a great job.

  3. Mgee

    April 23, 2012 at 1:18 pm

    Pffft. You know, as long as you aren’t talking about pageant style makeup that makes your toddler look 22, I say go for it. There are way, way more important things to worry about. Now, if she wants to do it every day and wants to go into elementary school with makeup on daily, that’s a bit different, but a little lip gloss and some light pink cheeks are nothing to be ashamed of. Enjoy! They’re only little once.

  4. Angela

    April 23, 2012 at 2:06 pm

    My 3 year old son is the same way and I have no problem letting him experiment. Most of the time I just let him use some sheer blotting powder and an old brush set and some chapstick. If he does use actual color I generally try to discretely wipe it off before we go out but I don’t think it’s a big deal. If he was a girl I’d do the same.

  5. Andrea

    April 23, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    I don’t have a daughter, but if I did, I would totally let her do it. Not every day, but special occasions? Why not?

  6. Eileen

    April 23, 2012 at 5:43 pm

    We played with makeup a lot as little kids – my aunt would give us all her old stuff (she could be a Lancome counter), and my grandma would use an iron and then rollers on our hair, and it was a lot of fun. I think the usual rule was we were not allowed to wear it outside of the house; makeup was for dress-up, and our dress-up clothes (bridesmaid dresses and high heels my grandma bought cheap at the Salvation Army) were for inside.

    I doubt she’s going to have problems here, if you don’t teach her that there’s something wrong with leaving the house un-made-up. A four-year-old in makeup is not the same as a twelve-year-old in makeup.

  7. K.

    April 24, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    I didn’t because my mother didn’t wear make-up. So she never had any for me to wear.

    Of course, that didn’t save me from having “I’m not pretty enough!” syndrome between the ages of 10-30.

    So I’m guessing that unless you’re somehow teaching your kid that her beauty is dependent on make-up or that her beauty is conditional at all, you’re probably putting a little bit too much stock into the powers of lipstick.

  8. Jessica

    April 24, 2012 at 10:49 pm

    Despite our best efforts to raise our daughter without stereotypical gender specific toys and clothes, she just naturally gravitated towards pink, princesses, nail polish and makeup. I wasn’t even that girly as a kid. I used to wear corduoroy overalls with a dorothy hamill haircut.

    But I do love makeup now, and I love fashion and dressing up, and so does my daughter. Once a year we go to the Symphony at Christmas time and I always do her hair in a fancy updo and let her wear lip gloss and eyeshadow. In fact I very often use nailpolish as a reward for exceptionally good behavior and she’s over the moon about it.

  9. Julie

    April 25, 2012 at 8:04 am

    There’s a difference between letting your daughter play dress-up and conditioning her to think that she needs make-up and fancy hair to go to events outside the house. As someone whose mom couldn’t leave the house without being done up, and subsequently infused this into her daughters’ psyches, I say watch out. I feel very strongly about this. Please don’t help your daughters fall into the “pretty” trap so young. They will struggle with it as they get older, anyway. The pressure is so strong to be prettier/fancier/whatever than you really are. Are you harming your daughter? Not on a daily basis, but yes, from a long-term standpoint, yes you are teaching her that she is not pretty enough without the makeup and curls. There is no doubt in my mind about it. My mother was wonderful, but even she regrets fostering this insecurity in us. I would recommend gently weaning away from it and letting your beautiful little girl feel beautiful without the makeup. Please consider it.

    • Joyce Topping

      April 30, 2012 at 10:14 am

      Are you serious? I have refused to go out without makeup on since I was 13. Nothing wrong with it, it’s just like wearing clothes. If you wouldn’t go outside naked, why would you let your face be naked? I’m no beauty, but makeup enhances what I have got. My daughter sees how I am and she doesn’t seem to feel the need to do anything because I do. Using makeup all the time doesn’t mean your insecure, it means that you care enough about yourself to put your best face forward and look your best and look nice all the time. Not to mention taking care of your skin. I don’t spend tons of money on makeup or anti-aging things, but I do take very good care of my skin. No different than taking care of your teeth. If you have pride in yourself, you won’t dare to wear sweats outside of the home unless your walking for excersise or going to the gym. I wear dresses, heels, hose, makeup, EVERYDAY. I want to look nice for ME everyday. Nothing wrong with that. My husband likes it too because after 28 years of marriage, he still can’t keep his eyes or hands off of me. Nothing wrong with taking care of YOU at all!

    • Amy

      April 30, 2012 at 11:01 am

      The reply by Joyce makes me literally facepalm. While I agree with you Julie to an extent, I have to say that there is a happy medium here. I think that Lindsay clearly can see what is healthy and what is not in terms of body image and making sure her daughter KNOWS she is beautiful without the make-up.

      Now to address Joyce. Hoo-boy, I didn’t think I’d see anyone worse than my own mother but this woman takes the cake.

      You say that your daughter doesn’t seem to feel the need to ‘do anything because you do it’. But as a woman who grew up feeling constantly looked at with disapproval by my own mother for not ‘putting in the effort’ in my appearance, I will say that your attitude IS harmful. Believe it or not, there are those of us who prefer to do without ‘dresses, heels, hose, and make-up EVERYDAY’ because to me such things are ridiculous for EVERYDAY. I prefer being outside, riding horses, being with my sons, my husband, getting dirty. Not to mention the fact that dressing like Donna Reed everyday is IMPRACTICAL as a mother of young children. For you to maintain that a woman who does anything LESS than heels and hose takes no pride in herself is a TERRIBLE thing to say. It’s this very attitude that has been so hurtful from my own mother…and an attitude from which I am STILL healing.

      I like to dress nice and wear make-up (very little) for church on Sunday…but it is not something I do most of the time. I don’t like make-up. I find it uncomfortable. I prefer a tank top and faded Levi’s with my hair in a ponytail. My husband likes me this way. My mother has also finally accepted the fact that I am not like her. We have a good relationship now, but I wish she could have just let me be myself growing up.

