What age should people be able to wear makeup?

I can see special occasions at younger ages but regular, fuller makeup is something in the mid-teens. It is a really tough balance to allow experimentation and help build confidence without giving the message of “makeup makes you look better and you look better with it.” I think that there’s no right/wrong age as it comes down to the person and their mental maturity really.

— Christine


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Nancy T Avatar

Very sticky issue! I was allowed to wear makeup at 13, my own daughter was allowed at 12. We were perhaps a bit young. Although neither of us wore the amounts we each wear today, I was allowed mascara, eyeshadow (which was nearly invisible because of my very hooded eyes!), a little bit of peachy-pink blush and a sheer lipstick. At 14, eyeliner, powder foundation, and being allowed to wear 2 e/s’s at once. My kid had similar guidelines. Didn’t follow them, but she had them!

Lynette Avatar

I would say mid to late teens, my mother didn’t let me wear makeup until I went into high school. She said she would not buy me any makeup and any products I wanted I had to pay for myself, she wanted me to know that makeup was a luxury, not a necessity.

kellly Avatar

This. I didn’t wear makeup until some time in high school. It just didn’t matter to me when I was young but in high school I got more socially aware and started following fashion and wanted to develop my “look”.

Ryou Avatar

Hmm I can’t really pinpoint an age, especially considering there are cases like allowing dysphoric trans kids to wear make-up can be literally lifesaving. All I would stress is that make-up is optional and not obligatory. It should be a tool of self-expression (regardless of gender) rather than something that’s required to fit in oppressive beauty standards. And then finish by stressing that beauty is not indicative of one’s worth.

Jade Avatar

I agree with Christine’s sentiments, it’s similar to what I did – I started wearing lipgloss and mascara from about 11 on “special occasions”, but it wasn’t until I was about 15 or 16 that I started wearing base product regularly. Then I’m pretty sure I didn’t wear eyeshadow etc until I was about 17. I feel kind of sad that full face makeup with contouring is the “norm” now, it’s a rite of passage to wear blue mascara and glitter lipgloss!! I did and it was the BOMB.

Lulle Avatar

I don’t know about an exact age, but I feel like wearing makeup on a daily basis isn’t something that girls should get into before high-school. I know that’s not something young teens like to hear (I know I didn’t) but taking the time to be a kid instead of playing grownup is important.

Lauren Avatar

As a parent of girls, I think it depends. My oldest is 11 and she is definitely too young. I think she can start wearing lipgloss and mascara in 8th grade. Eyeshadow seems ok around freshman of sophomore year along with complexion products for parties. She can also use a complexion product during the day in high school but exactly when and what will depend on her skins. If her skin is good, maybe junior year. But if she had breakouts and is self conscious about it, then earlier.

Wednesday Avatar

I think opening the door gradually is the best method. Wait for the child to introduce or ask. Have makeup available for role play and experimentation like you would with any other artistic endeavour. A closed door policy until you are such and such an age is just asking for backlash, imo.. Why not let some experimentation happen well before the teens years, so makeup isn’t such a big deal and perhaps it can help your teen avoid those teen makeup overkill years. Nah, you are going to want those pictures.
A stickier point: if you yourself never venture out the door without a full face of makeup, you are going to have a tougher time convincing your child they do not need to do the same.
I’m not a parent so… grain of salt.

Deborah Avatar

I am a parent of two daughters and your advice is spot on! I did this and it worked beautifully. Neither wanted a heavy makeup at any point anyway. No closed door policies – help them along once they are interested in wearing a bit of color on their faces. I agree with you!

Erica Avatar

Makeup is makeup. Nothing more. It cannot make you grow up any faster. I always let my daughter play with makeup and if she was little, like 8 and wanted to wear a little lip gloss or throw on some eyeshadow, I didn’t make it an issue. Why would I be upset? She’s imitating me. My rule is she had to follow school rules and look her age. She never really wanted to wear full on makeup until now. She’ll be 15 in May. So is there an age limit? Not really. It just depends on situation appropriateness and your intention for wearing it. There’s a difference between playing with makeup, experimenting and creativity and using makeup to hide or boost self esteem. If hiding a pimple makes you feel better, great. But makeup is also not the deciding factor if you are beautiful or not. My daughter is beautiful bc of who she is and she is with or without makeup!

Debbie Avatar

I believe in started kids off at about 12, but with some skin care. I took my daughter to the Clinique counter at that age and had her analyzed. Sunscreen and Lip Smackers came next, and nothing more major before 15.

misayomiss Avatar

17+ is an appropriate age for makeup….light lipstick or lips gloss from age 14+. Any younger and I feel like it borders on what the heck. Why does someone younger than 14 need makeup. I understand the whole confidence argument. BUT, when I was 13, which I don’t know…..was like 15-18 years ago, maybe my age is showing; I wasn’t concerned with makeup. I was worried with school, and how to get better grades, and extracurricular activities.

