At what age you allow your daughter to wear makeup is a personal decision, one that’s individual to your family and its beliefs. However, people have strong opinions about it, and anytime a celebrity’s child is seen in even the subtlest shade of lip gloss, the dialogue opens up for debate. Case in point: After a video circulated of North West, 5, wearing dark lipstick while attending a church service, people were quick to mom-shame Kim Kardashian for her decision.
“A child with a natural face is more beautiful and holy. It represents childhood because it shows innocence,” wrote one user on Twitter. Another added: “[CHILDREN] need to be taught that some things are for adults. I know not everyone agrees but they need to learn to be comfortable in theor [SIC] skin before changing it in any way.”
There is a lot of pressure on girls to look a certain way these days, and, of course, as a parent you want your children to be comfortable and confident in their skin. But who’s to say makeup will encourage otherwise? Wearing lipstick doesn’t necessarily reflect a self-esteem issue, nor has it been shown to cause one. In fact, research shows quite the opposite is true. Then there is also the fear of sexualizing children at such a young age, which is fair, though it often misses the point.
Understanding why your child wants to wear makeup and what it means to her allows a parent to make an informed decision on what’s age appropriate, Tamar Kahane, a child and adolescent psychologist at The Kahane Center, told USA Today. “One of the ways in which a child learns about their world is through dressing up. They take on different roles through their play, and that’s how they communicate… For them it could mean something very different.”
“I’m a big believer in the intuition of moms, and that moms know more than they think they know,” Kahane continued. “It’s really about noticing what your own child is up for and what they’re emotionally ready for.”
Kim has yet to respond to the backlash, but this isn’t the first time that she’s let her daughter wear makeup – and it probably won’t be the last. In December, North wore bright red lipstick to a Christmas Party, and she’s also been spotted in colorful eye shadow. Makeup plays a big role in the Kardashian-Jenner family, with KKW Beauty and Kylie Cosmetics, so it makes sense that the youngest members are being introduced to it early on.
As with most parenting decisions, at the end of the day, it’s up to North’s parents to decide what is appropriate for her. “I’m definitely going to set guidelines,” Kim told Refinery29 at the time, adding that she believes makeup is more about being creative. “It’s a form of expression. So I want her to express herself, but I want her to be appropriate, too.” In addition to North, Kim has two other children and one on the way with husband Kanye West.