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If it wasn’t for the fun of jazzing up our witch costume on Halloween night, there was a time when our mothers wouldn’t dare let us step foot outside with anything on our faces beyond some chap stick and a smile (and a face full of Vaseline on those cold winter mornings). Our only other chance of wearing makeup was if we were playing dress-up in grandma’s neatly organized stash of lipstick and eyebrow pencil, and even that could’ve been risky if you had folks who considered those things being an instance of “smelling yourself.” But nowadays, you see more and more little girls caked up with rainbow eyes, painted lips and contoured jawlines. Whether it’s in kid pageants, the hallways of elementary schools, or plastered on social media sites, seeing young ladies with drawn-on faces is all-too common. And social networking has only made it more pervasive.

Do you let your daughter wear makeup?

The pressure to be attractive in a society where long lashes, cat-eyes and flawless skin reigns supreme makes not only little girls, but women in general, feel like makeup is necessary to achieve beauty. So for a little 12 or 13-year-old girl who follows her fav celebs on Instagram or Twitter and gawks at how beautiful she looks with her face made up on a regular, it’s probably hard not to feel obligated to indulge. But as we all know, makeup tends to add not only a certain level of maturity to ones physical appearance, but it can give off a sex appeal not appropriate for children.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve come across suggested friends on Facebook, or stumbled upon open pages on Instagram of dolled up young ladies who I believed were grown women at first glance, until I read their “About” section or ran through their friend’s list and discovered that they were 14-year-old high school freshmen. Some young ladies may look at makeup as just another accessory to their daily gear, and there are parents who may feel like a little lipstick or eyeliner is harmless for their princess. But there are serious consequences that could result from this big-girl practice that is now being adopted by so many little girls.

Letting your 12-year-old daughter pile it on could lead to unwarranted attention from the wrong types of people (tisk, tisk: pedophiles and stalkers). And girls today may not realize it, but young ladies who wear makeup on a consistent basis also tend to get labeled as “grown,” “fresh,” “promiscuous,” or “fast.” I know when I was in high school, females who walked around all made-up (which were very few) received these labels, and they were usually true.

So, all that said brings me to this question: At what age is it appropriate for young ladies to start wearing makeup? Or should there be an age limit at all? Every parent has different views about this custom, but with the ubiquity of milk-breathed babies packing on makeup to the point where their unrecognizable and looking three times their age, a conversation about this new trend definitely needs to be had.

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