Is wearing makeup okay for children?


Fact Box

  • A study done by the Mintel marketing agency found that 80% of kids aged nine to eleven wore beauty products. 
  • In recent years, American retailers Claire’s and Justice have both recalled batches of children’s makeup after testing came back positive for asbestos.
  • Some baby and toddler makeup tutorial videos on YouTube have gotten as many as 10 million views. 
  • Launched in 2018, cosmetics brand Petite ‘N Pretty was created for kids aged four to eighteen.

Manahil (No)

The rise of the beauty industry has compelled people to try to look perfect all the time. Social media and celebrity influencers uphold this sentiment by reaching the general public in ways that promote the idea of physical perfection. A mentality like this not only affects adults, but also has a massive impact on the young minds of children, influencing them to change the way that they look from an early age.

Normalizing the use of makeup for children indirectly feeds them the idea that their appearance isn’t good enough. This especially affects young girls growing up with the pressure of looking perfect at an age where they should be learning to explore and accept themselves. This reduces their self-worth to something that is gauged by the way they look, rather than by their talents and abilities. 

Aside from social effects, the kinds of ingredients used to manufacture makeup aren’t meant to be used on young skin—even if they are marketed as such. Children’s skin is much more sensitive and fragile than adults’ skin, and the presence of harsh chemicals and allergens affects them more adversely. While adult makeup is clearly not meant to be used by children, the case isn’t much different when it comes to kids’ makeup, which has been proven to be harmful for children—with some brands even containing asbestos.  

Makeup is definitely an outlet that allows individuals to express themselves and there’s nothing wrong with playing around with it to feel pretty. But the implications of its use from an early age are way too serious to be taken casually. 

Laurie (Yes)

There is no harm in children wearing makeup. By allowing children to wear makeup, parents are encouraging their freedom of expression. They are promoting their child’s creativity and giving them permission to have fun with “grown-up toys”. Oftentimes, children like to imitate their mother figure or older sisters by playing dress-up with makeup. This is an innocent act of adoration that will not harm the child psychologically. At such a young age, there is no understanding of the societal concept of makeup. It is simply a game. It’s just like playing pretend princess or playing a game of checkers. 

The freedom for children to express themselves creatively when they are young aids in their ability to excel at communication. Children who are nurtured in an environment that promotes expression of original ideas both in spoken word and in dress are better able to articulate their thoughts throughout their lives. And by default become more curious about the world they live in, as their questioning and experimentation are condoned by their parents and deemed acceptable and worthwhile. All of these benefits, of course, transfer over to the educational realm, where a curious and expressive child feels more comfortable sharing and questioning in the classroom. Additionally, creative self-expression at a young age also supports a child’s resilience and ability to cope. 

For all of these reasons, allowing children to wear makeup ultimately sets them up to be comfortable in their own bodies because they have become comfortable with who they really are—something that is vital in helping to make the inevitable identity crisis in their pre-teen through adult years considerably more endurable.

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