I love you just the way you are. Glitter is optional.

Every morning I wake up next to Thalia (yep, that hasn’t changed) and ask her, “did you sleep well? What did you dream about?”

Generally the answer is “Unicorns.” Or “A horse on the beach.” Or “We played soccer in the grass park!”

Does she actually dream about these things? Probably not. I’ll give her an A for creativity.

But this morning was different.

“I dreamed about a make up kit. For kids. A toy with makeup for kids. That I can put on my face and I can play with it and wear makeup. It’s a toy, mommy! A toy! Naybe we can buy it? Naybe we can buy a toy make up kit for kids?”

Not sure if this came from a commerical or a friend at school or just her own imagination.


What’s a make-up loving, Beautyhacks-contributing, fashion-loving, feminist mom to do?

I am definitely more influenced than I’d care to admit from my own upbringing, in which nailpolish was not something for children, pierced ears were for 13 year olds (later reduced to 9 with much pleading), heels were meant for grownups, and make up was very reluctantly permitted in junior high. Oh, you should see how my class portrait changed from the sweet seventh grader with braids down the side of her face, to the wild, frizzy-haired eighth grader with the sparkly blue Maybelline eyeliner and the amateurish Clinique mascara application. It was as if I had gone from dorky to made-up and dorky, almost overnight!

But three is not thirteen. And it’s not even nine.

So when do we let our girls get all girlie? Or really…womanly. Because that’s what it is.

I see little girls with painted toenails and I find it equally endearing and repelling.I think it would be something fun to do with Thalia, and then I wonder if that’s teaching her some kind of message that goes beyond temporary tattoos and animal character hair clips. I also rejected the offer at the kids hair salon to put glitter spray in her hair. The lollipop makes her plenty happy–and me too. It may rot her teeth, but it’s not rotting her ability to simply be a preschooler.

I’m no make-up hating grinch, of course. I do let Thalia play with my makeup brushes when she asks and let her put on all the lip balm she wants, while assuring her that she’s so beautiful that she doesn’t need makeup. But then how do I explain my own use of it? The converse of You’re so pretty would be Mommy’s not pretty enough and that, along with mommy’s fat, are not sentences I want to utter in front of my daughters.

I want my girls to have fun with fashion, dress up as crazy as they want, and–I suppose–have at it with my old eyeshadow pallettes. Maybe even the “toy makeup for kids,” whatever that may be. But on the other hand, aren’t there some things that our daughters should just have to wait for?

I’d count freaking out their moms high on that list.


66 thoughts on “I love you just the way you are. Glitter is optional.”

  1. I think make up is just something little girls love to play. My own mom never wore make up but she bought me a kids make up kit for kids to play with when I was probably about 3 years old. She also bought me a huge set of nail polish when I was about 5 or 6 years old and my friends were always so jealous! When I had friends over we would play make up and nail polish for hours on end… Now that I am big, I never wear make up (maybe some lip gloss and mascara.) Anyways, my point is, I think it’s just one of those things that little girls like to do for fun! I don’t think it has to be a big deal. If moms don’t make a big deal out of it, then it’s not a big deal! Of course it’s a personal parenting choice, but I say, buy the kids some play make up! Isn’t it mostly just a good bonding time to play dress up with your daughter?

  2. I think it is a line between giving some control, but not all of it. Also, there is some of just wanting to be like mom. Not really wanting to be pretty, but to do things that mom does. I have been going through this with my 6 yr old daughter and most of it is other kids at school influence. There are tons of little girls that wear nail polish, have designer bags (Holy crap on a cracker), wear lip gloss, etc. She is allowed some fruity type lip balm and nail polish on her toes. All of which, she has lost interest in. Funny how most of that other stuff magically finds it way to the trash can when given as gifts. I was stunned when Amber asked me if she could change the color of her hair when I took her to get her hair cut. That was s definite NO, but letting her put any crazy outfit together or fixing her own hair is okay. It is all about balance and letting them stumble a bit. We all need those craptastic pictures to remind us how much we have learned.