  10. Daisy

    April 25, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    I see nothing wrong with it, in that context. Honestly, I never wore makeup until I was 19, because I had always been made to feel like it was something shameful–if you wear makeup, you must be shallow, and care only about your looks, and have poor self-esteem, etc. It took me a long time to get over that.

    I think it’s way better to teach little girls that it’s ok to get dolled up for special occasions and to wear makeup for fun, as long as you’re not doing it because you think you HAVE to look artificially pretty. (And of course, as long as it’s age-appropriate.)

  11. Pingback: I’m Going To Be On TV – But I Might Look Like Crap

  12. Sherrye Qualls

    April 30, 2012 at 9:44 am

    I think everyone is making way too big of a deal of this. All children like dressing up like their parents. I don’t see a thing wrong with it. Everything that we as parents do could be done “overboard” and you just have to use your own judgement. Parents that have children whom “they” feel have a sports talent so they require their children to not have a life other than practicing that sport are much worse parents than this little innocent play time. I don’t think your daughter thinks that she’s not pretty without makeup, she just feels the same way we all do, we all feel prettier when we are made up. You seem like a great mom and if this is a bonding time for you both, then by all means GO FOR IT!

  13. cozziscorner

    April 30, 2012 at 10:03 am

    Not a big deal at all! I wear make-up and my girls 3 and 4 sometimes ask if they can have some gloss or some eyeshadow, and I too pretend to put blush on sometimes. They know they are beautiful without it and it’s all in play and pretend. I think the bigger deal you make it the more your children will want to wear it. Nice blog!

    http://cozziscorner.wordpress.com/

  14. Joyce Topping

    April 30, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Lindsay,
    Don’t worry about the negative idiots out there. There is absolutely nothing wrong with how you are raising your daughter. I have 4 kids, my youngest is our only girl, and I always showed her how to do makeup and everything from the time she was about 3. Yes, she left the house with eyeshadow, blush and lipgloss on whenever she wanted to. She is 13 now. She uses makeup now and then, nothing bold or hussy looking. She knows that beauty comes from within and makeup is to enhance your natural beauty. She started shaving her legs at 11 years old too. Just WAIT until your daughter wants to do that and if you blog about it, you will hear crap on that too. Just raise your daughter the way YOU want to raise her, and don’t listen to the negative idiots out there. In fact, if I were you, I’d just find a way to block the negative ones! Who needs rain on their parade? ;o)

  15. Kammy

    April 30, 2012 at 10:17 am

    I was fascinated by my mom’s makeup. She used to let me play with it and sometimes we would play together. Now my daughter is fascinated with makeup and we also play together. She hasn’t yet figured out how to be subtle and that’s ok. I have no problem taking her out with garish splashes of rouge on her face and on mine too. (She loves dressing Mommy up). It’s just a mommy/daughter thing passed down through generations. Funny how I’m not worried about my little girl wearing makeup but when she becomes a tween, oh no she’s not!

  16. Ellen

    April 30, 2012 at 10:26 am

    I played with makeup, played house, played with my dolls when I was a child!
    My gosh! What’s next?

    http://www.youravon.com/estanton

  17. Grace

    April 30, 2012 at 10:28 am

    I have two girls, 4 y.o. and 6 y.o. and they are great kids. My 6 doesn’t care about make up or pretty dresses, but my 4 always wants to be pretty. It is in her nature. I don’t make a big deal out of my 6 not caring or my 4 wanting to be pretty. My 4 puts on make up once in a while when she is at grandma and playing with grandma’s make up, and paints her little pinkie with nail polish. It is no big deal. If people make it a big deal in front of her, that will be more damaging than just letting her play around. I am sure my 4 and 6 will grow up just fine, being accepted and loved just as they are.

    Ms. Lindsay Cross, just follow your motherly instinct. You know your daughter best. All the other people, especially the MALE psycholigist Henry somthing, should be ignored and laughed at. How can a grown male understand a psychy of a little girl? He can’t. Absolutely can’t.

  18. Sue Mecklem

    April 30, 2012 at 10:36 am

    I think that since she’s wearing make-up for special occasions, and for fun, she’ll be just fine. As a lipstick wearing feminist, I, too, struggle with the act of cosmetic artifice.

    http://tweedlibrarian.wordpress.com

  19. Amy

    April 30, 2012 at 10:39 am

    Lindsay, from the context of your article, I would say that you have the right idea about raising your daughter with a healthy and positive view of physical beauty. It sounds like she merely has a strong personality and has latched onto the idea that special occasions are for prettifying! And there is NOTHING wrong with that. Nor is there anything wrong with a girl who grows up enjoying the ritual of grooming…curling hair, applying make-up, painting nails, mani/pedis, and all of that OTHER stuff that some women embrace and some women don’t care about.

    I personally never cared about spending time on my hair or paying special attention to the fine detail of applying artful eye make up…much to my mother’s dismay. Horseback riding was my passion and those things were low on my list of priorities. She always tried to steer me in the direction of taking more time on my appearance because I believe she didn’t want me leaving the house looking ‘sloppy’. She is a wonderful woman and I love her dearly. Being 37 now with four sons of my own we have a fantastic relationship, but it has not always been so. I am not a ‘girly girl’ like my mother…I don’t enjoy wearing make-up unless absolutely necessary. I think she is finally starting to accept that I’m different from her…but I think all of the subtext I got from her growing up has made me always question myself and never REALLY accept myself the way I am. I’m not comfortable in my own skin.

