Teaching Your Daughter About Skin Care

It’s a moment most moms recall with horror: The day their perfect-just-as-she-is little girl shows up at the breakfast table in enough garish eye makeup for an entire heavy-metal band. And yes, it usually leads to a “You’re not leaving the house like that!” skirmish. 
 
But experts say these “you’re too young” battles miss a larger point: Not only does your daughter want to learn about cosmetics; she also needs to learn how they fit into the larger picture of skin care. And yes, it should start young—by her 12th birthday. That’s because skin begins to change around the onset of puberty. 
 
Start with basic skin care. Even a girl in her early teens needs to wear a good sunscreen every day, says Tanya Kormeili, M.D., a dermatologist in Santa Monica, Calif. The easiest way to help her get into the habit is to suggest a moisturizer with SPF protection, like Simple® Kind to Skin Protecting Light Moisturizer SPF 15, that she can apply every morning. “Every night she should wash and moisturize her face. And if she has acne or dry skin, get help from a dermatologist early. With a good regimen she can get through this period without [emotional or physical] scars.” One easy cleansing option: Simple® Kind to Skin Cleansing Wipes. Or try a soap with built-in moisturizers, like Dove Deep Moisture Nourishing Body Wash with NutriumMoisture™
 
Ease into cosmetics. When it comes to makeup, if she seems interested, ask your daughter to pull pictures she likes from magazines, suggest Sonia Hodzic, director of education and artistry for Tarte Cosmetics. That gives the two of you a chance to discuss what looks good—and what seems too heavy or old for her. “If she’s eager, let her experiment with a little mascara and lip gloss,” Hodzic says. 
 
Frown on foundation. “Great skin does not require foundation,” says Kormeili. But when blemishes happen—and remember, to her, a single zit is the size of Jupiter—help her find a concealer that matches her skin tone, says Amy Zdunowski-Roeder, a makeup artist with FACE atelier, who has worked with teens on America’s Next Top Model. “She can test the color on her neck. Gently tap it on blemishes, and blend it out on moisturized, clean skin. A little translucent, loose powder on a brush will set it.” 
 
Behold the brow. While there’s no need to go nuts waxing or threading, teaching her to tweeze strays between her brows will make her look more polished, without any products.
 
Start with a splash. When you decide she is old enough to wear more makeup, make it a big deal—and get some objective opinions. “For my daughter’s 13th birthday I took her to a makeup counter at a department store and let the artist show her how to experiment with colors,” says Duong Sheahan, a mom in the Chicago area. “Now she’s got a solid sense of what looks good on her.” 
 
Tell her she’s pretty from the inside out. “A girl needs to have someone remind her that the prettiest blush is the color of her cheeks after exercise,” says Zdunowski-Roeder. “Having a parent notice her looks is very important.” Sheahan agrees. “My daughter is 16 now, but I’ve always tried to tell her that beauty starts on the inside of a person. Sure, makeup can be a great enhancement, but it’s not a necessity.” 
 
Remember, it’s all a phase. Finally, before you decide you want to go to the mat with your daughter over black nail polish, orange lipstick or fake eyelashes, look at some of your high school photos—you probably had a ‘80s punk rock or Goth phase of your own. “Your daughter is trying to find her own look,” Hodzic says. “And the best thing about makeup? Nothing is permanent.” 

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