Nina Avatar

I’m in my late teens now and I have to say that sadly, many kids (especially 12/13 year olds) used to love teasing people about their acne or breakouts, so when I got some at 13 I wore foundation (in a horrible orange colour – I didn’t know better), lipgloss, and mascara daily. Since then I’ve gradually added eyeshadow, winged liner, and blush.
Until reacently I’ve been very self conscious about my skin and felt like I had to at least wear concealer, powder, and mascara to leave to door, even just to head to my local grocery store. Only after not being able to wear eye makeup due to an eye infection I feel comfortable leaving the house with no make up at all, but I still love it.
Being a university student also means that I have less money and energy to spend on make up, so I’m glad I’ve got to experiment those past few years.
But I agree that there are so many Things that are more important to focus on than having perfectly contoured cheekbones and “on fleek” eyebrows for school.
I went to a school for 5-12 graders, and it was sad to see how the younger girls (year 7/8) looked more and more like a kardashian with every passing year.

Erica Avatar

No one needs makeup at any but if you are highly creative like my daughter you enjoy playing around with makeup and always have. Why is it a big deal to let a little girl put on some lipgloss or wear nail polish? Aren’t you imposing your own fears and other issues when you prevent her from wearing it until age (insert age)? Of course I believe in following rules and age appropriateness so she never seriously wore makeup until 13 but also I never stopped her from playing with it around the house. Why? She’s imitating me and that is not a terrible thing. It is just makeup and it washes off. Her self esteem isn’t wrapped up in something superficial like lipstick. Js

Kendall Avatar

I’m sorry, what was that? I can’t hear you over my plethora of extra-curriculars, straight As, and blinding highlight (Becca, if you were wondering).
I’m in middle school and think that anyone should be allowed to wear makeup if they have interest.

Celesta Avatar

That’s a good question… I wasn’t allowed to wear make up until I was 15, but I was sneaking wearing make up at 13. I have family members that were wearing full faces of make up at 11 though, which I think is too young. I think starting to experiment around 13 or 14 is okay and once you hit high school to have your own make up routine.

Laura Avatar

I started wearing makeup when i was like 12. I would take my mum’s powder (she is like 3 shades lighter than me, to say i look horrendous was an understatement lol) and her lipsticks. I most defitenly didnt need it but ive loved makeup ever since watching my mum apply hers as a little girl. I think when your young, a little blush and lipgloss is fine, but we all have to start somewhere right. I would say that if you are really young there is no need to be over doing it with the dramatic full makeup look, but each to their own at the end of the day.

Christina D. Avatar

Great point about “building confidence without giving the message that makeup makes you look better…” Too young isn’t good IMO and while it may vary person to person, I agree later teens is probably a wise choice. Heck, I wasn’t allowed to wear any makeup until I graduated from high school at 17 so maybe that’s why now, as much as I love makeup, I never feel I have to put it on.

Efrain Avatar

For me it’s a really tricky question because I started wearing foundation when I was fifteen and now my sister is thirteen and she actually has only asked me to do her makeup for some parties (the first time she was twelve). I don’t think it exist an appropriate age to start as everybody have a different way to see life, as older people we have to encourage younger ones to be more confident whether they’re using or not makeup.

Right now my sister only uses tinted lip balms and sometimes borrows my loose powder, and I think it’s ok, but I don’t know how it would be if her school allowed them to use makeup; maybe she will use a lot of vampy lips as they’re her favourites.

Eileen Avatar

At 13, I was allowed to wear mascara and a little bit of lipstick to Sports Night (Friday night informal dance in the school gym). I’d also cheat a bit and use my Maybelline cake marscara to create a very fine line along my upper lashes 😉 When I was 14, I could do what I wanted so long as it wasn’t against school rules. Back in those days we had strict dress and grooming codes.

Cj Avatar

My mom and aunt took me to the Estee Lauder counter for a makeover just before I turned 13 (to start 8th grade.) I always considered it not only the perfect time, but the perfect way to introduce me because it felt like a rite of passage. It also seems like a good way to control the conversation/colors early on and possibly talk about makeup’s place – i.e. to enhance beauty or creative self-expression rather than to be the things that makes it.

Lacey Avatar

I’m not a parent, but I would be pretty loose with makeup rules. I think playing with makeup as a kid is fine. Wearing a little color at earlier ages is okay. I wouldn’t want my child wearing complexion make up to elementary school, but for me, it was a confidence issue in 6th grade (11-12 years old) when hormones triggered non-stop acne. It has always been stressed to me that I didn’t NEED make up to be pretty (and that my other positive qualities were more important), so it was a decision my mom let me come to on my own. She didn’t force make up on me, but she agreed when I asked to wear it regularly.