    Sorry for long comment, but I just wanted to say that you sound like you are doing just fine, Lindsay. Having four sons let me also say I have never been asked to ‘do the make-up thing’ lol. If Brenna IS a ‘girly-girl’ and you are ‘not so much’, as long as you accept her however she is, make-up or not, then you can feel good as a mother. The fact that you spend this time with her is what is important. Who knows, in two years she may have no time for make-up because of sports or whatever lol.

  20. Nicole Purcell

    April 30, 2012 at 10:51 am

    Lindsay –

    I believe make up is part of growing up… It makes a little girl feel more grown up – and it’s fun to put on! When I was a kid, my mother let me have make up, she also let me have ripped jeans and a football. She gave me Barbie dolls, which I often buried head first in the backyard. She taught me how to apply lipstick – but she also taught me how to apply myself – to anything I tried. I’m better for how rounded these things made me – all combined. I grew up to be a fundraising professional, amateur boxer, athlete, writer, and artist – who is also respected and admired for style and beauty – and that’s OK. I think people who make a big deal out of a little girl wearing make up have very narrow views about the power of feminity, the power of beauty – and that’s a shame. Why not teach young girls and women to value both their inner selves – and their outer selves? Why not teach them that celebrating special events – and celebrating ourselves and how good putting on make up can feel (ritual/tradition/what better celebration?) – is the right thing to do?

    Nicole

  21. Debi

    April 30, 2012 at 10:59 am

    Isn’t this what kids have done with their parents for generations – play with mommy’s makeup and daddy’s shaving cream? It’s perfectly normal and part of childhood. (Now Toddlers and Tiaras – that’s abnormal!)

    http://www.popsiclesandpearls.wordpress.com

  22. larryag

    April 30, 2012 at 11:01 am

    these are women of the Paris Hilton age that think letting a 4 year old wear makeup is ok , playing at home is one thing , wearing makeup at 4 is Tots and Tiaras dumbness and reality TV airhead stuff

  23. PiaPaz

    April 30, 2012 at 11:26 am

    If it is just or play in the house and not going out in the streets, is great. Publishing it, going in public, and worst of all exposing the kids on national TV, is totally wrong. Pedophiles are on the lurks for kids and most of all the ones that are prettied up to look like grown ups. Not to mention the damage that it does to their young skin.

    Just my opinion.

  24. Jean Blevins

    April 30, 2012 at 11:30 am

    My six yr old granddaughter loves makeup and probably has had more of it in her lifetime than I have in mine. Hers is strictly for play and she knows she cannot go out with it.
    She knows that she is playing with it and it is not for leaving home.
    I think it is just fine that way.

  25. Kathy

    April 30, 2012 at 11:35 am

    I have 6 daughters and I let all of them play in make-up when they were very young and by the time they were teen-agers and using make-up on a daily basis, they knew exactly how to apply it and to match colors and they did NOT look like a clown as so many other teens looked like! My daughters are all grown up and have daughters of their own and my granddaughters (4 yrs. old) play in make-up just as their mothers did. It is a bonding time and I enjoyed it!! Don’t let the public opinion take this special time away from you and your daughter!!

  26. Jennifer

    April 30, 2012 at 11:44 am

    I can’t believe people are making a big deal about this. I have a 6 year old daughter who loves to put on makeup once in a while. She loves for us to go to the mall and pile on the funky makeup at Victoria’s Secret. I wear makeup every day. I tell her all the time that makeup is fun but that she is beautiful and perfect the way she is and that she doesn’t NEED makeup to look pretty. I will reinforce that even when she’s older. I think it’s fine for a little girl to want to look like her mom or play dress up and put on makeup from time to time.

  27. Nancy Chase

    April 30, 2012 at 11:53 am

    PLEASE PEOPLE….worry about significant things…like Worle Peace…World Hunger…etc…etc… Seriously, children from the beginning of time have mimicked their parents, their parents routines, behaviors, actions, values, etc…They place house, they play school, little boys pretend to shave like their fathers…and YES little girls pretend to put on make-up. I beleive that the imaginary play is very important and clearly is healthier than sitting them in front of an x-box, or handing them an i-pad. Those are the parents that need to be looked at.

  28. Nicki

    April 30, 2012 at 11:54 am

    I loved watching my mom put her make-up on in the mornings. I watched her every day for years, all the way until I moved out. In a way, that was my morning ritual. I remember my first eyeshadow: I was in kindergarten or first grade and I had a little turquoise eyeshadow. I think I loved simply having it more than I liked wearing it, because I didn’t want it to “run out.” When I was 11 and 12 I started wearing mascara and eyeliner. My mother never received any criticism for letting me. Lately, with all this negative press about young girls like Suri Cruise or Vivienne Jolie-Pitt wearing lipstick I find myself wondering, “Was my mom wrong for letting me wear lipstick sometimes? Or for letting me have my own blue eyeshadow??” Did the fact that my mom allowed me to wear make-up like a grown up somehow give me the impression that make-up is a necessity? That boys and, later, men wouldn’t find me attractive without it? Absolutely not! As it turns out, when I turned 20 I decided that I enjoyed the freedom to rub my eyes much more than I enjoyed wearing make-up and I stopped wearing any at all. MOST little girls are going to watch their mom put on make-up and think it looks fun and will want to wear their own. Most little girls daydream of when they will be grown up too. And what a thrill it is when you get your first pair of little heels. And what a joy it is when you get your first eyeshadow, all your own. It’s a rite of passage. I didn’t get the impression from your post that you are teaching or encouraging your daughter to become dependent on make-up and THAT’S what’s important – not the fact that you let her dress up every now and then.

  29. KTF

    April 30, 2012 at 11:58 am

    Don’t worry about it. As a kid, I wore make up. (And this is coming from a young adult.) Not all the time, just for events or something. Now, granted, it was usually just a little lipstick or something. But I thought it was FABULOUS! It wasn’t “to look prettier”; it was “to be like mommy.” Obviously, you’re separating the two. I more often than not choose not to wear make up but either way…seriously people? This is your platform? This won’t make or break your child. I didn’t have play make up; I had to wear my mom’s old make up bc she couldn’t stand the smell of the fake make up.

