3 Things I Want My Daughter to Know About Wearing Makeup

3 Things I Want My Daughter to Know About Wearing Makeup

Can a non-makeup-wearing mom help her daughter navigate the cosmetics counter?

By Rachel Diroll-Zack

I am not now, nor have I ever been, a girly girl. There might have been a moment back in 1987 when I was 12 where things could have been different, but while my peers were experimenting with teal mascara and magenta eye shadow, I was probably off somewhere doing extra credit homework or being really, really, REALLY bad at basketball. Long story short, I never learned how to put makeup on my face, and at age 40, it’s not that I’m too old to learn – I don’t have the patience. If I have to look nice for some event, I will go to the salon and pay to have a professional do it. If I try on my own, I get a lot of people asking me if I’m OK. I’m fine! I’m just really bad at this!

The thing is, I have a 9-year-old daughter who will probably eventually want to wear makeup. She will probably come to me for advice and I will have to sort of shrug and go look to see if there is a class she can take somewhere because I haven’t the faintest clue what to do. On the other hand, I am her mom, and of course I think she is perfect just as she is! She doesn’t need makeup, but maybe she will want to wear makeup! I’m not sure how I’m going to navigate that, but here are three things I want her to know before she picks up the teal eyeliner:

1. She shouldn’t try to hide it from me. I’m her mother; I’ve looked at her face more times than I can count. I know what she looks like, even if that changes from day to day, hour to hour. If she wants to start wearing makeup, all she has to do is tell me about it and we’ll do it right.

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2. She is already beautiful. As long as she isn’t doing anything permanent to her face, she should feel free to experiment and explore different looks and colors to find what works best for her. Maybe that’s magenta glitter lip gloss paired with orange eye shadow. I hope not, but perhaps that’s the best look to go with the blue lipstick I spotted at the store the other day.

3. If she doesn’t feel like wearing any makeup on any given day, she doesn’t have to. I don’t want her to become a slave to the mascara wand and feel like she can’t leave the house without her eyes, lips, and cheeks done. I never, ever want her to look at her freshly scrubbed face in the mirror and feel like she doesn’t look like “herself” because she doesn’t have any makeup on. It can be a shield sometimes, but it should never be a mask.


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My hope is that I am instilling enough confidence in her now that she will be able to rely on it in the future. Life throws a lot of things at us, especially girls, and the best thing I can do as a mom is point her in the right direction and hope she gets there in one piece. If our path drags us past the makeup displays at the store, then so be it. Maybe I’ll take a lesson, too.

How do you help your kids in situations where you have zero experience?

Rachel Diroll-Zack is a mom, knitter, beer brewer, and domestic ninja who lives in the wilds of suburban New Jersey. She is very good at Tetris.

Image ©iStock.com/kate_sept2004

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