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Teens & makeup: What's OK for school?

Kori Ellis is an editor and writer based in San Antonio, TX, where she lives with her husband and four children. At SheKnows, she writes about parenting, fashion, beauty and other lifestyle topics. Additionally, Kori has been published i...

Makeup for teens

Though many young teens wear makeup on special occasions, your daughter may want to start experimenting and wearing makeup every day for school. Don't let her go out of the house with bright blue eyeshadow, overlined lips or caked-on foundation. She'll embarrass herself (and you!). Instead, figure out together what's OK for school and what's not.

Mom and daughter applying makeup

Establish a skin care routine

When teens pack on too much liquid foundation or pressed powder, it's often because they are trying to cover pimples and blemishes. Talk to your daughter about establishing a skin care regimen to help her take care of her skin properly. If her acne is severe, see a dermatologist. The doctor will be able to provide her with topical and/or oral medication to reduce breakouts and get clearer skin.

Taking care of teen skin >>

Give her a book

Bobbi Brown Teenage Beauty is a book every teenage girl should read before she starts applying makeup. Beauty expert Bobbi Brown answers questions about skin, hair, makeup and the body. She covers the basics of skin tone, color selection, makeup application techniques and so much more. The emphasis is on natural beauty and healthy living. Brown stresses that limited makeup should be applied to highlight your face, not cover it up. The book is available at Amazon.com and most major bookstores.

How to apply makeup >>

Keep it simple

Three coats of mascara, glitter eyeliner and deep red lipstick aren't appropriate for school. Natural-looking makeup, however, is suitable for teens.

Eyes: Brown eyeliner is generally a safe bet. It enhances the eyes without looking overdone. If she loves mascara, one coat of brown mascara on freshly curled lashes should do the trick. Save the jet black and bright colors for parties.

Lips: Lip gloss or tinted lip balm is better than lipstick for teens because it's more subtle. Bright red, hot pink, deep purple or black aren't appropriate lip colors for school. Pale pink, peachy brown and light coral lip gloss will give her some color while still looking natural.

Face: If she needs to even out her skin tone (or hide blemishes), be sure that she knows how to apply concealer properly. She should use a very small amount that is as close to her natural skin color as possible. Apply to the area with a tiny brush and blend, blend, blend. For foundation, mineral powder is light, won't clog pores and can be used all over the face without looking cakey.

Applying mineral makeup >>

Have a mother-daughter makeover

If you can't get your daughter to come around to your way of thinking when it comes to makeup, take her to the pros. Head to a makeup counter at the mall for a mother-daughter makeover. Sephora, Estee Lauder and other brands offer mini makeovers and makeup how-to's that are perfect for teens and moms. Your daughter will be shown the right way to select colors and apply cosmetics to allow her true beauty to shine through.

The 7 deadly sins of makeup >>

Pick your battles

If your daughter insists on wearing black eyeliner and she's getting straight A's, there's no reason to make a big issue of it. Continue to put the emphasis on natural makeup, but don't sweat the details. If a little eyeliner makes her feel more comfortable, then be willing to bend the rules a bit. You can also compromise and let her wear makeup her way one day of the week.

For more on teen beauty and fashion trends:

Tips for dealing with disastrous teen fashion
Teen piercing trends: Earlobe gauging, stretching and body piercing
Tween makeup: Sweet or slutty?

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