Children wearing make up – is it okay?

Children wearing make up

I have to say. I love a bit of makeup. I am not one to plaster it on every morning but do have a quick three minute make up routine. We are our children’s guiding light so when it comes to our children experimenting with make up. Recently a friend told me that her daughter had started pilfering her own make up. And an innocent lip balm given to a child can soon be experimented with as blusher and eye shadow for a special occassion, before they get their hands on a lipstick with the latest Princess magazine that grandma buys not on your watch. So when it comes to children wearing make up, where do I stand?

The answer is…I’m not sure. I believe in children having the freedom to express themselves and not squishing their inner desires. But when it’s closer to home, I have to admit – I do a bit of an inner cringe when confronted with “look mummy I’ve put on some makeup”. After all, our children want to be like us don’t they….

So as I try to “let go” around this topic, I though it would be interesting to hear from other parenting bloggers on what their stance is around children wearing make up….and here’s what they had to say…

Just for fun is okay

We are going out to the theatre tonight and my 8 year old begged for some eye shadow. I don’t mind that but wouldn’t put anything else on her and only for special occasions as I don’t think it’s great for their skin so young. Plus I want to keep her little for as long as possibe!!! – Pink Pear Bear  

I have a 6 year old and 16 year old daughters. My 16 year has loads of expensive make up and wears it when she goes out with friends etc so obviously my 6 year old wants to wear it to be like her big sister. We don’t mind her wearing a little bit if she is In the house as it’s something she thinks is fun and is just an extension of dressing up for her (only eyeshadow and lipgloss) but I wouldn’t let her wear it out of the house. – Newcastle Family Life

My daughter is 4 and has her own play makeup for the house. She loves to give us all “makeovers” and loves having it done on herself but she knows to not wear it outside and it has to come off. – Then There Were Three  

I don’t think there’s any issues with playing at home. My 5 year old boy loves painted nails and I always used to stick on a bit of bright blue eyeshadow from my Girls World when I was young but wearing it out and about is a bit different. I think it’s quite terrifying seeing girls as young as 11 and 12 with a full face of make up. Let kids be kids, they grow up quick enough. – Rock and Roll Pussy Cat

My daughter is turning five next month and she has her own vanity table with make up (eyeshadow and lipglosses) on it. She does her make up occasionally for play time, not as if she’s getting dolled up to go out! I think it’s okay for fun and self expression. She doesn’t feel horrible or not as beautiful without it. It’s just playing for her. – Mum of A Premature Baby

I wouldn’t let my daughter put a full face of makeup on but I don’t see the harm in the odd bit of lipstick or glitter eye shadow. I’m not really into makeup but she loves it (she just turned 5). I guess it’s a bit like face paint? It’s just a bit of fun and a way to express their creativity at this age. – Coffee and Cwtches

Because mummy does

I have a 2 and a half year old. She already loves to role play with me when I put on my makeup, pretending to put it on her face in the same way. I see no problem with this, but I personally do think wearing makeup out in their early years is too young. They have years ahead of them to do this, they need to cherish their young beautiful skin. – My Best Make

I let my six year old daughter wear a bit of eyeshadow and lipgloss but only if we are going somewhere nice . She always says she wants to be beautiful like me even though I told her she doesnt need make up as she is naturally so beautiful so I also stopped wearing it because she said the same to me. – The Knight Tribe

I see no issue with playing with it at home. They’re mimicking what we do, and I see it no different to dressing up in a costume. However i wouldn’t want it to be an every day thing and would make sure it is a game rather than something they think they “need”. – Odd Hogg

Let them express themselves

Having a 9 year old with pink hair currently I let them express themselves. My daughter can put on some makeup at home if she wants to experiment but I wouldn’t let her out with a face on. I have let her have lipgloss and tiny bit of eyeshadow on for special occasions. I wear makeup a few times a week- I don’t bother if not leaving the house and my 19 year old only wears it for nights out so I feel that my daughter gets exposed to both wearing makeup but also seeing her main role models without more often than not.  – Emma And 3

I don’t wear make up at all but my 13 year old (nearly 14) uses it and has done for a year or so. She experimented at home before then at a young age. She is self taught, artistic and a lot better at it all than me! Experimentation at home and expressing yourself is part of growing up. They’ll find their way and if u are too strict it’s likely to back fire anyway. I’d have thought she wouldn’t be interested but it lets her express herself creatively in another way. That’s great. She’s looking at Nail Art now. And that’s pretty cool. – Kiddy Charts  

