"My daughter asked me why I wear makeup. This is what I said"

Image: Jo Abi and her daughter Caterina

Having a daughter has forced me to deal with all my issues. I don’t have a choice really, because she watches every single thing I do. And don’t do.

Research has shown that the same-sex parent is the single biggest influence in a child’s life, through their presence or absence, through their words and actions. So when my five-year-old daughter Caterina asked me, “Mummy, why do girls wear makeup”, I felt incredible pressure to answer her properly.

Here’s what I said…

I told her that girls wear makeup because it is fun.

Looks like these celebrity mums have also had the makeup talk with their girls – or are close to it…

I didn’t tell her that girls wear makeup to make them feel better about themselves because I don’t want her to have to use anything to make her feel better about herself;

I didn’t tell her that girls wear makeup so they look pretty, because we don’t need makeup to look pretty;

I didn’t tell her that girls wear makeup so they can get a boyfriend;

And I didn’t tell her girls wear makeup to correct problems with their skin.

I love makeup. I love beauty products. I love clothes. I love shoes. But I don’t ever want to teach my daughter that these things can make you feel better about yourself. I want her to find that from within.

Secretly, sometimes makeup does make me feel better about myself, but I know that’s not ideal. I also know that I’m okay without makeup. Not wearing it doesn’t make me fall to pieces.

Jo and her daughter.

When I put on makeup she likes to pretend to put some on too. She pats her face with a foundation sponge and then uses my lip gloss. Sometimes we paint our nails together. But it’s just for fun. I never say, “You look so pretty”, even though I am tempted to. I say, “Wasn’t that fun?”

So here’s my question to you. Am I doing the right thing or am I completely over-thinking this? It’s just makeup, right? That’s my intention - I want my daughter to grow up believing that makeup is just makeup. It is not confidence, intelligence, happiness, achievement, attractiveness.

All that still comes from within her, as I hope it does from me.

What would you say if your daughter asked you why you wear makeup?

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