Saturday, April 9, 2011

Tween Makeup & First Five Products

I have loved to wear makeup since I was a little girl. And I mean LITTLE. I can remember, even as young as four, waiting excitedly as my mother and grandmother cleaned out their makeup bags because I knew that some of the eyeshadows, blushes, etc. that they no longer loved might become mine. They never discouraged me from watching them or experimenting on my own. I knew makeup was not for little girls to wear out or to school (though I sometimes tried. lol) It was just fun to play with different color combinations and see how my face looked different before and after.

I've adopted the same sort of attitude with my girls - and my son for that matter. He asked to wear nail polish when he was about 4 and I obliged. He lost interest pretty quickly, but I was (and would still be) supportive of his desire to try it. Most people would agree that 9-12 is a bit too young to wear makeup regularly or to school, but I really believe it's a great idea to introduce kids to some good techniques for applying it so they've had lots of practice before they ARE old enough to wear it out into the world. I sort of think about applying makeup at this age like learning to paint but on a mirror image of a 3D canvas. Painting on a flat surface takes practice and makeup is no different. It takes practice and trial and error. But the end result is 1) a teen that can express themselves through makeup with confidence and 2) parents that are confident in their teen's ability to wear it tastefully and in an age-appropriate way.

So here's the video Elf and I made demonstrating some beginning techniques and talking about the first five cosmetic products a tween might want to have:

As I said in the video, you don't need a lot of expensive tools or products. You can use the sponge-tip applicators that come with many eye shadows. If they fall apart (and most do after a bit) you can purchase replacements at stores like Sally's or at the drugstore (you can find them in the makeup tools section). You can also use CLEAN fingers or Q-tips. Please make sure to wash your hands before you apply makeup. Not only will you protect your eyes from infection, etc. but you will decrease breakouts by not introducing germs from your hands onto your face. Q-tips are great and the best tools to use if you are sharing eyeshadow with a friend. Again, you want to avoid transferring germs from one person to another with the sponge-tip applicators. Q-tips are always clean and if you use the actual Q-tip brand the cotton sort of unwinds and gets fluffy which makes it a great tool for blending!

Elf and I also came up with a list of the first five products you might want to have when you're starting to experiment with makeup:
  1. A small eyeshadow palette. A trio or quad (4) is perfect. It's not too expensive or overwhelming, but gives lots of options. Look for one that has a mixture of lighter shades and perhaps one darker or brighter shade for contrast. Eye shadows that are sheer, but can be "built up" are great for beginners. Many drugstore eye shadows are like that. While they can be frustrating for adult makeup-wearers that like bold colors, they're perfect for people who want a very natural look or who are just learning to apply it.
  2. Lip gloss or tinted lip balm. This seems to be the product that many tweens (and their parents!) are most comfortable starting with. The colors tend to be sheer so they're easy to apply evenly. Using them is a great way to practice using lip products before you try your hand at lipstick. Plus, there's the added benefit that tinted lip balms actually keep your lips moisturized! Some even come with an SPF.
  3. Concealor. If you're beginning to get blemishes and they bother you, first remember that everyone gets them and no one notices them as much as you do. People who see you everyday really don't look that closely at your face. They know what you look like! lol! But if you want to cover them concealor is definitely helpful. I think it's a better choice than something like tinted Clearasil, etc. because you can get a color that matches your skin better. Plus it can double as an eyeshadow base to help your eye shadow last a little longer and be a little brighter.
  4. Blush. If you happen to have a fluffy brush, then you don't need to be concerned if the blush comes with one. If not, look for a brand that includes a brush. These brushes are not usually my favorites, but they are definitely usable. Be sure to dab the brush on the lid or the back of your hand to work the blush into the bristles a bit (or tap it off) so that you don't get too heavy an application. It's MUCH easier to add than to take away.
  5. Brushes. Brushes are great to have for blending and can give you a lighter, more sheer application. They can be a little harder to work with so it might take some practice. You don't have to spend tons of money on them. You can get a decent set from the drugstore or places like Claire's and Forever 21 for under $10. Get into the habit of tapping off the excess powder (whether it's eye shadow or blush) before applying it so that you get less fallout and have more control over where the color goes. Also get into the habit of washing your brushes regularly. Just lather a little mild shampoo into the bristles in the palm of your hand, rinse and lay them flat on a towel to dry. This reduces the bacteria in the brush (which then transfers to your face) and also gets rid of the color build up that can make your eye shadow look dull and "muddy".
  6. Cleanser! Okay, so this makes six, but it's an important one. Please make sure to wash the makeup off of your face with a gentle cleanser. Washing your face morning and night is a GREAT habit to get into now. It can save you LOTS of trouble with your skin in the coming years if you've already established that routine. Look for something gentle. It can be oil-free but doesn't necessarily have to be, especially if your skin a a little dry or feels tight at all after using and oil-free one. Just be sure to avoid cleanser with any sort of acne medication, like acids, in it. They're just too harsh for young skin and really not necessary at this point.
And finally, here are some of our favorite drugstore brands to check out (in no particular order):
  • wet N wild**
  • Revlon**
  • Cover Girl
  • Hard Candy**
  • Milani**
  • Physician's Formula**
  • Burt's Bees**
  • E.L.F.**
  • NYX**
  • Sally Girl**
I hope that this has all been helpful! Please remember that wearing makeup is about having fun and expressing yourself NOT about making you look "better". You are beautiful JUST. AS. YOU. ARE. The only thing you EVER need to wear on your face to be beautiful is a genuine smile that shares the light in your heart with the rest of the world!

So Smile & Be Beautiful!

** Indicates brands that are cruelty-free (meaning not tested on animals.) This is important to a lot of people who use makeup and do not want to support companies that use animals to test the ingredients in their products because the animals are not treated well and are often harmed by these tests. If this concerns you, ask your parents or check out PETA's website for more information and a complete list of companies that do not use animal testing. I've not included a link because I think it's really important to ask your folks first or check it out WITH them as some of the information and pictures can be pretty graphic and disturbing.

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