How Young Is Too Young To Wear Makeup?

How Young is Too Young to Wear Makeup? |
A few weeks ago I was browsing products at Sephora. While looking in the Laura Mercier section, I overhead a conversation between two teenage girls. One said, “I heard Nars has a really good foundation. Look at this one.” I turned to look their way and saw both girls had near-perfect skin that didn’t need foundation, let alone one with heavy coverage one. I wanted to tell them how beautiful their skin was and that they should consider something lighter. But I stopped myself not wanting to ruin the sale for the employee helping them. So instead I walked to another section, and as if right on cue, saw a father applying lip gloss to high six-year-old’s lips. What should have been an adorable moment instead made me feel conflicted. Between these two incidents that happened in just a matter of moments, I started wonder: How young was too young to wear makeup?

My relationship with makeup started around 13 when I got my hands on my older sister’s copy of “Making Faces” by Kevyn Aucoin. I begged my younger sisters to let me do their makeup and applied Vaseline to their lids like Aucoin direction. You know, to give that editorial look.

Despite an early introduction, by high school my interest in makeup faded away as I became more interested in writing and politics. It wasn’t until college that I found makeup again after buying the BareMinerals Get Started Kit. I was living in New York City at the time and was decidedly more interested in dressing like Mary-Kate Olsen than wearing tons of makeup. However, all bets were off once I moved to South Carolina where women just seemed more made up. Maybe it was part interest or maybe it was part wanting to fit in, but I started to routinely wear makeup.

By the time I started routinely wearing makeup, I had already rooted my identity in other interests and traits. I didn’t feel the need to pull my appearance into the equation of who I was. Instead, I saw makeup as a form of artistry that changed the way I saw myself in the mirror. Ironically, this is how I also saw makeup at 13. Makeup gave me opportunities to take risks and learn lessons. I wasn’t covering up who I was, I was enhancing it.

I don’t know what the right answer is when it comes to the “right” age to start wearing makeup. I would hope that most people would come to makeup after they are confident in themselves because I don’t think makeup should be a mask we hide behind. Makeup should help someone feel like they are the best version of themselves.

What do you think? What age did you start wearing makeup? I’d love to hear your perspective.

Avoiding Thinspiration: My Quest for Healthy Body Image

Growing up, the back of my bedroom door was covered with photos of models and celebrities I had meticulously clipped from Seventeen, Teen Vogue and Elle. While I admired the dresses donned by the various starlets, the bedroom door served a dual darker purpose. I spent hours standing in the mirror trying to figure out how to make my collar bones pop out like Gwyneth Paltrow’s in her bubble gum pink Oscars ball gown (you remember the one). I didn’t know it then, but my door was what I would today consider “thinspiration,” which some describe as a collection of images that glorify eating disorders and promote distorted body image.

While I’ve never suffered from an eating disorder, like many women, I’ve struggled with poor body image. Every now and then, I look in the mirror with a critical eye at “problem” areas, thinking, “Could I be thinner?” Most of the time, I respond with, “You’re being silly! Stop worrying!” I’m slowly learning to be kind to myself, to my heart and to my body.

Despite having a healthier body image these days, online I run into detours that are completely out of my control. Last week, while looking at Pinterest, I scrolled past several images easily classified as thinspiration–very thin but muscular women in revealing workout clothes. Some may see these images as workout tips or inspiration. What I saw was what I wasn’t. Again, I found my mind back in the same place:

Was that what I was supposed to look like?
Could I have better abs?
Should I be thinner? More toned?

In spite of my best efforts to avoid the things that negatively impacted my body image when I was younger, I still run into them randomly online. For the past week, I’ve been thinking about ways to avoid images that negatively impact the way I feel about myself. One strategy has been to unfollow boards on Pinterest that are aimed at fitness or solely feature thin models. Another thing I’ve been doing is unfollowing people on Twitter who predominantly talk about weight loss.

What Do You Think?

Do you experience this same issue? How do you deal with getting dragged down? What’s your advice for navigating a thinspiration-free web?

My Mom’s Style Rules

Advice From My Mother

My mother and I–we don’t always see eye to eye when it comes to fashion. She’s much more classic à la Jackie O., whereas I’m more Mary-Kate Olsen mixed with how Angela Chase might dress like if she were real and in her 20s Despite our differences, my mom taught me two important fashion lessons:

1. If something doesn’t look great on you, it’s the clothes
2. Wear clothes that fit you

Growing up, I got used to hearing my mom’s honest opinions on how clothes fit whenever we went shopping. It was never, “You look awful in that!” but rather, “I think you should go up a size because it’s too tight.” Those who overheard her in a dressing room may have thought she was being too critical, but I respected the fact that she was being honest, at least in retrospect. OK, there was ONE time she did say I looked like a sausage, but in her defense, I had shoved myself into a size 0 prom dress because it was pink, had sequins and was $10.

As a teenager thumbing through racks of misfit clothes at my local T.J. Maxx, I learned not to blame myself if something didn’t look right. While girls my age shoved themselves into too-tight flare jeans and unflattering bathing suits, I learned how to dress for what looked good on me. Did I always succeed? Of course not! But I was learning to try new styles, to not be afraid of trying on something new I hadn’t previously considered.

The simultaneous upside and downside of this lesson is that I’m brutally honest when shopping with friends. Some of them love it and ask me to help them figure out what looks good on them. The downside is potentially hurt feelings if I say I don’t like an item that they love. Here’s the thing, though: It shouldn’t matter if you love something and someone else doesn’t. If it looks great on you, if it fits well, if it makes you feel good, then it doesn’t matter if it gets the thumbs up from friends. Or your mom for that matter.

This isn’t a lesson everyone learns so young, but the good news is that it’s never too late to learn irregardless of age, size or gender (yes, it’s a lesson for men, too). What’s the most important fashion lesson your mom taught you?