Makeup for 13 Year Old

Updated on March 16, 2015
V.S. asks from Birdsboro, PA
17 answers

My daughter turns 13 this month and we're going to get her a little make up that she can wear as a present. She's very shy and not pushing any boundaries in terms of trying to be older than her years. She's not inclined to anything heavy, but she does feel more confident when she dresses up a little. I see almost all the girls in her grade wearing varying degrees of make up, but since it's a gift, I don't want to ask her what we should get - I'd like to surprise her with a couple of things to get her started. Those of you with 13 year olds, if they have started wearing make up, what do they wear? Are there particular brands that they like or are popular? For example, I know those EOS lip balms are popular with all the girls. I just remember my mother pushing me to wear lipstick but no eye liner or mascara - it was a very 1950s look she was pushing on me, even though it was the 1980s. I want to be sensitive to her generational dictates.

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So What Happened?

ETA: I stopped wearing make up on a daily basis years ago, and when I do, it's just a little eye liner and mascara. I dislike the feeling of foundation or other heavy things.

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answers from St. Louis on

My daughter wanted makeup, wore it once, never again. She is 13 as well though she will be 14 this year.

Ever since I have been trying to get her to go to the mall and get a Clinique makeover. Not happening. I guess I should have expected it, her big sister is 24 and rarely wears makeup either.

Anyway, I got her Clinique though I think I am spelling it wrong

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Santa Barbara on

It really depends on the young lady. Some girls with light blond/white eye lashes and eye brows look fine when the correct amount of mascara and eye brow powder is used. It makes a huge difference in photos.

1 mom found this helpful

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answers from Dallas on

I would ask her, even it's a gift. Actually, the gift could be taking her to Sephora or a makeup counter with $100.

I know it seems like it could ruin the 'surprise', but IMO most teenagers have their own opinion of what they M. like to wear, so why waste time and money just so a gift can be more 'surprising'?

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Los Angeles on

I would definitely get her started with a good BB cream. Never too early to start with moisturizer and sunscreen!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Muncie on

Look for brands that are more natural and not chemical filled. I would also advise her to avoid foundations. At 13 they'll just like to clog her pores more. At the most a tinted moisturizer would be fine if she fines she wants/need to even out her skin tone. Blush, tinted lips gloss, a high lighting shadow on her brow bone, mascara or eye liner. It's quick, light feeling, great for everyday if she likes. If she wants "play" colors she can pick them herself. There's TONS of makeup tutorials on YouTube, your best bet is to talk to her and ask her what she wants.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I did this for my niece (with my sister's blessing). I got lip gloss, bronzer (in lieu of foundation or blush), brown mascara, and some colors of eyeliner and shadow - but nothing too bright. Basically I tried to walk a fine line of getting her something that would make her feel like it was more of a grownup present without it making her look too grown up, if you know what I mean.

Oh and you can fill out the makeup bag with a few of nail polish in her favorite colors - not just reds or pinks.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Happy Birthday to your daughter!!

My daughter is 20 and she started wearing a little makeup when she was in middle school. I took her to the Clinique counter because that is where my mom took me years and years ago. I still use all Clinique makeup and I have transitioned from Repairwear line of moisturizers to Kaplan MD and Trish McEvoy. Daughter still uses the Clinique line of moisturizers as well.

Neither of us like a heavy feel of make up and most of all, do not want to look like a different person with no makeup!!

I wear a tinted moisturizer with loose powder to set it. She wears Clinique Almost Powder.

In middle school, she wore lip gloss (Burt's Bees tinted is her favorite still) and a little mascara.

The best advice I think I got was to make sure I had a facial cleansing routine at least twice a day, under no circumstances skip cleaning, especially at night or go to bed with makeup on. Night time is when the skin is repairing itself and you need a fresh clean face for that. My daughter is as rigid with her routine as I am and I do believe because of that, neither of us have skin issues. We both moisturize daily and wear sunscreen. A good moisturizer is key as well as sunscreen and lots of water.

I am all for Clinique products but sometimes you can find a little gem in Sephora or Ulta.

Just make it fun for you both and enjoy this upcoming ride!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Anchorage on

I would just get her a slightly tinted moisturizer, some natural shade eyeshadow (cover girl is just fine), maybe some mascara, and a tinted lip gloss.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Miami on

I got nuthin' for ya, but I just wanted to say happy birthday to your daughter!! Good luck figuring this out!


1 mom found this helpful


answers from Lakeland on

I get my SD (age 16) Physicians Formula Organic mascara and eye liner. She has tried other brands and prefers this one, I use it too.

Maybe a little powder to take away shine, but at 13 she shouldn't need anything more.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

Why not surprise her with a "make-over" thing? Not to make her over, but an appointment at a make-up counter where they can find the best colors for her and show her how to apply them properly. That's what I did with my daughter when she started 6th grade (well, that summer, she had turned 11 and so we went and had a very low-key appointment at the Clinique counter).

She came away with some powder/foundation, an eyeliner pencil, and some lip gloss, if I remember correctly. She already had a few items I'd picked up at Ulta for her to play around with... (some mascara, eye shadows).

She looked amazing (but not *made up*) when she wore it. Her interest waned quickly, however. She is NOW almost 14 (summer birthday), and lately I have noticed she has begun to wear a bit of make-up again. Some eyeliner, a touch of mascara, maybe a little blush. No liquid foundation, and really no lipstick. If she wears a lip gloss it wears off quickly or it is so subtle that I can't really be sure she is wearing it.

She is very active (sports) and doesn't care to dress up in girly things at all. She's self confident without the trappings, and leans more towards comfort than anything else.
Most of her friends, I have noticed, seem to wear about the same amount of make-up--which is to say, a minimum amount applied very naturally, not dramatically.

