Letting Your Daughter Wear Makeup – How Old Should they Be?

If you have taken a stroll through any middle school lately it is easy to notice that restrictions on make up aren’t what they used to be. When most of us mothers were kids, makeup was taboo until at least high school and we carried it deep down in the zippered pockets of our book bags so we could slip on a little lip-gloss when we got to school. After all, all the cool kids were wearing it and being cool was definitely important. Today, the cool kids haven’t changed a bit; you know the ones that seem to have infinite sleep-overs, expensive clothes and who are allowed to wear all sorts of deep, dark and glossy makeup to school every day of the year. Thank goodness for those cool kids that make life easy for the rest of us. Raising boys must be a breeze; but you are raising girls here.

Obviously age is a consideration to letting your daughter wear makeup. If she is in 2nd or 3rd grade and wants to wear makeup to school, you can bet that there is a girl in her class who does. But limits are necessary. Simply explaining that she is too young to do so is enough to say and this is a perfect opportunity for you to discuss natural beauty and where real beauty comes from with your little girl. Chances are the kid in her class wearing makeup has a big sister at home and she is just emulating her behavior. However, around the 5th or 6th grade and throughout middle school, saying no is just not enough. Why? Read on.

When girls hit 10 or 11 years old they become awkward. They move funny, many gain weight in all the wrong places, their hair gets greasy they don’t fit in girl’s clothes and junior sizes make them look ridiculous. Boobs are sprouting, hormones are raging and they are constantly hungry, whiney and hormonal. They also are under immense pressure from peers and notice all the ‘cute’ and perfect girls their age daunting Nickelodeon. This is the age where self esteem can be made or broken irreparably. If a light and rosy lip-gloss, a few spurts of hair spray and some mascara on the top lashes make them feel good about themselves; then what’s the harm in letting your daughter wear makeup? Consider that there is a pretty good chance they are going to do it anyways. If you don’t believe that, camp out in a middle school bathroom before school one morning and listen to and watch what goes in there. Just don’t let yourself be seen.

The best way to make the whole makeup situation a non-issue is to treat it as one. If your daughter strays into your makeup bag and puts on a little mascara, pretend to barely notice. If you freak out as if she just colored her hair purple (which may be coming one day) you are turning makeup into an issue and are succinctly cutting off any chance at dialogue about self esteem and beauty. The other thing to consider is that you are probably one of the triggers in your daughter’s life that makes them feel like makeup is essential. Admit it! How many times have you said ‘I can’t go here or there without makeup on’ or ‘I need my makeup I feel naked!’ If you are plastering on the war paint yourself your little girl is simply admiring you and your techniques.

Another point to consider when it comes to letting your daughter wear make up is this. If mom (or dad) freaks out and just says NO, demanding compliance and not listening to their reasoning or feelings about the issue, you are ripping away any shred of control and judgment of her own your daughter has. By giving in a little compromising that blush and mascara are fine but eye shadow is off limits, your daughter will feel as if they got their way and probably won’t push for the other stuff. They will also feel that you respect their decisions on the matter and will better respect your boundaries. If your daughter is just too young, then one good idea is to paint them up like a clown at home and let them look at themselves in the mirror. They will immediately realize they are much prettier without makeup.

Walk through the toy aisle at any local store. You will find that small makeup sets are sold that target preschool and elementary school kids. Make up is just part of being a girl for some girls. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the conversation of letting your daughter wear makeup is upon you. The important thing as a mother is to realize that you are raising little women and that what you say and what you do, especially as it pertains to body image and self confidence will last with them a lifetime. So many moms just get frustrated and say no before thinking about and remembering what it felt like to be a young girl in school. The fear of your daughter growing up shouldn’t be a basis for decisions like makeup. Sometimes a girl will ask about makeup when the reality is that they are just too young. Elementary school is not the time for makeup and highlighted hair. But as your daughter gets older and moves to middle school they will be grouped with bunches of girls that are 14-15 years of age who are undoubtedly wearing makeup to school. If the discussion seems to pop up too soon, then mandate an age and make darn sure that they get some decent makeup on that particular birthday.