    Bottom line…little girl will be JUST fine. We need to stop freaking out over everything.

  30. Racheal

    April 30, 2012 at 12:04 pm

    U know what, I see nothing wrong with playing dress up, all of us when we were young girls always did it to. As long as there is no Pagent make up which i see is not, its fine. I have a 3yr old daughter who wants to put on pretty eyes as she calls it cause she sees me and her grandmother put eyeshadow on, so I have very glittery light pink eye make up and brush just for her. So For all those that think its wrong! FORGET U. her little girl is not getting hurt or anything else.

  31. Cathed

    April 30, 2012 at 12:06 pm

    You are setting a horrible example. Your child isn’t playing make-up and dress up – she IS using make-up when she goes out. There is a huge difference. You moms letting your children do this – you need to learn how to be better parents. Loving your children isn’t enough – you have to consider the consequences of saying yes to whatever the child wants.

    • Theresa Conley

      April 30, 2012 at 4:11 pm

      And exactly how will a little makeup scar our children or harm them?

    • susan baker

      April 30, 2012 at 5:54 pm

      Agreed. Why would you send this message to your child about “feeling pretty”? Make up in and of itself holds no value, it’s the message behind it and this little girl is getting the message that she needs make up to “feel pretty.” I sincerely hope you stop and consider the implications and the value system that you are passing down to your daughter. How about just a good old “you’re so beautiful the way you are that you really don’t need make up” remark? Validating her own beauty and maybe a conversation about what makes a woman beautiful to begin with?

    • Cassandra

      May 1, 2012 at 2:08 am

      I’m not the type to start Internet fights, but I had to say something.

      I find your comment extremely rude. You should apologize to this blogger for being so ridiculously rude to her.

      As someone who didn’t grow up with a mother, I wish I had someone like Lindsay as my mother. Someone who taught me that what I think makes me feel pretty and special is okay, as long as I knew I was pretty and special all the time, with or without makeup and curls. Someone to play dress up with when I wanted to be glitzy and glamorous. Instead I spent most of my childhood trying to find myself and what I enjoyed.

      For any of the women on here that are saying she is a bad example, I want you to take a look at yourselves. Do you wear potato sacks for clothes? I’m guessing not. I’m guessing 99% you purchase clothes that fit and flatter your body. Well, guess what? Clothes (especially the trendy ones nowawdays) were not originally flared jeans, or cute blouses. They were originally the most plain material, and most plain shape.

      You should all be ashamed of yourselves for being mean to this obviously very caring, loving, and kind mother.

  32. Brie R

    April 30, 2012 at 12:10 pm

    I, too, put makeup on as a child. I am now a very conservative, homeschooling, Christian mother of 4 (2 girls/2 boys) and I will say to my mother, “THANK YOU!!”
    When I “was” old enough to wear make up, I was an expert at it. I knew colors, skin tones, and best of all…value. When my friends were just starting to dabble into makeup by having pink lips, dark blue eye shadow and “rouge” in just the most clownish-like appearance, while I had it down pat. They would even have me come to high school early, just so I could put on their makeup for them.

    Mother’s advice to me: Make up should look like you’re not wearing any.
    And that stuck with me for life.

    Let her play.

  33. JAG

    April 30, 2012 at 12:12 pm

    Some people on here can be so mean! Anyways, I have two daughters (8 and 3). I don’t wear make-up everyday; only on special occasions or something like that. When I do put on make-up…OF COURSE my daughters want to be like mommy and wear some make up too! I keep it subtle with soft eyeshadow shades and a little bit of blush and some lipgloss. What’s the big freaking deal?! I don’t tell them that they need that to look pretty or that society expects that from them, give me a break! They see it as fun…period. I’m not putting them in a freaking pageant and parading them around…putting focus on how they look. It’s just special bonding thing with mommy that happens from time to time. Sorry for the negative comments you’re getting! Just know that we don’t all think that way : )

  34. Meagan

    April 30, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    I have a 5 year old daughter who loves make-up. We use it as a bonding time as well! We do alternate between book readings, scavenger hunts, etc. but the make up part is her favorite. I do a little bit of cheek tint, some eyeshadow, and lip gloss or lip stick and she thinks she’s just like mommy. She also knows that you are beautiful without it since she tells me not to wear make up sometimes. I crimp her hair so we are matching when she has cleaned her room as a reward for her hard work also. I think you’ve done a great job as a mom. Don’t let the others knock you down for having some girly time. You’re not thrusting your daughter into the spotlight or prancing her around. Just having some honest fun 🙂

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  36. Janieka

    April 30, 2012 at 12:18 pm

    I see nothing wrong with you allowing her to wear a little make-up… These “mommies” kill me with with thier self asorbed comments! It is her child and who is to say that it will damage the child it could make her confident insted! I allow my daughter to wear make-up at certian times… up to and including mascara… She is a girly girl! I feel it would be more damaging to detour her from the kind of child that she is then to allow her to wear make up! She also LOVES cheerleading and art and i allow her to do both of those things as well it does not mean she will end up being “debbie does dallas” or a starving artist it is just what she likes! Thumbs up to the parents who DON’t stifle thier childrens creativity!

  37. Angie

    April 30, 2012 at 12:29 pm

    I see nothing wrong with this! I ahve two daughters, ages 8 and 6. The oldest is not interested in makeup at all. She likes to pick out a dress and shoes when she goes to the Daddy/Daughter dance or for Easter or Christmas. My youngest is crazy for makeup. I own one small bag of makeup and never even wear any during the week. I will wear it when we go to dinner or church, etc. My 6-year-old says she likes makeup, mostly eyeshadow, because it is pretty. She likes looking at the little colors in their container when she has eyeshadow. I do not put it on her, but let her play with it at home. She is allowed to wear a light lipgloss on a special occasion, but nothing else. I don’t let her wear the makeup in public. My daughter likes to look ”fancy” and dress up in her princess dresses. It’s all part of her imaginative world, and I let her do it. She is also is a soccer star and would never ask to wear makeup to soccer!

