Why It’s Good for Kids to Wear Makeup, and What Age Isn’t Too Early, According to Psychologists
Parents may notice one day that their kid loves makeup. Your offspring may be deeply intrigued by sparkly lip gloss, shiny eyeshadow, or the fluffy brushes from your makeup box. All these tools allow them to unleash their creativity on their cute faces and create wonderful masterpieces that may sometimes shock and stun their parents. Let’s take a look at what specialists think about this washable, temporary way for kids to explore their creative side.
The topic often becomes a subject of heated debate on the Internet.
Dressing up and playing pretend isn’t a surprising activity for children of all ages. But at some point, their interest in makeup may seem too grown-up of a pastime and even concerning for some parents.
On the one hand, there are people who think there’s no harm in letting a child wear a little blush while at home or some lip gloss while going to the grocery store. Some say, “It’s just for fun. It makes my child happy and doesn’t really hurt anyone.” Others, however, believe that letting kids use cosmetics might send a negative message about their self-esteem and put too much emphasis on outer beauty at an early age.
Surprisingly, when celebrities allow their not-so-grown-up kids to wear a bit of makeup, public opinion often stays on the very positive side.
Taking to Instagram this year, Hilaria Baldwin posted a “back to school” image carousel featuring some of her children. In them, people could see her 9-year-old daughter, Carmen, wearing dark burgundy lipstick for her first day of fourth grade, and fans absolutely praised the young girl for being an “icon.” The post has since racked up over 24,000 likes and got even more supportive comments.
The opinions of psychologists are surprisingly positive too.
Dr. Tamar Kahane, a child and adolescent psychologist, shares her opinion on the reasons why a kid may actually want to wear makeup, even at a very early age. One such reason was their desire to communicate in a special way. Dr. Kahane says, “One of the ways in which a child learns about their world is through dressing up. They take on different roles through their play, and that’s how they communicate.”
But the most surprising reason, according to the psychologist, is the child thinking, “I want to look like or be like Mommy. I see Mommy puts on makeup, so I want to put it on also.”
While some parents are concerned that makeup may be a self-esteem issue for their kids, specialists claim otherwise. Pediatrician Eva Kubiczek-Love, M.D., says, “It’s always a good idea to ask your kids why they’re interested in makeup, encourage them to have fun, and expect that you may need to tell them when you think too much is too much.”
Dr. Tamar Kahane suggests that parents should not overthink things when their kids express an interest in makeup. Instead, psychologists suggest giving the kids a chance to try things within limits. She says, “I agree that little girls shouldn’t be running around wearing makeup outside the house. But I think we should start by understanding and acknowledging that they like to wear makeup and giving them a time and a place and a space to do that.”
The proper age to wear makeup doesn’t actually exist.
According to Alan E. Kazdin, Sterling Professor of Psychology and Professor of Child Psychiatry at Yale University, there is no certain age at which a child should or should not wear makeup. “There are several factors that dictate when a child begins to wear makeup, including a culture, a parent’s socioeconomic status, a child’s peers — it’s multi-determined,” says Kazdin. “There’s no age that you can say, ’Okay, buy them everything.’”
This thought is supported by Erick Kenneth French, a licensed clinical social worker. He says that “wearing makeup can mean different things in different cultures,” and it’s not necessarily all about selfies and Sephora. For example, in some cultures, eyeliner is used to protect kids’ eyes from the sun.
French says, “The most important thing to consider when sharing any activity with your children is what you’re being and what you’re teaching them to be when they engage in the activity. In the case of makeup, your child’s experience of what you are being when you wear makeup yourself will strongly impact what it means to wear makeup for themselves.”
What is your attitude about kids wearing makeup? What is the right age to start using cosmetics, in your opinion? When did you start using it?