Sep 5, 2018 By Chrissy

When should you let your kids start wearing makeup?

If your kids are between 9 and 15 years old, chances are they are going to start taking an interest in makeup. Whether they’re starting to see other kids their age wearing makeup to school, or they’ve discovered makeup as an outlet for their creativity, eventually your children will broach the subject in some fashion. But when should parents allow their kids to start wearing makeup?

I grew up in a strict household, and my mother was never one to spend money on frivolous things when I was a kid – not unless it was for a special occasion. In fact, most of my clothes were six year old hand-me-downs from my older sister. When I was around 14 years old, I started to get jealous of the other girls in school who wore shiny lipgloss and expertly applied eyeliner to their lids during homeroom. But, I knew it wasn’t a subject that I could bring up with my parents, who never did much to encourage my creativity at that age. They wanted me to be focused on academics – not that I blamed them. So, I resorted to sneaking makeup into the house behind my mothers back. Sometimes I would sneak off to the drugstore to buy dark lipstick and eyeliner on the way home from school. Sometimes I would steal makeup from my older sister, who was already in college. I rimmed my eyes with thick eyeliner, caked about two centimeters of foundation on my face, and painted my lips a glittery blue before homeroom every day, and then I would wipe it off before I got home from school. No one ever taught me the meaning of moderation because I really had no one at home to talk about this stuff with. 

One day, when I was already 15, my oldest sister came home for a visit. At some point during her stay, my mother realized I had stolen her foundation and ripped me a new one. She told my sister to take me out shopping for my own age-appropriate makeup, and that’s when I finally got some education about cosmetics. Luckily, my sister was a chemist so she also talked to me about harsh chemicals and what they could do to my skin.

Looking back, I wish I could have come to my mother and bonded with her over girly things like wearing makeup. So, my advice to mothers reading this article is to have an open conversation about makeup with your children whenever they start to take an interest! That being said, it’s not unreasonable for you to set some ground rules.

So, what’s an appropriate age for your kids to start experimenting with makeup?

I think this should be up to you and your kids! As a parent, you know your children best – every kid is different, and some are certainly more mature than others. I think the most important thing is not to stifle their creativity. But if you’re really struggling to come to a decision, here are some general guidelines – purely based on my opinion:

If your kid is under 13 years old…

Most children this age may not be mature enough to be trusted with wearing makeup outside the house. You may not want them looking too old, because that can give some people the wrong idea – not that they should be responsible for how others react to their appearance. But the most important reason to avoid letting your pre-teen kids wear too much makeup for more than a couple hours is to protect their young skin. Kids under 13 years old aren’t prone to moderation, and they can develop a bad reaction to the harsh chemicals found in makeup. 

It’s a good idea, however, to let them experiment with cosmetics at home and under supervision. There’s nothing wrong with letting them get creative and allowing them to celebrate their love for beauty!

If your kid is over 13 years old…

If your munchkin is over 13 years old, it’s perfectly normal for them to want to wear a little makeup to school. Some of their peers have already begun to sport a full face of makeup, so it’s natural for them to want to experiment too. However, I think it’s important to also stress the important of embracing their inner-beauty and let them know that while a little makeup can be a confidence-booster, they’re certainly just as beautiful without it. Teach them that less is more, and that makeup should be used to enhance their existing beauty – not cover it up!

"Makeup could be a great bonding experience not just between a mother and her child, but for fathers too."

Start with a little lipgloss, and maybe some blush. Adolescents going through puberty commonly face acne for the first time, and may want to cover up blemishes with a little concealer. When they have shown that they can be trusted to stick to the rules, perhaps you could allow them to venture into eyeliner or mascara. Experiment with them! Makeup could be a great bonding experience not just between a mother and her child, but for fathers too. Pull up some youtube tutorials and try out a few natural looks for school. Then, try out some outrageous looks just for fun!

A good brand to start out with is the popular drugstore brand, E.L.F., whose products are both wildly affordable as well as effective. For tweens battling acne, try Neutrogena Skinclearing Blemish Concealer

No matter how old your child is, your heart may skip a beat when they first start wearing makeup – after all, your baby is growing up! Just remember that a little curiosity is natural at any age, and you can either get on board and help them figure out what’s best for them, or be totally caught off guard when they’ve started wearing makeup behind your back. In my opinion, not allowing an open and ongoing conversation about makeup and beauty can hold your child back from their creativity, embracing their inner-beauty, and understanding the pitfalls of society’s beauty-norms. Encourage your kids’ independence and creativity by being part of their makeup journey.

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About Chrissy

Christina Pham – or Chrissy – is qôket's founder, a web developer and designer with over a decade of experience, and an award-winning blogger. She loves to write about her sleepy life and share her thoughts and ideas about fashion, dating, beauty, and more!

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