  38. Mary

    April 30, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Big deal! So a liitle girl wants to wear make-up like her mommy does! People really need to get over themselves & just let parents do the parenting of thier own child already!

    My girls are ages 10 & 6 Guess what? The oldest one wore a little eyeshadow, blush & lip gloss to her Kindergarten Christmas concert. Now she only wears it occasionally.

    The little one does the same thing. They wear it when they feel like it, in appropriate situations…just like I do.

  39. Brooke Anna @ Mommy Does...

    April 30, 2012 at 1:21 pm

    So what? Maybe parents should look at all the stores that sell cheap, “non-toxic,” makeup kits for little girls. The colors they sell in those products are cheap and trashy looking. I let my little girl wear a little eyeshadow, lipgloss/lipstick, and light pink blush for special occasions. So what? If you think it is too young, suck it up and keep on keeping on. She is my little girl, she doesn’t do it everyday.

  40. Pingback: When Is Your Daughter Too Young for Makeup? « Musings of a Muse

  41. Cristin

    April 30, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Brenna is a very pretty little girl!

    That being said, when I was a little girl my mother would sometimes put on make up for me. This was for special occasions, like Ms. Cross describes above – dance recitals, weddings, family portraits and the like. It was never a ton of make up either: a little blush on my cheeks, a touch of a pale shimmery eyeshadow and a swoop of pink or coral lip gloss. That was it. As I got older we started painting our nails together and I have very tender memories of Mom and I sitting at the kitchen table, talking and giggling while doing our nails. When I was a teenager, my mother taught me how to wear make up so that it looked natural and fresh, not caked on and icky. Now, as a young woman, I do wear full face make up, but not every day. I wear make up because I like it and it makes me look and feel more professional. I’m gorgeous without it! 🙂

    I’m not sure what all the fuss is about. Ms. Cross seems like she has a very sensible, healthy approach to her little girl wearing make up. And if it means the two of them have special mommy-daughter bonding time over it, good for them!

  42. Pingback: Mommyish's Lindsay Cross Talks Toddler Makeup On Good Morning America

  43. Theresa Conley

    April 30, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    I allow my 7 year old daughter to wear makeup. I wear make up on average 2 days a week, but my daughter wears it a little more often because she loves the color. She loves to match her eye shadow to her outfit and is very good at doing makeovers for adults… makeovers that you would not be ashamed of wearing in public. I use to think that little girls should not use makeup until my daughter showed so much interest in it. She does not believe that she needs it, but it is a harmless enjoyment for her. The only harm that she could be subjected to would be adults making her feel guilty for doing no wrong.

  44. Lynn Condon

    April 30, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    When you were growing up did you wear make-up ? Did your mother put make-up on you .Well my mother would not lt me up make-up on till i was 13 14 and i was in Junior high School but i am growing up in the 50s 60s . If i had a daughter that age she is still a little girl let her stay little as long as you can . I play dress up but was still could not wear makeup it was off limit to me and my sister. I am glad that i raise a son and i am a single mom from day one ,But had him at the age of 40yrs.

  45. Amber

    April 30, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    In this woman’s case people are being just WAY to harsh. This isn’t extreme makeup covering up her child look. She wants to feel pretty but she NEVER says she doesn’t feel pretty without the makeup. I let my one year old wear Mommy’s eye shadow and lipgloss at times. I pick a color that is so light it’s practically non-existent – usually it looks more like a little sparkle above the eyes and it wears off quickly. But still she will watch me put it on and wants to be like Mommy and do like I do, and so I will share it with her. Just as I will share something I’m eating or let her help me fold laundry or anything. Children want to do what we do, that’s how they learn, by mimicking us. If makeup makes them feel pretty and like Mommy then so what!! It’s not like their going around saying they aren’t pretty without it! Leave this poor Mom alone – in her case, it’s totally not a big deal! Don’t feel bad sweetie – you aren’t alone in your parenting choices.

  46. Kairi

    April 30, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    I don’t see why everyone is making a big deal out of this. I remember being fascinated with makeup when i was very little too. All of my friends remember those days too. It’s fun for kids to be dolled up. It’s not like Brenna doesn’t want to be made up, she likes it. It’s not like toddlers and tiara’s where they force and parade their poor children around, with highly inappropriate make up on. She admitted she doesn’t go overboard with dark lipstick or any of that stuff. We all have our own ways of raising our children, just because you don’t do it, or your mother didn’t doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Like i said, makeup is just a child fascination for most little girls.

  47. Mariaeleana Perkins

    April 30, 2012 at 4:25 pm

    I take 2 issues with this topic. 1st is the ideology ta you are only as good as how pretty you look with make-up on. It would do more for the self esteem of a young girl to be valued for more than looks. 2nd issue is the make-up itself. I would hesitate to put anything on a child’s face or eye that she might have an allergic reaction to. If a little girl has a bad enough reaction to eye make-up it could potentially result in loss of vision. And I would definitely not use anything made in China.

    • nikki

      April 30, 2012 at 5:38 pm

      i dont have little kids but i babysit and they have these little play makeup kits it is actull for little kids they are between 2-10 i am 13 but any way they play with it i put it on them i do there hair and when i watching them i my church and it is time for church we put play makeup on them but that is not wrong there parents let them and parents no best for there little kids these kids endup saying lets take this make up off or i want to go climb that tree there makeup is usually not noticeable and i play with them and no i dont wear a lot of makeup i wear some like for my dance recital i don’t usually compete or do all my other sports with makeup on i just use it for fun and for things like dance and etc and they usually just use it for there dance recitals and for playing and every once in a while for church
      So moms no best
      (sorry if i am not doing all those punctuations and stuff)

  48. Sylvia

    April 30, 2012 at 6:02 pm

    You asked for comments, so I’ll give you mine….