  3. I always liked when my mom painted my toes to match hers or maybe brushed my face with her blush brush (there was probably nothing on it) but I mostly grew up the way you did, no “womanly” stuff until 13.But, I did have my own chapstick from about age 3 on and that made me happier than anything in the world.

  4. I think there is a balance. I think maybe for play at home, but not for going out. In my house, she won’t see much of an example of makeup being used, so I don’t know if she will ever ask. Like with so many things, I think moderation is the key, and no “thing” can make or break overall good parenting. Kids that got every toy they asked for sometimes turn out better than the kid who never got anything, and visa versa.

  5. I have a daughter that wants her ears pierced and another who does not.I always told myself I wouldn’t put age requirements on anything, instead i decided to wait and see when they start asking for and then assess the situation.I was amazed to find they start asking early.Very VERY early.

  6. I remember when I was about 6 years old one of my relatives gave me one of those tinkerbell make up kits that were popular for little kids in the early 80s, and my mom took it away! I thought she was the devil at the time. I totally didn’t understand! But now I get it…Society moves so fast, and it’s up to us to keep our babies…babies.

  7. My daughter went through a makeup phase when she was 3 or so. I think the message girls get isn’t makeup or no makeup, but how to take care of yourself, your innocence. I told her makeup is something women use sometimes but it wouldn’t hurt for her to try a little. I used a little foundation powder on her cheeks, sort of like blush, and I bought her some flavored chapstick for lipstick. For the nails, she can wear polish if it’s only slightly off color from her skin color, so all neutrals.Mandi is right though in that if Mom makes it a “thing” it will make them want it even more, just for the sake of it and for all the wrong reasons. But that’s true of most anything.

  8. It’s all relative. My kid came out of the bathroom the other day wearing mommy’s lipstick.*He* is 4-yrs old.Welcome to my world.

  9. Well, what about some body decorations that are more age-appropriate instead? You could get face-paint and help her get made up as a lion or monkey or puppy dog or whatever. You could get some glitter face-paint and put butterflies on her cheeks, or help her pick out some temporary tattoos. These would let her play with colors and images on her skin, without going down the whole, adult lipstick-blush-eyeshadow route just yet.

  10. my baby girl is almost 11 months old so make up really freaks me out!! time flys!!love your blog…..thanks!!!

  11. Well, I just have to comment on this one. Living in the deep south, this is something we struggle with every day! My daughter is 21 months old and for 21 months now, we have gotten questions on why her ears are not pierced!!!!! It is more than normal here to have an infants ears pierced at 3 months old. Bizarre and just plain torture if you ask me. I do not allow my mother to paint my daughter’s toenails for fun, she does not wear sequin and glitter clothing, etc. She has her whole life to be a woman, a strong independent, beautiful woman!!!!! I wear makeup, work out, get my hair highlighted too but my daughter will not do these things until the time when “childhood” has taken it’s turn. From the deep south, AMEN

  12. most little girls want to put on mommy’s make-up because they want to be like/imitate mommy. which is understandable because most girls go through stages of idolizing their mothers. but some little girls wants to put on make-up because they think it will make them pretty/prettier. i think there is a big difference between the two.

  13. I explained to my 3 1/2 year old daughter that mommy wears makeup so she can have the big eyes and rosy cheeks that come naturally to little girls. So far that’s done the trick.

  14. I go back and forth on it. On one side, it makes my girls happy. Also, the crazy applying of blush and the horrible lipstick wearing is better done at home than in public at 12, in my opinion. It also will make for great blackmail pics later on.Do I think they are too young? Yes I do. But for my kids at least, it’s a toy. Make-up is something they play with, not something they can wear outside. (I will say, they both wear polish on their toes though.) To me,it’s no more harmful to them than walking around in my shoes or wearing “princess” dresses is. All of it, I did as a kid too and I don’t even wear make-up now. I guess I feel like I can teach them to be independent and strong women, while still allowing them to believe in prince charming and princesses at their ages.

