Last week, I posted a question on our Facebook page—"At what age should a girl be allowed to start wearing makeup?"—and the responses poured in faster than squealing fans at a Justin Bieber concert. Most of you feel that between 12- and 17-years old is an appropriate age to start wearing makeup, and that it should be very natural—lip gloss, a little concealer if you have a zit—until you reach 17 or 18. However, there was one vote for wearing makeup as young as 10, and another for waiting until the ripe ol' age of 25 (!) Allycia Besner commented that she wasn't allowed to wear makeup until she was 16: "Now, seven years later, I'm planning on going to Cinema makeup school. So patience really paid off for me!" Annie Cigan's children may follow a similar path—she wrote, "My daughters are wearing nothing but Blistex until they're 16!" And Kimberly Alfieri posted this thoughtful response: "I think high school is definitely a good time to let a child try the experience. Kids want so badly to fit in, and looks play such a huge part in that. Parents don't always understand how important it really is to feel like you belong in your school." So true, Kimberly!
I personally started wearing makeup when I was 14. My mother, at my begging, bought me a Maybelline black eyeliner pencil to play around with, and I quickly discovered what has been my signature look to this day: Filling in my top lash line with black pencil, which helps my lashes look denser and darker without seeming as though I'm wearing a lot of makeup. I decided to poll some of my fellow beauty editors on the topic by asking them how old they were when they first started wearing makeup. Click through to read about their first times.... with makeup, that is.
"I don’t remember wearing makeup until, bizarrely enough, college. But when I was in sixth grade, there were two very popular sisters who wore mascara and glittery eye liner, and I was sojealous. The only product my mom let me wear—probably starting around that same time—was Mary Kay lip gloss. There was a clear one and a slightly pink-tinted one, and I loved them both so. When I see the tubes now, I get really nostalgic." —Amy Keller Laird, Allure deputy editor/beauty director
“Most of the girls I grew up with didn't wear makeup until high school. I started wearing it when I turned 15. The first product I ever wore was M.A.C. Eyeshadow in Shroom, a shimmery beige that I still wear to this day.” —Jessica Prince, Harper's Bazaar beauty editor
"Growing up, my mom told me I could start dating when I was 30—and the same held true for makeup! But I did start wearing Bonne Bell Lipsmackers early on in my teens. I would save my allowance to buy them along with the 99-cent Wet n' Wild glitter nail polish. The first 'real' makeup look I wore was to my prom. I remember, I got my makeup done at the Bobbi Brown counter in Bloomingdales!" —Eva Chen, Teen Vogue beauty director
"I started wearing makeup when I was 13. My mom didn’t have a problem with me wearing a little of it, but she did have a problem with my wearing the bold, matte red lipstick I used to buy at a store called Unique. Eventually, though, she gave in and it became my signature color all throughout high school." —Yesenia Almonte, Seventeen beauty director
"I grew up in Dallas in a Catholic family, so my parents were pretty conservative about makeup. I often stared longingly at the brightly colored lipsticks my high school friends toted around in their purses, knowing that my mom wouldn't be pleased if slicked some on myself. When I was around 15, though, she finally relented and brought me to the Clinique counter. The salesperson showed me how to put on a touch of concealer, handed me a barely-there shimmery taupe eye shadow, and helped me select a subtle lip-toned gloss. It wasn't a dramatic makeover, but I remember looking in the mirror and feeling completely transformed." —Ellen Miller, Shape beauty director
"I never got an official green light from my parents about wearing makeup. But by the 8th grade, I was really proficient with mascara, having swiped the tiny gift-with-purchase samples tubes from my mom’s makeup stash. I’m pretty sure all my mascara application tricks—"wiggle the brush" and so on—came from Seventeen magazine." —Ying Chu, Marie Claire beauty and health director