Should teen girls wear makeup?

Recently, I heard my daughter and her friend dissing some girl at school, “She wears so much makeup. She looks so slutty.”

I would love to get a look at the girl. With Sephora exploding in popularity, I’m wondering what teen girls today consider “too much makeup.”

By the time I started high school, my older sister had talked me into buying loads of makeup. To this day, my makeup drawer is stuffed with shadows, glosses and liners and I’m immediately drawn to any cosmetic counter offering a gift with purchase.

I’m not into the runway model look but lately, I find myself encouraging my daughter to dab on a little mascara and lip gloss on her way out the door for high school. Is there a right age to encourage your daughter to wear make up, or forbid her from wearing it?

Tween girls are experimenting with makeup earlier but apparently the interest is fading quickly.  The percentage of high schoolers using makeup is lower than it was a few years ago, according to market research firm, The NPD group. Both lip gloss and mascara saw a drop in usage among 13-17 year olds. 

Coaxed by tween pop stars, girls 10 to 12-years olds think makeup is exciting and start wearing lip gloss (the most used cosmetic)  and move on to mascara. (the second most used cosmetic). Tinkerbell and Hanana Montana-branded lines are huge money makers and are contributing to the tween surge in interest. Did you know that Disney and Mac have a partnership to sell eyeshadow for tweens?

Even more interesting to me is that by age 18, young women are looking to keep their skin healthy and want tried and true products. Their experimental phase with makeup is over, the research found.

Beauty industry experts say learning to use cosmetics is a mother-daughter bonding experience.  In a recent article by the Associated Press, Teen Vogue editor Eva Chen says, “Someone definitely needs to tell girls not to try to look too old too fast.”  I agree, that definitely is mom’s job.

I asked my friend, Cheryl, mother of a 13-year-old, whether she allows her daughter to wear makeup. “I’m okay with it as long as it looks natural. I don’t think a little lip gloss and mascara will make a difference in how she behaves.”

I have to agree with her. I’m really not into forbidding makeup. I’m glad to hear teen girls are figuring it out on their own.

At what age do you feel it’s appropriate for girls to wear makeup? Have you found that teaching your daugther how to shop for and use cosmetics is a bonding experience?

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1 Comment

  1. Jodi January 26, 2012 at 8:12 pm

    I have a friend who is a junior high teacher, and has a daughter the same age as my oldest. She told me that she sees girls come into school in the morning go into the bathroom, apply ALOT of make-up and then are back in the bathroom at the end of the day stripping it off so their parents won’t see it.
    After she told me this, I decided that I would rather “let” my daughters wear make up, so that I can at least know they were not doing it behind my back, and I can see how they leave the house everyday. Where we live, eye liner is big, and most wear black. My daughters also wear cover-up, to hide their “teenage” skin.
    I feel like my girls do pretty well with make-up. They are naturally beautiful (that’s not just the mom talking by the way) and I think they have learned to apply the make up the enhance their features, and it looks good. When I attend school functions, or see girls the same age out in public, I see girls with WAY more make up then my girls wear, and some of it looks pretty hideous. I want to be able to help my daughters decide what is appropriate and not appropriate. I want them to feel comfortable around their peers, because that is so important at this age for their self confidence.
    And let’s be honest here, I don’t want them to be one of those girls that I mentioned above, that other mom’s are looking at thinking “Look at that girl…..look at her make-up!! I can’t believe her mother lets her go out like that!!”


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