Teaching My Young Daughter About Make-up and Beauty
If you asked me about it a few years ago, I wouldn’t have thought I would be teaching my daughter about make-up when she is this young. She’s six, so she doesn’t have any make-up of her own besides a pink tube of Lip Smackers.
Getting to use my make-up is something we do together once in a while when she wants to do something special just with mommy, and we don’t have plans to leave the house later.
We actually don’t apply much make-up, we mostly just use the tools. She takes the brushes and pretends to apply powder. We use a little bit of eyeshadow and her Lip Smackers. She knows what each item in my make-up bag is and what it is used for.
I probably could have waited longer, but she’s always been interested in my make-up. When she was one she’d look in my purse for my Burts’ Bees Lip Shimmer and apply it on her chin. At two years old she’d get my make-up bag, and I’d find her clenching my make-up brushes and drawing extra eyebrows with my brown Clinique eye pencil.
I didn’t start wearing a little make-up until I was in middle school, but that didn’t stop me from going into my mother’s make-up drawer in third grade to teach myself how to use it (badly).
Now when I sit down with my daughter to do a make-up lesson together, it’s mainly because I want to spend one-on-one time doing something that she will feel is special, but there’s another reason as well: I want to be her go-to resource when it comes to questions about beauty.
When people read about beauty in a magazine, the tips are all about fixing yourself: how to change the shape of your nose or your cheekbones, conceal your spots, and cover your flaws. I want her to come to me first so that I can surround those sentiments about make-up and beauty with affirming messages rather than letting them be based in insecurity.
For example, when we apply the blush, I might say, “This makes cheeks pink. You already have rosy cheeks, so you don’t need this, but we can put it on you for fun.” Or the mascara: “This is for eyelashes, but let’s not use this because your eyes look really beautiful the way they are.” I’ll also add (I can’t help it), “This is really fun. It’s nice to look beautiful, but you know, it’s more important to be kind. The way you treat people is what makes them feel good.”
I want beauty to remain something positive instead of automatically letting it be associated with vanity or insecurity. And if these mini-make-up lessons will help her to avoid wearing bright blue eyeshadow on her eyebrows when she’s in the seventh grade, then all the better.Published August 21, 2012. Last updated June 26, 2018.