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Makeup and Children

Mommy Dearest: Grandma Encourages Child to Use Cosmetics

Mommy Dearest,

My daughter is four years old and is as "girly" as can be. She watches me get dressed for work in the morning and even "helps" me put on my makeup. My mom started buying her toy makeup kits two years ago and often gives her the free cosmetic samples she gets at department stores. Both my husband and I have told my mother that we don't want our child playing with makeup, but she laughs it off, saying that we are being too strict. How young is too young for a child to be playing with makeup?

– Don't Want Daughter Made Up

To see the response from Mommy Dearest,


Don't Want Daughter Made Up,

Lots of little girls and boys like experimenting with makeup, but it's up to parents to decide what age wearing cosmetics is appropriate. The powders, brushes, tubes of bright lipstick, and sparkly eye shadow entice kiddos because they resemble art supplies. Children have flawless skin and features so it's understandable why you don't your daughter painting her face with products that are for adults or may contain chemicals. But you may be sending mixed messages by having her help with your makeup and letting her play with the goodies grandma has given her. You should sit down with your mother and discuss the rules from this point on, and ask that she respect them. Since it seems the two bond over playing makeup, maybe you would consider allowing her to paint your daughter's nails or dab on a dot of clear gloss as a special treat when they are in each other's company.

—Mommy Dearest

Submit a question for this feature at the Mommy Dearest Group on TeamSugar.

Image Source: Getty
Join The Conversation
lickety-split lickety-split 8 years
little girls LOVE to put on makeup. i don't like it even for play because it's messy. i also think it looks trashy. for some reason grandma's seem to think that the stuff that was off limits to us is great fun for our kids. maybe you could make makeup a "special grandma activity", just at grandma's house. then, when your daughter gets red lipstick on something it won't be at your house and you won't be the bad guy for saying "no".
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
Putting on makeup has nothing to do with feminism.
Lyngay Lyngay 8 years
I don't want my 4 year old playing with makeup, honestly. Maybe as an occasional treat, but not all the time. I don't want her thinking that that's what grownup ladies do and that she somehow needs it. If that makes me crazy, so be it. ;) I think a lot about how growing up female in this society can be difficult and the deeper implications of things like makeup and Bratz dolls. It's my prerogative and while playing with makeup won't hurt my daughter, it won't hurt her to not have it either, now will it?
FrankiLee FrankiLee 8 years
I don't see any problem with the little girl playing with make-up. It's not like she's out in public with a full face of make-up on, right? It's just play to her. But besides that, I think that if the OP has certain rules for her children, then the kids' grandmother should respect that. I have certain rules or ways of parenting that my mom doesn't entirely agree with, but she wouldn't try and force her rules or parenting on my daughter or laugh mine off. She should respect her daughter's rules for her kids whether she agrees with them or not.
MissSushi MissSushi 8 years
Too young is whenever you choose it to be. Its your rules, and your mother should be respecting them. Letting your child help put it on you, an adult, doesnt mean you automatically have to start letting her put it on herself. Fathers may let their kids help slather them up with shaving cream, but it doesnt mean they should be handed a fake razer and some shaving cream to play it on their own time. I dont think its a big deal as long as its at home and not out, but you dont have to cave just becuase other people tell you to. It's your child, your decisions, and your family should be respecting it. I think some of our biggest mistakes as parents these days is giving into peer parenting pressure.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
The mom is over reacting. THere is a difference in letting your child play dress up with is an integral part of self awareness and cognitive development and letting them wear makeup for pure cosmetic reasons. You wouldnt tell a little boy who wanted to play army that he couldnt dirty up his face because he is too young to join the armed forces.
runningesq runningesq 8 years
I think the OP is being a little ridiculous. To the child it's like - as Lil said - an art project... one for the face ! As long as the make up is cleaned up and the child understands it's for play time only ... I don't see the harm.
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