A couple weeks ago at my cosmetic-store job, a mother waltzed in with her daughter and promptly asked the Clinique correspondent what skincare she would recommend for the 10-year-old.
My coworker looked at the porcelain-faced girl, ignored the fact that she probably wouldn’t make a sale, and said “she honestly doesn’t need a thing, she has the most beautiful skin I’ve ever seen.”
Despite the compliment, the vexed mother replied with “I know, and I want to keep it that way.”
It would be hard to argue that anti-aging, anti-wrinkle, or any other cosmetics are a necessity to any pre-teen, but apparently cosmetics geared toward young girls are a lucrative and untapped market.
That’s why Wal-Mart will soon be launching “Geo-Girl,” the first ever line of anti-aging cosmetics targeted girls ages 8 to 12.
Now, I love makeup as much as the next girl, but I’ll admit it’s an addicting habit. I started brushing my lashes in eighth grade with some cheap mascara trying to look a bit better. It wasn’t long before that “looking a bit better” turned into “not looking good enough,” and cheap mascara became high-end eye shadow, foundation, and blush, all so I could look not-so-horrible.
Young girls start out by raiding their mother’s purses, smearing on lipstick in a playful attempt to look like their older sisters and friends. What’s ironic and a bit disturbing about Geo-Girl, is that they’re making aging a concern for girls who until now have been using makeup only to seem older.
While Wal-Mart stands by the fact that this line is completely natural and safe for young skin, the bigger concern is what products like this do to girls psychologically. Self-esteem issues can be horrible burdens in a girl’s teenage and adult life, but outward appearance isn’t typically a concern for girls at age 8. However, with mothers who insist their children need Clinique to perfect their still-maturing skin, and cosmetic lines implying “you need this to look better,” girls are being thrust into a world where appearance plays a main role far too early.
Dr. Logan Levkoff, author of “Third Base Ain’t What it Used to Be,” told Good Morning America that “we are raising another generation of girls who kind of measure their self-worth based on what’s on the outside.”
And because of that addicting aspect of makeup I previously mentioned, I know this could be a dangerous road for young girls to go down.
I can distinctly remember the time-and this a period most girls go through with their mothers-when I tried to go off to school in the fifth grade wearing unnatural makeup after raiding the bathroom vanity, and my mother forcing me to wash it off. It’s clear now why most parents would do the same.
But apparently times are changing. Dr. Levkoff added in the Good Morning America segment that “we don’t just have to befriend our kids, but we also have to explain why. Because you are beautiful and it’s really not what’s outside…”
It’s products like this that are taking what girls used to use for dress-up and play as necessities, and parents seems to be going along with it. So while girls will soon be buying URA* lip gloss and FYEO mascara (that’s “you’re a star” and “for your eyes only” for us less-hip), it seems they’ll be selling a little bit of their childhood somewhere along the line, too.