Younger Girls Wear Makeup for the Wrong Reasons

Posted on February 22, 2013 @ 09:17 am

A new survey reveals girls are wearing makeup younger than ever, but for the wrong reasons.

Three in five young girls surveyed (58%) admitted to wearing makeup. Of the girls who wear makeup, two-thirds (65%) started between the ages of 8 and 13 -- twenty-nine percent between the ages of 14 and 16, 50 percent between 11 and 13, and 15 percent between the ages 8 and 10.

But instead of having fun with color cosmetics, at least one in five girls between the ages of 8 and 18 who have ever worn makeup have done so to hide insecurities.

Twenty-precent report having negative feelings about their image when they are not wearing makeup - associating a bare face with feeling self-consious (20%), unattractive (17%) and "naked" (15%). The survey also revealed that over a quarter of girls who wear makeup (27%) rarely/never leave the house without it.

"Experimenting with wearing makeup is often a rite of passage for young girls in our society," said Adrienne Ressler, national training director, The Renfrew Center Foundation, the non-profit dedicated to treating and preventing eating disorders which commissioned the study.

"The concern is how young is too young?" Ressler says. "Girls who start too early may be hiding more than an acne breakout – they may be demonstrating early signs of self-esteem issues and a negative self-image or setting up a ritual that is difficult to break. Unfortunately, these behaviors and feelings can set the stage for addictions or disordered eating patterns to develop."

The poll was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive, on behlaf of The Renfrew Foundation, in December 2012. The participants were 572 girls ages 8-18.

Support the Campaign on February 25th

The national campaign -- Barefaced & Beautiful, Without & Within - launchedby The Renfrew Foundation encourages women nationwide to go without makeup for a day on February 25th, during National Eating Disorders Week.

Participate in the dialogue about healthy body image and inner beauty on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, with the hashtag #Barefacedbeauty. Supporters can also post a positive comment under someone's natural photo or retweet positive body image messages from Renfrew's Twitter page @RenfrewCenter.