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Teenage Girls and Make Up – Is It A Moral Crime?

Recently I’ve been feeling the need to defend my decision to support my 14 year old daughter in her desire to wear make – up. Several Moms I know have voiced their disapproval and have made statements such as, “You’re contributing to the self-esteem issues of young girls by allowing this. They need to be encouraged to take pride in their natural beauty instead of caking on fake faces.” Another, “How can you say you support the empowerment of women and girls while you are encouraging your own daughters to be someone they’re not.” Insert my frazzled look of frustration here as I stare at their platinum style hair and dark eyebrows.

You parent the way you want to parent and I will parent my children, my way. After all, are we not all seeking what’s best for our children? We want them to have fun and learn and experience cool opportunities in life. We want them to be healthy, safe and learn to love themselves. I am doing the best I can to act based on my intuition that gut feeling that so many of us have been trained not to trust. We’ve grown up in a largely fear based society. I have so many phobias, you’d be reading for days if I listed them all. I don’t want that for my children.


What does all of this have to do with my 14 year old daughter Sydney wearing make up? I could listen to those snap judgements, second guess myself and ground her from all forms of facial disguise until she is an adult. Why would I do that? Because part of me is afraid that other Moms will not accept me. I don’t want to look like a bad parent or poor role model for my girls.

Why am I supporting my 14 year old daughter in wearing make – up? The reasons are none of any one’s business but here is some food for thought. Up until a few months ago, Sydney was experimenting with make up provided by other girls at school. Not healthy considering the bacteria that can be spread from unclean utensils, etc. I can not be with her 24/7 and I don’t want her to feel bad about herself because she is going against my wishes. Picking my battles here. I decided to take her to Terra 20, a fairly new Eco store in Ottawa with a variety of natural cosmetics without the chemicals and potentially harmful ingredients found in cheaper brands that many teen girls purchase. Terra 20 has knowledgeable staff who will help match the right cosmetic for your skin type and pocket book. I highly recommend you go see Thierry Papineau at Terra 20 at the Pinecrest Shopping Centre. He has an extensive background as a make up artist with an impressive portfolio and he knows the products! Thierry helped Sydney match a powder foundation and eye liner to her colouring. He also helped her pick out a travel brush with a cap to keep it clean. Then he explained the importance of not sharing make – up and keeping your utensils properly disinfected. He also recommended healthy skin cleansing products. The experience helped Sydney learn proper application methods and the importance of good hygienic practices. It helped her gain confidence in herself and her ability to make good choices instead of me making them for her. Oh, and for the lips, we all use the Green Beaver gloss, way cheaper, healthier and environmentally friendly than Burt’s Bees and it’s a local company from Hawkesbury, Ontario.

Terra 20 gift cards make an excellent Christmas present for teen girls.

I have had the opportunity to interview several people involved with Terra 20, including the founders from right here in Ottawa to the buyers responsible for bringing products into the store. As a Mother and community member concerned with health and the environment, it gives me greater peace of mind knowing Terra 20’s staff has done a lot of the research for me. Terra 20 also features products from several companies who give back to various causes through proceeds of sales.

Happy Shopping!

Photo credit: rustman / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-ND

How do you rebuild your life after family trauma and during mental health challenges when you feel your grip on hope is slipping? Katherine Dines is on the infinite journey of happiness and learning to thrive with forgiveness & gratitude. Katherine Dines is a Mother and voice actor, based in Canada's Capital, with international credits on projects including Hasbro's Tropical Tycoon Monopoly & Warner Brothers' Friends DVD Trivia Game. Juggling the demands of single parenting since 2002, Katherine is currently sharing her passions on the airwaves of Majic 100.3 FM Radio while navigating opportunities to express through film, tv & internet projects. Love, laughter & inspiring music rank at the top with love for her daughters motivating her enthusiasm for self discovery and healing.

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  1. Katherine – I honestly can’t believe people would say these things to you! I think it’s perfectly natural to want to experiment with makeup … I know I wanted to, and so did all my friends … at that age. Sure, in an ideal world, I’d love for my daughter to grow up and never feel the “need” to wear makeup, like I do, to show my “best face” to the world, but if she wants to wear makeup, this is not a battle I want to engage in with her. I’ve already told my daughter, who is 11, that if she ever wants to start wearing makeup to let me know and I will take her to Terra20 so we can pick out some products that are safer and healthier to get her started.

