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Talking to girls about hygiene and skin care

Abbi Perets lives in Houston, TX, with her husband and five children.






Beauty tips for girls

Believe it or not, your tween daughter pays close attention to your beauty and grooming routine. Even if she's too embarrassed to ask, she undoubtedly has questions you could answer. Here are some easy ways to start the conversation.

Mother teaching tween daughter to apply lipstick

When my sister-in-law put makeup on my then 3-year-old, it was cute. But now that my daughter is 10, it's a whole new story. She's fascinated by the (admittedly pathetically few) skincare products that I have. She's mildly interested in the deodorant on my counter, and (thankfully) slightly horrified by my razors and shaving cream.

>> The first pimple: Talking to your kids about puberty

Right now, she still has the dewy, fresh-faced look of youth, but in a year, maybe two, she'll start sprouting blackheads and pimples. Her sweat glands will kick in, and that little girl smell will be replaced by something slightly more pungent. I, of course, am completely unready for these changes.

Fortunately, my job puts me in regular contact with experts like Deborah Hernan, beauty guru and creator of Ottilie & Lulu, a line of skin, body, and hair care products designed specifically for tweens.

So -- and remember, I do everything I do for you, dear reader -- I asked her for some tips on introducing tween girls to the idea of skin care, deodorant, and so on, without embarrassing anyone -- or making our daughters feel flawed.

Talking to tweens

Hernan points out that tweens are "extremely aware of their mothers' beauty rituals" and suggests using that interest to open the conversation. "Invite your daughter into the bathroom when you cleanse your face," she says. "Create an at-home spa evening for the two of you. It's a great opportunity to talk about realistic beauty, hygiene, exercise, and healthy eating."

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You can also find other opportunities for talking about these topics, says Hernan. When you're doing your shopping, "walk together down the feminine hygiene and antiperspirant/deodorant aisles," she says. Talk about what you're looking for, and explain why you use different products.

"Once you expose your thinking behind the products you select for your use, it helps to open discussion about what products your daughter might want to try and why they might be good (or not) for her," says Hernan.

>> Has your child started having breakouts? Get tips for dealing with teen acne here

Next page: Winter Beauty tips for tweens

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