You can *gift* her with whatever items her cosmetologist recommends for her skin type and coloring, if she so desires them. Throw in a make-up bag and makeup remover and those makeup remover cotton squares/circles for good measure.
And Happy Birthday. Time for the glorious moody years. :P
Sadie ^ made an excellent point. My daughter is blonde and blue eyed with fair skin. The expert at the makeup counter can make the most helpful suggestions when seeing your daughter in person. For my own daughter, I mentioned when setting up the appointment that my daughter doesn't *do* girly girl and that *I* was looking for a more natural look. That gave the expert the guidance for what to teach/show my daughter.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

lip gloss for sure. most girls do want the eye makeup. you can get mascara that's light, i think, just adds some definition without heavy color. and some eye shadows, and coach her in applying it so she doesn't look like cleopatra.
what fun!
:) khairete

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Norfolk on

I had to wait till I was 16 to use makeup - and I wasn't in any rush to do so.
A little lip gloss is fine.
There's no need to gunk up the eyes.
I see way too many girls go around looking like racoons for awhile.
Plus getting into a makeup habit is expensive.



answers from Oklahoma City on

Lip gloss in a cherry pink color. I use Mary Kay Sparkle Berry for my granddaughter for performances. It's a good cut color. It's close enough to real lip colors that it looks like you've just added a clear lip gloss unless she's very very pale then a lighter color would be better like Pink Parfait.


A little powder that's translucent and close to her skin color. I've always used Cover Girl for my granddaughter and Mary Kay for myself. Her skin does well with the Noxema based skin care items and I have always used Mary Kay since I was in high school.

I don't like Mary Kay base anymore so I stopped wearing make up. I know I should break the loyalty and find a new base for my skin care.


A mascara that's dark brown and not harsh black will look much better, younger, and not harsh like a hoochie

I like Great Lash Washable Mascara for younger girls. It's easy to get off when they shower. I love love love the hear shaped brush they have now. I can really get a lot of mascara on my granddaughters lashes for performances or she can have just a tiny bit for pictures or something special.


Spending a little money on good quality items and not spending it on packages of multi colored eyeshadows and stuff that is more for play makeup is what I do.


answers from Washington DC on

My daughter is 11 and she has been using makeup since she was 6 and dancing competitively. However, when she isn't wearing it for dance, she really just wears mascara. That's for something fancy, like a nice dinner out or family pictures.

Her favorite brands are Sephora and Mac. We have stopped in Bare Minerals stores a few times, but she isn't sure she wants to try that.


answers from Boston on

I'd either take her in to a make-up counter (in a store or in a salon that does that) or give her a personal appointment with someone from Mary Kay or Avon. You could try to take a photo of her to one of those sources and show her coloring, describe her style, etc., to see if they can "guess" at a shade. If she's shy, she might like a more experienced person helping her but you can look for a gentle, not overly-made-up salesperson to advise her. The advantage of an individual consultant from Mary Kay or Avon is that the person can come to your home - if your daughter doesn't want to be in a very public make-up counter. Both are very good companies. No matter who you work with, you can tell them you don't want a ton of product, that this is just a starter supply for a young teen. If you have a good salesperson either from a distributor or a store/salon, they won't be pushy. They can also help her learn to care for her skin, which will help as she enters the hormonal years and also as she will have the added burden of washing off make-up in a timely way.



answers from Washington DC on

As the mom of a 14-year-old who has no interest in makeup and hates the feel of it but does like to look nice, please, -- Ease your daughter into it. I would not do a makeover unless you ask her first if she wants one, and only if you are clear with her that you're totally OK with the idea if her saying no to it. Someone else making her up in a public place like a department store might feel a bit invasive to her -- I know some women love going to makeup counters for the full works for fun, or before an event, but really consider whether your girl (especially if she is a bit shy and if she has not already shown interest in makeup much) will do it because she really likes the idea, or because she wants to please you and thinks YOU want her to get a makeup-counter makeover. Also, if you go that route, bear in mind: You will have lots of products recommended to you by the makeup person and they will all be expensive, department-store makeups that cost a bucket; if you get them and your daughter never really uses them--?

I would either ask her up front if she wants something like that, or take her shopping for it at a drugstore and not a department store, or, my personal choice, give her a very nice little basket filled with a good quality, lightweight sunscreen, a couple of different lip balms (not lipsticks, girls this age don't go near it, it's all tinted or cleaer balms among my girl's middle school peers), a really fantastic hairbrush and comb (look at Bed, Bath and Beyond stores for lots of speciality brushes), some really nice hair accessories if she ever uses them (fancy decorated barrettes and ties that are nice but not so blingy she won't ever use them except once in a blue moon). If she wears nail polish for special things, get her a good clear one and maybe one other neutral color, or if she is into color, yes, get her something more colorful for her nails. But I would, myself, avoid giving foundation, liner, mascara, eyeshadow, blush, any of that. Not if she hasn't shown interest. She can feel very dressed up with new hair stuff, three or four lovely lip balms to try, etc.

EOS lip balms are very popular as you note and with good reason -- they're cute but also are 100 percent natural stuff. I prefer my daughter use those as they're basically just solidified olive oil, so no junky chemicals, and they have great scents that do not linger all day long!

I would also find her a fun book showing different hairstyles to try, if she has hair long enough to put up in different ways. There are lots of these kinds of books geared at young teens -- any Barnes and Noble will have them, with illustrations. Maybe a book about how to make your own spa items; my daughter was given a book that showed how to make things like bath salts, sugar scrubs, etc. from home ingredients and how to package them in fun ways to give or keep. Many girls are into being "natural" now and using natural ingredients.

I would not give makeup because of seeing other girls in her grade wearing it, unless she asks.

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