Deborah S. Avatar

It looks like many of us determined the age that was appropriate for our children to wear makeup based on when we began wearing makeup. The criteria for me to be able to wear makeup was based on when our Pastor’s daughter got to wear makeup. She started wearing lip gloss and mascara at 13 and then next day I was allowed to pick out a lipstick. My own daughter was a gymnast and dancer from the age of about 4 and for performances they were encouraged to wear some makeup just to show up “better” to the audience. When she was allowed to wear makeup outside of performances she wasn’t really interested and so throughout high school she only wore lipstick and then only occasionally. After high school she started having difficulty with acne that continues to this day. She discovered the power of makeup to cover her acne and a makeup addict was born. Today she is 22 and has a makeup collection that would rival most women twice her age. It is something we have in common and share not only the joy of applying makeup but the fun of shopping for makeup. When she was young and even now I always tell her that “she makes the makeup look good.” I do the same with clothing, hair styles, etc. She always makes it look good and not the other way around.

Ginny Avatar

Tbh I think 11 or 12 is fine. I had a stick foundation around this time to cover breakouts. And I definitely had some frosty lip balm, because it was Y2K. I was not interested in spending an hour on a contoured cat eye, and I think most preteens aren’t either. In most cases I don’t think access would lead to mayhem.

Stephanie Avatar

12 seems about right for me, with certain limitations. That’s about when I was allowed to wear lip gloss, tinted lip balm, light shades of lipstick, and maybe a bit of mascara out of the house. Once my daughter (who is now 5) starts high school, she will be able to do her makeup however she wants.

My boys are almost 11 and almost 13, aren’t struggling with gender identity, and they know some boys wear makeup but aren’t interested in it themselves. If they express interest at any time, I’m fine with it. Same rules as above – start at 12 or older, small amounts/certain types of products at first, but no restrictions in high school.

Of course this is completely arbitrary and my opinion may change by the time my daughter is around that age – and my daughter might not even be interested in makeup by then – so take it for what it’s worth.

Ellie Avatar

I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup to school and I was rarely allowed to go out because I had to study (where I’m from school was Mon to Sat, so Sun was for homework). I was allowed to wear nail polish as a teen, but I didn’t end up doing my makeup until I was in my twenties and even then it wasn’t an every day thing.
If everything goes well, I’m having b/g twins in April and I feel like I would do something similar, but more relaxed (times have changed!) with my daughter. Around her mid teens she’ll be able to do it for fun, but not as something that has to be done every day? Who knows, ask me again in a few years… 😀

Anne Avatar

I definitely agree with the mid-teens thing for when you can start wearing “your own” makeup. I’ve seen six year olds back in California with a full face of makeup and heels and it’s really unnerving. I do think the playing around with makeup things is up there with playing around with kitchen stuff and such, and fall under the umbrella of “play”. As long as it’s just kids having fun and no guidelines (and probably supervision so no one eats a lipstick or something…) than that’s fine. I think if mid-teen types are getting into makeup, if you have the resources as a parent or aunt or something and can get them into a class on the sort of “how-to” of makeup, and make sure they’re not using it only to deal with self esteem issues, than that’s fine. I also think it shouldn’t be gendered. If your 14 year old son wants to wear lipstick, LET THEM!

Roxi Avatar

My mom never wore makeup besides lipstick so there was never any rules for me regarding whether or not I could wear makeup and when I could. I started wearing makeup when I went to college but I bought many cheap products that were not so great for my skin (or my health; some lipsticks were so cheap and chemical filled that I wouldn’t consider safe to eat). When I look back, I also felt like foundation was not necessary when I first started, as I never even had skin problems; at 20, my pores were invisible that I could have gone without any base for just going to classes and stuff.
Now that I’m married and will be a mother someday, I think I wouldn’t allow my daughter to start wearing makeup too early, exact age depends on the environment and time I guess. If all of her friends are wearing it and she feels like it, it would just backfire if I ban it right. However the issue in wearing makeup too young, is the potential of damaging the skin. By the time I have a teenage daughter, makeup products are only gonna get better in quality, so it’s not like I believe makeup ruins ones skin or anything (if they buy decent products that is), but how many young people are really keen on the makeup removal + skin care part? I know I definitely had fallen asleep without a proper cleanse in my early 20s. So that is my only concern regarding wearing makeup at a very young age.

Bonnie Avatar

I guess the best solution to that one is makeup remover wipes. If the kids are lazy, or as in the case of many late teens/20s, wasted, it’s a lot easier to get them to use a wipe in bed that they can toss in the trash – no water needed. At least you might prevent some eye infections this way.

Emily Avatar

I’d say 13 or 14 would be about the right time. A little bit of mascara and concealer would be fine by me and my mum was relatively laid back about it. That said, I would have issues if my hypothetical daughter was wearing a full face of makeup to school at 15 years old. Kylie Jenner comes to mind. I think the key is to introduce it gradually and be involved in the process – I remember my mum taking me to get my first set of brushes at MAC, which was such a thoughtful gesture. Tools make such a difference, especially early on. Getting eyebrows shaped professionally and putting together a skincare routine would be something I’d introduce first because those are two areas where things can go very, very wrong. I think it depends on the person in question too, I was lucky to never really have had to struggle with teenage acne but I had some friends who did and in those cases, I would be willing to allow some a little bit of tinted moisturiser or a very light weight foundation.

