How Much Makeup Is Appropriate for a 13 Year Old Girl?

Updated on July 09, 2011
D.W. asks from Saint Peters, MO
32 answers

Hello all you moms of teens and pre-teens. My daughter is 13 going on 20 somedays and 10 the others. She has been wanting to wear a lot of makeup, and I have only let her wear powder on most days and a little bit of mascara and eye shadow on special occasions. I really have struggled with this because she does not want me to show her how to put it on, nor does she want to go to the mall to get a mini-makeover. When she has put it on herself she puts way too much on, and it becomes World War 3 getting her to take it off until it looks appropriate.

I know that a lot of girls her age are wearing as much makeup as they want, but it also makes them look 2-3 years older than they really are. I want to let her wear makeup, but I also want her to look her age......13 not 16. They grow up so fast anyway, and I want her to slow down and be 13. Of course she thinks that I am trying to make her life miserable, and that I don't understand what it is like to be a teenager. While I wish I could slow down time and keep her a little girl, I know that she is growing up. The problem is that she is wanting to speed past 13 and get to 15 or 16. Yes, I remember what it was like (faintly), but I also know that I was not allowed to wear too much makeup until I was about 15 or 16. While I want to compromise with her, how much is too much for a girl her age?

Any thoughts, comments, or advise? Any information would be great! Have a great day!

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answers from Milwaukee on

I was only allowed to wear lip gloss and a little blush (a very pale color almost skin tone just a little more pink) until I think I was 15-16.. I plan on doing that with my girls when they get that age. I think girls really need to learn to appreciate their faces and learn how beautiful they are without such things, before they go covering it up. That being said teenagers are not easy to deal with so what I am saying now may not be how things are done (my girls are very young yet) then.. This is my ideal anyways..

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answers from Wichita on

I think just a light translucent powder and the lightest brown mascara (only on top eyelashes) light lip gloss, no lipstick. Maybe a very pale blush. Nude or soft colored eyeshadow only on bottom of lid close to lashes, not on middle or top of eyelid.


answers from Kansas City on

I was the girl who was forbidden to wear make-up until high school. But I was also the girl who if provoked would go to the extreme to rebel against any rules. So I put my makeup on at a friends house - and yes it was too much and I looked like a tramp. I think because I gave my parents such a hard time I am prepared to compromise much more with my daughter. I felt as if my personality was squelched and I don't want to do that to her. She is 12 and I offered to help her with make-up but she's not ready. I imagine when she is ready that I would help her pick out eye shadow and something a little more colorful than lip gloss. But knowing my daughter it wont be for a long time and when it does happen she will hate all my suggestions!

Hopefully she'll come around and realize you want to help!

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answers from Dallas on

First of all............pick your battles. I think it is perfectly ok for a 13 yr old to wear light makeup. I don't understand some moms with the no makeup and no socializing rules til high school I believe in being protective but not so much that they will rebel when not around you. BUT....that is just me and I realize I have different views just like a lot of others.

My 15 yr old loves her makeup. I've been a Clinique user since I was about 12 and you can tell by looking at my skin that I take care of it.

I started my daughter at 11 with Clinique cleansing routine. She has been very good about it. Around 12 I took her to Clinique to have a mini makeover so that someone else could show her.

I don't know about your daughter but my daughter responds well when someone else she respects gives her guidance. She respects me and we have a good relationship but sometimes it comes across better (not as a nag) for an older girl to give advice.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Huntington on

well, my neice is going through the same issues ight now, she just turned 13 ad my mother-in-lw has decided she can wear make-up. She's comeup with an ingenius plan. she only let's her have lip gloss, powder, mascara and nuetral/ browns for eye shadow. if there is a more special occasion coming up,she gets some color, but if she wants it, her mamaw has to do it for her. if she doesn't want her mamaw to do it, she doesn't get it. make-up is a privilage just like everything else. good luck

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answers from Dallas on

Lip gloss. Neutral eye shadow or the multi use blush sticks. SPF moisturizer (tinted, at best).

Add a new product with every birthday. Mascara at 14?

Gives her something to look forward to. The Clinique idea is good, but not everyone's skin responds well to their products, even mother to daughter or sister to sister. Mine did, my sister's did not.

