First it was the mom who had her 5-year-old daughter's eyebrows waxed on national TV. Now there's a whole range of makeup choices aimed at girls as young as 8 years old. Behold a generation of self-absorbed prima donnas who believe beauty is only skin deep being groomed as I write this.
And that's only half of the problem.
Because while I'm bound to agree with all the moms out there raging against forcing girls to grow up too soon -- a makeup kit gifted to my 5-year-old this Christmas "mysteriously" disappeared the day after it entered our house -- I'm still confident a good mom could buy one of these makeup kits and manage to find a balance between raising a beauty and a brainiac.
I'm more worried about what's inside those bottles and tubes ... and what it can do to our kids.
From everything I've read over the years about the beauty industry, it's still one of the great under-regulated industries in America. There's lead in lipsticks, phthalates in bath products. According to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics:
Major loopholes in federal law allow the $50 billion cosmetics industry to put unlimited amounts of chemicals into personal care products with no required testing, no required monitoring of health effects, and inadequate labeling requirements.
And we want our kids to start slathering this stuff on at 5? Eight? Twelve? Endocrinologists are constantly telling us to keep our kids protected from lead and similar toxins because their bodies are smaller than ours, making the toxins proportionally much more concentrated and therefore potentially more hazardous. Kids have higher concentrations of body fat, where toxins settle in for the long term, doing damage to the body.
Makeup in particular poses particular challenges because of how it's used. Kids are not hygienic creatures! Lip glosses are put on the lips, where young kids tend to spend a lot of time licking and tasting -- something we grow out of by the teen or adult years. Mascara wands are poked into the eyes by clueless kids who don't know it should be chucked after three months (let's face it, most adult women I know keep those babies for waaaaay too long).
And don't let me get started on little girls and their "sharing" habits. My 8-year-old cousin is intelligent, well-behaved, and well-rounded. And the minute she sees her little 5-year-old cousin (my daughter), the two are off to do girly things together -- including "beauty." They're smart, but they just aren't old enough or experienced enough to understand the difference between sharing and passing along germs. Now imagine a mascara wand being passed from little girl to little girl in the middle school bathroom. How fast can you say pink eye outbreak?
Put together with the argument that kids can't differentiate between a little makeup to pep up the soul and a made-up face symbolizing beauty, and an innocent little makeup kit suddenly becomes a danger to our kids' bodies and psyches both. Would you buy one of these makeup kits for your girls?
Image via soundlessfall/Flickr