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A fresh, pretty and easy pre-tween look that doesn't scream "kiddie pageant."
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Makeup for a 10-year-old – for special occasions like birthday parties

If you search #makeupforkids on Instagram, some startling images come up. Two words: "pageant makeup." One more word: "GAH." But the above image of my young niece Lauren will come up, too. More words: "fresh-faced." And "age-appropriate."

makeup for a 10-year-old

I think a lot of moms with little girls worry a bit about helping them make good makeup choices. I'm not a mom, but I'm auntie to three lovely nieces. One isn't yet a year old, so we'll not be talking about makeup for her yet. One is 14; here's our post on tween makeup for her plus 5 tween makeup rules. And this pretty monkey, Lauren, is now 10 years old. She asked her Auntie J to be her birthday-party makeup artist; hard to say no to that face.

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Makeup for a 10-year-old: it doesn't take much.

I used: Hard Candy Glow All the Way Ombré Baked Blush in Punch (mostly the snowy highlight side); Joe Fresh Eye Shadow in Dupioni (shimmery soft white); Baby Lips Moisturizing Lip Gloss in A Wink of Pink, Lilac Lumi and Just A Glimmer. Actually, any of the Baby Lips Lip Gloss shades will work for pre-tween pretties because they're all transparent. (Lauren's favourite is Lilac Lumi, but she wanted them all when she saw them. I don't blame her; they're fun and so comfortable on lips.)

makeup for a 10-year-old how-to:

makeup for a

Man, I wish my own makeup could be this simple to do. I patted the Joe Fresh Eye Shadow in Dupioni (amazing smooth texture, by the way, and it's demi sheer) all over L's lids, along her lower lashlines and on the inner corners of her eyes. Skipping mascara keeps the look fresh and appropriate. Besides, Lauren had a valid perspective: "I'm 10 years old, what do I need mascara for?" As yet, our girl sees no reason to wear makeup every day – in fact, she laughs off that idea – and I love that.

I used the barest whisper of the pink side of the Hard Candy Glow All the Way Ombré Baked Blush in Punch on L's cheeks – she didn't need it. She wanted a wintery look to go with the masque she was decorating later, so I did use the white shimmer side fairly generously, on the tops of L's cheekbones, on her brow bones, and down her nose. And I was impressed because I expected it to read like glitter; it's a lovely sheen instead. Two thumbs up, Hard Candy. Maybelline Baby Lips Moisturizing Lip Gloss in Lilac Lumi finished the look.

Note: L's brows are untouched. And there's absolutely zero contouring. Two major makeup rules for young faces; their adorable appeal is in the roundness and puppy-sweet unfinished look of their features. (No foundation or concealer here either.)

One of the things I loathe most in the beauty world is excessive makeup on a young face. All that natural radiance, collagen-stuffed bouncy skin, bright lively eyes – we spend the years after 25 trying to get much of that back. Why cover it up when you have it? And frankly, a lacquered, artifice-heavy face just isn't right on a pre-tween, tween, or young teen. It isn't. 

Hard Candy makeup is exclusively at Walmart. Joe Fresh Beauty is available at Supercentre stores in Canada (not in the US yet, unfortunately) and Maybelline Baby Lips Lip Gloss is available at

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What do you think? Do you believe in age-appropriate makeup for kids? Or should they be encouraged to do what they want? How young is too young?