I started my 12 yo with Avon's mark line of cleansers last month. If she shows me she can take care of her extremely dry skin, we'll revisit make-up.



answers from Kansas City on

I started with allowing colored lip gloss and mascara to begin with. On special occasions, we would allow a neutral/light color of eyeshadow. I think the important thing is teaching them HOW to put it on so that it complements and enhances their natural look.
Hope that helps.



answers from Los Angeles on

None! Unless you're ready for a bigger attitude and a sense of being 'grown up'...Update us on what you decided...



answers from Augusta on

At 13, lipgloss that's it.
Anything else will only clog her pores and make any pubery relate acne only worse.



answers from Kansas City on

oh the years of raccoon eyes. I also had this problem with my daughter at 13 but now that she is almost 15 she has toned her make-up down some. I now chuckle and call jr.high the raccoon eye stage as the girls don't want help with learning how to wear their make-up properly and all the girls wear too much. it just makes them look silly but this will pass. I decided it wasn't worth the power struggle and made her start buying her own eyeliner as she was going through about 2 a month and at 4 or 5.00 each she had to start spending her babysitting money to support her eyeliner budget. Now she goes through one every few months. If you ban her from wearing make-up she will just put it on at school possibly using friends make-up and getting an eye infection so I wouldn't make a big deal about it.
I know a girl that isn't allowed to wear colored fingernail polish, she puts it on when she is away from the house and takes it off before she gets home so they will figure out ways to continue to wear it.

Just have to learn what battles to pick and for me make-up wasn't one of them that was worth it. However wearing clothes too short and shirts too low is the issue we work on, but my daughter does tend to dress more modest than most on her own, there are just a few things she has purchased that were inappropriate and she will attempt to wear them until I say nope that isn't going out of the house, then she will come up with creative ways to make them more appropriate so she can still wear them.



answers from Charlotte on

I'm with you on wanting them to take their time growing up. :-) My 13yo wears only eyeliner - her choice. While I don't care for it, she is such a great kid that I don't nag her about it. There are so many other problems I'm thankful to not be dealing with, and I know from experience that make-up phases, like hairstyles and fashion fads, will pass.

Is there any way your daughter would agree to a mini-makeover if she went with a friend? As you know, it's often only when their friends suggest xyz that they think it's a great idea. Maybe you could find articles to leave lying around that praise "fresh-faces" and little make-up, or that explore the media and cosmetic industries, and how they affect women's self-esteem (and wallets)? I applaud you for wanting to encourage her to value her intrinsic beauty - I wish all of our girls were exposed to that line of thought.



answers from Boston on

my daughter was just as bad until i told her that i will show her how it should look if she was older...and what i would accept at her age. i told her she had to sit down and let me put on everything she wants to wear...but as i would accept it...not as she would. when she saw the results she was like i can't really tell i have any on. i said that is the whole point. i let her wear a mineral powder foundation, mascare once in a great while...and also showed her how to wear eyeshadow as eyeshadow and an eyeliner... and she sticks to what i showed her and what i would consider too much. talk to her and see if you both can make an exception...because in all honesty the more you fight the worse she will dig in her heels. i found out my daughter was going to school and putting on makeup there...AND IT WASNT HERS!!! i decided there had to be some give on both sides or she was going to end up with some massive infection she caught from someone else. so maybe this week sometime or this weekend i would ask her what she wants to wear and why. then tell her what you would accept and why. then find somewhere in between that you both can be happy with.



answers from Tulsa on

I wasn't allowed to wear any makeup either and yes, we all went to school and went into the bathroom and used what each of use could take from our moms or big sisters stuff and we'd use it, and yes, often incorrectly. We also took clothes and changed in the bathroom too, I remember the one time I forgot to wash my mascara off, there was hell to pay when my mom noticed.

If she wants to wear makeup she will find a way. I think it's better to compromise a little and both win. Tell her you've been thinking about her wearing makeup and this is your suggestion. That you both go to the store and have makeovers and she can pick out 3 things to buy and wear. I think base is not good for her skin at this point so I would say no to it but yes to other stuff like shear lip gloss, rather neutral eyeshadow and blush, brown mascara, (even if she over did the amount it wouldn't be too obvious), might go in ahead of time and see what they have that you'd find acceptible and make a list of things she can choose from. She should love this idea, of being able to choose soemthing for her lips and couple of things for her eyes.

