Last week, a friend posted a query on Facebook: “ My 5th grader is mad at me because I won’t let her wear eyeliner. Am I wrong?”
At least 10 people responded immediately telling her that she was indeed, not wrong at all. A few suggested letting her daughter wear blush, lip-gloss and a light coat of mascara as a compromise.
Today, as I was reading the New York Times ‘Thursday Styles” section, I stumbled upon an article discussing the same topic.
According to NPD Group, a consumer research company, the use of cosmetics in tween girls is up this year. Statistically, 18% of all 8-12 year olds are wearing mascara, 15% are wearing eyeliner, and 15 % are wearing lipstick.
Over 66% of the girls polled credited a family member or adult family friend with helping them acquire and apply their makeup.
While adult makeup sales are down, the use of tween and teen makeup is growing steadily. As we question the motivation of our little Lolitas trying to appear older, it is important to note the actual health risks of cosmetic use in children.
In a recent study done by the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, girls younger than age 10 with early onset of puberty had a high incidence of endocrine disruptors found in some nail polishes and cosmetics. There is also concern over skin damage caused by the chemicals in makeup, and the potential allergic reactions suffered by the overly sensitive skin of a child.
Some companies, such as Neutrogena, use different formulations in products marketed to a younger clientele, although they declined to share their proprietary technology in the article.
As I watch my own daughter teeter on the cusp of being a baby and an adolescent simultaneously, I struggle with keeping her innocence and letting her be her own person. I have found that my instincts are my best guide. Knowing that there are potential health risks involved will help me make an informed decision when the situation arises.