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At What Age Is It Appropriate To Start Wearing Makeup?

Suri Cruise tests lip colors at a makeup counter inside Canadian department store Holt Renfrew. Photo:

A couple weeks ago, Suri Cruise was out on a shopping expedition with her super-stylish mom at Holt Renfrew and swung by a makeup counter. The celebutot turns five in April, so I was a little surprised to see her test-driving products already.

Then again, it would seem that girls these days are using makeup at a much earlier age than my friends or I did. In a recent WSJ article about Wal-Mart’s new tween makeup line, geo-Girl, the marketing director at Aspire Brands Inc. (which is the marketer of Bonne Bell and Lip Smackers) says, “Girls start cosmetics usage really as young as six,” and goes on to explain that their first foray into makeup is usually a clear lip gloss or nail polish. Funny enough, I distinctly remember owning a ton of Lip Smackers lip glosses and would say that those as well as Hard Candy nail polishes were definitively my first makeup products. But that was in eighth grade. Maybe I was a late bloomer? To investigate this phenomenon, I asked a couple of co-workers when they started using beauty products and if the remembered what they were. Not surprisingly, they all have affectionate memories of their ‘firsts.’ Continue reading for their fun flashbacks. But their testimonials still don’t answer the larger question: At what age is it OK for girls to start experimenting with makeup? What do you think?


I was in elementary school, and was obsessed with makeup! I never wore it out of the house—it was just for playing at home. But I remember my mom got me a makeup bag with some blue and purple eye shadow, some pink lipstick, and some blush. I think it was all Wet ‘n Wild—ha! I loved it. My best friend and I would practice applying and playing with it all the time—we thought we were so chic.—Jenna

I was 14 when my mom took me to the Clinique counter to get my “colors.” The product I remember most distinctly is a greyish brown eye liner with a smudger, which I am still obsessed with to this day! They don’t make the color anymore, but I am holding on to one last nub from the early 2000s. —Katia

I really wanted my hair to be curly back when I was younger and it was stick straight. (Ironically puberty took care of this.) So, I remember my mom helping me with curlers and product.  In middle school, after my hair turned wavy, I fell hard for Living Proof’s No Frizz line to tame my no longer straight locks. —Hayley

I definitely used a lot of Lip Smackers when I was young—the fruity strawberry/raspberry ones were my favorite, if that counts as makeup! I honestly can’t remember ever NOT wearing some light shiny lip gloss growing up, but I didn’t get my own “makeup” until around eighth grade. I would wear a little blue eyeshadow and eyeliner to school sometimes (not cute in retrospect) and, for special occasions, my mom would put mascara on for me.—Lorelei

I first started wearing makeup in 8th grade, so I was 13 or14 (for special occasions only). From the get-go, I wore Lancome Kohl Eyeliner in Black Coffee. I still wear it every day. —Katie

I can’t remember what my first makeup product was, but I was definitely obsessed with my bright blue Caboodle through most of my middle school years, not to mention Bath & Body Works. I also recall a teal CoverGirl pressed powder compact that was probably not doing my puberty-freaked skin any favors. One more fun fact: I started wearing Bobbi Brown Apricot blush in high school and it is *still* a mainstay of my beauty bag. —Mollie

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