  15. My 2 yo is already a HUGE fan of the lip balm and mani/pedis (thanks Dad!). However, we’ve managed to avoid make up so far. I’m not a huge wearer of make up myself so that may be why. I guess if it comes up we’ll tackle it then…I lean towards saying no make up but may end up changing my mind. Just doesn’t seem to be a necessary thing…

  16. Honestly, I don't think playing with make-up will make your girls grow up to think they NEED it. Every litle girl loves to be the pretty princess & dress up. It's normal & healthy 🙂 It's all about raising them with self confidence & being comfortable in their own skin. But, don't take away that fun dress up time…it really is an innocent & fun time that all little girls should be able to do. *saw your blog on someone elses sight*

  17. Such a tough one….. I know with Big Sis we conceded wayyy earlier then I would have liked to let her wear make-up…. it was obviously very important to her and I didn’t want her sneaking it, this way I can observe in the morning and send her to the bathroom (which used to happen lots)…. it does make you examine yourself a lot, I don’t know…. we didn’t have the girls when they were three and there biological mom had them curling their lashes and putting on eyeliner better then I can… if this hadn’t been allowed maybe we wouldn’t have had to concede on the make-up in grade five??? I just don’t know.

  18. By the time daughter was 4, we distinguished different kinds of makeup were for kids (flavored lip gloss, flavored chapstick, “pretty powder” which was actually baby powder, and perfume) and other kinds were for when she was older. It worked for us.

  19. As a mom to 4 boys not sure what to say. I appreciate your dilemma and am happy to not have to deal with that (don’t worry, I have plenty of my own dilemmas!) I was looking at Halloween costumes today and was horrified to see a sexy military costume for LITTLE GIRLS called “Major Flirt”. How is that OK? Just where does the line get drawn? And don’t even get me started on those Bratz dolls. sigh.

  20. my 2.75 year old son likes “chaps lips” aka chapstick. His lips do get dry so I put it on him… but I remember when I was little my aunt got me some toy makeup. The lipstick was just plastic, the nail polish was basically colored water… it bothered me it wasn’t real (so did toy food, I didn’t get the point). When I was in about 4th grade my mum took me to Clique and had a “makeup consultation” and I got my 1st real blush (The color was called Sweetheart) and my 1st real lipstick. It was so sheer it was almost invisible. But I remember how special it was having “grownup girl time” with my mum. It wasn’t wearing makeup for someone else, it was for me. My mum got my 4 mo. old daughter her “1st purse” It’s a plushy baby toy with a plush cell phone, compact, and coin purse inside. Just like Gramma!

  21. oh, and I got my ears pierced when I was 18. My mum said I didn’t “need any hardware.” and I always said the same thing.. “How come you have yours pierced!?” and she’d say “because I’m not as pretty as you.” and I’d say “LAME!”Now my mum buys me earrings. 🙂

  22. The one thing we did with our daughter from an early age (she’s now 9) was let her get her toes painted (most often by Daddy). The fun part was she always wanted crazy toes – each one a different colour or alternating colours, etc., so it was less about having “pretty” feet and more about having fun. Makeup has yet to be a real desire for her, but that could be because I so rarely wear any that she’d notice. She has asked why I curl my eyelashes every morning and my response has always been “so I look more awake than I really am”. 😉

  23. At my house make up is going to be a no no for a while. I have relented on nail polish, but it is only allowed to be a shade of pink or something along those lines, no red. My daughter tried to talk me into red the other day and that is just where my foot comes down

  24. Ugh. You’ve got me there. I am DREADING figuring out where those fine lines are and what constitutes making it okay to cross them when my now 20 month old girl starts asking. She already wants the toes painted when she sees mine and I don’t know how to tell her it’s not okay for her, or even whether it is okay or not. I grew up the same way as you, but now my daughter’s cousins (all 9yo and under) wear makeup, have pierced ears, and even highlighted hair. I am not cut out to be as “cool” as my sisters and sil when it comes to allowing all of that… I hope I will be strong enough to know where to put the limits.Thanks for writing.

  25. Um, after reading all these previous commenters, i’m feeling guilty that i bought a really pretty girly pink nail polish and will get a mani/pedi with it tomorrow, and put it on my daughter when she is born this week, so we’ll match. Is that disgusting?i wouldn’t put makeup or anything like that on her, i just thought it was be cute if we had matching nails.