It is also wise to save all of those mom sayings like; you are too pretty for makeup, you are prettier without it, you don’t need makeup to shine, and you don’t want people to like you because you wear makeup- to yourself. Your daughter is at an age where she knows that YOU think she is beautiful but YOUR opinion is worthless. She also knows that you will say these things whether she has a unibrow or acne but other people wont be as kind. If you’ show her how to apply makeup, allow her to wear just enough to make her feel ‘normal’ and listen to her enough to really feel what the whole thing is really about you can raise a woman who is self confident and who realizes that beauty is much more than skin deep. If you ignore the requests or are too strict about letting your daughter wear makeup when the age is appropriate you risk showing up at school one day seeing your daughter wearing badly misplaced stripper red lipstick and caked black mascara. Don’t believe it? Go and take that visit to a middle school girl’s bathroom and see for yourself.



16 Responses

  1. I’m 12 and I wear makeup. Parents can’t control there kids! If it makes us feel good about ourselves then we’re gonna do it! If you say no well still do it!

    1. I’m 11 and luckily my mom’s cool with it but parents really can’t control their kids! I mean like it’s super easy to just change into cool stuff you want to wear at school.

  2. Hi I’m 12 and I don’t feel as if I wear makeup to conceal or to ‘be cool’ as you put it. I like makeup, I love putting it on and experimenting, I love my Jaclyn hill pallete and my Real Techniques brushes and liquid lipstick and everything. I love YouTube tutorials and Laura lee and all the beauty community on YT. I say, if your daughter feels they NEED to wear makeup and it becomes a CHORE then don’t allow it. If your daughter wants to put on makeup LET THEM but only for the right reason of making themselves feel good and not to ‘be cool’
    Obviously my opinion won’t be accepted by the ‘responsible’ parents and the people who think twelve year olds are ‘immature, stupid, and don’t have a clue’ as what I have been told, way to boost my self esteem lol

  3. I’m 11 I don’t wear makeup because personally I think I don’t need it right now. But parents who think we are too young to wear makeup or we’re stupid kids, think about it are way, we here a lot of things from people in school and we know stuff. But I realized it doesn’t matter if you wear makeup or if you don’t because the kids who think they’re cool aren’t. The only reason that they’re popular isn’t because makeup it’s because they’re obnoxious.

  4. I’m 11 and I don’t know how to ask my mom if I can wear makeup. I only want to wear light makeup like foundation natural lipstick and a little blush. I don’t really feel very pretty. And I feel like wearing makeup might make me feel better about myself. I’m not saying I will only look pretty with makeup I’m just saying that it might make me happier about myself. Any suggestions on how to ask my mom?

    1. Maybe try showing her a video of natural makeup you are considering wearing. Explain to her that you understand what all of the products are used for and why you want to apply makeup, or what is your main goal of doing so. Also tell her that you know less is more and show her that you are mentally prepared and mature for this and that you’re doing it for the right reasons. Explain to her that you do not want to look too grown up and that you would like it if she would help you find out if the video you showed her is appropriate and good for you so that you guys can make a compromise and agree. Show that you understand her place as a mother to place judgment and make certain decisions on what is allowed and what is not, but also give your opinion in the situation and don’t be afraid to explain yourself. And remember that natural is better especially for younger girls… Because it will be a start to your makeup journey, as your mom will most likely consider allowing you to wear it if it’s not too much makeup cakes on your face to make you look much older than you are. You’ll get to a full face of makeup, but first start off with something simple just to get some mascara and lip gloss in your hands.

