When Should You Let Your Teen Wear Makeup?

With the countless number of makeup lines, innovative beauty products and addictive YouTube makeup tutorials, it seems now more than ever, teens are fascinated with the beauty industry and love trying out new looks on themselves. But, at what age is it really appropriate to wear makeup and how much makeup should your teen be wearing?

One thing many professional makeup artists agree on is that a lesson with a pro can really help young girls learn how to apply makeup and properly take care of their skin. Chicago makeup artist and creator of Leesi B Cosmetics Elise Brill has many clients bring in their daughters for a first-time makeup application when the teen is in seventh or eighth grade. During the visit, Brill offers her best makeup tips and educates the girls about skincare such as the importance of removing makeup before bedtime.

“I often suggest if young girls do choose to wear makeup that they keep it very light, and at most they should use powder, concealer to cover up any blemishes, and lip gloss,” explains Brill.

Sabrina Danyla, Chicago makeup artist and owner of Beauty Babe by Sabrina, recommends bringing girls in for a professional makeup lesson when they are around 12 years old. That will give them confidence about makeup techniques and products before they pick up bad information from friends or the Internet.

“Having that info at such an early age lets them experiment and know about makeup, hopefully avoiding the overdone application look,” Danyla says. “A makeup lesson is essential — with so much harmful info on YouTube, learning what products should and shouldn’t be used can save them from embarrassing blunders.”

Jill Glaser is the founder and owner of Make Up First School of Makeup Artistry, nationally recognized as the premier makeup artistry program in the Midwest. Glaser leads special workshops and camps for students ages 13 to 17, where teens are instructed in all areas of age-appropriate beauty makeup using professional products. Glaser sees wearing makeup as a rite of passage.

“Searching to find themselves, teens who are playing with different makeup and fashion styles are expressing themselves,” she says. “In the privacy of the home, they should have fun, take their time and experiment; the more they experiment, the better they will become with makeup applications that are age-appropriate.”

Danyla says preteens should start out with just a few products that play up their natural beauty and best features. She recommends clear mascara and tinted balm that can be used on eyes, cheeks and lips and gives a sheer, soft glow. Combat breakouts with a good full-coverage concealer and powder, which can conceal a multitude of skin problems.

“A safe bet is to stick with products that are sheer since the build-up is minimal, which makes application a breeze,” she says. “If your teen has acne or other skin issues, avoid the balm on eyes and cheeks and try sheer powder blush around the eyes and cheeks.”

When it comes to playing up the eyes, Brill says teenage girls often gravitate to black eyeliner applied in the “water line” or inside the rims of the eye. But, she teaches younger clients a different technique.

“I like to show girls how to best line their eyes to complement the shape of their own eyes, which isn’t always on the inner rim,” Brill says. “I think age-appropriate makeup is tricky since it truly comes down to enhancing individual beauty, and not allowing the makeup to cover up natural beauty.”

Traci Fine is a professional Chicago-based makeup artist and owner of Fine Makeup Art & Associates. Fine believes 14 is an appropriate age to introduce your teen to makeup and suggests having mothers lend guidance when it comes to purchases. She says colored lip balm, mascara and eye shadow are good products to use when starting out. She recommends makeup in naked or nude color palettes.

“In addition to ‘nude’ color choices, I think it’s great to start wearing BB cream or tinted moisturizer with SPF to even out skin tone and protect skin from sun damage,” she says. “This is super sheer, lightweight, and doubles as skincare.”

Glaser also advises young girls to focus on fresh, clean skin, as well as protection from the sun. She says young girls don’t need heavy foundation. Instead, steer them toward tinted moisturizer with SPF.

“For ages 14 and up, pastel shimmer eye shadow, a light coat of mascara and a sheer lip gloss should be enough to give the teen a boost of confidence that every woman gets when enhancing their features with makeup,” Glaser says.

Great Products For Teens Makeup Bags

Tinted Moisturizer

BB Cream


Tinted Lip Balm

Lip Gloss

Clear Mascara

Nude Eye Palette


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