32 answers

12 Year Old and Makeup

My daughter is turning 12 this next week. At what age would you recommend her wearing makeup. She has a beautiful face with freckles, but she has always wanted to wear makeup. She does have a slight acne problem that I have started her on facial cleaner that is helping the problem. But at what age do I start giving her makeup? I thought of just starting her off with "eye" makeup and lip gloss, but I would love any advice you can give me. I don't have any emotional or "teenage" problems with her, she is a great kid.

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Thanks to every one and the great advice. Her birthday was this past weekend. I showed her how to put her makeup on. And let her know that she needed to practice at home. She had a hard time with the eye liner, but I let her know that she needed to learn to put it on herself. She was glad to except the basic makeup to practice with, but I think she is happy with the lip gloss and will let the rest wait. My own mom did not introduce makeup to me and I wanted to make sure that communication was open with my daughter and she knew that it was open. It went very well.

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I think 12 is a little young to wear full makeup, but certainly not too young to start off with a clear or lightly tinted lip gloss. I think it's important for young girls to be just what they are, young girls :) Point out to her that face makeup may just aggravate her acne worse. Instead, start teaching her about good skin care.
For a treat buy her assorted flavors of the lip glosses and let her have fun.

When I was 12 my mom gave me a certificate for a professional make over with one of her cosmotologist friends. It was great. She showed me how to use makeup without over doing it and what colors looked best one me. I still use the tips I learned then and I am almost thirty.

I have 3 girls and I did this with all of them. When they finished 7th grade I gave them a make up party and had someone show them how to put make-up on property. I did it in the end of May 1st part of June so they could take the whole summer to learn not to wear too much make-up and that way when the went into Jr. High they would not feel out of place. I believe I started with mascara and foundation and rouge. Not too much too fast. I also allowed them to shave their legs and underarms around that time so they wouldn't be teased in gym classes. Such impressionable ages.
I hope this helps.

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Make up in Jr High seems appropriate - though maybe only lip gloss now. Start with teaching her about skin care, then worry about makeup next year. I'd also suggest taking her to the Bobbie Brown counter at Neiman for a demo on putting on makeup when you decide she's ready. They do a great job of natural colors for a clean look. Make it a big event - have lunch together after or go window shopping. It's a great mom-daughter day, make the most of it.

I personally think twelve is too young for makeup. Why is she wanting to wear it? Is it because she thinks it will make her more beautiful? Is it because she likes how it looks? Is she trying to impress someone or wanting to fit in?
I ask these questions because most of the time the reasons for girls wanting to wear makeup are not for good reasons. If you are going to decide on beginning to let her wear makeup, I suggest you teach her that wearing makeup does not make you more beautiful, it just brings out the already beautiful you. Most of the time girls want to "Cover" something and then they look like clowns later on. The more natural look is the way to go.

If I were to pick makeup for younger girls, I would go with clear lip gloss with some sparkles and a cream to powder eyeshadow.

Also, something my mom did with me (I was a freshman in high school before I started wearing makeup) we called our local Mary Kay consultant and they came over and taught me and some of my friends and their moms good skin care and proper makeup. It was fun! You can also go to the mall and go to cosmetic counters and pick a good one that has natural makeup. However, most of the time you are required to buy something. Mary Kay and other companies like them, Arbonne, Avon, ect. usually do them for free.

I would also talk this over with dad and see what he has to say, it is always nice to get a man's opinion.

Have fun with this!

If she is expressing an interest in make-up then take the time to show her how to use it correctly and emphasize that it should high-light her natural beauty, not be something that "hides" her flaws. If it isn't something that is "forbidden" or "allowed" to her, the more likely course is that she will learn that at this young age it is more trouble than it is worth to wear every day. But it will give her confidence to have the knowledge and skill to use correctly and know she is beautiful with or with out it. I really like the ladies that suggested making it a coming of age celebration with her. I was the one to do this with a little sister (she is 9 years younger than me) and it was a really fun memory for both of us, picking out the brushes and colors and then playing "beauty parlor" while she learned how to apply it. The girls that looked overdone and trashy at my school were the ones who weren't "allowed" to wear make-up and snuck it out of the house and put it on later with no really understanding of how to do it correctly.

