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When Should You Let Your Daughter Start Wearing Makeup?

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When your tween daughter asks if she can wear makeup, how do you respond? You might remember her playing and experimenting with makeup when she was four or five. That was cute. This is not.

You may feel that your daughter is too young to wear makeup. But then again, you may not want to instill a zero-makeup rule because she might just go behind your back and wear it anyway. What's a parent to do?

Understanding the Pre-Adolescent Mind

In pre-adolescence – ages 11-13 – girls are just starting to become influenced by their friends and the media. Many girls at this age look up to celebrities as role models, and that often means emulating the way they look. The media also influences a young girl's desire to feel beautiful.

Along with makeup, young girls at this age often want to change their hair. Some want to try new colors, while others ask for hair extensions.

Whether or not you allow your daughter to wear makeup at this stage is a personal decision. But if you do, experts suggest that you be involved in your daughter's application of makeup so that she understands what is acceptable and age-appropriate.

Playing the Waiting Game

If your daughter is still a tween, you may decide that waiting is the best option. Some moms feel that high school is an appropriate time to start allowing girls to wear makeup.

If you do decide to make her wait, consider explaining to her why she has to wait instead of putting an outright ban on makeup.

Discussing Motives

Before making a decision, many moms advise having a talk with your daughter about her motives for wearing makeup. Does she want to appear more attractive? Is she being pressured by friends to wear it? Is she trying to look more grown-up?

Her answers may influence your decision. And respecting those answers will give her the feeling that she's in control and has some responsibility for what she asks for.

Coming to a Compromise

Maybe you don't want your tween wearing a full face of makeup, but you're okay with a few things. Coming to a compromise may be a good option. Many moms find that this is the route that works best.

Decide what you're comfortable with. Maybe it's okay for her to wear lip gloss and subtle eye shadow, or maybe you're okay with her filling in her eyebrows and wearing mascara.

Some moms also have rules about where their daughters can wear makeup. They might be able to wear some makeup to parties, but not to school.

Guiding Her

Whatever age you allow your daughter to wear makeup, it's important to teach her how to apply it properly. Go with her to buy the makeup, so you can help her choose the right colors.

If you can, consider working with a professional makeup artist to teach her how to apply her makeup. Most professionals are more than happy to follow your wishes (i.e. creating natural looks or only allowing certain products). She'll learn how to put on her makeup and which colors work best for her. She will also be more likely to take the advice of a professional and be more willing to follow the rules as a result.

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