My two nieces, both currently age 11, are becoming young women way too quickly. They recently approached Aunt Mandi with questions about what makeup to wear and how to apply it.
Talk about a teaching moment.
You see, both had approached my sisters (their moms) about makeup. And, like any good parent of an 11-year-old, my sisters both said they are naturally beautiful and makeup was out of the question until they are 13.
But here’s where my sisters and I are different - I quickly realized my nieces are searching for answers. And, they weren’t getting the response they wanted or needed from my sisters. When they don’t get the answers they want, they seek elsewhere, like many of us do.
I’d seen both of them, on separate occasions, dabble in makeup. Their young friends were their teachers. As you can imagine, it was an interesting sight. Bright eyeshadow. Way too much blush. And, lipstick that would stain any good shirt.
Hence, the teaching moment. We all keep asking, seeking, until we get the answer that satisfies our curiosity. I told my nieces I would teach them how to apply makeup as long as they repeated my 3 important makeup mantras, which go deeper than surface level.
Less is MORE. Wearing makeup isn’t about covering up, it’s about enhancing what’s already there. You only need 5 essential pieces to enhance your natural beauty (in my humble opinion) - foundation, powder, blush, mascara and lip gloss. I could even argue the foundation and blush are unnecessary. Here’s the thing - it doesn’t take much to enhance what’s already there. However, the more you put on, the further you get away from the truth. Whether makeup or defense mechanisms used numb your pain or hide, the more layers you wear, the less YOU are seen. Let your natural beauty be the guide. Let it shine. Let it attract like-minded friends. Show up. Be seen. Be-YOU-tfiul, just as you are.
Focus on the Foundation. Nothing is worse than looking in a visor mirror, with all that natural light, only to notice your foundation stops short of your hairline or jawline. Maybe you applied to much? Maybe you didn’t spread it evenly? Maybe it’s the wrong color? Regardless, your foundation is the base layer of your overall look. When your base is off, everything else gets thrown off as well. You’ll end up spending way too much time trying to fix it after the fact. Has anyone tried blending foundation in after you’ve finished the rest of your makeup? Or, maybe had a friend politely point the base line out? Or, have you been caught redhanded in the bathroom scrubbing your jawline once you realized how bad it was? Me, too! Point being, if you set up your foundation right in life, you don’t have to spend unnecessary time going back trying to correct it. Slow down. Take your time. Learn. Grow. Experiment. And, get a good foundation in place before moving on to the next step.
Sister, Wash Your Face. We all know what happens when you don’t wash your face during your teen years - acne. If you’re going to put on layers, you have to be willing to take them off. Your skin needs to breathe. It needs a fresh start each day. Maybe you armor up when a coworker calls you out or your spouse says that you need to talk. When you wear that armor day in and day out, it gets heavy and your body becomes weak. You’re always prepared for a fight rather than giving yourself a fresh start. Wash your face at the end of the day. Take off your armor. Lay it down. Let yourself breathe and just be. Then start fresh the next day with a blank, clean slate.
My nieces repeated these three mantras over and over again. They may not see the life parallels right now, but this was my attempt at laying my own foundation with my nieces. The repetition was my smearing it all the way to the hairline to ensure it sinks in and no spot was left uncovered.
By nature, children are curious beings. And, curious minds seek answers. You have an opportunity to shape these young children’s minds when they come questioning things. If it isn’t you or me who answers them, it will be someone else. As a long-time PR and marketing gal, I like to control the message when possible. Try framing your responses in a way that controls the message, still satisfies their curiosity, and offers a teachable life lesson.
What makeup or life advice have you shared with young people that goes deeper than it seems on the surface? What else should I be sharing with my nieces?