The BBC in a bit of impressive investigative journalism brought…
By Emmanuel Chiedu
It is quite difficult to point out the right age for teenage girls to wear makeup. The age of 10, although not necessarily a significant developmental milestone is often referred to as the “turn over year”. This term means that by age 10 — whether parents like it or not — children hold half of the control over their lives, while parents hold the remaining 50 percent. As children continue to mature intellectually, physically, emotionally, and socially beyond age 10, they grasp in bits and pieces more and more responsibility and accountability for their actions and decisions.
It comes as a shock to most parents when they see their teen daughters on makeup for the first time, according to Mrs Nzemeke what they often feel is seeing their little girl who only yesterday was attending nursery school growing up so fast.
“Makeup often represents an adolescent girl’s eagerness and excitement to become a ‘grown up,’ and explore her attractiveness to peers, but for parents, it can bring up fear and stress relating to their child maturing and becoming interested in boys,” says Julie Hanks, a psychotherapist specializing in family relationships. “It may also represent a daughter pulling away from her parents to focus more on peers, which may feel scary for some parents.”
Girls as young as 3 or 4 years old may try experimenting with makeup, with or without the knowledge of their parents. While these experimental stages are a normal part of growing up, they are certainly worthy of being monitored.
For parents who agree to allow their teen girls wear makeup, it’s important to start slowly. Carol Tuttle, mother of 5 and author of Dressing Your Truth: Discover Your Personal Beauty Profile, says she recommends starting with lip gloss and makeup between ages 10-12, progressing to foundation and cover up between ages 13-14. Between the ages of 15-17, blush, eyeliner and eye shadows are appropriate and by age 18 your daughter should have the skills to apply makeup to enhance her natural beauty.
Some parents, however, feel that girls should not wear any makeup until they are older because it sends the wrong message. “We cultivate a natural, no-make up rule early in my family,” says Michelle Nicholasen, author of I Brake for Meltdowns (Peseus/DaCapo Press). “My four girls are young, but they understand how I feel about make up. It’s for dress-up fun only. My rule is no makeup or pierced ears until they are 18, at which point they can make their own decisions about these issues. I’ll have my opinions, but I won’t get in their way.”
Parents should know that when girls reach pre-adolescent ages, typically between 11 and 13 years old, the media and friends begin to influence their desires and choices. Many pre-teen girls look up to celebrities as role models, and the media unavoidably influences many girls’ desires to look and feel beautiful. In essence, the application of makeup helps girls feel like they resemble celebrity role models.
As girls reach the ages of 14 to 17 years old, many begin to resist their parents’ influence and choose to follow that of their peers. Parents are often concerned with the level of influence children’s friends have.
If parents forbid their daughters from wearing makeup entirely, some girls may not understand why their parents are making these strict rules. Rather than totally preventing ones teenage daughters from wearing makeup, it is more advisable to teach them what is age-appropriate and help them understand the social implications of wearing “too much” makeup. If teens are made to understand that makeup are there to support their natural beauty and not to replace them, it becomes easier to set rules that will not be vehemently opposed.
Different people have differing opinions on what age is appropriate for a teen girl to start wearing make. Some even insist that they shouldn’t wear any at all. However, the final decision lies with the parents. Over to you mum!