It’s an interesting question because I love makeup but don’t love the idea of young girls wearing it. I feel the same way when I see babies with pierced ears – it just makes me feel uncomfortable for whatever reason. I guess I don’t like to see girls growing up too fast and being feminised so early. And then there are school rules too – I vividly remember being sent to the principal’s office when I came to school with painted nails one day. There was a strict dress code which included rules about makeup and hair colouring (nothing unnatural as I recall).

Rachel R. Avatar

I think 9-11 is fine for clear or lightly tinted lipgloss; 12 for light-colored lipstick, light blush, and mascara; and high school for brighter/darker lipstick and everything else. Foundation and/or concealer can start earlier if the child needs to cover acne. I think children can use play makeup at home whenever they start wanting to and can be reasonably trusted not to eat it. (My younger son wanted to play with makeup when he was about 4 years old and that lasted a couple years. I don’t have any daughters.)

LaMaitresse Avatar

I think a little bit around grade 8, so 13- 14 I guess, but if a child has acne I think she needs to be able to wear some sort of base that helps, like Cover FX that was developed by the dermatologists at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto.

Aeri Avatar

It’s a tough call, I think. I wore a lot as a kid for dance recitals and just general smearing ridiculous costume looks on my own face, but I didn’t start wearing it regularly or any semblance of “full face” until I was 11-12. I didn’t interact that much with my peers, so I think my parents were glad I was interacting with anything at all besides books/fictional things. (Or wearing elf-ears/ren faire styled garb to school.)

Charlie Elouise Avatar

I feel that people should be able to wear small amounts of makeup at any age and I only started a full face at 14 , but I think it should be the persons choice instead of there be a set age x

Angela Avatar

That’s what I think…I let my daughter make up her mind and in her way. I would every few months ask her if she wanted a makeup lesson and it was no for so long…then one day it was yes! ?

Dua Avatar

At the age of 15-16 start with Mascara / Lipglass / lip and cheeck Tints.

At 17+ BB creams with Concealers, Eyeliner and age appropriate / Natural makeup.

At 25+ welcome to Makeup Land gurl!

Kendall Avatar

You do realize that at the age of 18 she is a legal adult and can do what she wants? If she decides to go to college, chances are she will be ostracized for having no previous experience. This isn’t “protecting” her from anything, only exposing her to the potential of more bullying.
As somebody who has worn makeup throughout middle school, I don’t see the point of these rules. Nothing negative has ever happened to me or any of my friends who wear makeup, and I think that it has really helped my self esteem/creativity.

Dua Avatar

You do realize that people participating in this website conversations come from different countries, life styles, ethics, communities.

From where I come, we don’t encourage the girl to wear makeup at a young age and let her focus on whats inside more.

You may see it as bullying, but other call it raising up a child.

Remember .. Different Country. Different Life Style. Different Cultuer. ♡

Bonnie Avatar

She’s probably going to do what her peer group does. If she hangs out with girls who like to wear makeup, I don’t see her waiting until 24 to do a full face. But some women never take to it and enjoy it, and that’s okay too. I’m guessing since you are on Temptalia that you love makeup. Was this a later (mid 20s) thing for you, or were you interested earlier but had it frowned upon in your upbringing?

Dua Avatar

Just like ridding a bike, Makeup was worn in baby steps.

And you are correct, some girls wear makeup at a young age and their families are ok with that. Others do what their friends do, and its ok.

Theres no written rules on when and how to wear makeup, but that was opinion and I stated it.

Donya Avatar

I don’t know about the answer but I have observed my niece who is in competitive dance and has had to wear full on for stage looks since she was 6. She just turned 13 and has little to no interest. Fully confident bare faced. I think the mystery wasn’t there. I snuck makeup in 7th grade and my mom found out when my teacher told her I “primped in class”. I was so enamored with it because it was forbidden. Finally in 10th grade, she let me wear gloss and light blush. And like someone else said-it came from my own allowance. I think freshman is OK but each family dynamic varies.

Claire L Avatar

When I was growing up I never wore makeup, only play makeup or stage makeup for school plays. My own mum only wears a little bit of makeup now and again, usually when she has an evening out. I had a makeup palette from Boots 17 when I was 12 but I didn’t really use it. It was 1989 and the loud makeup of the 80s was dying out to the barely-there looks of the early 90s. So my peers didn’t wear a lot of makeup either.
I love makeup now but I don’t want my daughter to get into it early, I don’t want her looking older than she is. It’s fine if she wants just to play around with makeup but not take it seriously, like have proper makeup, until much later. Maybe it’s a bit old-fashioned but I don’t think I missed out on not wearing makeup properly early on. Once she’s old enough, I’d be happy to buy her makeup or for her to buy it for herself, say from 12/13 onwards.