A girl of 13 has the ability to be reasonable, or so I've heard....



answers from Topeka on

i would use light eyeshadows brown eyeliners light shimmer blush & lipgloss/shimmer chapstick it's not over powering you'll get a natural glow with these colors.If you're buying the makeup tell her it's this or nothing



answers from Kansas City on

What if she did makeovers with a couple of girl friends. I have done these with other girls her age and older and they love it! If you are interested in contact me at [email protected] . I love teaching young girls how to take care of their skin and how to apply makeup correctly to enhance not cover or look made up. We have some great sheer, light products that are perfect for teenagers.



answers from St. Louis on

I agree with the mom who said the color is key. I have an eyeshadow from Estee Lauder (Pure Color Eyeshadow in Mocha Cup) that she could apply with a heavy hand and it would still be very tasteful. Also a good lipstick is Pink Berry in the Pure Color Long Lasting Lipstick by Estee Lauder. Very light pink. Also, Bonne Bell makes a ton of different fun lip glosses that would be fun for her age. Maybe a light shimmery pink shadow? There is a really pretty one from Loreal that would be perfect. Again, she could apply it heavy and it wouldn't matter. Good luck!



answers from Washington DC on

My 14 year old seems to be ok with the rule - no makeup until high school, unless playing dressup/model or experimenting with makeup at home. It's also ok for halloween or a little for newyears or a wedding. The thing is to point out when makeup makes them look not only older, but like little street walkers, which is what very often happens, when a young girl wears too much mascara, eye makeup or lipstick. Let her experiment at home.



answers from Boston on

I think 13 is way too young, I agree with picking certain things that are ok for now like lip gloss and blush. Eye makeup does make girls look much older. Of course she might be one of those girls that just puts in on when she leaves the house, but at least stick to your guns while she's around you. Try not to make too big a deal, since you will have probably have worse issues to deal with at some point.

The mini makeover thing sounds like a good idea, I would have loved that when I was a teenager. Maybe get her a gift certificate or something and just drop her off with a friend, she might feel too self concious around you. Also remind her how beautiful she is, teenage girls often have low self esteem and feel like they need makeup to be beautiful and fit in.



answers from New York on

We went thru this last month when our daughter turned 12 - if I say a little eyeshadow and mascara she thinks it means the lipstick & blush are okay too! Luckily she agreed to go to the mall when a woman showed her what to wear and how to wear it. I personally didn't give in all that much - I know that when I was 13 I was sneaking eyeliner to the roller rink and making sure i destroyed every bit of evidence before we were picked up by our parents! I realize that times are different and that everyone else is doing it, but sometimes it's hard to part with my daughter's determination to outgrow me! Good luck!



answers from St. Louis on

no time to read all of the responses....sorry!

that said, I would highly recommend that the two of you make this a team project. Pick out a couple of fashion magazines together. Each of you make a poster board of what you, clothes, styling, etc. Add to it with references of music, books, multimedia that you each feel are what/where she should be in life.

Then stand back & compare those two boards! Work together to find similarities in taste......& use this lesson to reinforce it's OK to differ in opinion, as long as you remain a team. You will be amazed at how much you will learn from each other! Wishing you a Peaceful future together!


answers from Kansas City on

Didn't look at some of the answers you girls are 11 and almost 13, they aren't allowed to wear makeup right now at all. When they turn 13 they can wear some eye makeup. Other than that, none. Hopefully this helps some. Good luck and God Bless.



answers from Chicago on

Good for you for not giving in. Can you take her to a salon that does make-up? If she has a bday coming up maybe her & a friend can go get hair, makeup & manicures. I would say lip gloss & mascara, maybe blush are enough. I think powder is bad for her skin & let her know that it can contribute worse acne. All girls go thru this, my dghtr is turning 20 & we had WW3 here too.



answers from Kansas City on

I have a 13 year old niece who is at the same stage. Anything mom suggests is an automatic NO. Personally, I think the trick is the colors. You can wear all the make up with the right colors and still not look like you are "made up". I suggest letting her have a Mary Kay party with some of her friends. They will all think it is tons of fun and learn a lot about skin care and make up aplication. Plus the compliments that they get from eachother will give them a boost. No one is required to buy anything but they will get a chance to try on some colors and get honest feed back from others on how it looks. You could even make it a mother/daughter party if you want with some other moms that are going through the same thing.



