Appropriate Make-Up for Young Teen Girls
If you have a 'tween or young teen daughter, chances are she wants to know when she can start wearing make-up to school. She'll tell you that all her friends wear make-up. She also probably already has a large collection of "play" make-up in loud colors that is in no way appropriate for a young girl to be wearing anywhere outside of the house. So what do you do when you finally relent? She can't wear what she has - what should you start with? Here are some suggestions from my 7th grader who is in her first year of wearing make-up to school.
Like a lot girls, my daughter was for a long time allowed only to wear lip balm or gloss to school. It's their gateway make-up, tiding them over until they can reach the big leagues. Interestingly, although the desire for other make-up remains strong, my daughter is perfectly content with Chapstick. She doesn't really like lip glosses - her hair sticks in them (I know the feeling) and nobody her age is wearing real lip color. So Chapstick it is. I prefer Burt's Bees, but she doesn't care as long as it keeps her lips from cracking and bleeding in the winter.
Conceal and Heal
Concealer was the first real "cosmetic" product my daughter was allowed to wear. We went out and bought some spot acne treatment with a little color to cover up those first teenage pimples when she was in 6th grade. It was a good decision. Not too much "make-up", but it helped her feel more confident and less self-conscious about the occasional blemish. There are quite a few varieties available but she likes Almay's Clear Complexion concealer the best and continues to use it.
Sheer Liquid Foundation
Now in 7th grade she is finally allowed to wear real make-up to school. That's right, I currently reign as Best Mom In The World (I have to take advantage of my brief moments of coolness these days). Because those first teenage pimples tend to lead to more teenage pimples, a good, sheer foundation is the best place to start your shopping. We like Cover Girl Clean Make-up Liquid Foundation. It goes on smoothly, there are a lot of color choices and it does help conceal blemishes. It also does not seem to make them any worse or encourage more. We choose the Sensitive Skin formulation, but you can also get Oil Control.
Now we're getting into the real deal - eye make-up. What do you buy and how do you draw the line on how much is too much? Well, my child likes a basic eye pencil to begin. I'm okay with that as long as she keeps it subtle. She practiced a lot last year - I encouraged her to do so - and was allowed to wear make-up to family dinners and other non-school events. She got some feedback from me and from family members, as well as some tips from a couple of older friends and by this year she had become very good at using an eye pencil to accentuate rather than look like a clown or a streetwalker.
She sticks with basic brown or black because of her coloring and takes it easy. She likes an actual pencil like this one from Maybelline rather than a softer type that roles up and doesn't need sharpening. She prefers the finer line. I guess it's more hip.
And we're on to mascara. Mascara can be tough because it's very, very easy to overdo it and look like a clown. Again, practice, practice, practice in the year before your child will be allowed to wear it to school! They're nimble little beasts, she'll have it down pat by the time she walks into class wearing it for the first time.
My daughter prefers Cover Girl Lash Blast in black. She feels that it clumps the least of the brands that she's tried. If you live in a cold climate like we do and your child walks to school, consider waterproof mascara so she doesn't end up with frozen-lash raccoon eyes after her chilly morning commute.
For the most part, I draw the line at eye shadow for school. When she does wear it, it's a pale shimmery bronze that's barely noticeable. Although I wouldn't have allowed her to glob on eye shadow, she came to the conclusion on her own to use none most of the time and keep it very minimal if she chooses to wear it. Kids are very perceptive and know what their peers are saying about others. Let's just say that it pays in the long run not to be the first one wearing make-up to school. What else pays? Practice!!
She does like to wear a bit more eye shadow if we're going out to dinner or another special event, but she sticks with her shimmery bronze with maybe a touch of a lighter shade on her brow bone. Cover Girl makes good, neutral colors in economical multi-packs.
You don't have to spend a fortune, always try drugstore brands first and look for sales and deals. If your child has very sensitive skin it might take some trial and error to find brands she both likes and can tolerate, but for most kids cheap is just fine - especially for things like eye shadow. A good, practical knowledge of how to apply make-up appropriately will serve her well in the years to come. As the mother of an older teenage boy as well as a young teen girl I can tell you that the boys find girls in heavy make-up creepy. Maybe they're smarter than they look...
Practice with your daughter - we had a great time trying out various shades and styles together last year and she was confident in her choices and abilities on her first day of school this fall. I can't keep her from growing up, but I can at least try to help her avoid common teenage mistakes. Well, this time - I'm sure there are plenty more to come! For now I'm going to bask in my moment of coolness...
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