Teen makeup: Where to start? | HerCanberra

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Teen makeup: Where to start?

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Lately I’ve had a spike in the number of people who ask me about appropriate makeup for teenagers. Thanks to YouTube and Instagram, girls are fast becoming more interested in makeup at a younger age. For me it was the age of 16, and for two reasons: it covered the pimples and because it was the thing to do.

It’s also about looking for that adult freedom faster than we’d like making it hard to keep tabs on just what it is they’re buying, and wearing, when you’re looking the other way.

“I started wearing makeup at 13,” says writer Martina Taliano. “I desperately wanted to have the freedom of an adult and thought that if I looked more adult then that would get me halfway there.”

These days, the opportunity to buy makeup is a lot more accessible than it was 20 years ago with cheap brands and products now on display at the checkout, in department stores…even $2 shops, which makes it hard for parents to monitor what their young girls are putting on their skin.

But my advice to mums is that no matter how much you don’t want your little lady to wear makeup, the pressure of friends and media are going to defy everything you say. In my opinion, the best thing to do is compromise and the best way to do that is to sit down for a chat about everything makeup from looking after their skin to what it is they want to wear.

Makeup routines will vary dependent on what your daughter’s friends are doing, what their skin is like and whatever big trend is currently in vogue with their fave celebrities.

Skin care

A skin care routine is one of the first things I recommend getting in check, are they cleansing and moisturising? And if so, are they using the right products for their skin type. It’s not so much about age, but the type of skin and dermatologic sensitives they might have. With many popular women’s magazines, it’s easy to collect a range of freebies and samples, but these aren’t always ideal for young, teen skin and while you may think that a skincare routine isn’t necessary for your daughter given their age, you couldn’t be further from the truth.

When teens pack on too much liquid foundation or pressed powder, it’s often because they are trying to cover pimples and blemishes. Talk to your daughter about establishing a skin care regimen to help her take care of her skin properly. If her acne is severe, see a dermatologist. The doctor will be able to provide topical and/or oral medication to reduce breakouts and get clearer skin.

If an appointment with a dermatologist isn’t required, then a simple skin care routine is all that’s needed:

  • a well-formulated cleanser
  • toner/exfoliant (dependent on skin type)
  • sunscreen (which can be included in a moisturiser or foundation)
  • day moisturiser
  • lightweight night moisturiser


Wanting to cover up bad acne or blemishes is common for many young girls including the HerCanberra writers who’ve confessed a few beauty secrets of their own.

“I started wearing makeup at 13,” says Laura. “I hated my pimples and wanted to cover them up, which in hindsight actually made them worse.”


Bronwen shares a similar sentiment. “I’m the same as Laura and started at 13. I wanted to cover my awful acne.”

If your daughter has acne prone skin they’re likely to want to cover it up with foundation too and while I (like Laura and Bron) completely understand, as I also suffered acne as a teenager, sometimes it can really just make it worse. Instead start with a tinted moisturiser like Rimmel’s BB Cream.

If that isn’t enough coverage then I would try Young Blood Loose Mineral Foundation. It’s important that if your daughter is wearing foundation daily that they remove it properly at night with a good cleanse and moisturise to clean their skin and keep it it looking fresh.


Mascara is a very popular choice among teens, just ask editor Jessica Schumann who began wearing mascara at the age of 13.



“Being a natural redhead, I also have naturally red eyelashes and so started wearing mascara in Year 7 to cover up my ranga eyelashes and avoid being teased,” she says. “I still wear mascara today, but I definitely have a deeper appreciation for my hair colour.”


If you’re a mum who doesn’t like the idea of tinted mascara, then perhaps consider clear mascara as a compromise. It still makes the lashes darker and shinier, but is creates a more natural look plus it won’t smudge. Start with Covergirl Professional Natural Lash Mascara.


Lipstick and heavily tinted glosses are also popular on the lips of teens with brighter, more daring colours taking charge! It can be slightly daunting when your 14 year old wants to rock a red lip to school. Rebecca Carpenter says it wasn’t until she was 17 and in Year 12 that she was able to getaway with even a hint of colour.

“Unless I was in a play at school that required stage makeup, we weren’t allowed to wear makeup to school and it was pretty strictly enforced,” she says. “We became pretty good at getting away with a bit of foundation and slightly tinted lip gloss in year 12!”


Opt for a natural colour lipstick or gloss instead and explore E.L.F Cosmetics has a great range of lip products and are extremely affordable along with locally made Lips by Tanja, which have tinted options along with some wonderful smells and flavours!

However it is you decide to approach makeup with your teens, there are always going to be a million other makeup issues you are bound to argue and barter about, but hopefully this will give you a good idea of where to start without breaking the bank – leave that for when they get their first part-time job!

If you have a question about teen makeup, leave it in the comments below and I’ll be happy to answer!

Images of teen makeup courtesy of Shutterstock.

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