  2. Katherine, thank you so much for this! I can’t tell you how much we value your endorsement. I know 20 yrs ago when I was 14 I was definitely already into make up, and I consider myself a staunch feminist. I believe it’s keeping the experimentation healthy – in terms of the products used and the attitudes around their use – that’s most important. Keep on being a great mom!

  3. I don’t think girls wearing a little make up is wrong at all. I would rather, like you, at least show her the right way and not to share to prevent other skin issues etc later on. I think if it’s a more natural feel that is still making her feel good, why not. She isn’t trying to change her appearance. There could be worse things!

  4. Love Terra 20 and guess what? I love wearing fun and healthy makeup too!
    I think it is a fun part of being a woman and good for Sydney for doing it the healthy way too:) x0

  5. Dear Katherine,

    My daughter is 14 as well and I have allowed her to wear makeup – not because I want to be a cool mom – not because I want her to fit in – not because “it’s what all the other girls are doing!”. I allow her to wear make up because it is just natural progression for young teenage girls to want to and I do not see anything wrong with it. She has been brought up knowing she is beautiful. I have instilled in her such confidence that our children need to be able to cope with the pressure they are under in today’s hectic world. She’s healthy. She’s happy. When she wants to wear makeup, she can – and it’s really no big deal. To those mother’s telling you it’s horrible to let your daughter wear make-up…do they allow their daughters to shave their legs, wear bras, fuss over their hair or dress fashionably?. Tell me how that is any less “harmful to their self esteem issues” and “natural beauty” than wearing some makeup? Please.

  6. Everybody has an opinion. Your daughter looks great. She’s not “head to toe” in make up. She looks light a natural, normal young teenage girl. Haters will hate. Just ignore them or tell them to mind their own business.

  7. Why on earth do people think that they have a right to question the fact that your daughter wears make-up and that you support her in doing so? It’s up to you and your daughter to make that decision and no one else. I’m fairly sure she’d have done so anyway, teenagers need to experiment and it’s much nicer for all concerned that they do so with approval rather than behind a parent’s back. Mine all did it (4 daughters) and though sometimes I did mention that it was a bit too much, generally they were quite reserved with make-up.

  8. Good for you for showing your daughter that there are cosmetics outside of the drug store! Starting her on safe products and teaching her why is great. At 14 it is a phase that many girls go through trying to figure out who they are and what they would like to portray. You should be commended, not judged!

  9. At this stage, girls would like to experiment with creating different looks to enhance their natural beauty. Great that you took her to a place that can show her how to apply make-up and that has quality products. Wish I had that knowledge at this tender age!


  10. Oh Katherine how blessed you are to have such a gorgeous daughter!! And how fortunate she is to have a mum like you that considers her health whilst embarking on this new ‘chapter’ of the teenage years. Thanks for making terra20 part of it!

  11. What an excellent post. Gee, it’d sure be great if people kept their judgement to a minimum and maybe offered a more constructive and helpful conversation, wouldn’t it?

    I think Sydney is so lucky to have a Mom who not only supports her as she grows and learns what beauty means to *her*, but one who also cares for the planet and her health!

    Good for you – and for all of us, really. 🙂

  12. I dont think wearing makeup is bad for young women at all! It’s better to know the risks with sharing makeup, and know how to properly use it. Than to be wearing awful products and applying wrong. When I was a child I was constantly getting stys in my eyes ( lol ) and it was from purchasing the wrong kind of makeup.

  13. I really enjoyed this read,I have no problem with make-up but I believe people should do their homework first and find out the rights and wrongs

  14. When I was a teen I wore makeup and I can honestly say I wore too much. But I feel if you teach them how to put it on properly then there’s no reason they shouldn’t be able to wear it.

  15. I have a 13 year old and a 16 year old and they both are allowed to wear makeup. They both have a LOT of makeup. It is their thing at this age. But guess what? Most days they cannot be bothered at all to put it on. Running out the door to school they don’t have the time or care enough to bother. It’s all good. When I was 14 I wore makeup every single day. I was like that for probably 20 years and then I had kids and was like – who has time for mascara?? I think feeling good about yourself is the goal for our girls, right? So as long as they are happy and healthy and maybe are shown how to use it that’s the best case scenario in my opinion.


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