How Do You Talk to Your Daughter About Makeup?

Girl applying make up on home interior background

Makeup for Daughters, How Much and How to Start

By Anjum Nayyar

How Do You Talk to Your Daughter About Makeup?When I was young, my mom rarely did her manicures when we were around. When I was 6 years old and my mom had put us to bed, I remember waking up and going to her room because I couldn’t’ sleep. As I opened the door, I saw she was painting her nails. It was only then I discovered she would do her nails after she put us to bed. I don’t think it was because she was trying to hide it from us, I think it was about making sure when we were around she was spending ‘quality’ time with us, not her nails.

Soon after that night, I asked her if I could wear nail polish too, as I remember being excited about the thought of painting my nails. She told me that I was too young to do my whole hand but it would be ok if I did just one finger.

As the years went by, I saw more and more of my friends start to wear lip gloss, nail polish and blush. I longed to wear the makeup that I’d see in the stores. But at 12 and 13 my mom was adamant: I was not allowed to wear any makeup until I was older. At 14, I remember begging my mom if I could wear eye shadow and eyeliner because ‘all of my friends were wearing it.’ The real story was that there were maybe 3 girls wearing makeup, not everyone in my class. Regardless, she wasn’t having any of it. A big NO was the answer I got. She always said if I started early, it would ruin my skin. And well, that’s true.

This thinking likely came from the fact that my mom actually never wore makeup until the day she got married and even after that, she rarely wore any until she was in her thirties.

This makeup conversation (or battle!) for me was always fraught with frustration on my end. I couldn’t believe I wasn’t allowed to wear any makeup! At 14, my mom said I would be allowed to wear lip gloss and lip gloss only as a way to start to see if I could be responsible. I remember going to the make-up counter with my mom before graduation and picking my lip gloss colour. I felt like a grown up! You know how that feeling can be at that age.  lipstick; foundation

As a mom now, standards of what girls are allowed to wear have completely changed. Today, we’re seeing so much sexualization of young girls – girls wear makeup when they’re much younger and clothes are certainly not what they were in my day.


The tween years can be particularly challenging and statistics show that more than half of girls (about 1 out of 2 or 56 percent) claimed to experience a drop in confidence at puberty.


While I think it’s important to decide what’s right for you and for your daughter, I do think it’s important to start slowly like my mother did and send the right message about beauty. Ask her why she wants to wear makeup. Ask her what she thinks is beautiful and talk to her about body image early. I think we need to start slowly and walk them through their decision, – even having a ‘beauty 101’ conversation as they get into their late teens is important too.


Here are some tips:

  1. Be strong enough to set an age at which you think your daughter should be allowed to wear makeup — and hold your ground. It will help to show your daughter how to be comfortable with her own beauty and who she is. bigstock_Close_mother_and_daughter_sitt_27594395
  2. Don’t be swayed by the ‘my friends are allowed, why can’t I?’ argument. It’s hard to stand your ground, but stick to what you feel is right.
  3. Be sure to include how she can feel good about herself in other things she does too, like extra-curricular activities, sports, music, etc. Teach her that beauty does not equal success.
  4. While occasions like graduation and prom can mean you bend a little on your rules, still set a guideline on ‘how much’ and ‘what’ makeup you allow. Remember that a little makeup can go a long way and it’s important that your daughter’s makeup is appropriate for her age. Maybe you allow lip gloss or nail polish when they’re young and slowly move towards blush and eye makeup as they get older.

When you‘re both ready to graduate to the makeup wearing stage, you’ll want her to know where to start. While she may want to try the newest products and trends in magazines or videos, it’s still very overwhelming. So here are some makeup conversation tips to get you started:

Remember that you need to be comfortable in your own skin.

Makeup can be about self-discovery: You’ll find what makes you happy and what makes you feel good being you. It can be a fun way to express yourself and highlight some of your best features for the world to see. It’s a learning process and is not something that will happen over night. With a little experimenting, you’ll soon develop your daily beauty regimen.

Soften Your Natural Features

Makeup is meant to enhance your natural beauty. You don’t have to go crazy with lots of it. A little can go a long way. Experts believe that too often makeovers involve lots of makeup and a masking of who you really are. Play up your lips OR your eyes, not both. Also, neutral colors allow you to shine vs. your bright makeup taking center stage.

Make Smart Beauty BuysTalking to your daughter about makeup

Spend your money wisely. Some products are worth paying more for, and some are best to get for a good value. It’s better to invest in staples that are important to your everyday look. Quality matters more when buying eye shadow, moisturizer, foundation, powder, blush, and an everyday lipstick, and less when it comes to mascara, eye liner, cleansers, lip gloss, and trendy lipstick colors. When you’re contemplating trying out a new look, make sure you test the foundation, powder, blush, and lipstick to make sure you choose the right color for your skin tone.

Keep a Well-Groomed You

Nothing says well-groomed louder than nails that are clean and the same length. Use this makeup tip: If you polish your nails, change or remove the color when it chips.

When you decide the time is right for her to graduate to makeup, make sure you both know how to shop. Here are some tips from

Decide Where to Go

Regardless of where you go (drug, discount or department stores), they all have their own particular pluses and minuses. Drug and discount stores stock their cosmetic aisles with hundreds of products you can browse at your own pace, while many department stores have makeup counters where you can work with a salesperson, ask for advice and try different types of makeup. Talk to your mom or other trusted adults to get their opinion on where you should start shopping.

Be Safe

Avoid contaminated makeup testers by bringing your own cotton swabs. Use the back of your hand instead of your lips and eyes to check out colors. Only sample products that come from a shaker, a squeeze pump dispenser or those that are single-use testers.

Ask for Help Woman Having A Nail Manicure In A Beauty Salon

If you’re still hesitant, ask a salesperson for help. She can show you the product, tell you what’s new for the season and what the best-selling items are. The salesperson may even know about current special offers! Additionally, makeup counter employees are trained to use sanitary measures, including disinfecting their hands, sharpening pencils and cleaning makeup brushes with antibacterial spray between customers.

Try to get into the store when it’s relatively empty so the salesperson will be able to give you more attention. Make eye contact and explain what it is you are looking for. Describe your skin so he or she knows what you need. Don’t be embarrassed to tell her your budget and don’t be afraid to say “No” if you’re not ready to purchase.

Start With a Good Foundation

If you’re just starting to wear makeup and don’t know exactly what you need, try to start with the basics to make a good foundation to build upon. Be conservative with your selections versus coming home with a dozen shades of eye shadow.

For when she gets older and wears makeup more in her later teens, here’s a refresher on keeping it natural:

Be Realistic

Don’t expect makeup to correct the shape of anything on your face. Be careful when applying lipstick beyond or inside your natural lip line. It can be easy to see when you are over-correcting. Also, if you over-contour with foundation, bronzer and blush, you will look like you have brown stripes all over your face. Just relax and add a little glow all over.

Applying makeup and trying out a new look is fun! The best part is, you can always wash your face and start all over again. When it comes to makeup, it’s always best to go with what you makes you feel and look your best. That way, you can always pair a smile with whatever makeup you have on.

Good luck!

Fore more beauty tips for teens visit:

For more on girls and self-confidence visit:


This post was sponsored by P&G Everyday Canada but opinions expressed in this article are that of the author.



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