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Published November 14, 2013, 02:45 PM

Making faces: Makeup artists offer suggestions, classes for young women

FARGO - A girl’s first encounter with makeup isn’t always pretty. The blue and purple eye shadows and Popsicle-hued lipsticks that introduce girls to cosmetics often lead to comical disasters.

By: Anna G. Larson, INFORUM

FARGO - A girl’s first encounter with makeup isn’t always pretty.

The blue and purple eye shadows and Popsicle-hued lipsticks that introduce girls to cosmetics often lead to comical disasters.

After the kiddie makeup kits are long gone, tweens and teens start experimenting with the real deal.

Nearly half (51 percent) of women start wearing makeup between the ages of 14 and 16, and more than a quarter (27 percent) of women begin using it between ages 11 and 13, according to a 2012 survey by Harris Interactive.

Wearing makeup is often seen as a rite of passage into womanhood, and beauty adviser Ashley Lund with Motives Cosmetics in Fargo remembers how her love of makeup started at a young age.

She wore false eyelashes, lipstick, eyeliner, blush and mascara for dance performances starting in fifth grade, and she wore makeup daily starting in seventh grade. Ashley recalls the boost makeup gave her self-esteem.

“Makeup can give you confidence without needing too much. It can make someone feel like they fit in,” the 22-year-old says. “Not that you should wear it just to fit in – you should do it for you.”

The freckled redhead opted for brown mascara, neutral eye shadow and light foundation in seventh grade. Ashley’s mom, Julie Lund, was comfortable with her daughter wearing heavier makeup for dance performances but insisted she tone down the look for her daily life.

Julie has found it challenging to convince her other daughter, 10th-grader Callie, that she doesn’t need to wear a lot of makeup. She’s noticed that girls Callie’s age tend to “want to grow up faster” than Ashley did at that age.

“They expect to look like someone out of a magazine – that’s what they want to emulate,” Julie, of Alexandria, Minn., says. “They don’t realize that those people are doing it for a photo shoot and need more makeup on TV. It’s so much more dramatic in person.”

Overall, makeup usage is down for teenagers ages 13 to 17 and young women ages 18 to 24, according to market research conducted from 2007 to 2010 by The NPD Group. Regular use of some cosmetics, like mascara, lipstick and eyeliner, is up for tween girls ages 8 to 12. The tween set nearly doubled their regular usage of eyeliner and mascara.

Fifteen-year-old Callie told her mom she wanted to wear more makeup so her friends could see what she’d look like. Julie compromised and allows Callie, who’s a redhead like her sister, to wear brown mascara and light eyeliner, although the high schooler doesn’t wear it every day. Julie herself sticks to a minimalistic makeup look, often wearing only mineral powder, eye shadow and mascara.

Girls surveyed by The NPD Group indicated that their parents and siblings have the biggest influence on their makeup usage. Julie trusted Ashley to show younger sister Callie how to apply makeup since Ashley knows her mom’s preference for subtle color.

“You don’t need that much (makeup) when you’re young and your skin is so good,” Julie says. “You’re pretty already – you don’t need that fake stuff.”

Readers can reach Forum reporter Anna G. Larson at (701) 241-5525

Makeup tips for tweens/teens

Once a child and her parent(s) decide she can start wearing makeup, they might want a professional to teach makeup application.

Kris Eckroth, a makeup artist with Hair Success in Fargo, is experienced with teaching makeup application to women of all ages, especially teens.

1. Skin care

The first step to proper application is employing a skin-care regimen that includes moisturizer, she says.

A tinted moisturizer, rather than foundation, is often enough coverage for girls who’re just starting to use makeup, Kris says. If a client has acne, she’ll teach them to minimize its appearance with foundation.

2. Look for light hues

Lip gloss in a light hue, subtle blush and a swipe of mascara – black for girls with darker lashes and brown for girls with lighter lashes – finishes an age-appropriate look for a teen, Kris says.

Many girls just need to be matched to the proper foundation shade and taught some basic skills, Kris says.

3. Keep it understated

“In that 12-to-16 age range when most girls start, you shouldn’t wear a lot of makeup,” Kris says. “You should gradually work into it as you get older.”

If a teen is applying too much makeup or doesn’t know how to apply it, Kris, 21, teaches them application techniques after talking with their parent(s).

Beauty adviser Ashley Lund with Motives Cosmetics in Fargo also keeps her young clients’ makeup looks understated.

“If I wouldn’t put it on my sister, I won’t use it on a young client,” she says. “When you are just starting to use the makeup, it’s an exciting time and you feel so pretty wearing it. It isn’t something you should be intimidated by or scared to use. It does make you, as a young girl, feel like you can stand a little taller.”

– Anna Larson, The Forum