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All Dolled Up: Teens and Makeup

When should teens begin wearing makeup, and what type is age-appropriate?

The first time I took an interest in wearing makeup, I was about thirteen. The girls on my block would go to the drug store and pick up all these neon lipsticks and eye pencils and literally paint their entire face.

I wasn't allowed to wear it, but I would sneak and put it on once I got to school and wipe it off before going home. I thought I was just too cute-- hot pink lipstick and electric blue eyeliner drawn heavily on my bottom lid, assuming I could get away with it.

And of course, the first thing my mother would notice was this bright, blue residue rimming my eyes and stained lips. She was livid. I never really understood why she made such a big deal, until I had my daughter. The battle of, “Mommy, why can't I wear makeup?” began, and this time I was on the other end.

Makeup and teenage girls go hand in hand. They begin taking an interest in it around the age of twelve or thirteen, especially with the influence of music videos and peer pressure. This is when you, as the parent should decide whether or not this is a good idea.

As parent myself, I understand how allowing your little princess to wear makeup can make you a little nervous. However, if you let her experiment and set a few parameters, there isn't too much to be concerned about.

Although I think makeup should not be forced on a teen, it's okay to introduce some products without implying she needs it. For instance, let her try a black-brown mascara to enhance her long eyelashes. This color combo is much softer and will not make her look “older.”

A neutral or soft pink lip-gloss with a slight shimmer may work better than a lipstick. The look of lip-gloss is still youthful, whereas a lipstick is highly pigmented. Eyebrow gel will teach her how to keep her eyebrows tamed and groomed.

And speaking of eyebrows, the one thing you definitely want your daughter to stay away from is over tweezing. Remember, Brooke Shields was the trendsetter for them. She did not pluck her bushy brows until well into her late twenties.

I encourage you to email me if you have any questions about makeup and teens. I work with plenty of young girls who love to wear it, and my mission is to introduce them to techniques that are age-appropriate and won't scare you, the parent, half to death.

*This is a reprint of an article that ran on Bed-Stuy Patch on December 10, 2011

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