    I don’t agree with you letting your daughter wear make-up, but to each their own. I would not personally put make-up on my daughter, but my choices don’t need to be imposed on others – that’s what free will is all about.

    I do recall watching my older sister’s get ready and my mom always telling me that make-up was for ‘grown’ girls. ‘Grown’ in my mom’s eyes meant 16, and even then I was not allowed to wear foundation. Only eyeliner, mascara, light blush and light lipsticks and glosses. Absolutely no red – that was for 18 year-olds. All of my friends got to wear makeup at 12/13. I can tell you that it was tough being the odd girl out, but at the end of the day, my mom was right. I had natural beauty that I had to learn to appreciate before I started enhancing it with any kind of make-up. When you feel beautiful (regardless of whether you have make-up on or not), you radiate that beauty, and people see it. I won a beauty pageant at 18, and although I had to wear loads of make-up on stage, I never let it translate into my ‘normal’ life. To this day, I do not wear foundation. I don’t even wear blush. Come to think of it, I don’t wear eyeshadow either. I use loose powder to reduce shine, eyeliner, mascara and lipstick (yes….in RED sometimes)!

    I can tell you from experience that those girls that started wearing make-up at 12 and 13 were wearing more and more makeup as they got into their teens and even more as adults. I can also tell you they look older than their years. I feel my snubbing of make-up has left me with a clean, fresh, younger look that I thank my mom for every day!

  49. Megan

    April 30, 2012 at 6:07 pm

    It sounds as though this was all the child’s idea- she saw her mother putting on make up and wanted try it on too. Kids like to be like their parents. We all find it adorable when a little girl tries on her mother’s high heels… this is the same thing. As long as she doesn’t consider make-up necessary to be pretty and is having fun I think it’s harmless.

  50. Kelly

    April 30, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    I see NOTHING wrong with this, First off, I am not a parent and I really don’t see a need for a child to wear makeup, that being said, all little girls love to experiment with makeup, we ALL did it when we were little so I do not see the big deal with this. Little girls for years and years have always put on nail polish, we all did it, no one cared to complain then so why now? People need to stop making something out of nothing, there are bigger issues in the world today then this. This little girl could become a famous makeup artist. My opinion only.

  51. Monica Smith

    April 30, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    I think what is important is that you are having fun with your daughter. I have two daughter one in college and one a junior in high school. The both went through the makeup phase when they were little but now they really don’t think much about it. Taking time to spend time with your daughter is what is important. Enjoy this time – they grow up before you know it.

  52. Sheena Mcelroy

    April 30, 2012 at 7:32 pm

    Make-up mommy……you are doing nothing wrong….it’s all in good fun, and we all wear make up to look pretty….my girls 5,8,& 9 love to put makeup on when they are going on a daddy date….They pick out a cute outfit, i do thier hair, they get to wear a little make up and go out for a girls day with daddy…we all buy them makeup from walmart in the little kits for christmas…we put makeup on them for Halloween, and they see and hear us talk about makeup and how we feel when we wear it…just because you let her and encourage her to wear it doesnt mean that you are a bad mom or that she will grow up and be a two dollor tramp….I say good for you….at least you are spending time with her, and bonding with her….just because of this…..I am going to let my girls wear makeup to school tomorrow….

  53. Alesa

    April 30, 2012 at 8:00 pm

    Most make up contains lead. Unless you use leadfree make up then you need to get your daughters lead level checked. I had a friend that let her daughter wear lipstick who ended up with high lead levels. Dept. of Health made visits to the house to check for lead, several blood tests were done over a period of time. Quit endangering your daughters life. Go buy lead free make up

    • Bunny

      April 30, 2012 at 8:58 pm

      Where ever you got your information from YOU ARE WRONG. If that was the case everyone who wears make up would have lead poisoning. Check your facts before you try nd preach.

  54. jennifer

    April 30, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    to this mommy that takes some time to show her daughter attention is wonderful…one on one time is the best to have and it builds great selfesteem….People shouldnt put her down at all there is to much children that just exsist in this world to worry about petty stuff like makeup….I have raised alot of them children that nobody wanted….with unconditional love and when i found something they were interested in guess what then I was…I have stopped taking children in (and no not through fostercare) because of the last baby I took in…he was terminal from birth because his mommy made wrong choices from conception…he was born really sick and wasnt given long to live..his name was Isaiah wilson…his birth family didnt want him and wanted to hand him over to hospice and let him die there alone with no love at all….i took him home with me..He was given 12 hours to live and i promised isaiah and God as long as isaiah lived i would love him unconditionaly…he lived 16 months and 26 days….his story s on youtube ( in memory of isaiah wilson) there is 3 of them….letting children just excist in my book is sooo wrong….

  55. Pingback: How Young is Too Young to Start Wearing Makeup? « Analyze This

  56. Rachel

    April 30, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    The only problem that I have with this is that she might get acne early….. but since it’s not an everyday thing then she should be fine and she is super cute 😉

  57. Hope

    April 30, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    I also have a 4year old Daughter! I have been putting make-up on her for the past two years!! For pictures, or just cause & for play!!! i also when she ask shave her legs for her!!!! There is nothing wrong with what you are doing!!!!

    • t

      September 29, 2012 at 9:30 am

      Shaving her legs might be a bit much but otherwise all the rest of that seems fine.