I think 12 is a little young to wear full makeup, but certainly not too young to start off with a clear or lightly tinted lip gloss. I think it's important for young girls to be just what they are, young girls :) Point out to her that face makeup may just aggravate her acne worse. Instead, start teaching her about good skin care.
For a treat buy her assorted flavors of the lip glosses and let her have fun.

I am a master esthetician, and I would recommend taking her to one of those for her acne. They can work wonders and any face powder she gets will only exacerbate the acne...it's really important to nip it in the bud, teach her how to eliminate zits properly to avoid scarring, and not clog up already clogged pores. (though I have been very guilty my self of using concealer in a pinch!)
If you can afford it get some microdermabrasion or a chemical peel, as well as some good medical grade cleanser like biomedic... her hormones are raging and they reek havoc on skin! It is important for regular skin analysis,as skin types can change easily over these years.
At the very least, make sure her cleanser has 4 things in the regiment- cleanser, toner, exfoliation and MOISTURIZER!
This would also be a great time to start her in the habit of using sun block.
I would basically say that when a girl hits her period she should start a normal skin care regimen.

When I was 12 my parents started letting me use minimal make up. I think it's a sign of trust for her. If it's something she thinks would be fun, it would be better to show her that you trust her with it now, than to wait till she's 14-16, when everyone else has been wearing make up for a while etc then letting her wear it. If she is a great kid then how does a small pinch of mascara hurt things?
I know that of course she is beautiful, and really if taught how to wear it properly, makeup can and should enhance your natural beauty.
Also it's important that she learn that this privilege come with any other, responsibility for cleaning the brushes, more regular face washing, and practice!
Perhaps setting up a system were she can wear it on special occasions might be fun for her.
Jr. High is hard enough with out lip gloss, because it's just so darn fun!
I think mostly if make up isn't controlled too heavily in the beginning and taught to be used as a tool it can be a great rite of passage for a young woman into womanhood.
All in all you can help grow slowly and with good habits in both skin care and self esteem over time.

J.,
I was 12 when i first received my first thing of makeup, It was one of those sets from Walmart, That is out around christmas, It contained, Mostly eyeshadows and a little lipstick that i never wore, and i beleive a little blush, I never receieved Foundation or eye liner till my 13 birthday, my parents didnt think i was ready for eye liners or foundation just yet, they wanted to start in incraments, And it worked, I learned how to apply eye shadow and lipglosses and and blushes when needed, and then from there as te year went on i got new things. I wish you the best of luck. Shes officially a teenager! I am here if you need anymore advice! Hope you had a wonderful holiday season!

I think that 12 is a good age for her to wear make-up.

My mom would always let me put on a little blush, when I looked a little pale. There was never a set "make up" age. My daughter is almost 12 as well, and she got lip gloss, mascara and blush in her stocking this year. All items in very light, natural colors. She happily came bounding out of her room, wearing her new make up and if she hadn't told me, I don't think I would have noticed. My suggestion would be to buy her a little makeup in the colors you think would work best. They grow up too fast!

I see you have received lots of advice, my only suggestion is if she wants to wear a foundation I would give her mineral foundation. It is very light and doesn't cover everything, so the world can see her cute freckles. As far as cleaners I love arbonne's acne wash. I think you can get it online.

I don't have a 12 year old girl but it sounds like you are on the right track. I would say hold off though because make up can make an acne problem worse. I was a Mary Kay consultant for awhile and there are some great products for a radiant look without using makeup. Maybe for a special dance but not everyday until she gets good skin care down. Also check into the school policies. My son's school will make a girl wash her face if she shows up to school with makeup, excluding lip gloss, doesn't matter how tasteful it is. The school says NO, it's a K-8.

