So there was quite a lot of buzz this past weekend all over the blogosphere about Walmart launching a tween skincare line targeted to children aged 8-12. Most of the articles and blog posts (Rants from Mommyland for example) are very against this. They talk about sexualizing children, commercialism, and how encouraging girls to wear makeup at this age will ruin their self image and yank them out of childhood. About how exfoliating a young girl’s skin will cause permanent damage. How a young girl’s eyebrows should never get waxed.
For the most part, I agree. But I think there are a few exceptions that need to be addressed in terms of the idea of tween skincare.
Why is an 8 year old being grouped with a 12 year old at all?
There is a HUGE gap between the ages of 8 and 12. Let’s just get that out of the way. I don’t think an 8 year old and a 12 year old should be grouped together in ANY category whatsoever. An 8 year old is a child; a 12 year old is still a child but is just one year away from being a teenager. That is a huge difference.
Tweens are not too young to suffer from acne.
Would I let my 8 or 9 year old wear makeup out of the house besides for a dance recital or Halloween? NO. But if I had an 11 or 12 year old girl who was already suffering from acne, I might. But I would teach her the proper way to apply it, and it would be as minimal as possible.
Acne can destroy a person’s self esteem. I was a child in this age group who already had significant acne. My self-esteem was very low because of it. I wish I was taught proper skin care and makeup application at that age. It would have really made my (pre-) adolescent life easier.
Should you let your child get teased for excessive facial hair?
About the eyebrow waxing, again, I think there are some exceptions. What if your child got hairy genes passed down which gave her a big old uni-brow? Or upper lip hair?
Would you, as a parent, rather remove the hair or have your child come home from school crying because she got made fun of for it; something she had absolutely. no. control. over. How about risk having your child take the removal of the unwanted hair into her own hands and possibly get seriously injured by a razor?? I would not.
A parent can help minimize the possibility of their child being teased.
At this age, tweens already have enough in life to deal with. Kids are so cruel, they will make fun of someone for just about anything.
If there are physical issues that I can help her fix with some minimal camouflage makeup or light grooming, I will absolutely do that.
Teaching good hygiene and skin care habits at a young age is important.
I do not agree with the people who are saying that tweens should not practice any form of skin care. I think it is very important to teach good skin care habits at a young age. It can help prevent a lot of future skin care problems. BUT, it has to be done age appropriately with the correct tween skincare products that are safe.
What do I mean by age appropriate? I mean that an 8 year old should be taught that she needs to wash her face everyday. Not scrub, not even tone, just gently wash. In the winter or if you live in a dry or harsh environment, a very light moisturizer can be used to prevent chapping. And sunscreen should always be worn.
An older child (closer to the teenage years) can incorporate a toner and a daily water-based, lightweight moisturizer. If there is acne, a good quality acne treatment product should be used. I don’t recommend exfoliation for this age though.
What tween skincare products are safe?
Any product used on a child should have gentle, soothing, and SAFE ingredients. Unfortunately, it is very hard to find products that do not contain alcohols, peroxides, harmful surfactants, binders, fillers, fragrances, dyes and preservatives at Walmart’s price point.
Teach them to not fall for the hype.
The problem is that most of these young girls (and their parents) won’t know any of this and they’ll be lured by the TV commercials and shiny magazine ads and will nag their parents into buying them these products (or they will use their allowance and secretly buy them on their own).
The parents need to be educated, so they can teach their children that they cannot believe much of what these companies advertise. These companies are out to make their money, and if they have to target young girls who are vulnerable to peer pressure to sell more tween skincare, then that is what they will do.
Way to go Walmart. You get the first ever (and hopefully ONLY ever) Holistically Haute Thumbs DOWN.
One of the best ways to encourage your tween (or teen) to use good skincare products is to make them together!
If you want to learn how to make safe beauty products with your tween or teen (and get a cool beauty history lesson too), then make sure to check out my Vintage Beauty Club classes, which are only $37 each!