“Mommy, Why Do You Wear Makeup?”


My daughter peered into the bathroom and watched me apply my makeup before we headed to the store.

“Mommy, what are you putting on your face?” she asked.


She pointed to a brush on the counter. “What’s that for?”

“For putting on eye shadow.”

“What’s eye shadow? Are you going to put that on your face? Why?”

I put down everything I’m holding. I really don’t know how to continue this conversation.

On a day-to-day basis, I usually wear some lipgloss, light moisturizer (sometimes tinted) and a bit of eyebrow pencil. (I’m obsessed with my eyebrow pencil these days.) I very rarely do a full face, only on special occasions and date nights. I prefer to keep product off my skin as much as possible and didn’t even learn how to apply makeup until I was 25. Makeup isn’t that important to me, but I know my daughter assumed otherwise.

“Well…” I said slowly. “Some ladies wear makeup because it makes them feel prettier. They like playing with colors.”

“So are you not pretty if you don’t wear makeup?”

Somehow I knew she’d jump to that conclusion. “Of course that’s not true! Everyone has their own beauty,” I replied. “You don’t need makeup. It’s like if you decide to wear a headband or a bow in your hair. Your hair is still pretty without it, right?”

“Yeah…” my daughter said slowly. She looked like she had more questions. “Can I put some makeup on?”


“Why not?”

“Because it’s for adults…”

And so we kept talking. My daughter seemed to understand what I was telling her. That beauty is in no way determined by how many layers of make-up you have on your face. That your talents and character is what’s most important.

And I hope she listens. God, I hope she listens.

Have you talked to your daughter’s about makeup? How did it go?



  1. I told my daughter that she was a naturally beautiful girl but that if she felt like she wanted to try makeup when she gets older,she can. She uses makeup at home when she plays dressup but it isn’t allowed outside the house. Outside the house, it’s lip gloss only. She says that she knows shes pretty without makeup but she just like using her imagination with colors on her face. So,I leave it at that.

  2. Those are some good answers to wearing makeup. I love the “natural” look makeup that doesn’t try to necessarily change or cover what we might think of as “flaws”…but as someone who doesn’t seem to suntan but stay white all year long, I do feel grateful for the means to add a little color.

    *I have three boys, so they really could care less about my makeup routine, but enjoyed the article anyways. :)

  3. My first thought when I read the title was, “You know how you like to use crayons to draw on paper, well makeup is like crayons for skin.” I know this could lead to misunderstandings (eg my baby ruining an expensive lipstick to make a piece of art or putting craft paint on skin), but that is how I view it. I’m an artist and I like to draw and paint: on paper, on canvas, and on skin with makeup. For me, it’s not about human beauty standards, it’s about playing with color and aesthetics and ideas. And I’d love to share that with my daughter…as soon as she’s old enough to understand the complexities of the ideas involved.

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  5. This was the a good question: “So are you not pretty if you don’t wear makeup?” your child is so funny, you must have a lot of patience to answer to all questions of a child.

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