Is there still such a thing as being 'too young' to wear makeup?


When did you start wearing makeup? No, let me rephrase, when were you allowed to start wearing makeup? 

We asked you on Twitter and this is what you had to say: 

So most said over 18, after leaving school.

Of course, this is not Merica where high students are allowed to wear civvies, makeup and colour their hair however they see fit; but many parents are allowing their children to wear makeup when they're younger than 18. Say to parties, when going out with friends etc.

I think I discovered makeup along with shaving my legs. And like shaving (which I initially thought was a task needed to perform every night as a bath), I was immediately exhausted by it. What goes where and how do I even?!

READ MORE: Brows so great we've considered sticking caterpillars on our faces to match theirs

But I took to lipstick. Which still rings true today. I think that was my mom's influence. She always wears lipstick. Always. (Tangerine to be exact, that goes beautifully with her red hair.)

But we are constantly told, like Manrepeller notes in this article, that "babies shouldn't look like women."

In 2011 there was mass outrage over a shoot Vogue France did using a 10-year-old model, Thylane Blondeau. Dressed in couture and perfect makeup, people questioned the appropriateness level.

Vogue shoot.

READ MORE: Most beautiful girl in the world' Thylane Blondeau steals the spotlight on Cannes red carpet 

Kylie Jenner started her own cosmetics line when she was 16, and thinking about kids like Willow Smith, 17, Millie Bobbi Brown, 14 and Yara Shahidi, 18, makeup is just a part of their lives from a young age. They are the ones teens, tweens and kids aspire to, especially with the accessibility to info that social media creates.

Image: Giphy

And children emulating adult fashionistas are already evident on Instagram, which influencers aged 7, 8 and 9 years old having thousands of followers.

Little girls with dreams become a woman with vision?.

A post shared by Sai De Silva (@scoutthecity) on

So, are kiddies who beauty vlog/social media influence, next? It's already started. 

Bella, 7 

Aima, 5

I don't think this is such a bad thing, though. It does make me cringe when I see those pageant babies all spray-tanned and groomed to the hill, I admit. But by telling women that they shouldn't allow their teens or kids to play around with makeup because it's inappropriate, or to tell a child to stop putting on her or his mom's lipstick, polices her or his behaviour in a way that denounces their natural gravitational impulses. 

Maybe this could be their future career or passion. It's similar to telling a boy not to play with dolls because it's too 'feminine'. 

Sophia Swanepoel, editor at Parent24 says, “I love seeing my two girls playing with makeup. It’s exploratory, it’s creative, and it’s an early outlet for their forming identities. They are still very, very young (the oldest is 8) so they only play with makeup at home or at playdates. But I have no problem with girls wearing makeup to a school dance, for instance. 

“I think it’s all about context. I have a strong reaction against the Vogue shoot, mostly because the styling was clearly done by adults for adults, and it has nothing to do with the tween’s self-expression.”

Dr. Jamie Howard, a clinical psychologist, notes that parents should use common sense to determine whether makeup is prematurely sexualising their kids, reported in this Daily News article. He said that parents should focus on teaching their children to accept themselves the way they are, and not to 'need' makeup to feel good about themselves.  

Local educational psychologist, Anel Annandale emphasises this, saying "The difference for me lies in the emphasis on beauty and perfection that we place on the use of make-up, while dress-up and face painting is about exploration and giving outing to different aspects of your personality.  It is very healthy to allow children to experiment with different looks and types of dress.  Your children (both girls and boys) may want to imitate you by wearing your shoes or lipstick and this is totally normal from time to time, but we should guard against raising our children to believe that they are only "pretty" or "presentable" or "acceptable" when they have enhanced their features with makeup.  As women we do ourselves and our daughters a great injustice by directly and indirectly placing greater value on beauty than on courage, strength and intelligence."  

The discourse in which girls are told not to wear makeup because they'll look more 'adult' or like a 'slut' also needs to be done away with. Lets rather police the behaviour of predators, rather than restrict girls from wearing makeup for their own protection.  

Tell us how you feel, is it appropriate for teens under 16 to wear makeup? Why, why not? Email us

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