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More Companies Offering Makeup to Tween Girls


It’s fair to say that most girls experiment with makeup, usually by raiding Mom’s cosmetics bag—after all, lipstick can be such an exciting alternative to crayons! But according to a recent article in the New York Times, girls as young as 8 are beginning to use make-up as part of their daily routine as more companies are offering beauty products to the tween set.

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These girls are part of a new demographic of beauty-minded 8 to 14-year-olds—the “tween beauty sophisticate”—who might take trips to a salon for hairstyling, facials or waxing. And they are increasingly spending more. In 2009, girls ages 8 to 12 were spending 70 cents more on beauty products than they had only two years prior, market research company NYPD Group found.

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When Walmart’s GeoGirl popped up, it was met with criticism for marketing makeup, especially anti-aging products, to children. Since then, other companies have followed suit. Lourdes Leon, daughter of Madonna, founded Material Girl beauty as an off-shoot of her tween-aimed clothing line. The makeup collection offers items like a “Flirty Fruit” body wash ($12) and a “Smoky and Sexy” eye palette ($20), which is reportedly Lourdes’ personal favorite.

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Target is joining the trend. In March, they will begin stocking Willa, founded by Christy Prunier. She was inspired by the idea when searching for beauty products for her 8-year-old daughter (and company namesake), Willa Doss.

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“If you think about what the tween is doing, she is trying to figure herself out,” says José Barra, senior vice president for health care and beauty at Target. “She wants to use what her mom and older sister are using, but it has to be low-cost for her because she’s more on a budget. For it to work, it has to be a brand that can take her into puberty and maybe even college.” 

At what age do you feel it is appropriate for girls to start using makeup regularly? Do you feel certain items are inappropriate for girls of any age?