  58. Scarlet Sidwell

    April 30, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    i find absolutely NOTHING wrong with putting makeup on your daughter. i’m 16years old and when i was younger my mom did the same thing. it was just like play time or whatever; and it’s not like my mom nor this mom puts dark colors, or red lipsticks, or black eyeliners and such on her. THAT would be a little more understandable. but it’s practically just like any other game a child plays. such as dress up or house. if makeup’s too young for a little girl then house may as well be too. so what, because a child plays house they’re too young it’s making them think they should be a mommy too? these are just games or “being like mommy” to them. adults shouldn’t be ruining something like that for a child.

  59. Miranda

    May 1, 2012 at 12:36 am

    I also have a 4 year old and a 2 year old and another daughter due in august. My oldest has been playing in my make up with me since she was 2 ! you are doing nothing wrong, you are doing what more mothers should do, spending quality mommy and daughter bonding time and having fun, my 4 year old has her own lip gloss and chapstick that she carries with her, she comes get her nails painted when i do (not fake nails just painted). they are girls, i only wish my own mother would have done those things with me. Dont let ignorant up tight rude people bring you down !

  60. Cassandra

    May 1, 2012 at 1:52 am

    I saw an article on this on Yahoo, and think that any controversy over this is RIDICULOUS. If your daughter likes makeup, let her like makeup. The progressive society we live in wants everyone to accept people for who they are- a little boy wants to be a girl?….then we accept it. A little girl wants to be a boy?…. then we accept it. A LITTLE GIRLS WANTS TO WEAR MAKEUP?!?!?!?! OH NO THAT CAN’T HAPPEN.

    If we care so much about allowing people to be who they are, then it needs to be with everyone. Some girls like makeup, even when they’re really little. It doesn’t matter, as long as they are safe and secure and loved. EVERYONE deals with self-image consciousness, it’s not just because women are “expected to wear makeup”. People seriously need to mind their own business.

    • Deb

      June 27, 2012 at 5:01 am

      Spot on.

  61. MARYF.

    May 1, 2012 at 2:40 am

    PEOPLE NEED TO MIND THEIR OWN BUSINESS .THERE IS BARELY ANY THERE. ,AND IT MAKES HER HAPPY LET HER BE. AND HER MOTHER IS RIGHT THERE. SO WHAT IS THE HARM??????????

  62. Pingback: Fashion ModREn » Mommyish blogger Lindsay Cross sparks hate campaign for putting make-up on daughter, 4

  63. Friendly ghost

    May 1, 2012 at 8:41 am

    News flash to Lindsay Mommy:
    Your 4-year-old is not a “toddler”.
    A lot of girls “play dress-up”, but then Mom understands that she is supposed to wipe off the makeup afterwards, so your 4-year-old doesn’t look trashy. Sorry – – that’s what most people think.

  64. Pingback: Miract Beauty » Blog Archive » Four-Year Old in Make-Up: How Young Is Too Young?

  65. Victor Golf Charles

    May 1, 2012 at 9:41 am

    Congratulations, Cross-Haters. Your comments made it into the Daily Mail for everyone to laugh at.

    –Victor Golf Charles, M.D. (Marriage Defender)

  66. lilgtogirl

    May 1, 2012 at 10:17 am

    The fact that none of you see anything wrong with this is exactly why girls are out of control by the time they are 12 in this country. There is no reason her 4 year old daughter needs to be like her neurotic overweight mother who uses make up to mask the fact that she knows she is ugly. These are not lessons to teach a child. I am shocked that people think this is OK. God forbid she spends that time with her child reading or doing ANYTHING of value. Nooooo. As long as her ugliness is passed on to a child too young to deal with it, that is what is important.

    • notahater

      May 1, 2012 at 11:49 am

      Your comments are disgusting- this article says nothing about this mother’s parenting outside of special occasions when she allows her daughter to put on some make-up. Read to a child? Who the hell says she DOESN’T do that? Special occasions are rare, and she even admits that most of the week she doesn’t wear make-up at all.

      And making hateful comments about the mother’s appearance because you disagree with her allowing her daughter makeup shows what a classless, nasty, disgusting human being you are, and I’m sure if you have kids, they’re a lot more messed up from your disgusting attitude, then her daughter will be from having a mother who allows some makeup.

    • proudmomma

      May 1, 2012 at 12:33 pm

      What a horrible thing to say! You are apparently not a parent because I don’t think any parent would say such a thing and if you are how would you feel to know your child was told she or he was ugly? There is nothing wrong with what this woman chooses to do with her child and who are you to judge her? What gives your the right to critique her in any way? Make up is necessary for performances and being on stage. It makes them stand out. My daughter is a dancer and when she performs it really makes her pop and stand out for the judges. Just because a child wears make up doesn’t mean it should affect their self esteem. It is our job as parents to teach our children about inner beauty.

  67. Barbara

    May 1, 2012 at 10:41 am

    I think this MOTHER needs some serious parenting classes.

  68. Pingback: Is a 4-Year-Old Too Young to Wear Make-up? « Family First

  69. Pingback: Entry Seven | Life In The Fun Lane

  70. Tonya Larsen

    May 1, 2012 at 12:52 pm

    I see nothing wrong with a parent that appreciates the fact that their children want to pretend to be just like them as long as it is not harmful to anyone in which this case it is not. It’s when a parent doesn’t spend quality time with their children or talk to them about important issues they may face throughout life and just let them run wild that puts their parenting skills into question.

    GO LINDSAY!!!!

  71. Marilyn

    May 1, 2012 at 1:09 pm

    I have a BIG problem with the comment this little girl made “I NEED it to look pretty”???? A 4 year old???? Come on. NO 4 year old needs make-up to look pretty, they already are pretty. To me that is very sad…..this mother is making a terrible mistake in letting this little girl believe that she is only pretty when she has her face made-up…….Please put the make-up to the side for at least another 10 years and let this little angel know that in this world you need a great mind to go with looking pretty to be a success.