  26. My daughter is going to be 5 on Friday and has been BEGGING to get her ears pierced. Every single girl in her preschool class (except her) has earring and she REALLY wants them.She’s been asking for 6 months so I finally said yes…..

  27. Growing up, my mom sold Avon/Mary Kay/you-name-it; I grew up hating makeup and have only recently figured out how to use it (ie, use a mirror??).Of my 5 daughters, Ashlei (20) and Sabrina (19) routinely eschew the stuff. The twins (17) are actually much better with application than I am.Lola (3) sees it as another toy, fun play thing to smear around.My point is that my experience has been that you can have a consistent approach, applied equally (or, as equally as possible) to all children and there’s still no way to predict how it all turns out. I guess just trying to parent the way you hope they will someday is really all you can do.New to your blog but I think it’s great – thanks for sharing!

  28. Heh. I don’t wear makeup AT ALL and I still paint my daughter’s toenails sometimes. I’ve been doing it since she was 9 months old, so I have six months of painting squirmy feet under my belt. Feminist hell, here I come!

  29. I think the problem is determining what’s over-sexualizing a young child, what’s undermining her self-esteem, and what’s just playing. Such a slippery slope. I don’t even like seeing toddlers in bikinis. But I remember loving watching a friend who allowed her son to put on barrettes for preschool. I suspect you’ll find ways to keep it lighthearted, self-affirming, playful, whatever you do.

  30. Interesting comments. I don’t even like the fake makeup. In my opinion it’s just teaching girls that they need to look pretty. However, I wear a little and I do think about what I would say if she ever asked to wear it too. Or asked me why I wear it. She watches me apply it sometimes, but hasn’t said anything. She does have chapstick, and pretends it’s lipstick. I do paint her toenails (she’s 4 1/2), but it’s always a very light shade. I only did it after she saw me doing it to myself and asked to have some on her own toes. As far as earrings go, I’ll let her get her ears pierced when she asks. She’s scared to death about it now, though, since it involves needles. By the way, I cannot stand seeing babies with their ears pierced or their nails painted!

  31. Mimi asked me last week about getting her ears pierced. I gave her the same answer my mom gave to me all those years ago: when you’re 13. I plan to stick with that, but we’ll see how it goes.We do paint the girls’ toenails (with special glittery polish) for special occasions such as vacations, but it’s definitely a rare treat. So far no word on the makeup, thank goodness. I’m sure it’s just a matter of time though.

  32. We paint toes and fingernails a lot, but I’m equal-opportunity here—if my son wants red toes, he gets them too. Most of the time, their polish is chipped and fading which is ok too. I’m asked why I wear makeup and they aren’t allowed to wear it. I tell them that when they get older, their skin changes and makeup helps give me the same glow I had when I was their age. And, if they do want to play with makeup, it’s clear it’s ‘play’. They are not allowed to wear it out of the house unless it is Halloween or their dance recital.Pierced ears though. . .that’s another story—I’m trying to make them wait on that until 14.

  33. “But then how do I explain my own use of it?”I wear makeup very, very rarely. When asked by my kids why I do it on those rare occasions, I tell them that sometimes I just like to look different. With no qualifiers about before/after, better/worse. Just different.I do let Lizzy paint nails and toenails. And I also let her brother.

  34. I do “Beauty Breaks” with my 4-yo daughter and put make-up on her and then let her put make-up on me…and we really do have fun. And I remember doing the same thing with my Mom when I was little. But she does know that she can’t wear make-up out, its just for playing at home. I think if I forbid it too much, it just becomes more enticing, so I figured I would just embrace it and have fun.

  35. I took a bunch of my makeup and made up a little makeup bag for my daughter (because she was dying to put on makeup). She used to use it while I put on my own makeup. And I always wiped it all off before we left the house. Lately, she’s lost interest in it all together. So now it’s not even an issue. I have a feeling if I had resisted, it would still be an issue.

  36. I’m jealous; I had to wait until I was thirteen before I got my ears pierced.I guess I look at it as a matter of ceding control, little by little. Different areas, different paces for all of us.