    2. First talk about confidence and self-esteem, and how you feel about yourself as a person. Then ask her for some advice on what you can do about it your main goal is to do something that will help you feel better about yourself. If she doesn’t mention makeup, then bring up how you would like to start practicing how to enhance some of your features and cover some of your imperfections now that you are getting older to the age where you’re going through changes emotionally and physically, and how it would make you feel better as a person. Ask her about what she thinks about you wearing makeup, and make sure you state how you understand the makeup choices must be appropriate for girls your age. Don’t be too pushy on anything, and bring up the subject casually, while being open to yes or no because she can always say no right away. Just be patient, and show that you are mature enough for it. As you are young she may not take you seriously in the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about makeup and an 11 year old is “rushing or growing up too fast” so you have to be ready emotionally for the conversation as well as if you do receive permission to wear makeup. You will get the time to do everything you want with your appearance when you are older, you just have to be patient. Your time will come.

    3. just tell her that you’d not feel as confident as of the moment and light makeup would really help you be boosted
      and just reason with her

    4. I get it. I’m 11 too! I’ve talked to my mom about this and she automatically says “no”. But she tells me that “you don’t have acne” or “makeup will make it worse” but I know if I get gentle, light makeup it will be good. I say you should try makeing sure that your mom knows that you only want light makeup. Over the years, you can slowly ask for more and more as you get older. That’s my plan ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

  5. I’m 13 and I wear mascara. Lip gloss. Foundation. I don’t need much as I’m a prettier version of julia roberts…

  6. I’m 11 and wear makeup and luckily my fam’s cool about it but if they won’t I’d be the first kid in the elementary school bathroom putting it on. You can’t control your kids.

  7. I’m 13 and I really want to wear black lipstick, but my parents think it’s too much. Why? Because people will view me differently? Because people will want to hook up with me? Because ill be judged?? I think it’s about the inside, not the outside. Appearance shouldn’t stop me from living life. I only want to wear it because I already tried to see what I would look like wearing it, and It looks awesome (I tried using eyeliner to get the same effect as using a matte black lipstick). I don’t wear it so people can find me cute, or so that I can feel like I “fit in”, it is just a self-esteem booster. If people find it weird, or if they find me cute, that their problem, not mine. If safety is the issue, and my parents are worried someone will grab me inappropriately, then they should get me something to defend myself with. Also, I don’t post pictures of myself on social media. They do let me wear clear mascara and eyeliner though, so it’s not like they are extremely restrictive. But, I really feel like they should let me wear black lipstick. I already know all of the risks of wearing it at my age so I would take precautions. Am I wrong for wanting to wear black lipstick?

    1. I personally think that black lipstick may look a little mature for a 13 year old, just because it will make you look much older than you are like almost an adult. And that’s not always a good thing. Everything has its time and place, and even though that’s something you want to do, there’s always going to be time to do it and in the meantime you are of age to ask about some other forms of makeup that is more appropriate for girls your age. Black is a very dark color, so it may not look very good on you had such a young age. Just be patient and start off with lighter makeup, you’ll get there eventually.

      1. I’m 12 years old and when I asked my mom if I could wear mascara she was like, “No way, you’re way to young. Act like a kid.” My mom said no but I do chores for money and anytime I’m in Walmart etc. I’ll say I need to use the bathroom and I’ll buy mascara and put it on at the restrooms at school. Moms can’t control us as much as they think they can…

  8. My 9 year old is always playing with my makeup at home and sneaking in some of my nighttime lotions and potions. She thinks I’m a big deal haha. I am taking her to Ulta to get clear mascara, lip oil, and a moisturizing cream in a fancy looking jar for nighttime. I also got her a very nice smelling perfume in a big pink bottle from TJMaxx. You can work with kids, at the end of the day, being harsh and ignoring their plea just means they won’t come to you for bigger and more important things. It’s hard to raise girls and keep them safe. Just give it some thought and use it as a bonding moment —and of course set boundaries with what YOU as a parent are comfortable with.

  9. I personally think i’m old and mature enough to wear makeup, but my mother thinks differently. I have not yet to tell her how insecure i am about myself, Any suggestions on how to work things out?.

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