North West, three-year-old daughter of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West, already carries a Louis Vuitton handbag and wears custom Balmain jackets. But when North’s aunt Kylie Jenner painted North’s lips in a dark Kylie Lip Kit color, the Internet freaked out. Some wrote that North was too young for lipstick, while others said it was harmless fun. So how young is too young to wear makeup? And when do makeup pros think is an appropriate age to start wearing it?
“Placing a universal age on when it is appropriate for kids to wear makeup is tough. As a makeup artist you'd think my two-year-old would be wearing makeup already," makeup artist Jenna Menard tells The Lookbook. "She's not, but she does have a full set of makeup brushes, she's had multiple beauty blenders, and she knows where blush, mascara, foundation and lipstick go!”
Jenna started her career studying with master artist Dick Page, and she’s has worked with celebrity clients for both award shows and editorials. In her years of experience, she’s seen that celebrity kids have been fascinated by the whole makeup artist experience.
“When they see a whole table full of makeup, it’s fun for them. I've put makeup on little kids before when I was doing celebrities’ makeup,” she says. “Of course I asked [the parents], is it ok? They're like sure, yeah, go ahead. You do small little things, but [the kids like] being treated like their parents.”
The thing Jenna says you have to remember about celebrity kids is that makeup is much more a part of their everyday life than the average child's. “My mom never really wore makeup, so our form of makeup was like, Chapstick. If your mom is a celebrity and getting her makeup done by professional makeup artists every day, what's a little lip gloss? I think it's all relative to your lifestyle. If my daughter said she wanted to wear lip gloss to the grocery store, I'd be like that's a little weird because I barely wear makeup every day. But when someone's getting their makeup done, sitting in the chair for probably like an hour, this is what [their kids] see.”
Jenna grew up with three sisters, and beauty was always a part of her life since her mom ran a hair salon. Her parents never had any rules about what age to wear makeup, and Jenna said that worked because beauty goods never felt forbidden. She only wore mascara and brown eyeliner all through high school, but her sister loved lipstick from an early age.
“I clearly remember my mom taking her to a makeup counter when she was in kindergarten to let a makeup artist put lipstick on her for fun," Jenna says. She wore it out of the store and loved it. She never wore it to school or day after day. It was a special-occasion thing.” There is a difference between playing dress-up with makeup and a preschooler constantly leaving the house with a full face of makeup, after all.
“This is just my opinion, but no 12-year-old girl or 10-year-old girl should feel like they need makeup. You want them to feel like they have self confidence and feel good about themselves without makeup. Even as a makeup artist I would definitely stress that,” Jenna says. “There are situations where it's ok for kids to wear makeup. When it becomes a reoccurring ordeal for a four-year-old to want a full face of makeup, that's a little much. As they become teenagers, it's all about directing them to the right makeup and the right amount.”
For Stacie Hamilton, beauty blogger at Makeup Obsessed Mom, introducing makeup can be done in stages. “I personally feel like makeup makes little girls look too grown up. Parents should have rules and should teach their girls what is age-appropriate to enhance their look in a natural way,” she says. “Around age 10, a little bit of clear gloss is fine. I think the age of 13 or so is more appropriate to start wearing gloss with color. Full-on lipstick should be more like high school age or around 15. This is when I think the addition of a little mascara and blush looks nice.”
The Lookbook is Bravo’s celebration of personal style. We keep you up to date on the inspiring looks from trend-setting stylistas, test and report on the most-coveted fashion and beauty products, and offer solutions to all your style-related conundrums. Like us on Facebook to stay connected to our daily updates.