  37. My almost 3 year old loves to get into my makeup and it’s ok for pretend play, but it gets washed off as soon as play is over. I do paint her finger and toe nails because it’s the only way she’ll sit still for me to cut them. Once the polish comes off, then I know it’s time to cut them again. 😉My biggest problem is that she is now a 4 – have you seen the clothing for a size 4? What kind of outfits are those? They are either plastered with some sort of TV character or making her into a mini-rock star. What happened to the cute Polly Flinders dresses we use to wear? Ok, you don’t have to get that crazy conservative, but seriously, can we put away the sparkly glitter tops, the “Princess” and “Spoiled Rotten” shirts, and the word across the bum pants? I went shopping tonight for some clothes for her and I started to cry thinking that those were my only options – and I was at Sears! Ugh!

  38. Nail polish and make-up were two of the most fun things in the world to me as a little kid- partly because they were forbidden, and partly just because they’re fun. I never thought of it as a way to make myself prettier, it was just another part of playing dress-up (my FAVORITE game). Or, to put it another way, it was like playing house or playing school. it was fun to role-play and do things we saw grown-ups doing, and to feel like someone else. I mean, I was a little kid. I did not wear make-up. playing with make-up was part of pretending to be someone else. it was just fun. but then maybe I’m a hypocrite, because I do think it can be taken too far, to a degree that’s inappropriate. I have no idea where that line is, though it’s not up to me to decide…I don’t know.

  39. I just love this discussion, thank you all! So many great theories, so many excellent suggestions for moderation. Elaine, you totally nailed it when you wrote <>I think the problem is determining what’s over-sexualizing a young child, what’s undermining her self-esteem, and what’s just playing.<>Jessica@pianomomsicle I’m a little nervous…because I’m not sure if you’re joking.And Crystal, if you’re only finding that kind of crap for your daughter, you’re not reading < HREF="http://coolmompicks.com" REL="nofollow">Cool Mom Picks<>…

  40. I am seconding the temporary tattoo/face painting idea. You could let her decorate herself with little pictures of stars or or flowers or rocket ships or pumpkins (for Halloween) or something.Also, I think really pastel, fanciful, glittery nail polish is all right on little girls. Or those little nail stickers, if it’s something fun and silly like balloons or flowers. Ditto sparkly lip gloss. But blush, eyeliner, mascara or red lipstick on children under the age of 14 frightens the hell out of me.And I say all this, of course, not even having a little girl of my own. Had I a girl, in the current social climate, I might well lock her in a tower Rapunzel-style and surround her with nothing but books.

  41. Q-ster is fascinated when I put on my makeup, and asks for a little cream. When I’ve put it away though, he just wants to play lightsabers, so I have no advice for you.

  42. I side with my mom on this – I think, at this age, it’s important to reinforce that “That is for big girls and you are still a little girl.” After all, if it’s make up today, then what will they have to look forward to tomorrow? Bratz dolls? (I firmly oppose those damn things, though) It’s all personal choice, of course, and either way doesn’t mean you’re a bad parent.

  43. I hear you on everything, I have struggled with these questions as a mother of 3 girls — but it doesn’t stop me from painting their toes. Can’t help it. It’s pretty.

  44. Kids in general like make-up. My boys used to wear nail-polish (I tried to convince them to wear clear more than pink…) and put on sparkly lip gloss. Honestly, it’s not about being sexualized, it’s about making yourself look different, for just a bit. My daughter gets painted nails occasionally, but it chips off so fast, that no one else really notices it. She also sees a mom that only puts on minimal make-up or none at all, so the whole hype of Having to Be Made Up isn’t as strong in my household.

  45. Wow, I only got my mother down to 12 years old with my pleading. And make-up was for high school.But I think about this same stuff with my daughter. And I draw lines that are completely arbitrary. I let her paint her nails whatever color she wants. She also paints her little brother’s nails. Her make up case, yes she has one, is filled with various chapsticks and free samples that I have gotten and rejected. So basically I guess you could say that I let her play with ugly make-up.My daughter’s latest obsession… high heeled shoes. Thankfully they don’t make these in tiny sizes.

