Makeup for Seven-Year-Olds -- Is That Too Young?

My 7-year-old daughter is fascinated by makeup, and I've never thought it was a big deal to let her play with candy-scented lip balm or fruity body wash. But there's no way I would ever let her out into the world wearing actual makeup a day before she's 14.

Apparently, this may be a tough party line to enforce in the years to come. Girls as young as 7 are part of the exploding tween beauty market, according to the The New York Times.

"Our target demographic is actually the beauty beginner," Janine Coppola, senior marketing director of Pacific World, the company behind GeoGirl tween cosmetics, told the The Times. "We created more for stage and not an age." But if you're wondering, Coppola says that most cosmetic users reach that stage starting at age 10.

What?

And there's no shortage of tween products for these little girls to choose from: Madonna's daughter Lourdes Leon, age 15, recently launched a "Material Girl" beauty line that includes products named "Plum Like It Hot" and "Sexy and Smoky." The skincare line Willa, developed by Hollywood film executive Christy Prunier and named for her daughter, is aimed at girls ages 7 to 14. And in March, Target will launch a Disney-themed beauty line called Tinker Bell. (Of course.)

This is hardly the first time that we've had to watch a mass-market attempt at sexualizing little girls. (Abercrombie & Fitch padded bikini for third-graders anyone?) But really, if folks are surprised that younger and younger girls are running into grown-up troubles, then maybe we should think a little harder about what the right age to introduce a "smokey eye" is.

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