Hildegard Avatar

While playing and experimenting with makeup is fun, there’s a time and a place for it. I didn’t start paying attention to makeup until I was out of college and working retail and I think I’m better for it. Teen girls (and women of all ages) should never feel like they *must* wear makeup or else. I feel it’s easier to get caught in the mentality that makeup is a requirement rather than a hobby if you start too young. Build your self-confidence first, then decide if you want to wear makeup and how.

maria Avatar

I think that is between the parents or parent and their son or daughter I would encourage that the longer they could go without wearing makeup & feeling good about who they are without having to feel the need to change their appearance the better for developing high self esteem. Makeup is considered a beauty enhancer and a camouflage whether we like to call it that or not it does work that way for a lot of women. It would definitely be a personal preference for the parents and their child to decide.

Angela Avatar

My daughter started wearing foundation, concealer, bronzer and blush when she was 16…she doesn’t wear any other color cosmetics like for the eyes and lips. She wears glasses so she doesn’t like mascara. It kills me because I want to see a complete face but she’s doing her thing…I let her do what she wants on her own time. It’s just important she feels confident. I however started wearing makeup pretty early I was a bit precocious and times were different in the 80’s….gawd that seems so long ago.

Angela Avatar

I would like to mention that Lisa Eldridge on You Tube has a young lady makeup lesson and it is phenomenal. It showed my daughter that she didn’t have to get fixed up like me to look put together. Highly recommend watching that with or sending it to a young lady in your life that needs a simple routine.

Phoebe Avatar

I started to wear makeup during secondary school (11 to 16 in the uk) probably around 13 or 14. But anything I had came from magazines, or I bought it myself (my mum gave me a blush and a brush one time). I think that’s a good policy, like if they can’t afford it they can’t have it. At that age there is nothing wrong with eyeliner, blush, mascara or lipgloss. Maybe eye shadows and powder foundation but seriously at that age I had no clue what I was doing and liked to play around and probably look awful! But that was part of growing up. Kind of worry that nowadays young teens go too far with makeup, if it was just for creativity reasons they wouldn’t be doing it everyday wearing lashes and full on contour to school. I started to wear a full face on occasions like prom and parties from 16, but didn’t regularly do that until 18, I think those are acceptable ages seeing as you start going to clubs then.

Genevieve Avatar

It is, as you have said Christine, a fine balancing act. Lots of little girls imitate their mothers putting on makeup and want to experiment in their early teens. I think that’s fine and there is an age where the young person in question learns how to put on makeup that is right for them. I remember having a “free dress” day in secondary school, Year 9, and we all wore makeup. Sister Helen (it was a Catholic all girls school) was so shocked at our collective inability to put on makeup that she organised makeup lessons for us. Let me tell you no-one was sick on a Wednesday afternoon!

Sheryl Avatar

For me, it was grade school. But let me explain. I was a very sickly child in grade school. Even when I was well, I was very pale and looked sick. The school nurse would alway call my mom and have her come get me. So…my mom would put a bit of Avon cream blush on me every day and the “she’s sick” calls stopped. Thus started my love affair with make up!!

Wendie Avatar

I would say middle school. Kids go through an awkward age at that time, and I’m all for anything that helps them feel better about themselves. I don’t see anything wrong with lipgloss at any age, or playing with mom’s makeup when you’re a little kid though.

Alexandra Avatar

I started wearing makeup in the fifth grade (I was 10) because it was just so intriguing to me. Only five years later, I realize that I don’t think I was to young and that I did, and still do, use makeup for fun, not because I wanted to impress anyone. I just simply love it.

Kathleen Avatar

I’m 16 right now, and I don’t quite wear what people may consider a “full face” – I wear foundation, blush, mascara, any lipstick, eyeshadow and brows. I skip contour/highlight/concealer, because I don’t feel like I need them. I’m certainly allowed to wear them, I just choose not to. I’ve been allowed to wear makeup since I was 13.

Kathleen Avatar

I forgot to say that I don’t do this everyday – I do it for special occasions and everynow and then at school when I feel like it. On a day to day basis I do brows and mascara, because I like the way brows frame my face and without mascara I have no eyelashes haha. But I feel like kids should be allowed to wear makeup when they’re interested in it; I don’t agree with there being a compulsory “age limit”

Bonnie Avatar

Lol I feel like you’re my twin and I am 48! I don’t feel I need contour, highlighter, or concealer either. Well, once in a huge while, a little concealer, But, like, 3 times a year. I need to do my brows, and I have no lashes without mascara either. The only thing you didn’t mention is eyeliner, which I usually wear. Oh and bronzer, but that’s just because I love to be tan.

Meredith Avatar

Clear or pale pink or coral gloss in 8th grade. Mascara for evening at age 16 or 17. Nothing else until college. No one wants their daughter to be sexualized until she is a legal adult. In this day and age where females are still blamed for sexual harassment and rape, I would encourage a daughter to expand her mind, grow in strength both physically and emotionally, and invest in her own life and development. There is plenty of time for attracting the attention of a certain wanted male of her choosing. I would not encourage a daughter to feel insecure about her looks or of her desirability to men. That will happen anyway. I would let her play with my makeup while she is staying at home. We women do love to play and experiment with makeup so I would indulge her creativity at home when no one will see her. There is way way too much pressure on girls and women to be attractive to men. A lot of men do not like a lot of makeup on women. My sons like a pretty natural look but not a painted or drawn on face. Fakeness is not attractive in real life.

