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How to solve the makeup debate with your tween

Your daughter is leaving the age when your forbidding things had terrifying implications. So if your daughter shows interest in dabbling in some makeup, help her out instead of alerting the village elders.

Tween girl applying makeup

To be quite blunt, there is no debate. Your daughter probably grew up watching you apply makeup and, shockingly enough, is now curious about it herself. As a parent, you can either teach her how to use makeup in an age-appropriate way, or you can shut the door to it altogether and watch the emotional fireworks.

Oftentimes girls are interested in makeup to seem older, which terrifies the living lights out of any parent. But let’s be honest: If you don’t help her out, her friends will, and that is not what you want.

Don’t ban it

The thought of your little girl strolling around with raccoon eyes and purple lipstick might set off all alarms, but get a grip! If your daughter approaches you showing an interest in makeup, the last thing you want to do is be uncompromising and negative. Remember, she came to you for advice; recognize the sentiment.

Also, if you ban her wearing makeup at home, she will most likely cake it on at school. So just set boundaries, maybe by special occasion, or limit the amount of makeup she can wear based on her age. Be open and understanding, and listen to your daughter.

Teach her how to use it

If your daughter does decide to wear makeup on occasion, teach her how to apply it. The last thing you want is flaking mascara and blue eyeshadow up to the brow. Watch some instructional YouTube videos together, and fiddle around with what’s in your makeup bag at home. It will be a fun bonding experience, and she will pick up useful tips. This would also be a great moment to reinforce those age-appropriate boundaries.

Check out tween to teen and how to keep communication lines open >>

You can even take your daughter to the makeup aisle at your local drugstore and let her pick out the brands she likes, but with your guidance. Tweens often refrain from “kiddie” brands and are more likely to look for the adult ones. If you treat your daughter as a “grown-up” instead of forbidding makeup use, she is more likely to follow your advice and go easy on the eyeliner.


First of all, examine the example you are setting. If you are self-conscious and complain about leaving the house sans war paint, your daughter might pick up the same habit. Try to maintain a healthy self-image, and your child will follow suit.

Second of all, girls in the tween stage are going through puberty and will be start to be afflicted with blemishes. You daughter might be embarrassed by the state of her skin, so start by teaching her about proper skin care. Pick up a few cleansers and maybe some acne treatments. Only in dire cases should you advise her to use a concealer.

Third of all, organize a little girlie session, and talk about images in the media. Your daughter might be getting a very narrow message from the internet and magazines, so talk diversity. Perhaps show her examples from different sources (of maybe some “natural” models), and talk about a healthy self-esteem. In this day and age, girls are bombarded with skewed ideals and unsustainable, unrealistic perceptions of beauty, so broaden your daughter’s mind.

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