It’s A Girl Thing

My daughter J loves to put make up on. God knows where she gets that from cause it certainly isn’t from me. When I put mascara on I feel like I have flies on my eyes all night. The thing I can’t live without is eyeliner but otherwise I can do without the rest (to be honest concealer and blusher do make a difference but this is not about me). The point is, I didn’t start putting eye liner on, or any other kind of make up, till I graduated from high school.

It annoys me that J likes makeup so much. Although her application of it makes it look more like war paint than make up. While she is still 4 and everyone thinks it’s cute I am often left wondering what, if anything, I should do about it. She knows very well that I don’t like the makeup and think she is beautiful without it. She once said “Mama I want to put make up on because it makes me look pretty” and I told her “I don’t have any on” and she said “that’s why you look silly Mama” needless to say we had words.

The thing is my family all think this is cute, they buy her make up and tell her she looks pretty. She by no means has a complex (Alhamdulilah) but I’m worried this will eventually grow to a point where she doesn’t want to go out without make up. But if I forbid her from it and confiscate all her little lipsticks will it make it a much bigger deal than it is?

And then today I come across an article about a makeup line called GeoGirl at walmart. It is a makeup line for girls from 8 to 12. OMG! A serious makeup line! With blusher and lipstick and eyeliner and mascara. When did it become normal for 8 year olds to use make up? Is this what I am in for? When my 4-year-old does it it’s still cute but there is no way in hell I am going to have an 8-year-old who wears make up!

Am I over reacting? If she’s putting on make up at 8 then what will she be doing at 18? I mean there is a natural progression. There’s lipgloss when girls are 13 or 14. Eye liner when they are over 16- 17. High heels at that age as well. Mascara when they are in college… I started wearing mascara a few years ago! I am serious! I mean I used to only wear it when I was going to a party or a wedding. I now do sometimes on regular days.

I like that J takes care of the way she looks. As opposed to S who today wanted to go visit his grandmother in navy blue sweatpants that had a hole in them a green shirt that is a few sizes too small and I think was brown to begin with and his hair in a complete mess I thought he was wearing a fuzzy hat when he walked in the room.

J on the other hand woke up and wore a beautiful little orange dress I got for special occasions, orange socks (Have noooo idea where she found those, I think she may have done a ‘sound of music’ and cut up some drapes or a towel or something) and beige shoes with little bows on them. The she has to brush her hair so that there are ‘no bumps’ and wear a headband just so. Then she says “Can I go play with Camden outside, I promise I won’t get filfy”.

Taking care of the way you look is cute… thinking you don’t look pretty without makeup is messed up. I need to find a happy medium for J without making makeup more appealing because she can’t have it. Suggestions?


  1. The Geogirl thing…that makes me sad. I think, as females, we struggle enough already with our culture telling us what we are supposed to look like. The beauty of a little girl comes out in her cute giggle and funny phrases and precious innocence. Why does our culture rush them out of that?

    On the other hand, as a mom of three now twenty-something girls, I remember how they loved to play with my make-up. It made them feel grownup and lovely, but it was all just a part of their imaginary play time. Not a part of their identity. Now that they are grown, they each have own style, but none of them are dependent upon makeup to find their true beauty. When I look at them I see the beauty that comes from a much deeper place than just their pretty faces.

    I think that the fact that you are concerned is the perfect indication that you are modeling to her the best message. That though make up is fun, it isn’t who you are. Her character and personality reflect her true beauty. And even if she wears more than you do someday, that message will stay with her.

    • Hi Jana, thanx for your comment. And yes! exactly. My worry is making sure it doesn’t go past the cute phase into it being a necessity to her.

  2. Well, you know I’m going to have an opinion on this one!
    I can’t stand make-up on anyone under the age of 15, and even then I think it’s over-rated. I do wear eye-liner and mascara most days, but that’s about it unless I’m going somewhere really fancy. I don’t know what you do in your situation, because it is your daughter who wants it – it’s not you doing it to her. I’d be the mean Mum, but that’s me.
    I find it ironical that we snicker at those in the past who covered their faces in lead in order to look ‘beautiful’ but don’t stress about the chemicals in modern hair colours and make-up, even deoderant…

    • I knew you would :-) The chemicals are a whole other worry to me. I mean the only appeal of GeoGirl is that it’s supposed to be all natural. J covering her face in goop every day cannot be good for her.

      • You know, from what I’ve read on your blog and mine – you’re going to make a great decision on this one. Only you know all the circumstances, in the end and you seem such a loving Mum – and that’s what’s most important.

  3. I’m not sure what you might do to change her mind about the way she looks without makeup. Are there people in your family who she thinks look pretty that don’t wear makeup? It may just be her age. My daughter was very concerned about “pretty” when she was that age.

    My daughter was fascinated with makeup from a very young age too. I let her play dress up with makeup around the house but I didn’t let her start wearing makeup out of the house until middle school (11 or 12 years old). At first, she was allowed to wear lip gloss and blush. Once she showed she could be responsible and not go overboard (and wash her face every night), I let her add foundation and mascara. She is now 15 and she is allowed to wear all of the makeup she wants as long as it’s tasteful. She has days where she will go to school without makeup and then she has days when she has her makeup on and her hair fixed.

