So, I was just sitting there braiding my 11 (almost 12) year old daughter’s hair the other day and she very sweetly asked, “So, Mom when can I wear makeup?” Inside, I kind of fell apart for a moment. But somehow I managed to not overreact (outwardly). Not even a little bit. I am not sure why I didn’t see this question coming. She is, after all, going into middle school. I guess I just ignored the fact that it was time to deal with this milestone in my daughter’s life so soon.
I went with my gut and told her she could wear lip gloss and mascara (and a little cover-up).
But I have not stopped thinking about this question. Did I make the right decision? Should I have made her wait another year? Should I have let her wear blush too?
I do not think a sixth grader should be piling on the makeup. And yet, I remember in middle school when my Mom would not let me wear any cover up to conceal the really dark circles I was born with. I got so much grief from everyone about how I looked like I was on drugs. It was awful. I hated it. And every girl I knew got to wear a little makeup. I remember how absolutely crushing that was for my self-esteem as a middle schooler and middle school is already hard.
So, when I made this decision to let her wear minimal makeup, I was not sure I was coming from the right place. I am not sure I had anything other than motherly instinct guiding me. And I was not sure that motherly instinct was right. So, I decided to ask other moms of daughters what they had done or what they thought. I had no intention of relying on commercials or media to determine the answer to this question. I went to my friends and I asked for their opinions about tween and teen makeup ages. Here is what some of them said.
Mom of one tween and one teen — “I base it on their personal needs.” For instance, she said sometimes they need a little more cover up for skin conditions. But she has them keep their makeup toned down and they are not allowed to wear dark dramatic colors.
Mom of one teenage daughter – She let her daughter start wearing makeup in middle school with blush, mascara, and some cover up. She did not let her wear dark lipstick in middle school.
Heather, mother of one teenager — “My daughter is 15 and wears makeup. She’s always worn makeup for dance performances but I started letting her wear it to school last year when she was a freshman. We buy the cheap stuff at the dollar store or when it’s on sale at Walgreens or Smiths. She has a job now so she’s started to buy some of her own.”
Joy , mother of three girls — “I can’t remember what age I let my girls wear make-up. But sometimes you have to consider their features. Both girls had very full lips and dark lashes…so even when they wore just tinted lip gloss, they looked made up. It was hard to find a balance. They wanted to wear it so bad, but there was a fine line between sweet and hussy…still is.”
Christy, mother of a sixth grader — “I got to wear make-up when I reached 6th grade. But my daughter shows no interest and thinks it is weird when girls that age are wearing make-up. So I am just going to wait and let her wear it when she wants to start. Probably start out with eye make-up only.”
Natalie — mother of a sixth grader is letting her daughter wear mascara but is still deciding on the rest.
I had lots of moms weigh in on this issue. Many of them seem to be going with their instincts too. Finding what is best for their daughters while not letting them lose too much of their natural beauty. It is obviously a personal balance every family has to make. I will, however, add my son’s two cents (he is 15). He doesn’t find it attractive when girls wear too much makeup. We are talking way too much makeup. That is just not his style.
I am sticking with my sixth grade rule of mascara, lip gloss and blemish cover up for now. I am going to go with my instincts here and maybe a little advice from some trusted friends. What is your opinion?