Parenting Tips: Should Little Girls Wear Makeup and Get Mani/Pedis?

All the popular shows about toddlers wearing tiaras and dance moms and all those other “reality” TV shows that exploit children got me thinking about the question: should little girls wear makeup? I think it depends on how far you take it.  Parenting Tips: Should little girls wear makeup?

I am going to be totally upfront with you here: I have a boy. I know nothing about raising little girls! I mean, aside from the fact that I was one once. I have friends with girls, though, so I talked to them about parenting tips and asked them: should little girls wear makeup and get mani/pedis?

All the popular shows about toddlers wearing tiaras and dance moms and all those other “reality” TV shows that exploit children got me thinking about the question: should little girls wear makeup? I think it depends on how far you take it.

Parenting Tips: Should little girls wear makeup?

Is there really anything wrong with letting little girls wear makeup? The consensus among my friends and our Facebook readers seems to be that a little lip gloss isn’t going to hurt them, but that’s about as far as it should go. To me, lip gloss really isn’t much worse than lip balm, as long as you’re using something gentle enough for sensitive young lips.

Most parents agreed that it’s okay to let them wear a bit more makeup when they’re just playing dress up. This is where I start to worry. While I don’t see anything wrong with playing dress up, I do worry about the type of makeup being used for fun time. If it’s something specifically designed for children, maybe that’s okay once in a while. Using adult makeup on sensitive children’s skin, though, freaks me out.

I would worry way too much about clogged pores and causing breakouts. I think if you’re going to let your little girls wear makeup, it’s important to choose one with the best possible safety ratings. I use the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database. It can seem a little over-zealous at times, but it’s a good starting point.

As for slathering on makeup for beauty pageants, sorry, but I can’t get on board with that at all. If it’s a once-in-a-while, just-for-fun local pageant, fine. But putting layers of makeup on a toddler to make them look like little adults, then parading them on national television-not okay! No one will ever convince me that there is anything even remotely okay about those shows. I refuse to watch them because I think by giving them attention, we’re sending a message that if you want to get on TV, you should treat your kid like a piece of property and destroy their childhood. Half these moms are pretty much adult bullies anyway!

Parenting Tips: Little Girls and Mani/Pedis

Photo Source: MorgueFile

Again, the consensus seems to be that a little nail polish isn’t a bad thing. I can agree with that, but ONLY if you’re absolutely sure you’re using non-toxic polish designed for children. ONLY use that. Kids put everything in their mouths. Do you really want them chewing on toxic nail polish?

As for actually going and getting mani/pedis, I come down on the “no way” side for this one. Why? Watch this video from WPTV and you’ll see why!  I found it by searching “dangers of nail salons.” My first mani/pedi left me in tears! They accidentally cut too low and then filed too hard. It took years to get me back into a nail salon. I did eventually find a great salon for the special-occasion pedicure, but that first experience turned me off of them for a long time.

Salons also use some sort of super staying power stuff. I have no idea what is in their polish or that stuff they put on afterward. When I got my toenails done for my brother’s wedding, it practically took a hacksaw to get it off when I decided to change the color. In fact, I never got it all off and had to wait for it to just grow out. Seriously, what is IN that stuff? Not something I’d want on my imaginary daughter’s nails, that’s for sure!

Bottom line, makeup on little girls is fine in moderation. Like all parenting tips, take my advice with a grain of salt and do what you think is best. Just make sure you’re doing it carefully and paying attention to ingredients.

What do you think? Should little girls wear makeup? Should they go to salons to get mani/pedis?


13 thoughts on “Parenting Tips: Should Little Girls Wear Makeup and Get Mani/Pedis?”

  1. Absolutely not. There is no need for little girls to have on makeup. My Brother in law and his wife have a 7 year old and every picture they take, she’s covered in makeup. I don’t understand it and it really bothers me. Let them be kids. Not kids looking like adults. They grow up too fast as it is.. and really, it looks tacky.

    As for manicures.. I see nothing wrong with it every once in a while, IF you bring your own manicure tools and you trust the salon you’re going to. I take my nieces for a girls day every so often and they love it.

  2. I think if it’s for an occasional fun outing, a trip to the spa with Mommy is ok. But if it becomes a necessity to the point of affecting body image, then it is too much. As for make-up, the older a girl starts, the better. There is lots of time as adult women to wear make-up. Why rush?

  3. I don’t know where I stand on this. I wore makeup in my early teens and don’t think I suffered any bad consequences as a result haha. I think that I would be fine if my daughter wanted to wear makeup early.

  4. When your kids are in movies, theatre, and dance, you don’t have much of a choice – male or female! I have always made sure it wasn’t too overdone though. Especially because my daughter is allergic to stage makeup! We have to make do with hypoallergenic cosmetics instead. I don’t think my daughter is going to care too much about makeup as she gets older (she’s 10 now), since she’s had some on for the stage since she was a few years old.

    My son, 15 years old now, doesn’t mind makeup for the stage, especially when his fellow (female) dancers are helping him apply it!


  5. I hadn’t really thought about it from a safety/chemicals standpoint. I think a little bit of make-up during play time or an at-home mani-pedi are fine. I think make-up outside the house is for grown-ups and professional mani-pedis are for people who can afford them, though, so I’d want to set boundaries with my daughter around that. Things like: you need to be 13 and demonstrate you can handle x, y, and z responsibilities before you can wear make-up outside the house, and if you want a mani-pedi, you need to save your allowance or birthday money for one.

    I’d honestly be a little concerned if my daughter started pushing the issue, though. I don’t wear make-up except for special occasions or certain professional events, and I might get a mani-pedi once a year with a girlfriend to treat myself. Beauty products and fashion have never been things I really value, though, and I worry a lot about the message beauty culture sends to little girls about their bodies. I’d want to have a heart to heart with my daughter about why she wants to wear make-up and have her nails done and what our society thinks beauty is and what real beauty is. I’d just want to do what I could to reinforce that while make-up and mani-pedis are fun and in some situations, are necessary in order to be considered professional, we should be fundamentally happy with who we are on the inside and not worry so much about what we look like on the outside.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *