When Should You Let Your Child Wear Makeup?

two teen girls applying makeup

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I am a big fan of makeup. I think it’s a fun way to express who you are without any permanent changes.

Makeup can make us feel good about ourselves, but it can also go too far. No one should feel they need makeup to be beautiful, especially not children.

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When Should Children Be Allowed to Wear Makeup?

Middle school is a good time to let children start experimenting with makeup daily. Makeup allows for personality and artistic expression. It has also been shown to increase confidence during an age when uncertainty and self-doubt are all too common.

How to Handle a Child Who Wants to Wear Makeup

Young children, particularly girls, love to play with makeup. It makes them feel grown-up and sophisticated when they can walk around with long eyelashes and bright red lips.

There is no harm in wearing makeup for fun. The arguments begin when a child wants to start wearing makeup every day.

Explain the Purpose of Makeup to Your Child

My 11-year-old daughter participates in competitive dance. She must wear a full-face of makeup for every competition. This includes dark lipstick and false eyelashes.

She started participating in competitions at age seven. At the same time, I started telling her that she does not need makeup to look beautiful. She is already beautiful inside and out.

She only needs makeup so the judges can see her features through the bright lights of the stage. I repeat this mantra at every competition and photoshoot.

I believe this is one of the reasons she has never inquired about wearing makeup. She looks at it as a utility rather than an accessory.

Occasionally, she will ask me about the makeup I am wearing. I explain to her that it makes me feel happy, but it doesn’t change who I am inside. She has accepted that and, I believe, has applied that to her own young life.

There are times when this tactic can backfire. One time, my daughter asked me about the makeup I had on for a date night with her dad. I said, again, it doesn’t change who I am, but it makes me happy.

She told me that I looked prettier when I wore more makeup. I took her at her word. I found my reddest lipstick and painted my entire face with it.

I then chased her around the house, yelling, “Is this pretty enough?” while we laughed until our stomachs ached.

Date night was put off for a while until I could clean the red lipstick off of my face, neck, and clothing, but it was worth the memory.

Understand the Differences Betwen Everyday Makeup vs Makeup Occasionally

different types of makeup

Some people say that makeup is damaging to a person’s self-esteem. Studies show the opposite. Positive emotions can stem from feeling more confident about one’s appearance. This is especially vital during the teen years.

Children, teens, and adults should not feel as though they need makeup to feel good about themselves. Likewise, they should not be made to feel bad about their choices regarding appearance.

If a teenager wants to cover acne with some concealer, there should be nothing stopping them.

The true problem arises when younger children want to wear makeup every day. Constant use of makeup on skin that is still delicate and sensitive can cause some physical damage.

At what age should you let your child wear makeup?
Age 13 is about the right age for skin to be developed enough to handle small amounts of makeup on a regular basis.

Choose Your Battles

When I was in junior high, I knew girls who weren’t allowed to wear makeup. They would all put their makeup on as they rode the bus to school. After school, they removed the makeup as they were on their way home.

At the time, it felt as though their parents were unreasonable, and this small act of rebellion was perfectly acceptable.

I can’t help but question why these parents were so staunchly against makeup. For some, it may have been their religious beliefs. Others may simply want their children not to grow up too quickly.

There are many reasons not to wear makeup, but all of these are personal ones that each individual needs to decide for themselves.

I believe parents must choose their battles with care. It’s wiser to focus on serious issues like drinking, drugs, and general safety than worry about eye shadow.

Dangers of Makeup

Makeup isn’t all fun and games. There are times that makeup can be harmful. Some makeup is made with chemicals that cause adverse reactions.

It’s not rare to have allergies to some ingredients in makeup as well. Teens who struggle with acne may find makeup irritates their skin, which makes the breakouts even worse.

There are some brands of makeup that continue to practice animal testing. Luckily, there are several cruelty-free makeup brands, including low-cost options like e.l.f and NYX.

Butter Gloss goes on smooth & creamy and is never sticky, leaving your lips soft

Don’t Let Them Start Wearing Makeup Too Early

Makeup is fun for kids, but everyday use shouldn’t start too young.

What are your thoughts on makeup? We would love to hear your thoughts. Share with us in the comments!

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Frequently Asked Questions

The ideal age to start letting your daughter wear makeup is about 13 years of age. If the child is too young, their skin might not be developed enough for the makeup.

The ideal age to let your child start wearing makeup is about 13 years of age. Before then, your child’s skin might not be developed enough for makeup.

You can let your 11-year-old wear makeup. Most girls start wearing makeup between the ages of 11 and 15.

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11 months ago

This is such an interesting topic. Like you I have a child in a competitive sport that requires makeup during performances. She does not like to wear makeup even then. Her and her sister are very confident children and seem to have healthy self esteem. Both are not in middle school yet. I’m sure in a few years they will start caring about their looks and makeup but they don’t seem overly concerned with their appearance rather they are focused on their sports and how training to be good at it.

We have a friend who’s daughter has worn makeup since she was 7. It always looks strange. She is allowed to watch YouTube and instagram unsupervised and I think it’s had a negative impact. She seems very insecure and looks focused – always putting on makeup (which looks odd imo on a young kid) worries about what her hair looks like her face and clothing looks like and mimicking teenage YouTube chatter. It is odd to see young kids wearing makeup out and about and imo it reflects poorly on the parents – WHY does your child feel the need to wear makeup instead of focusing on other things? It’s not cool to say in this day and age but boundaries and rules are things that kids need to thrive.