All the dislikes

I wonder if I’m being naïve but I really don’t like it! My daughter is nearly five and I’ve felt very uncomfortable recently about an invite to a ‘pamper party’. I know it will happen and when it does I’d prefer to teach her how to do it subtly – and do it well! But I certainly don’t want it to be a focus right now, so for the time being it’s nail varnish for special occasions (when she asks) and nothing more. – Less Refined Mind

My daughter asked me this week “when can I wear make up?”. I explained that she’s very beautiful and never needs make up but if she wants to wear it one day we can discuss it again at 13. If they do too much too young what do they have to look forward to when their older? She was more than happy with that. – Happy Mummy

I really dislike little kids wearing make up but I think if you banish it, it only makes it more appealing. We were allowed a little nail polish (clear or slightly glittery) and lip balm sticks for special occasions when out as kids and that’s what I’ll do too. Occasionally my mum would put a little bronzer or blusher on us but I now realise it was an empty brush! A little here and there is my intention, they soon realise it isn’t THAT fun! – Devon Mama  

Not even on the agenda

My daughter is 13 and has never shown an interest in make-up. I still think she’s too young for it now and wouldn’t want her wearing it. She wears it on stage, but that’s all it’s for. I don’t wear make-up myself (or even own any), so she probably has an unusual role model in me!- Mum of Three World

I don’t really use makeup myself so my daughters haven’t shown any interest in makeup at all. – A Mum Reviews

It’s so interesting to read everyone’s opinions on this topic don’t you think? Which camp do you belong to when it comes to children wearing make up? Do leave a comment and join the conversation.

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11 comments

  1. It’s a really interesting discussion and I do think it’s each to their own. Personally if my daughters wanted to play with make up for fun I wouldn’t have a problem, but I certainly wouldn’t be putting it on them for special events 🙂

  2. Wow. Having a boy I’d not really considered it but even he, at two, is infatuated with my overflowing make up box. Doesn’t every child’s want to emulate their mummy in all that they do. I wore make-up from secondary school. Having taught for years you could tell how excited Year 6’s were at discos when they trialled a made up face, with varying success. I think as a special occasion some sparkle and gloss is a treat bit any more than that just feels a bit too much for little people.

  3. This is really interesting. It is not often I am on the fence, but I am not sure which way I swing here,

    My step daughters are 5 and 8 and if they have a rare day at home with their Mum they come to us caked in it, I wouldn’t mind but the 8 year old has such sensitive skin so I try to discourage it from that perspective. She potentially has years ahead of her where her skin could be problematic, I don’t want her to start so young.

    But I think Kiddy make up is fine as long as they are not going out caked in it.

    As one person said, if you make too big a deal they will want it even more.

    I do find girls aged 12-15 covered in make up, contoured faces and the like way too much. Be young, Wear dodgy eyeline and heather shimmer lipstick like we did at that age!

    Great post!

  4. I had terrible skin from a young age (8yrs) and not being allowed to use consealer etc as I got older and felt really self conscious had a massive effect on me. I’m a massive advocate of natural looking makeup – using it to enhance what you have naturally and now that I have a daughter who even at 2 years old is OBSESSED with my makeup I think I’ll use that interest and my experience as a way to help teach her how to apply it properly…and clean it off properly. Some people are blessed with perfect skin and dark thick lashes, others need makeup to help. If my daughter wants to wear it in a natural way then I don’t have a problem with it. X

  5. I think it is okay for fun at home, my daughter is 11 and hasn’t really shown an interest otherwise. I know some girls start wearing makeup early at high school, I think if it is subtle it is not a big deal.

  6. I really do think it is one of those things where the more you tell them not to the more they will want to. It is hard though to find a balance between a little bit of lip balm and been totally caked in make-up.

  7. Very interesting article. I never wore makeup till I was 13, not even nail polish. Not sure what I’ll do when I have kids. I’m sure they’ll see me putting on makeup each day and want to have a go. It’s a tough one.

  8. I think for play and fun at home, is fine. I also think a little is ok as a teen, but full make up is not necessary for kids for every day. I see some parents letting their kids get their eyebrows done and wearing fake tan, and I have to wonder. My tween is allowed lip gloss and a teeny bit of mascara to go out. I am probably very strict though, I think their skin doesn’t need it.

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