Girls as Young as Six Ask to Wear Makeup, Due to Social Media, Bullying and ‘Feeling Ugly’

Young Girl Doing Makeup

New research has revealed that, on average, girls are asking their parents to wear makeup from the age of six, but are only being allowed to do so from the age of ten. Nail varnish, lip gloss and eyeshadow are items parents allow girls to wear from the youngest age.

We polled 1,361 parents of daughters between the ages of 5 and 16 living in Britain. The results showed that the overwhelming majority of female children in the UK ask their parents to wear makeup. On average, this first happens when the child is just six years old.

The top reasons for girls as young as six asking to wear makeup include, ‘being bullied for not wearing it’ (24%), ‘social media’ (19%)and ‘feeling ugly’ (13%). What’s more, 89% of the parents polled had previously caught their daughter wearing makeup without their permission, with the average age found to be seven years old.

Asked for their opinion, 77% of respondents said that they thought there was societal pressure for children to wear makeup. Expanding on this, 27% of parents said that celebrities were the biggest reason for this pressure, followed by their children’s friends (26%) and influencers (21%).

The average age that parents are comfortable letting their daughter wear makeup was found to be ten years old, though 14% said they would allow it from the age of five or younger. When asked when they first let their daughter use certain makeup or beauty items, the results (from oldest to youngest) were as follows:

  • Foundation – 14 years old
  • Eye liner – 14 years old
  • Lipstick – 13 years old
  • Mascara – 12 years old
  • Eyeshadow – 7 years old
  • Lip gloss – 6 years old
  • Nail varnish – 5 years old

For comparison, all respondents were asked what age they personally started wearing makeup. The average age mothers started wearing makeup was found to be 13 (more than twice the age that daughters currently ask). Asked if they had permission from their parent(s) or guardians to wear makeup when they first did so, 50% said ‘no’.

Finally, almost a quarter (23%) of parents said that they had been shamed by others for allowing their daughter to wear makeup in the past, with the most common offenders revealed as ‘other parents’ (40%), their own parents (20%) and teachers (15%).

Cosmetify’s Head of Digital Isa Lavahun said:

"It’s no surprise that peer pressure and social media are leading to young girls wanting to wear makeup at a much younger age, but being bullied for not conforming or worries about appearance are heart-breaking reasons."

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