Meredith Avatar

I agree with you Joce. We women often wear it to increase our self esteem and confidence, which is great. I was addressing the pressure women feel to be attractive to men and that the pressure may lead some to sexualize themselves to their detriment. Another thought is perhaps men should be encouraged to wear makeup if that makes them feel better about themselves. Men have skin issues such as acne, dark circles, etc. These do not tend to make anyone feel better about their appearance. I think any resistance to men wearing makeup is just because we aren’t used to it but why shouldn’t they if it helps their sense of self esteem?

Kendall Avatar

I wear makeup before I’m an adult, and I do not consider myself a slut. Actually, as a feminist, I abhor slut-shaming. Makeup does not equate sexualization, and it shouldn’t.
Can we please end the notion that women wear makeup to please men? I certainly don’t. For example, my brother thinks that makeup is weird and gross. I know his sentiments are shared by many boys I know. Does that stop me? Of course not. I wear makeup for myself, and only for myself.

Meredith Avatar

Wearing makeup indeed should not equate sexualization, but many men, the ones who tend to see women only as sex objects for their pleasure and use, do see it that way and use it as an excuse to harass women or girls. The very real fact that so many, almost all, women are or have been harassed makes me want to be sure that women do see the other side of the coin, for their own protection. Pretending that a significant number of men do not view women in a degrading manner doesn’t make it go away. I applaud you if you wear makeup for yourself. I just want women to be aware of and not to close their eyes to the very real and sometimes dangerous ways that some men view them.

Denise Avatar

Good question. WAYYYYY back in my day (lol), if you wore makeup in your pre-teens you were considered a slut. I wasn’t allowed to wear any makeup till high school. My daughters were around 15 when they were permitted to wear lip gloss and mascara. My little granddaughters, ages 10, 7,7, and 3 put on make up for play or their dance competitions. I am amazed at how well they know how to apply it. LOL. Its from you tube so they say. When will they be allowed to wear make up, who knows? But one thing I do know is, a girl must be mentally mature enough to wear it. Also learn how to apply it, without it looking very sloppy. Make up is a form of art, makeup is a form of expressing creativity.ending, sculpting, painting. My face is a new canvas every morning, and I get to create something different each day.

Bon Bon Avatar

When I was 14 it was so important to me to wear makeup. My dad wouldn’t allow it or leg shaving. So I snuck. If be first and last at school. To put on and take off. My older sister cushioned the way for me and at 16 I was allowed to wear minimal makeup, eyeshadow, mascara, foundation and blush. No lipstick. Of course I snuck shaving my legs too at 13. Lol. I’d say I was very mature at that age and handled the peer pressure well. It was just something important to me for me. I vote mid teens.

Donna E. Avatar

I think 12-13 for lip gloss, 14-15 mascara, blush & lipstick. I never encouraged or discouraged my two daughters. My eldest told me she was 14-15 and HS for my youngest. I had not much interest until later on in HS.

Shannon. N Avatar

I have a different perspective on this subject than most of y’all 😛 I guess because I am a VERY young adult, But difference makes the world go round 😛

I was that girl who wore a full face of makeup to school in high school!! Starting freshmen year, I was wearing foundation, blush (too much blush might i add 😛 ) 2/3 eye shadow looks, and lipstick. And I never felt more beautiful at the time.

I started wearing makeup when I was in grade six. So I was 12. And as I’v said in a comment here before, I was pressured/bullied into wearing makeup. Because of my mixed race features, I looked “different” then the rest of the girls at my small town elementary school. I used to NEVER leave the house without mascara (I have very small, hooded/monolidded almond eyes!) or under eye concealer as a TWELVE year old.

The summer before highschool I spent two months in a mental health ward getting help. And there I learned, That makeup CAN BE fun!! I learned that I could take my emotions, and turn it into beautiful art on my face/friend’s faces.
It was in grade nine when I started wearing a full face of makeup, because I had FUN with it. And it made me so happy!!

My parents didn’t care. They were and still are INCREDIBLY supportive of me and makeup artistry (I’v also mentioned i’m going to school to become a makeup artist on here!!) They always said as long as I was SAFE, and HAPPY. And still here. They would put up with me wearing blue lipstick! ahahah.

Kendall Avatar

That’s awesome, Shannon. I started wearing makeup around the same age as you. I’m sorry you were bullied. Your honesty is touching.
Good luck in your training!