    • Hi and thank you for your comment and your ‘like’! no one ever clicks the like button even though they do like the post so thank you very much!
      As a family (sisters mother, even inlaws) we don’t really wear makeup that much. I mean we are the kind that can spend ages putting on makeup just to look like we don’t have any makeup on. We’re more about looking healthy (covering dark circles, evening out color, having a good complexion) as opposed to looking all colorful and painted. I think it’s just all the makeup sets she gets when it’s her bday. and also what’s on TV. The amount of makeup the new kids shows use is really horrible.

  4. Today when she came into the room carrying her makeup bag I told her that we will make a deal. No more make up when she is going out because it is not good for her skin and she looks much better without it. I told her she can use her makeup when she is playing dress up. She tried to bargain with me to wear her bright red sparkly lip gloss and I said no. It was all nice and light hearted and we will see where it goes!
    My solace is that it does not take up all of her time and it doesn’t stop her from doing things. Although she does hate getting dirty and her clothes getting messed up. But I think that might be a little OCD. Want to read up on it.

  5. Maybe she could paint something else. Part of it may be the fun of being creative with colour, etc.
    I wore light make-up when I was in my 20’s, then as time went on, only for special occasions, and now not at all. I read an article about how make-up simulates the person sexually aroused and that just turned me off. :-) It was a very scientific article mentioning increased circulation to the extremities, hence red fingernails, shining lips and eyes, and I forget what all, but you can see what was meant.
    Just go for clean and healthy.

    • I can see why that put you off… lol. J loves to paint and make things. I am having to consider designated storage space for all the cards she has made me lately. SO it might just be that! maybe more after school activities… hummm.

  6. My daughter at this point likes to play with my make-up… her main things are the blush and the lipstick…. I don’t let her go out with it though.. and it usually happens once in a blue moon. I did buy her one of those bubble gum lip glosses, and she keeps it in her purse :)

    As you said at this point it is cute.. but I pray she never attempt sto go overboard like some of the young girls here. I have seen a girl aged 10 (I asked her) wearing full on makeup, foundation and the works.. what she was trying to cover up is beyond me… if this is what they do at this age, I am sure they will end up looking 40 when they are 20 with all the affects makeup has on ones skin.

    I never wore any lipstick, till I was about 16-17, and that wasn’t even real lipstick it was lip gloss! I never put foundation on my face till I was 25 years old, and never did the whole eye shadow thing till about then either.. (I actually started to wear make-up here in Saudi.. lol)… but those were the old days, nowadays the way young girls dress, and put make-up on scares me, little 10 year olds look like 16-18 year olds :s.. Allah yster….

  7. I was one of those little girls, obsessed with makeup and curling my hair, and my mother was very, very worried about me too. My mother isn’t the time to wear to much makeup either, and to this day she tends to follow my lead on which products to wear. My father was the one who took the active role in forbidding me wearing makeup, but that didn’t help my obsession at all, it just justified my “struggle” lol. Now I’m 22 and I love to wear makeup to go out on weekends, or for special events. My makeup bag has a few of everything- foundation, mascara, eyeliners and shadows; but I refuse to wear makeup daily, unlike a lot of my friends who do put in on for school. Forbidding her is definitely just going to fuel her, but what worked with me was to see my clown face in photos when I was 15 from improper application ;)

    • Thank you for your comment. I think forbidding her right out will make it a big deal. I think my plan of allowing it when she’s playing dress up only seems like a decent plan. Might have to do an update on this in a few months and see where we are at! But my little J is stubborn.. they actually have to create a new word for what she is because stubborn is not enough. God help me! and her!!

  8. I certainly was not allowed to wear anything other than lip gloss until I was about 13. I think there is a movement to sexualize little girls earlier and earlier like when I see girls wearing bikinis at the beach. I mean, come on once puberty hits misery begins for women (in terms of always having to be beautiful, magazines have a ideal we constantly strive for its sad) let little girls be, I say! :)
    And at this age she is formulating her ideas of what it means to be a woman. I think this should be discouraged and her talents gifts, and intellect encouraged. Which I know you do anyways but maybe a kind word to your family?

    • You see at this point my family think it’s cute. But J is very particular in how she does things, how she packs her school bag, how she puts her shoes on etc etc and the makeup thing is slowly morphing into something she is very particular about. So they probably do not see it as I do. The worry is, as I said, that I will wake up one day and this will be a real issue. So, I agree… It will be something I discourage from now on. This is better than therapy!! and a lot cheaper lol.

  9. being mother of two teenage daughters,i have to say the make-up issues have gone too far!why does something you smear on your face define you as beautiful?I tell both of my daughters that they are beautiful without it and they say i have to say that because I’m their mom.We live in new york and the media advertisements are so overwhelming that young impressionable girls feel if they don’t use it there is something wrong with them.The media and the people they represent should start thinking less about money and more about people and the message they are sending.

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