Are Tweens Too Young for Makeup?

Walmart is rolling out a new line of makeup geared towards tweens.

January 27, 2011, 10:28 AM

Jan. 27, 2011— -- Walmart is introducing a new line of cosmetics, but this one is designed for girls 8- to 12-years-old. They might be on to something considering the tween makeup market rakes in more than $24 million per year. The top sellers are lip gloss, eye shadow and mascara.

"I like blush, lipstick, um, mascara," 9-year-old Haley Solomon said to ABC News.

Some experts think tween makeup might be adding to self-worth issues some young girls face growing up.

"We are raising another generation of girls who kind of measure their self-worth based on what's on the outside," Dr. Logan Levkoff, author of the book "Third Base Ain't What it Used to Be" said to "Good Morning America."

Levkoff is not rejected the idea of tween makeup, she just wants young teenagers to have fun with it and not treat it like a necessity.

"It's really about playing within your home and not feeling like you have to put on a face for everything else," she said.

Levkoff said that the decision is up to the parents and that it is acceptable to tell your young daughters no.

"Parents should be talking about makeup and parents are entitled to be parents and if your daughters want to wear makeup you can say no," Levkoff said. "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 that's beautiful and there's plenty of time for you to explain all of these things."

The new tween makeup line from Walmart, geo-girl, aims to speak the language of technologically savvy youngsters. So if you're not a texting tween, the products in Walmart's new line of geo-girl makeup might need some translating. There's S.W.A.K or sealed with a kiss lip treatment. Also featured in the line is T2G or time to go cleanser. The geo-girl line aims to fill the void at Walmart left by Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen's defunct cosmetics.

The line also includes mascara, eye shadow and even an exfoliate. But makeup is not where tweens end their beauty regiments. There are now spa treatments, eyebrow waxing, facials and massages geared towards young teens. Some parents are on board with it all.

"I feel it's part of hygiene. I do all of these types of things myself and I think they're better off starting young," one mother told ABC News.

Some companies are going so far as to make high heels for tweens. All of these factors have Dr. Henry Paul wondering if this is too much too soon for pre-teenagers.

"The use of make up in some way can be addictive, and what these children would be addicted to is the pursuit of perfection--the superficial, skin deep, I'm only as good as I look," he said. "But in the long run it can lead to an erosion of self esteem in a child because they'll begin to think of themselves only as beautiful kids."

Walmart said it ensures that their products will be marketed towards parents.

"The geo-girl line was developed in partnership with our customers to give parents a healthier, age-appropriate option for their tween girls who ask about wearing makeup," Walmart said in a statement.

Parents have mixed views about their young teens wearing makeup. One mother of tween was asked if she thought her daughter wearing makeup was appropriate.

"I don't think so," she said to ABC News. "I don't agree with this because she's too small still so I don't think it's a good idea."

Another mother wasn't uncomfortable with her tween indulging at her age.

"I feel that's okay if it's subtle and it's very light I don't see why not," another mother said.

Nine-year-old Samantha Solomon's mother does not hesitate to let her experiment.

"When my mom talks to be about makeup she tells me always stay natural--light lip gloss and not a lot of blush and she tells me to blend and blend and blend all the time," the tween said.

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