Stephanie Avatar

Well, my daughter started reaching for make-up from the moment she could walk over to my make-up vanity. By 3, she was adding lip gloss and nail polish to her birthday lists.
We have never banned it (even though that was my DH’s first reaction) but we do maintain a no color product on the face if she is leaving the house and I am mindful of the way we speak about make-up. I try to make sure I frame it in a way that explains that beauty comes from the person and make-up simply enhances what is already there.
She also gets stage makeup for dance recital’s, so she has worn a full face in public; which is an unusual experience for her age (currently 7)
We sometimes do makeovers or skin masks during Mommy/Daughter days. It’s silly and fun and she has learned to have a lighter hand as she has practiced on me. She is more ethusiastic about make up then I ever was as a child or even teen. I prefer to guide her while trying to avoid stifling or controlling her.
I’ve started my 12 yr old son on daily skincare, I think it’s an important hygiene item to teach early.
All that is too say that I think it’s a personal journey for each child and parent combo. I wouldn’t suggest that every little girl needs to have access to makeup even though it has been a positive thing for my own child. Interesting question!!

Susan Dowman Nevling Avatar

Hard question. I apply eye makeup, shadow and lipsticks to my four year old great granddaughter at home for fun but not to wear out. I think I began sneaking mascara in 7th or 8th grade occasionally but it was a lot of work frankly. I wore more in high school but really started wearing it in college and later. In high school and college it was more in the evening.

Silvia Avatar

Which little girl does not enjoy getting at least her nails done? I don’t see anything wrong letting them play with make up along with pretending serving tea but in public not until at least last year if high school and minimal having a clear beautiful young face. I started in high school only with blush and lipgloss don’t remember eyeshadow probably just mascara. No foundation or heavier stuff. My mom also introduced me to a Clinique starting kit I think after high school when I was going to college. I have always loved makeup especially for a especial party or outing but can be without a drop at home relaxing and letting my face/pores breath free. I wear makeup for myself I’m fair/pale so to me, a bit of blush/color goes a long way or I end up looking like a clown. I blend eyeshadow, blush and prefer to just enhance my look and look sort of natural than too made up with harsh contouring and all the major process. Would love to learn to do a soft, sexy smokey eye someday have watched tones of beauty bloggers to learn but is a huge challenge! Lol! Love! Love! Makeup! Wear it mostly to please myself not even my husband. Just enjoy the process and few minutes to myself to feel special like a spoiled queen. 🙂

Ana Samuel Avatar

Difficult to keep away from it when you really love it. Also, nowadays with so much offer, it’s even more difficult!
I started when I was 13. Don’t remember going many days without it, I’m now 50.
My daughter is passionate about it. She also started at age 13 and is now 14 and loving it more and more. My mom doesn’t go a day without makeup and even now at age 73, uses a bit of contour and highlight that my daughter introduced her to!

Joce Avatar

As a parent you have to pick your battles. Makeup wasn’t one I was willing to argue over. I love it and never made a big deal about it at all. She didn’t care one thing about it as a young kid, and that’s probably because it wasn’t an issue for me. If she would have wanted to wear it at 12, she would have gotten the same reaction that she gets now which is me saying “Let’s go to Sephora”. My daughter is 23, and just now starting to love it like I do. I always thought there would be bigger issues to deal with so makeup was never going to be one in my house.

Augusta Avatar

I think this comes down to each individual circumstance/family. My dad used to apply makeup on me to calm me down whenever my mom went to church from a very young age, like 3 or 4 years old (yeah I would look and play with my mom’s makeup and see her apply on her face in awe as early as back then) and since then I would be able to sneak a bit of makeup on whenever I felt like without my parents rejecting it. I was even encouraged to use some makeup when I started going to university by my mom so I guess it depends on your situation. My high school forbade it but my family “allowed” me so I used makeup depended on where I was at. From a personal perspective though, I think everyone should be able to use makeup from whatever age, but with some advice as to when it looks a little too excessive for the age/situation.

twilinium Avatar

That is a tough one. The adult in me wants to say around age 14; that seems reasonable enough. However, I remember being 10-11 years old and just DYING to experiment with my mom’s frosty white lipstick and pastel blue eyeshadow lol. But of course, “experimenting with” and “wearing” are two different things, right? But ours is a world where young kids have access to so much via social media, and are able to see all the tutorials and pics of gorgeous makeup that one really can’t blame them for wanting to get in on the fun. What a good question, Christine 🙂

Kendall Avatar

I am in eighth grade. Reading some of these comments, I thought of the NARS lipgloss I’m wearing today and felt a little sad that I would be judged just for the simple act of swiping it on as I walked out the door. On a day to day basis, I wear a lip color ranging from nude to purples, reds, and fuchsias. My mom wears little to no makeup. I first started wearing tinted lip balm in sixth grade, when I fell in love with fashion and the surrounding culture. Since then, my collection has only grown. I don’t think liking makeup at a young age makes you shallow or idiotic. I love it as a creative outlet. You would let a middle schooler pick her own outfits, so why should she be denied the right to choose a corresponding blush shade? I would wear a full face of makeup to school, but I don’t have time. I value sleep above all else, so I let a statement lip color do the work for me, with some concealer, mascara, and maybe highlighter. However, when I have more time, I will wear a full face (except for contouring/eyeliner which I’ve not mastered.) Makeup has also given me an appreciation for skincare, and I have created a routine which I’m proud of and am able to stick to.
I have horrible self-esteem, and makeup is calming and helps me with that. I love experimenting with new looks and techniques, as I am very artistic and creative. It gives me confidence and puts a little spring in my step. Why should any girl, boy, or non-binary person be denied that opportunity?