Hi J.,
As children growing up my sister and I were not allowed to "date" or wear makeup until we were 16. To me that was not old fashioned (still isn't) and I appreciate my folks for making us wait. It gave us something to look forward to rather then being allowed to do everything at once. (Like wear makeup at the ripe old age of 12). We were also more responsible at 16 then 12 and knew how to use the makeup we were allowed to use. Remember, you, Mom are in charge so make a sound decision (hopefully that will be 16) and stick to your guns. You may think about her using lip gloss but I would not recommend anything else for now. Let her have something to look forward to as she matures and don't let her grow up too fast by allowing everything at once. I believe she'll honestly be grateful to you that you chose to hold the reigns a bit rather then letting her run a fast race. It will be more difficult if she is in public school and has peers who are using makeup. So, like I said, you are in charge, make a sound decision and stick to you. God Bless you, L.

I wasn't allowed makeup other then lip gloss until I was 13, then it was mascara, maybe a tiny hint of eye shadow. Not until I was in high school was I allowed to wear eye liner, blush or more makeup.
Teaching your child that she is beautiful, young and very lucky to not need makeup early on will help her more then anything. If she has acne, wearing makeup can esculate that condition too.
I say maybe lip gloss, then when she turns 13 allow mascara, even colored mascara.
Girls need to kind of work up to the maturity I believe that comes with starting makeup. Most young girls are overmade up, too much makeup and hide how pretty they really are.
Your are the parent, so ultimately it is up to you and what you believe to be suitable. Encourage her to enjoy her youthful skin! :)
I allow my daughter who is 7, chapstick and nail polish, she has to wait for the other stuff gradually as I had to, then I really appreicated it a lot more. No school pics of me with a ton of makeup on! :) Looking back I love that my mom made me wait and worked me up to it.

J.: I don't have a daughter but I am a Mary Kay Consultant and work with moms and daughters all the time. I have lots of moms who ask me to work with their daughters to teach them....

1. about skin care. I agree with the ladies who say that is the most important thing! If you nip it in the bud now, she won't have so many problems during that raging hormone time. (using a skin care that has the 4 steps and a microderm now will also help her get in good habits for the future)

2. about the idea that "less is better". I did a "coming out" party for a 12 year old and 10 of her girlfriends. they loved learning about how to take care of their skin and how to use some very basic (neutral and almost translucent) eye color and lip gloss. (i don't usually start my "coming out" girls on foundation until 13/14)

it was tons of fun and all the moms thanked me (because believe it or not there were some 12 year olds that were already wearing very dark makeup)

Let me know if I can help you with any advice to your daughter (I've been told over and over that makeup advice coming from someone other than mom is accepted and followed lots better) Good luck

You sound like a thoughtful and considerate mom, a lot like my own mom!
I was allowed some minimal make-up (Lip gloss, concealer on pimples, and light eyeliner or mascara) when I started seventh grade and I was about 12 then. One of the best things my parents did was pay for a series of make-up classes at a local modeling agency/school. The info I got from those classes has saved me a lot of cosmetic mistakes over the years, even as an adult. It was nice to have my mom ask me about the classes and let me teach her what I'd learned. I suppose you could bond in a similar way at any make-up counter, but I appreciate that I learned about make-up from someone who was not interested in selling it to me.
There's a great book by Bobbi Brown about teen beauty and make-up. I think it's called "Teen Beauty," but I'm not sure. You could search on Amazon.com and probably find it cheap there. It shows several basic, natural looks for young women with great photos and talks about how not to fall into a bad color or clown-like application trap.
For natural looking cosmetics, I think skin care products by Paula's Choice (www.paulaschoice.com--read her skin advice and Battle Plan for Acne for free--she suggests care in a general way not only using her products) to prevent acne and Bare Escentuals color products and brushes cannot be beat. A little goes a long way and having good brushes is key to getting a natural-looking application of anything. Their concealer product, "bisque," is awesome for smoothing out any blemishes without looking caked on. My favorite teen girl uses their stuff and her skin now looks terrific.
I think you are so wise to work with your daughter on this one and not against her. See what she'd like to do. I'm not a super cosmetic person, but I loved bonding with my mom over girl stuff. This could be a battle ground, but I give you a high-five for making it a positive opportunity.
Have you read the children's book "Freckleface Strawberry"? It's very cute and about a girl who learns to love her freckles. Also, Lucy Liu has freckles and she's just about the most beautiful woman out there. And there's that one model with a Victoria's Secret contract who has freckles across her nose. . . . I only mention this because I'm personally sort of jealous of freckles. They always look youthful and make it so you don't need much makeup to look chic and fresh.
Keep us posted!

