Age-Appropriate Primping

We all did it as little girls. You know, sneak into Mom's vanity drawer and gorge our faces with the delicious bounty of lipsticks and eyeshadows, blushes and cold creams. Little girls love makeup -- and as they start to grow, it becomes a key player in forming their grown-up identities. But for moms, it's not easy. How do you draw the line between the fresh, pretty-girl look... and that of the hot, sexy nymph?

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Some take-away tips for moms

Be celebrity-savvy

Find a celebrity both you and your daughter like who wears makeup you'd be comfortable with your daughter emulating. Find out what products they use or what colors they wear and show them to your daughter as an example of a look you're comfortable with.


Be aware of the trends, along with which makeup products her friends are allowed to wear and what they're actually doing. It isn't always the same thing. If everyone in her peer group is allowed to wear makeup to school, perhaps it's time you compromise with your daughter so that your strong stance doesn't backfire. You don't want your daughter to be that girl in the class who caked on makeup the minute she got to school, only to take it off before heading home. (Note: If you're friends with the moms of your daughter's friends, it would work to all of your advantages to have a set of guidelines you all agree to abide by with regard to your makeup rules.)

Be consistent

With regard to makeup rules, it's important to be consistent. Both parents need to be on the same page across time. Don't say "yes' sometimes and "no" other times. Also be consistent across children. If your older daughter had to wait until a certain age to wear makeup, hold steadfast to the same rules for your younger daughter.

Pick your battles

At the end of the day, you don't want mascara to come between mother and daughter, so it's important to decide what you feel most strongly about and to compromise on the rest. If your daughter wants to wear lipstick and you're against all makeup, perhaps a barely-there pink gloss would satisfy you both.

For more on teen beauty and fashion trends:

Tips for dealing with disastrous teen fashion
Teen piercing trends: Earlobe gauging, stretching and body piercing
Top 10 Teen Celebrity Hairstyles of 2009!

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Tags: teen fashion

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Comments on "Tween makeup: Sweet or slutty?"

Primrose February 09, 2014 | 7:47 PM

If your child is going into womanhood, (has already gotten her menstruation) and is getting breakouts and wants to try to conceal it, then that should be perfectly fine as long as you let her know that she shouldn't be cake-ing her face with foundations and powders. Honestly all this talk about not letting your daughters where makeup until the age of 18 is absurd. But, everyone has their own opinions. You women are so over protective watch your daughter go out and end up doing whatever she wants because she is sick of her over protective mother. Sure, of course set boundaries but 18?

Trisha January 03, 2014 | 9:08 AM

Okay,when it comes to make up on tweens I think they should go like this:Just a little blush for a light shimmer,some mascara(preferably clear),and lip gloss.when they go into their teen years its best to give them permission to start wearing cover-ups.And by the age of 16 they can really start having fun with makeup like using eyeshadow,eyeliner,and maybe lipstick.By then they should be able to think for themselves what products they want to use(etc....) Just my opinion on things........

Nicole January 02, 2014 | 5:34 PM

All of the girls at my school wear some kind of makeup. Wether it only be a little bit of concealer under the eyes or a face smothered with foundation, eyeliner, mascara, eyeshadow, blush and lipstick. I think its kind of weird that girls my age (12-13) are going all out like that, but I'm not really one to follow the crowd. I think a little mascara and concealer is plenty.

:) July 02, 2013 | 6:19 AM

i think that tweens should be allowed to wear makeup, to a certain limit. caking your face with foundation and wearing false lashes is a bit dramatic for a tween. i'm 12 and I have acne and i'm really insecure. a little bit of makeup can boost your confidence! I curl my eyelashes, apply a bit of eyeshadow to my inner corners, apply concealer, and wear some lip balm or lip gloss, depending on what I feel like.

Victoria June 26, 2013 | 6:06 PM

I am 14 years old and I feel that makeup should be allowed for tweens. Makeup doesnt have to be ------ or trampy. I have a lot of acne, redness, and discoloration in my face. I wear a primer, foundation, concealer, powder, blush, black liner, black mascara, and I fill in my eyebrows. I don't wear eyeshadow normally, not because I don't have it (because I do), but because I don't have enough time in the morning. I waer a black liner because I have black lashes and dark brown eyes so it doesn't look harsh on me. I don't wear makeup to please others, (which is what this article implies) but to make me feel better about myself. /yes there are tramps and s in middle school, but if a girl learns to apply the makeup right, then she will look just fine.

