I spent this weekend with three amazing 9 and 10 year old girls, at the Capital FM Summertime Ball.
It was really good fun – I danced and screamed a lot to Olly Murs and One Direction, and the girls danced in a cooler, more restrained fashion to Meghan Trainor and Lunchbox Lewis.
Going to Wembley to see 20 of the UK’s top pop acts is a big deal for Flea, and she and her friends wanted to look their best – there was a lot of concern about favourite jackets and shoes, and how to do hair.
What there wasn’t was make-up.
There’s not a lot of make-up going on in our house. For a meeting, I might wear some foundation or concealer, and mascara. I might add lipstick if it’s a social occasion. So perhaps it’s not surprising that Flea isn’t too interested in cosmetics, beyond nail polish during the holidays, and a spritz of my perfume from time to time.
Some of Flea’s friends wear sparkly lip gloss or nail polish for the school disco and my attitude has always been, well, that’s okay – your friends are experimenting and having fun, but Flea’s never been THAT bothered and I wouldn’t allow it if she was. But maybe I’m out of step.
Yesterday, I spotted a post online featuring one of my favourite bloggers – the article highlighted four mother/daughter pairings, who compared their beauty regime. Which is all well and good except one of the daughters was 10 years old.
I clicked through to find a YouTube channel where the 10-year-old explains her daily make-up routine (which at 15 minutes long, is about 14 and a half minutes longer than my own). For everyday, she wears concealer (and foundation “if I need a bit more coverage”), powder, eye shadow, mascara, brow pencil, lip pencil, lipstick and lip gloss.
I’m not linking to the article because it feels wrong, really wrong, to criticise a child for their choices. That’s not what this is about.
But in our household, make-up is a long way into the future.
I don’t want to raise a child with the belief that your natural, God-given face is something you need to improve on, or disguise.
I don’t want to raise a child who is encouraged to be self-regarding, in the way that I think make-up encourages people to be.
I don’t want to raise a child who spends 15 minutes every morning looking in the mirror, when she could be playing, reading or doing pretty much anything else instead.
I don’t want to raise a child who doesn’t know that she’s beautiful and perfect, just the way she is.
Maybe it’s just me, I thought. So I asked some blogging chums on Twitter, and the general consensus was that make-up happens in a fairly low-key way around 11 or 12, with perhaps lip gloss and nail polish, and more extensive make-up starts at around 14 or 15.
What do you think? When’s the right age for kids to start wearing make-up?