Well, I was twelve but I was a very muture child. I believe that it really depends on you childs maturity. I would say most girls her age are at least wearing colord lip gloss and maybe a little eyeshadow. if properly taught how. good luck and have fun, these are the best years.

I do not have a 12 year old or a daughter but I think you are right on track! I do not see anything wrong with starting with some mascera or very light eye shadow and some lip gloss. Especially if she is a good kid! How fun for you to experience a first for her! Good luck
Lisa

I hope this advice helps.....
I have two girls 14 & 10 and i started letting my 14 year old shave and pluck when she started her period.
She liked the flavored chap stick first and then went to lip gloss.
Is she interesterd in make up or do you want to help with the acne.
If you start now then the 8 year old will want to start sooner than later. If you mention it, then your 12 year old will have a complex and it is just a natural issue with puberty.
She is still in that in-between age of childhood and womanhood, so i say let her be a child for as long as possible. Lip gloss is great. As for the acne teach her a daily regimin. And it is important to use a moisturizer. AVON HAS A GREAT LINE OF PRODUCTS. AND THERE ARE SETS THAT YOU COULD BUY FROM WALMART. IT COMES WITH A CLEANSER ,TONER MOISTURIZER AND SPOT TREATMENT. THEY REALLYY WORK GREAT. BUT IT IS A COMMITMENT. EVERY MORNING AND EVERY NIGHT. GOOD LUCK AND GOD BLESS

My parents started letting me wear makeup when I was 12, but very minimal, like what you were thinking. I was allowed lip gloss mascara and a little blush. Then as I got older, I could wear more. Kids that young don't need that much makeup, if any. Just teach her how to put it on so it looks more natural. I think most girls want to wear makeup and 12 is a good age to start.

Hi J.,

I have two daughters and I am an Arbonne consultant. We have a fabulous botanically based line formulated for girls that age! It is called FYI (For Young Individuals). I'd love for you to take a look at the line. My website is www.lifetrust.myarbonne.com.

Another thing to consider is teaching your daughter to use products that are healthy for the skin and body. With Arbonne we do a lot of education about using ingredients that are pure, safe and beneficial. I'm an RN and can tell you that what you put on your skin is absorbed into your body. You want to be aware of choosing a company that works to provide you with ingredients that benefit your skin and are safe for long term use. Arbonne was founded on that principle and provides the results you want!

My best to you!

Blessings,

J. B.

My daughter is 12 and already wears make up. i think the important thing with this is to show her how to apply it properly so that she doesnt go to school looking like a clown. kids are growing up faster than we did. I think I didnt wear make up til I was 16 but times are different now.

Mine have to be 13 before they can wear makeup otherwise little girls look like they are playing dress up. Once they can it starts very simple, a little mascara and a little lip gloss, at 14 they can start to expirament(sp?) but it has to look natural, by 15 I give them a lot of leeway and allow them to express themselves.

I was allowed a little foundation, mascara, and lip gloss at that age. The only rule was it was to look "natural". No dark or overpowering. It worked well for us. I'll be curious to see other responses as we just had a girl and that changes many opinions. :)

Personally, I think 12 is a bit young for make up. Maybe some lip gloss but I'm on the conservative side. My suggestion to you with her skin condition and all is to try Bare Minerals Foundation. It is really natural and great for your skin. I just makes their natural beauty shine and it is not like real make up, it is super soft and pretty. Hope that helps.