  46. Make up for my girls is just face paint. There is no distinction. We do hair glitter if we are going to be fairies for a day, and nail polish is something we do to sweeten the nail cutting process. I might stop if my preschooler stopped playing in the mud because she might chip her polish, but if nail polish gets me access to cutting their talons, then I’m all for it. My son will be getting polish and make up too, if he wants it, and I’m not worried that will turn him gay or transvestite…

  47. I struggle with this already – I’m pre-worrying, but I have an 8 month old daughter. I know that this will be something we come up against, along with the rest of the sexualization of toddlers. I’ll be interested to see how you handle it with Thalia – because I’m watching anyone I can for guidelines!She did receive some pants with words on the butt as gifts. Seriously, CUTIE on the diapered butt of my baby? Those all went straight into the “Donation” pile – and I even felt bad about that. They just shouldn’t exist. Sorry to rant.

  48. Wow your description of 7th/8th grade was so dead-on that I felt like you were in my head.My (almost)3yo daughter likes lipsip (chapstick)and applies it obsessively when she gets ahold of it. She always asks for makeup from me & my mom but really she just likes the soft brushes. I used to love to play with it as a kid -I think it's harmless as long as it's just for fun & accompanied by the right message-that everyone is beautiful just the way they are

  49. It may also be the time of year –we are coming up on Halloween and all that costume stuff is in all the stores. I’ll bet it is more about experimenting with being someone else than it is being a grown-up.

  50. In my family you get your ears pierced at about 3 months but your not allowed to wear makeup until your 15 yrs old. Everyone in my family is constantly asking why my 18 month old daughter doesnt have her ears pierced. Its so annoying to hear them say “Poor thing she looks like a boy! Pierce her ears”

  51. I have three daughters and a son. When the boys leave for a night the girls and I have a Girls Spa Night. I think it’s important to teach them to treat themselves well. We wash our hair with ridiculously named and priced shampoo/conditioner. We put on peel off face masks. AND we paint everyone’s toenails to match. My rule is girls shouldn’t wear “adult colors” – No Bright Reds, Hot pinks, etc. Soft girl colors…We all go to bed with our little eye masks on and feeling pampered.They love this time together. Oh I almost forgot -they always request “finger food” – I don’t know how that started!

  52. Much like Elaine said, I think as long as playing with make-up is not about growing up too fast, it’s just playing. I try not to censor my daughters’ play, although I resist their requests for red nailpolish if they are going to be around my very conservative mother-in-law.My ten-year-old got her ears pierced last weekend. I put it off for a long time because it seemed like a big deal to me– I got mine pierced when I was 12 and only because I demanded it as a bribe for something. And it was a big deal for both of us, but for her it wasn’t about looking like a teenager. It may have been about peer pressure, which dismays me a bit, but it was also about accessorizing, and how can I criticize that? I wrote about my girly girls here:http://perfectlydisgraceful.typepad.com/perfectly_disgraceful/2008/09/girly-girls.html

  53. Oh man, I have a boy, so I don’t know. My mom never wore makeup, so her rules about waiting until jr. high, etc., jived with her personal practices. I am myself a makeup loving, girly girl feminist, so I don’t know WHAT I would do with a daughter. I guess if you teach the right attitude and self-values, the rest matters less?

  54. I have two boys for now. I will find out at Thanksgiving what this next one’s gonna be. I’m not sure if I can handle a girl. I don’t wear makeup. Rarely wear dresses. And am not a girly girl at all. I don’t know what I’d do if that question comes up later if this one’s a girl…now I have even more to think about. And my mom wears makeup, gets her nails done regularly, along with her hair colored regularly. I’m her only girl and I’m almost the opposite of her as far as beauty products go. Strange, isn’t it?

  55. Umm, I’m sorry, but to the ladies who are saying that they only let their daughters wear pink nail polish instead of “grown up colors” like red…are you insane? A color is just a color. Do you really think Satan or Britney Spears will get a hold of your little girl because she has red nails? Do you really look at other women’s red toenails and say “wow, she has red nails. I bet she’s a dirty skank.” What kind of message do you think it sends your daughters about femininity and feminISM to tell them that soft feminine pinks are acceptable while strong firey reds are out of line? Geez, lighten up.