Kim June 24, 2013 | 12:19 PM

I started out this year with only a mascara, eyelash curler, and a lipstain/chapstick duo because i only really liked the chapstick, but then at the end of this year it escalated to 150 eyeshadows, bronzers, blush, 6 mascaras, 6 eyeliners, 14 lipglosses, 2 lipsticks, perfume, etc. Then again im a dancer and a gymnast, but growing up around that makes me, a 13 yr old wear tinted bb moisturizer, eyeliner, mascara, lipgloss, eyelash curlers, translucent face powder, 2 concealers, and primer everyday (almost) it sounds like alot but its a base and some days I wear really matte eyeshadows but thats really only for Bat Mitzvahs. My family (except for father) wanted me to take it off at first but it grew onto them. I think its fine

Marisa June 11, 2013 | 9:50 AM

Im 12 and all I ever wear is some VS clear or light pink lip gloss. (it's all that helps me for cold-sores). I'm kinda nervous though because next year I'll be starting middle school and I have really bad acne. I came from a small elementary school so no one really cared because they were just used to it. But next year if I have nothing covering it up, what if kids make fun of me? I just don't know how to ask my mom about it.

marissa November 01, 2012 | 2:16 PM

i am 15 going on to 16 i only wear mascara i want to wear other makeup but the problem is that i will mess up my face. but i am also confident in myself without it i just want to wear it because everyone else does and i feel like i am the only person in my school without it.i think that a tween should be allowed to wear makeup as long as its not that noticeable. i have a little sister that's 10 and shes always wanting to wear makeup because my twin wears it. i personally think that if i couldn't wear it when i was 10 then neither should she. plus the younger you start the more your face is touched by the product and would overtime change your face. if a tween is having acne problems powder and any type of foundation isn't the best answer to cover up, a dermatologist is. when i was 10- 12 years old i didn't even know about makeup, until i started 9th grade. but if your daughter wants to wear it and shes insecure make sure its good quality not drugstore and cheap and make it barely noticeable natural is better no caked on makeup though you don't want her to look like she just came from a carnival and got her faced painted. overall let her be happy with herself but make sure it enhances not change her beauty.

Clara April 26, 2011 | 8:19 PM

I'm 19 now but I've not once in my life worn make up, partly because I disagree with it but also partly because of the image it gives off. I didn't/don't want to be seen as some weak girl who'll do anything to get a guys attention. I'm stronger than that, my mother has never understood and so tries to force make up on me all the time. To me, that's bad parenting! Is there any advice for people like me (although we are a minority)

Emma April 25, 2011 | 5:44 PM

Hi, I'm in middle school, and I partially agree with this article. I used to wear a little black eyeliner, mascara, and eyeshadow, which STILL wasn't as bad as some girls at my school who have half their eyelid covered with black eyeliner and the other half with eyeshadow and has a face covered in foundation. The truth is, I'm really insecure, and wearing a little makeup makes me feel better about myself. So, if it boosts your self-esteem, and not worn just to look y, then a little brown eyeliner and mascara ISN'T that bad; it has really helped me. I sometimes wear no makeup, and other times I just wear some light eyeliner and lip gloss. However, I don't suggest letting your daughter wear a whole lot. She immediately becomes (unfairly) one of the school tramps.

Anastasia March 28, 2011 | 6:18 PM

Hey, there, I am having this discussion with my Daughter now. We don't approve of makeup for young girls, that is tweenies. Girls need to understand that they are worth more than what they look like and need to de-emphasize their focus on having the perfect look for others to approve. Why base a girl's worth on what she looks like? Do we really put this much emphasis on how the guys appear? NOT hardly.

Jen February 02, 2011 | 9:24 PM

I'm 13 now - I first started wearing makeup when I was ten. Nothing much, just some eye shadow, lip gloss and blush. Now I regularly wear Chapstick, blush, neutral shades of eyeshadow, and mascara. Mom doesn't mind because she says she can barely even tell (all she wears is red lipstick) I think the privilege of wearing makeup at a young age has helped me be more experienced with what I put on my face. Now I'm better at applying it and making it enhance my face, not make me look like a clown. I don't wear makeup every day - just when i feel like it. It gives me self-confidence. I think every girl should be able to wear at least some neutral or basic eye shadow by the time she's 11 or 12.

evey December 20, 2010 | 7:44 AM

I started to wear make up last year when i was 16. I think its fine for a tween to were make up around 15 but not too much i started wearing all nude and light foundation but now its a bit darker but not too much just beigey.

eniola ajayi December 04, 2010 | 3:57 AM

it nice and lovly

Dee June 15, 2010 | 9:30 AM

I think teaching a tween about makeup needs to be done in babysteps. Less is more when it comes to application, age appropriate and they need to use proper cleaning methods. If they start off using just a little at first, then they'll have the time to learn how to use makeup to enhance their beauty as young women rather just cake it on and look fake. Just my thoughts.

Maureen Halvorsen April 22, 2010 | 3:17 AM

Looks ugly on tweens, not natural

Swanzy April 21, 2010 | 11:26 AM

I used to wear makeup as a tween. It had nothing to do with appeal, either. My face was full of zits, my hair was greasy, my lips chapped, my eyebrows hopelessly bushy and my body pasty and gangly. Makeup was the only thing that could tame my awkwardness. I don't necessarily think it's ty. I think it's just part of that awful transition into womanhood. Heck, if a little gloss and some mascara is what your daughter needs to feel secure at 14, let her wear it. Just don't allow red lipstick and fishnet tights, and you'll be fine.

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