answers from Joplin on

OK heres the deal. if you stop her on this you will lose the battle. she will put her friends on when she gets to her destination. I am a M. Kay consultant. and I was thinking maybe you could have a mother daughter party and the consultant can give ideas. Im sure you can find one in your area. That way you are making it fun with her friends and moms and no pressure. Make it your idea. Like, "Im having a M. Kay party and am inviting your friends moms and your friends." no pressure. My son is 14 and I see the girls his age with all that black makeup on and I just want to get at em with a wash cloth. LOL. I have a daughter that is 11 and am going to start now with skin care and go from there. Hopefully she will know what to do by then. Your daughter is going to wear it no matter what, so hopefully this can work for you. It took a friend of mine when I was that age to tell me I had the wrong color on. hope this is helpful.



answers from Springfield on

I think your guidelines are right on. I see young girls who wear makeup like adults and wonder why nobody sees that we are letting our girls grow up too quickly. (Having said that, I do know that they will go to school and put it on anyway.) I agree with the mom who suggested a mother/daughter Mary Kay party. When I was a consultant our church youth group had an event for girls and they invited me to show the girls how to select and apply age appropriate color. However, if she won't let you take her for a mini-makeover, she may not want a mother/daughter makeover either. In that case, I would suggest seeing if a consultant would do a small event for her and her friends, using only the few products that you allow. (Many consultants won't do parties on just a group of young girls - it's all work and no pay. Go ahead and book a party for yourself and your friends. You deserve it and your consultant will be more likely to do the girls' party that way.) Set the guidelines, stick to your guns, and do it gracefully. They say this too shall pass!



answers from Tampa on

My first thought was none. My second was tinted lip gloss and maybe tinted moisturizer. I come from non-makeup wearers.



answers from Great Falls on

At 13, I was allowed to wear lipgloss, light blush and/or mascara. The mascara is because the lashes on my right eye are blonde and the lashes on my left eye are brown. My friends liked to do my makeup, and my folks were fine with that as long as I didn't leave the house! But for going out and about - light and simple. Natural beauty is best, and girls need to learn that not how to use a trowel to apply shadow!



answers from Springfield on

I can so relate to this issue!! But my daughter is only 11. We have a good compromise, that as with you only on some days to we go for the little extra makeup.

I am in a home based business so I might have a different outlook than some other mamas. As we all know, our own mother stepped off planet Pluto and cannot relate to todays issues. LOL That being said, when teens seem to hear advise from someone else, it is like gold. You might consider having a Mom/Daughter makeover at home with a few friends. Let the girls tell you what looks good on you and the other mothers help girls, other than their daughter, of what looks good on them. Strange but it does seem to work.

Best wishes and have some fun with it. A few games of getting to "know" your daughter is fun also during this time.



answers from Kansas City on

You definitely have varied responses! My neice is 14 and she started in with this stuff last year too! To be honest, I think that all her make-up advice was much better received from me and not her maybe if she has an aunt or older cousin, maybe she could take her to the mall or shopping for some appropriate make up and that way, you could send some of your guidelines with your shopper and it won't seem like your idea at all! I do agree that more neutral/softer colors are more appropriate for her age. Also, I got her some funky (but appropriate) colors from the Mac counter and she wears those almost every day. Mac is very reasonably priced for being a department store brand and they have excellent products. Plus, it's kind of cool and popular. Good luck! My daughter is only 2 so I'm already worried about those teenage years! ;)


answers from Los Angeles on

I second Marie. I was allowed very light lip gloss and pale blush at that age and I'll do the same with my daughter.



answers from St. Louis on

Hi, I don't think makeup should be a big deal. I think the ages 13 to 16 there is not a major difference. Makeup is makeup, as long as she does not look like a clown, or the lone ranger then truly what's the big deal? I know it's hard, to let go and let them grow up, not saying it's easy, but it is reality. In American culture we don't have a ceremony that signifies your child is becoming a grown-up unlike many other cultures that do. Wearing makeup can be part of her passage into adulthood. As long as you set guidelines of what you expect and have a understanding of those expectations then you should be aok. Good luck and best wishes!



answers from Hartford on

OK I think that the powder is to much. The mascara is fine and so is the eyeliner that should be it.

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