In this edition of Beauty Independent’s ongoing series posing questions to beauty entrepreneurs, we ask 10 brand founders and executives: At what age would you let your children experiment with makeup?
JILL ROSSINI Founder, Fixy Makeup
As a mother of a six-year-old daughter, this question rings loud in my ears. My kid has already experimented with makeup, but more in a playful way. I have encouraged her to help me with product development since makeup destruction is right up her alley.
That said, I am shocked at all of the young children doing makeup tutorials. It honestly creeps me out. I don't believe that little girls should be putting on fake eyelashes, foundation, etc. This might sound old, but I believe that high school is the perfect time for children to start truly exploring makeup.
LOURDES GAUDIANO Co-Founder, Luly Gaudiano
I’m from Panama. There, you’re basically born with makeup on. So, it wasn’t a big deal when my daughter started to play with my makeup. I was more worried that she could destroy it.
I do believe there’s a limit. She can use it, make herself up like a clown, but I won’t ever let her look like a makeup influencer. She’s still a girl, not a little woman. And my son is not really interested. Sometimes he comes and plays with the brushes, but that’s all.
JESSICA KIZOVSKI Founder and Lead Formulator, Veriphy Skincare
Any age! Makeup is art, and letting your child express themselves through this medium is a healthy outlet. It is completely understandable that young kids are curious about makeup and want to discover what the buzz is all about. I think it’s important that a child understands that makeup is meant to be fun and not a necessity.
EUGENE HE Founder, Ceramiracle
I don't have kids, but I started playing with chemicals and destroying makeup since I was eight. When I have kids, I won't set any age restrictions as long as the cosmetics are safe and non-toxic.
It's so important to expose your child to creativity as early as possible because it gives them opportunities to define who or what they want to be.
DOMINIQUE NEMERY Founder, Amatera Cosmetics
There are no universal answers to this question. Each period of life has its own interest and each period must be lived. I think that there is an age to start with makeup, but this will differ from child to child depending on the environment, education, interest and so on.
I see some children with nail colors. Today, there are natural brands which are water-based. This is better for the kids. Our motto is: live, love, laugh, and a clean and natural beauty without compromise. Both can be done at each age, from seven to 77 years, as we say in Belgium.
CHRISTINE CAMERON KOEHLER Founder, Flora 1761
I strongly believe that makeup can be an important part of self-expression much like clothing, and this can be a very special way for individuals to explore and define their personal identity as they grow up, if they do choose.
Since it is a part of my daily routine I am sure my baby girl will start to ask about it in a few years, and I certainly plan to let her play around with it a bit, but I don’t think I will allow her to wear makeup on a daily basis until she is older, likely a teenager. While I am excited for that phase of her life, I want her to spend a lot of time before then getting to know herself and her own unique beauty before she might feel the urge to change or enhance it with makeup.
IRA GREEN Founder, Freedom
I have three daughters and three different opinions on makeup. My rule has been 16 for full makeup - rule from my mom and I’m not sure why - but 13 for a little mascara and a tinted lip balm. I don’t think they need to go to school with a full face of makeup. Of course, if they have events (I have a cheerleader), they can wear the makeup, but only the healthy stuff. The funny thing is I have offered it to them to wear, and they are not bothered to wear anything because I never treated it as a taboo.
JENNIFER YEN Creator, Purlisse
My daughter is almost four, and she loves playing with my lip gloss and brow makeup. She also loves to apply lip gloss on me, and I let her because I believe it's form of artistic expression. I allow her to play with makeup and apply a little because it's fun for kids.
DELANE MAZAHERI Co-Founder and CEO, Stare Cosmetics
I never had the opportunity to have children, but, if I did, I would raise them much like I was raised. Speaking from my experience as a youngster, I always had a fixation with makeup starting at about eight. I remember my grandmother would have the Avon lady to the house, and I absolutely loved all the colors, the feel, the smells. I was hooked.
I was allowed to play with makeup and experiment occasionally, but never out in public. In junior high and high school, I was able to have the very basics: glosses, mascara and maybe a little minerals.
What I learned from my grandmother still stays with me today and pertains to my current business. Care for your skin as it must last a lifetime. I started young with the good basics. Quality over quantity. I apply this simple premise to my business as well. I feel strongly that we need to show our future generation the value of good quality makeup and the difference it makes on your skin.
JEN AUERBACH Co-founder, Clary Collection
You spend your entire childhood wishing so hard you were older, and the rest wishing you could turn back the clock. I wasn’t allowed to wear makeup for what felt like an eternity. As far as my parents were concerned, even at 12, I was too young, and I had my whole life to wear makeup.
My mother really never wore makeup. To me, this was unacceptable, so I reacted accordingly. I ran to my best friend’s house and watched her mom do makeup. I sat in the bathroom, enamoured with her powders and eyeshadows, and excited for the day I could also wear red lipstick.
But what confused me was that my relationship with makeup wasn’t always so controversial. When I was little, my sister would do my makeup, and it was fun and she would take photos, which I still treasure today. When my stepdaughter Sadie was seven, she went to a Katy Perry concert and as a treat I did her makeup, lipstick and some blush. The experience for her was a big girl moment and for me that occasion was harmless.
Sadie is now 11, and I've always secretly been relieved that she's shown little interest in makeup until recently. Not because I wanted her to stay a baby forever, but because I didn’t want her to grow up too quickly. I prepared myself for the day she came down looking like Ru Paul’s drag race with her cheeks smeared with whatever she found in my makeup bag, but she didn’t.
I feel that young girls generally want to wear makeup for simple reasons. They want to bond with their friends by doing the same thing that their friends are doing. Or they want to show that they are not babies anymore.
In today’s society, I feel innocence is rapidly diminishing given the access and increase in social media and who we now call role models. Young girls are using these platforms for sexualization to self-expression. I feel what was once fun, playful experimentation has become this claim for fame and attention driven by looks. I feel like the world of selfies has created a divide of harmless to dangerous. As a parent, it freaks me out.
Conclusion: I want my daughter to grow up with confidence in her natural beauty and not feel that she has to hide behind or change her appearance with makeup. I don’t think I would let Sadie wear makeup every weekend, but, on special occasions, yes. I feel 13/14 is a better time to start with a more solid experimental phase.
Every parent’s choice is their own, but just be conscious of what you allow your child to put on their skin and be conscious of the reasons why they want to enter into the world of face paint. Your little girl's perfect flawless skin doesn’t need to be clogged up with paraben-full foundations. I know we can’t ban makeup forever and keep them at home, but we can educate them on the safety of beauty products and the safety of self-expression.
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