I realize teenage girls like makeup, and I am even guilty of buying it for my daughter. I don’t think it is a bad thing, and I don’t have a problem with my daughter wearing it — in moderation. The problem I had was when my daughter first wanted to wear makeup in about the 7th or 8th grade.
It seems to be middle school when the girls start to find the interest in growing up with makeup, hair color and the way they dress. This is where things started to get a bit complicated. How do I allow my daughter to express herself and grow up, yet keep her age appropriate? I had to remember that age appropriate in my head was probably my 3-year-old daughter, but in reality she was 12 or 13.
I found middle school to be the most difficult parenting time for me with my daughter. Girls started wearing make up and dying their hair, and my daughter wanted to follow suit. I struggled a bit with this because I am a firm believer that I need to let my children have their own personalities and express themselves, yet I believe a parent is a PARENT, not a friend. I knew I had to keep limits on how much she could express and the way she could express it.
Every parent knows their child best and should set the guidelines according to their beliefs. I am not telling any parent how they should handle their kids, but I will tell you what I did and how it worked for me.
Makeup and hair dye — those were my nemesis. I have never been one to wear much makeup, but my daughter (for some reason) loves make up. She also has beautiful, thick, long wavy hair, NOT from me that’s for sure. I have always envied the hair; she must have gotten from her dad’s side of the family. It started with the highlights and dye she begged me to let her get. ”No” was my firm answer. When she asked why, I told her the typical, “Because I’m your mom and I said so!” That didn’t go over well but it held for a while.
As time went on she would bug me more to get just a small pink highlight or just a few highlights, etc. I still said “no,” but at this point I felt I needed to start to work with her. I envied her hair and didn’t want her to do anything to it that she would regret later. I know she wanted to express herself, but I didn’t think chemically treating her hair was the way.
Next she pushed for me to buy her eyeliner and coverup for her face, or even mascara. I was beginning to feel I was in over my head.
I know of girls who are told they can’t wear makeup, so they bring it to school and put it on there, removing it before getting home. I’d like to think my daughter isn’t one of those girls, but I can’t be naive — she might be.
My father always told me “everything is negotiable,” so I decided to think of how I could negotiate with my daughter to give her some room to express herself yet stay within my idea of age appropriateness.
I started with talking to my daughter. I asked her if there was anything she wanted to do with her hair that did NOT include color. She told me about feathers. I agreed to find out more about it. We went to a local salon where the hairdresser showed us feathers and tinsel that can be clipped in your hair. This was a perfect solution. No longer was I being pressured to let her dye her hair, and the feathers let her have some fun without being permanent.
I resisted the urge to tell her I would die for her skin and coverup was stupid because it covered NOTHING but her flawless skin. Instead I called Pavlova, a local salon and spa, to set up a time for my daughter with their makeup artist.
On a Saturday morning we met with Bonnie, a young makeup artist whom Kelsey seemed to relate better to about this subject them me. Bonnie taught Kelsey about makeup, its purpose and how to apply it. She talked to her about skincare, her natural beauty and how less is more. I enjoyed listening to the conversation between them. Kelsey opened up and asked her many questions, and Bonnie gave answers and advice that I could live with.
After the appointment at Pavlova Kelsey and I had lunch. She was excited about what she had learned and showed a new confidence in herself. Since that day, almost two years ago, Kelsey has never pressured me to let her wear makeup. She took Bonnie’s advice and even now, as a freshman in high school, believes less is more and only uses a little make up to accentuate her features.