  56. Anon 2:16 there’s no reason to get snarky with the other commenters. I think everyone has been amazing at sharing their personal limits and views, and helping me figure out how to shape mine.If you have another suggestion or your own story to share, happy to hear it. But the “ummm” thing? Leave that on the message boards.

  57. I started painting my 2 YO daughter’s toes as a reward for going potty. She wanted the same color as me (“I am not a waitress” red) but when I showed her the Bubble Gum Pink with Glitter choice… well, clearly that was the one that Cinderella would have picked.She plays with my giant make up brush. But the thing she really really wants is my perfume! I don’t use anything fancy (Bath And Body Works Vanilla something or another) She asks to smell like a cookie too!

  58. Hi, blog stalker here.. I love this post. It’s such a sticky situation that I haven’t had to worry about until about 6 months ago. (my oldest is a boy and could care less about any of that make up stuff, although he still struts around in my high heels and I let him). I think you are FULLY capable of knowing where the line is between appropriate little girl fun and too mature for their own good. My daughter INSISTS on her toes being painted when she sees me do mine. She’s done this since she was about 18 months old. And I let her. I see no harm in a little light pink polish (NEVER anything dark though). She finds it fun and can be “just like mommy”. She also had her ears pierced at 4 months, but wears the same earings all the time and we do not fuss over them one bit. But I’m with you about no glitter spray in the hair. I think kids in general (and not just girls) are “maturing” at a much faster rate than in decades past and I think its up to the parents from keeping that from happening. If we give in to wearing make up at 8, then what will they be into at 13? And so on. I think instilling the message that your girls are beautiful as they are is the most important thing you can do. And not just when they are playing with the make up brushes, but also when they are singing a song, or writing, or doing other things. Telling them they are beautiful when they are using their brain will teach them to value that aspect of themselves and not rely on their looks.

  59. My daughter is just under 2, we haven’t had this yet- however, her grandma will put “makeup” on her and tell her how pretty she is (it’s a swipe with a makeup brush, that’s all) and I gag- of course, said grandma also tells her she’s the “prettiest girl in the whole wide world” in song no less, so maybe it’s no harm, no foul.To a previous poster- two piece swimsuits on toddlers? Help like hell to change a poopy swim diaper- when she potty trains she will end up in a one piece.

  60. I think there actually is a toy doll head that you can apply toy make-up to. (Not your point, I know, but I always wanted it as a girl. And I’m not a make-up lover.) I liken make-up to painting – I think in kids eyes, it’s essentially the same thing. It’s also a theatrical thing. (I like the word “thing”, apparently)The Boy is really interested whenever I put my make-up on.

  61. When our daughter was three she had similar desires. I am (well I should say we as the wife agreed), OK with the play makeup.It is the people that dress and make up their toddler children FOR REAL that drives me bonkers. Did you really need to put lipstick and rouge on that 4 year old to take a picture with Santa? That is the part that should have to wait.Playing with (usually water soluable) play make up kits… just like a toy doctor kit isn’t going to turn your kid into a doctor, a toy make up kit is just that a toy for her to play with.

  62. I too recall having to wait until I was 13 to wear make-up and 15 for pierced ears. It scares me so much how sexualized little girls are today. I am not a believer in Barbie or princesses and I try to veer my daughter towards other choices, usually I’m very unsuccessful. It’s very very hard trying to compete with all the images out there that are just yelling to my daughter to grow up…fast.

  63. My son is four going on five, and he’s still in bed with us, god bless him. And the other day he woke up and told me about this < HREF="http://daddy-dialectic.blogspot.com/2008/10/three-conversations-with-my-four-year.html" REL="nofollow">freaky ass dream<>.

  64. I think it’s totally normal. I had some eyeshadow/blush from when I was a little kid, and it was a kid’s kit. I never associated it with looking beautiful, so much as I did with having fun with colour! (And it was pretty bright colours.) So in that way, I also see no problem with painting nails etc, for fun. I see it in the same way I see face painting or whatever. Foundation etc would be a different story.

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