I don’t own a lot of make-up, I don’t wear a lot (just enough to try and disguise my perpetual lack of sleep) and I’m certainly not very expert at applying it. However, all three of my girls are obsessed by it. They are constantly rummaging around in my make-up bag and always asking if they can put make-up on me… err, no!
My eldest daughter (aged six) has a Christmas/birthday list that has about five different named make-up sets on it. She already has quite a bit of the stuff already (I have never bought her any myself) and last weekend spent loads of her own money trying to win a nail polish set on the tombola at her sisters’ pre-school Christmas fayre. Her four-year-old twin sisters don’t own any, but use their big sister’s; sometimes with permission, but usually without.
I certainly don’t make a big thing of putting on make-up and my whole routine takes less than five minutes, so where has the obsession come from? Should I be worried that they’ve all taken to preening themselves in front of the mirror and that the younger two are always banging on about wanting to wear ‘beautiful dresses’?
Well yesterday I received a press release, which simultaneously reassured and alarmed me. The headline: Two in Three British Mothers Allow Daughters Under 8 to Have Professional Beauty Treatments. This reassured me that their behaviour is probably pretty harmless comparatively-speaking, but professional beauty treatments for the under 8’s, really? I think I was in my early twenties before I had my first professional manicure, let alone anything else.
The release, based on research from The British Association of Beauty Therapists and Cosmetologists (BABTAC), went on to say that a third stated that their child underwent professional beauty services (such as professional hair removal, manicures and facials) ‘regularly’.
Apparently three-quarters of those who did let their daughters have treatments said that they improved their child’s confidence levels. How very sad.
So where do I draw the line? Currently my eldest is allowed lip gloss and nail varnish for parties (she dabbles with eye shadow, but I don’t let her leave the house with it on) and the twins are allowed just nail varnish for parties.
What I’m struggling with is where experimenting, being a bit creative and having fun crosses into more worrying territory; a territory where girls are completely obsessed about their appearance and are actually using make-up and demanding beauty treatments to feel better about themselves.