I started letting my older daughter wear it at 12. (She's now 14.) I taught her some basics and then let her kind of experiment on her own. She initially wanted to wear her eyeliner kind of heavy, but she got it out if her system fairly quickly. Now she wears a very pretty, fairly natural look. I will do the same thing with my now 10 year old daughter. She already gets to experiment with some at-home-only makeup, which she loves doing. I have noticed most girls will ultimately end up applying about the same amount of makeup (or lack thereof) as their mom. Not neccessarily at first, but it seems like that's where they are ultimately most comfortable. We are their biggest role model!

When I was 12 my mom gave me a certificate for a professional make over with one of her cosmotologist friends. It was great. She showed me how to use makeup without over doing it and what colors looked best one me. I still use the tips I learned then and I am almost thirty.

I think you have the right idea with introducing a little bit at a time. maybe a tinted moisturizer for a little bit of coverage, mascara, and some tinted lip gloss. On a really special day a little eye color would be fun but at 12 she probably doesn't need much else. Have fun!!!

I have 3 girls and I did this with all of them. When they finished 7th grade I gave them a make up party and had someone show them how to put make-up on property. I did it in the end of May 1st part of June so they could take the whole summer to learn not to wear too much make-up and that way when the went into Jr. High they would not feel out of place. I believe I started with mascara and foundation and rouge. Not too much too fast. I also allowed them to shave their legs and underarms around that time so they wouldn't be teased in gym classes. Such impressionable ages.
I hope this helps.

hey there! My mom took me to get a facial from clinique in the mall just to show me how to put on my make up right and not make a mess with to much. they showed me hoe to put on the powder face makeup and mascara and lip gloss. I was this same age (12-13) looking back now that I have a daughter of my own I think this was a great idea. I never did put on more than the mascara, (I didn't like the way the powder felt on my face) but it was a good thing for my mom to do this. It taught me how to do my makeup for my teen years. I am now only 24 so this wasn't too long ago. and still to this day I don't wear very much make-up mostly just the mascara now until I found the bare essentials stuff which is still very little make-up. I'm not sure if this has to do with the clinique make over or not but I'm quite sure that it helped.

I would start her out with just the basics. No base no mascara. My grandmother has worked a Clinic/Elizabeth Arden counter my whole life. When I was young she let me have eyelash conditioner, blush, lip gloss, and of course eye shadow. She is at a good age to start learning how to use makeup.

Hope this helps

-M.

I think 12 is a reasonable age to start on some make-up, especially if she is wanting it. And you've already taken that first very important step - skin care. If she gets in the habit of taking good care of her skin, she will look good with no makeup, a little, or a glamed-out dramatic look (for those special occasions as she gets older). Make sure that she washes both morning and night, uses a good toner/freshner (or a gentle astringent if she is acne prone) and uses an oil-free freshner.

For makeup right now, I would go with neutral eye colors (browns, pinks, maybe subtle purple or green depending on her eye color), maybe a very neutral cheek color, and mascara and lipgloss (make sure to get a good quality mascara!). A good foundation can also help protect her skin and even out tone, without covering freckles or making her look washed out - look for one that is labeled non-comodogenic!!

You may want to meet with a consultant who can give her specific tips on application and skin care specific for her needs. I know that Mary Kay offers free consultations as well as high quality products at reasonable prices - some other places may also do free consultations. Contact me if you're in the Salt Lake area (just click on my name) and I can set you and her up for one (I'm a consultant).

Let her have some fun with it - she'll want to experiment, let her when she's not going to school or church or something. In a few years she'll settle into a look, hopefully one you approve of :)

I really discourage the eye makeup. I think lip gloss is okay. Girls are trying to grow up way too fast to impress the boys or she could attract much older boys attention. I would tell her she doesn't need makeup because she is already so pretty. I take her to the store to pick out a special lip gloss and show her how to apply it. Keep your little girl yours for as long as you can because the rebellious years are coming.

I started my girls out at age 12 with mascara and lip gloss and light colored lipsticks. It was just enough to let them feel like they were wearing make-up and little enough not to make them seem "made up."

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