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Makeup for Your Younger Teens

Wearing makeup is a rite of passage in a young woman’s life. It ranks right up there with her first bra and getting her period, except that makeup is fun!

Let’s face it, as little girls most of us snuck into our Mom’s makeup kit and smeared lipstick all over our faces – and it was likely either her darkest red or her brightest pink. It went along with wearing her most sparkly and highest heels and draping 5 or 6 of her necklaces around our necks.

Then at some point in time we got to the age where we wanted to wear makeup “for real”. Almost across the board, the girl wanting to wear the makeup wants to do so at least a year earlier than her Mother wants her to. (This is not a scientific study, but just me going by me and my friends and now observing my daughter and her friends). So here’s the solution Moms: whatever age you actually want your daughter to start wearing makeup, tell her she can start the next year. That way she will start sneaking around with makeup the year that you actually want her to start wearing makeup. Just kidding, (although it is tempting.)

Seriously though, the biggest mistake that young girls make when they first start using makeup is the same one they make when they are 3 and go for that bright red lipstick; they want everyone to know they are wearing makeup.

The purpose of makeup, particularly in the daytime, is not to slather color all over one’s face but to enhance one’s natural beauty and in some instances cover up small flaws such as the wonderful acne that besets adolescents. This is an important talk to have with your daughter. This is a perfect opportunity to build your daughter’s self-esteem. Explain how makeup should never be the main attraction, that a person should not notice someone’s makeup first. As adults we know that the best compliment we can get is not “Wow your makeup looks amazing!” but, “Wow, your eyes look so bright!” or “Your skin looks so smooth!” This is a secret to let your daughter in on, too.

I dragooned my own middle school daughter, Jordan, into being an example of good and bad makeup.

Jordan turns 12 next month and will be in the 7th grade in the fall. She has been a part of competitive cheer teams for the past 4 years, so is used to wearing stage makeup (very heavy and theatrical) and this year I had to teach her how to tune it down some to use for every day. She also competed in a couple of pageants, but luckily these pageants encouraged girls to look natural and not go for the “stage look” that so many of us have become familiar with over the years.

Here’s Jordan with no makeup. Like many early teens she fights the acne fight, and hates it.
Jordan No Makeup

Jordan Good Makeup

Using makeup allows her to cover up any blemishes and go to school feeling much more confident and not worrying about people looking at the “big zit”. We use a combination of mineral and mousse foundation to help with covering blemishes. Her blush is a peachy-pink that we blend over the apples of her cheeks and up her cheekbones. For her eyes we use rosy-golds that give her a little sparkle. Her lips also use a pink/nude that really just plays up her natural lip color and gives a little shine. She does not look very different from her natural look, just more polished.

Jordan Bad Makeup

Here we use unnatural and bright colors. The blush is too dark for her skin tone, and is not blended in at all. Instead it is just streaked up on the cheekbone. Many blush kits come with a small blush brush, which makes this mistake common. Getting a large, fluffy blush brush will help tremendously with blending. Her eye colors are bright blues and greens that are not blended, and streak out past the eye line. Blues and greens can be used, but should be done with a light touch and blended. It is also best to keep these tones on the lid so just a flash of color is seen. Finally, Jordan’s bright red lipstick is way too dark and bright for her age. It makes her look like the 3 year old dressing up like Mommy. Even she said “I look like a clown!”

Now, I realize that not many girls are going to make all of these mistakes at one time, but these are the most common ones that are made. The reason I know this is because back in the 80s (when I was in 7th grade) I wore sky blue eye shadow with silver eye liner. I thought I was “the bomb”. I don’t think blue has ever touched my eyes again.

The most important thing to remember about your daughter and makeup is that this is a perfect opportunity for you to spend some time with her. Have a makeup party and play. Go get mani/pedis together. Take her for a professional makeup lesson at Sephora. Never pass up an opportunity to spend time with your daughter during these extremely important years.

Now I need to go wash the lipstick off of mine!

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