What Age Should Children be Allowed to Wear Make-Up? | EWmums.com

What Age Should Children be Allowed to Wear Make-Up?

Following news that Kanye West has banned daughter North from wearing make-up, a psychologist weighs in on the debate

Posted on

23 September 2019

What Age Should Children be Allowed to Wear Make-Up?

All Credits: PA

If you’re someone who keeps up with the Kardashians, you’ll know that in the past, reality star Kim has shared a variety of social media posts showing her daughter North wearing make-up – including bright orange eyeliner and black lipstick.

The six-year-old even appeared on the cover of Women’s Wear Daily’s beauty special earlier this year, sporting her signature bright eyeliner look.

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But this is all apparently set to change – for a while at least – because reality star Kim has revealed that her husband Kanye West has banned their daughter from wearing make-up.

“He changed all the rules,” the mum-of-four told E! News. “I’d let her wear, you know, she has a little red for Christmas, I’d let her wear a red lip, or I’d let her do one pop of something.

“So, I kind of got in trouble for that. So, it’s now no more make-up.”

Whenever North was pictured wearing make-up in the past, alongside the millions of likes and positive comments, there would always be some social media users criticising Kardashian – which may be the reason she ‘got in trouble’ with dad.

It sounds like North’s famous parents disagreed about whether it was appropriate for her to be wearing make-up, so who’s right? And as non-celebrity parents, should we be following suit?

We asked social psychologist Sandra Wheatley of Potent Psychology for her views on the sometimes controversial issue.

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My cutie

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Wheatley, who specialises in parenting, is on Kanye’s side in this case.

“It sounds fairly sensible to me,” she says. “A six-year-old wearing make-up, playing with make-up, trying to be like mummy, that’s a normal part of childhood.

“But to be wearing it for photo shoots is pushing it a little bit too far. Yes, she’s got famous parents. For them, it’s probably quite normal to go along to photo shoots.

“But implying that adult norms – such as, if you’re at a photo shoot, you wear make-up – also apply to a six-year-old is probably not the healthiest thing psychologically for a child.”

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Thankful for our babies being besties

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Part of the problem, she believes, is that children might be at risk of absorbing the message that you have to wear make-up in order to be successful.

“They will be taking in information that says, ‘If you want to be famous, then you must look like this, you must be glamorous, you must wear make-up’. That simply isn’t the case.

“It kind of presents only one side. Children like balance, they like to be exposed to lots and lots of information,” the psychologist adds.

“So it’s good that they get different points of view, but if they’re only getting one view – and that is, ‘You must be pretty, you must wear make-up in order to be happy, healthy, famous’ – that’s not going to be great.”

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What if your child isn’t part of a reality TV dynasty? Is there a ‘standard’ age when it becomes appropriate for kids to wear make-up?

Wheatley says that there’s no exact age at which children ‘should’ be allowed to wear make-up in public. “There is no straightforward answer,” she notes. “It’s very culturally specific. It’s very much about where you live and where you come from.”

So ultimately, it’s up to you as a parent to decide what’s best for your child. The psychologist also points out that we don’t know whether Kim and Kanye have banned make-up for North at home, or only in public.

“For all we know, she’s trotting around in a pair of high heels with mascara and lipstick on right now. But in the comfort and privacy of her own home, that’s fine, that’s playing.”

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Importantly, it’s about everything in moderation too, Wheatley says. Kids playing with make-up isn’t inherently bad, as long as they understand it’s not an essential component of adult life.

“It can be play and it can be fun, but it’s not compulsory,” she states. “And when people feel they can’t leave the house without it, then it’s kind of taken over a bit really – because you are so much more than your mascara.”