Mo Merrell Avatar

Kendall for an 8th grader you ‘speak’ very well on this subject; you have that creative spirit and there is nothing wrong with that. Most of us on here (I think) are mothers or older in general and so we think like mothers and maternally so as I speak on this I am speaking as a mother and not a lover of makeup and cosmetics in general.

Don’t feel even a little sad that someone like me would not approve of you wearing makeup because no matter what, you are your own individual and no one knows you and your mindset better than you. You better rock your bright, bold, or dark lips with confidence but keep in mind that as makeup helps you with your “horrible self-esteem” know that your natural beauty is still growing and maturing and whatever issues you feel you have now is still morphing.

I don’t think anyone should be denied the opportunity to discover makeup however I do feel like children and teens don’t need to think about that so early on because you guys are still growing. Take Kylie Jenner, she’s altered her face and body so much at a young age without allowing her natural self to mature – she interrupted the natural process (to me) and at 17 you’re still not fully developed into your looks so I imagine someone younger and think holy, they have no idea how their features will grow and they should wait to see how their body changes before experimenting with altering their looks with makeup and etc.

Bonnie Avatar

The only thing that surprises me is that you have Nars at such a young age. Not that there’s anything wrong with it, it’s just that’s usually a price range for someone who earns a living. I got my first Nars last year, and I’m 48. (It’s awesome btw). But I was doing makeup as long as I can remember. I had a small allowance, babysitting and/or dog walking money, and I earned makeup items for good grades (because my mom knew that would motivate me). But I shopped at what was called dime stores, before there were even Walmarts around. Like the drugstore, but cheaper. Every Saturday, my cousin and I would go buy Wet n Wild, CoverGirl, Maybelline, and some other cheap brands that don’t exist anymore.

But so long as you know you don’t NEED it, why not have some fun? There are people that don’t allow their middle school kids to pick their own clothes without restriction, but I think you need that freedom to see what works, and what doesn’t.

As for your self-esteem, that comes from inside you. Knowing you are beautiful, smart, creative, and kind (by some of your comments to others here). Things other people say, whether it’s your peers or people on some message board, can’t wreck your self esteem unless you let them. People will always have something to say, and you don’t even know a world where there isn’t 24/7 commentary, the way it was before the internet/social media. Now more than ever, you, and other people of all ages who suffer shaky self-esteem, need to realize the strength and power within you, and all the gifts you have. There will ALWAYS be someone to hate on you. The sooner you stop caring about those people and their comments, the sooner you can love yourself more and the more you can share all your wonderful qualities with the world.

Mo Merrell Avatar

Anything under 14 and not for competitions like dance or what have you is a NO for me. Young girls should not be thinking about their makeup. However I love giving my niece little mini or deluxe lipsticks for her to play with because she doesn’t quite understand the power of makeup yet my views on adolescent girls wearing it so young is strict because I know it’s not for fun then and they understand the power of it a bit more. Our young girls today are unfortunately witnessing an era of life where every one lives on social media and HAS to be beautiful and are being judged, etc. so I want to make sure my nieces know that makeup is to enhance your natural beauty, not to create it. As for other people and what they allow their children to do, I don’t care.

Bonnie Avatar

After reading some of these comments and reflecting on my own adolescence, I think it depends on the kid. My parents let me wear pretty much anything I wanted, but they wouldn’t buy clothes or makeup they disapproved of. If I bought it with my own earned money, or saved allowance, then they would let me wear it, even if they called my skirts “belts” and I was wearing hot pink lipstick to 7th grade. I got made fun of sometimes, both at school and by my parents and sister.

Some kids wear it to fit in, some wear it to stand out, and some have no interest whatsoever. I also think that positive messages and role models at home are important. Telling your kid she is beautiful with and without makeup, and mom (or another female role model) demonstrating confidence in going barefaced as well as enjoying makeup leads to a healthier attitude about cosmetics.

Also, if you have reason to believe your kid is wearing an oversexualized look for her age, perhaps you can allow her to wear it only when she is with you, not unsupervised. (Just trying to keep kids from falling prey to predators, or those who might actually mistake them for older than they are). Or teach her a toned-down, age appropriate look. They are learning and need room to make a few mistakes.

Justine Avatar

I think it really depends on the individual. I started wearing makeup at about 13, but it was mostly because I started getting acne, and I desperately wanted to conceal some of it. I mostly wore mascara, concealer, powder, and lip gloss. I wore a lot more than my friends in high school, but mostly because I had an heightened interest in makeup and enjoyed wearing fun colored eyeshadows. As long as I didn’t wear a lot of heavy eyeliner or go too overboard, my mom was awesome at allowing the creativity. For my own daughter (someday), I plan on feeling out her interests and going from there.

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