  72. Krystal

    May 1, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    So I came across this post…. IT MAKES ME SICK. WHY YOU ASK.. Because we all watch Toddler and Tiaras and look at them no one makes them take the show off T.V. I have two girl’s 8yrs and 4yrs both love to dress up and have their hair nails and make- up done. I do this I love having that type of Mommy time with them. This world is so sick in the head to try and bash a mother who is just spending at home time with their child. I have allowed my girls to wear make up when they have had Photo’s done. My girls even get make up for Christmas that is real and is sold in the Children Isles. Why not lash out on the companies that make the make up for the Kids. Really PEOPLE GROW UP AND FIND SOMETHING REAL TO COMPLAIN ABOUT. LIKE JOBS, INSURANCE, MONEY ISSUES, THE NEXT PRESIDENT, FORECLOSURES, THE END OF THE WORLD STOP TRYING TO TELL OTHER PARENTS HOW TO BE A PARENT AND BE ONE YOURSELF.

  73. Megan Geyer

    May 1, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    This type of parenting behavior likely will have harmful psychological consequences. My response @ http://megangeyer.wordpress.com/

  74. Shari

    May 1, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    My daughter did the same thing when she was a toddler. She went to preschool everyday with lipstick and light eyeshadow. My daughter is now 12 and she has received her make- up kits since she is 7 years old.
    There isn’t anything wrong with it, as long as fun.

  75. Dana

    May 1, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    I can’t imagine why all these people are jumping all over you-so silly! I have a 4 year old daughter who has been “playing Mommy” with me for years. When I put on my makeup, there are some days she will sit with me and ask for a little bit, so why not. She knows she is beautiful with or without it-it’s just a bit of fun. My findest memories of my Gran are watching her in her light up mirror putting her make up on & sharing some with me. Keep spending this time with your daughter and being a great Mommy!

  76. sheila

    May 1, 2012 at 5:31 pm

    omg….i cant believe people are acting like this! i have a 5 year old and she puts makeup on all the time! she likes to wear lipstick and eyeshadow! shes a girl for crying out loud!!! its ok people! its not like we are putting them out on the street corner! i mean come on! people are just trying to make a big deal out of nothing! let her be a girl and a child! let your daughter wear makeup if she wants! thats your business!!! 🙂 she is a beautiful little girl btw!

  77. Pingback: Daily Uh-oh: Mom criticized for allowing 4-year-old daughter to wear makeup - OC Moms: The Mom Blog : The Orange County Register

  78. Mrs. Lynn

    May 1, 2012 at 6:56 pm

    Meh. I wore makeup as a kid. For dance recitals, pictures (just enough to make my features “pop”) and for fun. I wasn’t allowed to wear it to school or every day, just sometimes. I’m not in favor of children wearing makeup every day but I don’t think you’re harming your child either. People need to calm down.

  79. kramer

    May 2, 2012 at 1:54 pm

    Great message- you’re only pretty with makeup on.

    It’s important to look pretty on photo days or for recitals, so here’s some makeup.

    Yeahhhh

    • Pinto

      May 7, 2012 at 3:31 pm

      Honestly, I don’t see how you can get to that conclusion. I have a three year old, who begs to ‘have some too’ whenever I drag out the makeup box for an event, who’s favorite part of Halloween is having full-on ridiculous makeup all over. By playing dress-up with some eyeshadow and lipgloss, all you’re teaching your daughter is that makeup can be a fun game to share with Mom. I think the only way a child would start feeling like she must wear makeup to be pretty is one who has learned that a ‘beautiful’ woman doesn’t step outside with makeup on. And there are plenty of moms like that out there.

  80. Pingback: Mom, I’m sorry… » Jennifavor

  81. Pingback: Four-year old in make-up: How young is too young? | WakeUpFace

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  86. gabby

    August 14, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    i agree, four year olds wearing make is them wanting to be like mommy.

  87. cella

    August 18, 2012 at 4:36 pm

    i have no problem with it. i’m a stay at home mom for the most part but i also do makeup & hair on the side so my daughter obviously knows this & wants to join in the fun. we play dress up or i do her makeup & she does mine lol i don’t let her wear it out often but by the time she’s 4 who knows she’s 2.5 now lol & around the house or for special occasions who cares?? she loves it & she knows she’s plenty pretty without.

  88. ErinM

    September 21, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    As adults, we wear makeup mostly to cover our “flaws:” foundation and concealer to hide the blemishes, mascara to make our eyelashes an acceptable length, blush to make our cheekbones look higher. That’s not how little girls see makeup, unless you tell them otherwise. They see fun colors to put on their faces, much like picking out what color shirt they want to wear that day. No one outside of pageant mothers puts eyeliner on a child while saying “you need to wear this because your eyes are too small.” THAT is what’s damaging to children, telling them that there’s something wrong with them that needs to be fixed.

  89. Fei

    November 9, 2012 at 5:05 am

    My 6 year old loves to wear “make-up” on special occasions too. Just some pale eyeshadow and lip gloss (I don’t even wear eyeshadow). I don’t think it’s bad, she’s not a super girly girl – she likes animals, bugs and nature. She loves reading and writing and drawing and making. If every now and then she likes to put on make up and spray herself with her “special dora perfume” then what’s the harm?

  90. Pingback: Baby Perfume, Smell, Cosmetics, Dolce & Gabbana, Designer Baby

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  92. maybebat

    June 18, 2013 at 1:17 am

    Everyone is being ridiculous. Makeup is fine on little ones as long as it doesn’t become a crutch or a necessity for them. As long as they understand they’re beautiful with AND without makeup, it’s fine.

  93. Pingback: Is It OK For Little Girls To Dabble In Makeup? | TUTUZ NEWS

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