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More and More Tweens Wearing Makeup ... Are Yours?

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Kate Meyers: If you have a pulse, a TV, a computer, or any number of iProducts, then you are bombarded daily by pictures of beautiful women.

tween girl applying makeup

So why would it surprise anyone that, according to a study cited this week in the New York Times, the use of mascara and eyeliner in American girls aged 8 to 12 has nearly doubled in the last two years? These girls get the message they're being sent. The question, is should we assist them down the slippery slope of beautification?

I tend toward a middling stance. I'm not escorting my daughters, aged 12 and 15, to the cosmetic counter at Nordstrom, but I'm not forbidding it, either. I buy them lip protection, an occasional gloss and I've even been known to thrown in a $8 wand of Maybelline. But the rule is, if they want hard-core product, they've got to come up with the do re mi.

At that point, they usually convince their step-grandmother. She loves makeup and loves to spoil them. And while, yes, I am embarrassed by their extensive Bobbi Brown collection, it's a battle I'm willing to let go of.

I tell my daughters that they are beautiful from the inside out all of the time. But I think it's important to let them experiment and figure out the face they want to show the world. The less I say, I have noticed, the more they figure it out. As it turns out, my girls have become impressively adept at applying makeup. I see their styles (minimal!) evolving -- and I'm glad I've been able to step back and let it happen. Plus, they love being stylists to their makeup-challenged mom, and I love letting them. As an added bonus, they even occasionally listen to what I think.

next: The Ink Test
6 comments so far | Post a comment now
renee May 1, 2010, 8:19 AM

i let my daughter have 1 makeup item a year. in 5th grade she got gloss,in 6th grade she got colored gloss,this year i allowed eyeliner…ugh.raccoon eyes is more like it. all of her fiennds wear it so i allow it. next year she will get mascara.this is our agreement,she sticks to it so i dont complain but i also explained to her how to use makeup and that if she puts it on wrong or uses the wrong colors for her she will look like a clown…so far so good.

Elizabeth May 1, 2010, 6:38 PM

I have shown mine how to apply make-up at home. She did not wear it out. I am happy to share a pink lipstick or pale pink shadow on a special occation. For now, she is satisfied with this and sometimes wears shiny lip gloss. She is just ten.

Danielle May 2, 2010, 6:36 AM

My daughter is only 2 ^_^ but when she’s older and not an everyday thing(14 years old)I’d let her only wear the lip stain stuff from the body shop, it’s awesome and isn’t sticky or thick. It stains you lips like freshly bitten berries!! I don’t wear any make up but I would wear the lip stain. It retails for $15 but I recommend that for any age! As for any other make up…I’d let her wear finger nail polish and I’ll help her shape her eyebrows properly.

Sara May 2, 2010, 7:22 AM

I love how they act like this is new.

I wore makeup in middle school and so did all my classmates. Lipgloss and nail polish weren’t abnormal to see on a little girl then.

tennmom May 2, 2010, 4:31 PM

I started wearing foundation at 11 because I had bad acne.
I wore “full makeup” at 12, but sparingly, as demanded my very smart Mom.
My 10 year old likes nail polish, just a swmidge of a light colored eyeshadow and some lip gloss now and then but has no desire to wear anything other than nail polish to school.
My 12 year old hasn’t liked so much as nail polish since she was 4. She’ll wear an SPF colorless lip balm if I insist on it.

julia May 6, 2010, 8:38 PM

My girl is 11 and doesnt wear makeup except for lipgloss and nailpolish. (how does that count as MAKEUP?)

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