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Beauty Basics For Your Daughter

Provide Guidance For Your Daughter to navigate through beauty products and makeup

One moment your daughter is perfectly content to have dirt under her fingernails, a grape juice smile and tangles in her hair. Before you know it, though, everything has changed – appearance and beauty become high priorities.

Unfortunately, confused friends and over-the-top fashion magazines are the typical sources for beauty advice. Preteens and teens definitely need some guidance navigating through the newly found makeup department. By giving your daughter a solid foundation of beauty basics, she'll be more astute and savvy in her makeup choices – maybe even learning to avoid overdone black eyeliner and two-toned lips.

Start With the Skin

Although it might not be as fun as picking out lip gloss and trendy nail polish, keeping skin healthy, especially on the face, should be the main beauty priority. "Most importantly, the underlying health of the skin should be evaluated," says Dr. Wendy Roberts, a dermatologist in Rancho Mirage, Calif. "Is the skin normal, oily, dry, acne prone or sensitive? An example of sensitive skin is a teen with eczema."

Beautiful skin looks good with or without makeup. "Starting out with a good canvas is key," says Marlene Kurland, makeup artist and creator of B Natural Cosmetics. Aside from the line of cosmetics, Kurland also hosts princess parties and a beauty boot camp, where she teaches young women the keys to a beautiful and healthy lifestyle. "The better the condition of the skin, the better the makeup will look."

Healthy skin can be a big problem for many teens who often try every harsh cleanser on the market in pursuit of clear, soft skin. "One big thing that teens do is that they don't cleanse their skin properly," says Kurland. "A lot of teens use soap on their face, and most soaps are not good for the face. Kids think that since their faces are oily, soap will dry them out. They get a dry feeling initially, but a couple of hours later the oils come right back." Kurland says that all the scrubbing and soap actually works to reactivate the oil glands, causing more skin problems.

Her cleansing routine is a simple two-step process: first a gentle cleanser specifically made for the face that removes dirt, oil and makeup. Second, every teen needs a good moisturizer. "This acts as a protection between the makeup and the skin," she says. "There is a difference between being oily and being moist. Teens think that they shouldn't use moisturizer because their skin is already oily. But in fact, this is just what their skin needs." Kurland adds that makeup should never be applied directly to the skin without a moisturizer base.

Additionally, teens should always remember to practice good sun safety. Many sunblocks on the market today are made with moisturizing ingredients. Tanning beds should be avoided; instead try sunless tanning creams. Remind your teen that wearing sunblock now can keep their skin from premature aging and drastically cut down on wrinkles. "Titanium and zinc are makeup ingredients [that] have the benefit of UV protection," says Dr. Roberts.

And what about removing makeup before bed? "Absolutely yes," says Dr. Roberts. "Our body does repair work at night; this includes our skin." She recommends a cleanser that is effective at removing dirt and makeup, but that is also gentle on the skin, without a lot of fragrances or artificial dyes. And, although acne is rarely caused primarily by cosmetics, it's a good idea to cleanse often and stay away from thick, oil-based foundations. Dr. Roberts says there is actually a type of acne, acne cosmetica, which is caused by these heavy makeups.

The Makeup Round Up

The simple style rule still applies that less is more. Just because there are aisles full of various cosmetics, doesn't mean you need to use them all. Learning to use makeup to enhance and accentuate features – not make you unrecognizable – is all about keeping things simple. Here are some quick tips for selecting and applying each type of cosmetic:

The Face

  • Don't forget to moisturize first!
  • "Foundation should be tested on the jaw line," says Kurland.
  • Try new types of foundations, including light creams, which don't appear so heavy, and foundations with sunblock built in.
  • Always remember less is best, and always blend foundation downward, because blending upward raises fine hairs," says Kurland.
  • For many teens, Kurland says that a spot concealer rather than an entire layer of foundation is all that is necessary. It will help to remove dark circles under the eyes and hide any blemishes.
  • Always use too little blush! "Be very subtle; use blush only to accent the natural contours of the cheek and accentuate the eyes," says Kurland. Many teens think that blush is used to color their cheeks or to warm up the face. It actually serves as a contrast to the eyes.

The Lips

  • "Lip liner shouldn't be a different color from the lipstick – it should just be used to define the lips," says Kurland. "You can even just use lip liner and color the entire lip in."
  • To keep lip color from smudging, remember to apply a light layer of foundation over your lips before applying lip color.
  • Always choose a color that is just a few tones deeper than your natural lip color.
  • Lip glosses also work well to give a moist but not overdone appearance.

The Eyes

  • Here is where you can learn a basic aesthetic rule: "Dark diminishes; light brings out," says Kurland. "For example, with eye shadow and mascara, try using brown eyeliner rather than black." This trick makes the eyes "pop."
  • Eyeliner can be smudged onto the eye for a subtle eye shadow look without the need for an extra cosmetic.
  • Curling eyelashes and curving brows can help to accentuate the eyes and reduce the need for makeup.

"Make the main priority skin health, and the rest will fall into place," says Kurland. She says that a simple cosmetics kit for teens needs to consist of only a few items: lip liner, concealer and a subtle eyeliner.

Parting Advice for Parents

Giving beauty advice can go beyond the basics of foundation and eye shadow. Here are some ways to help ease the transition.

  • Teach media savvy: Start discussions about what beauty really is, why certain models of beauty are shown in fashion magazines and who defines beauty for us.
  • Bond over makeup: Shop together in the makeup department, take a trip to the day spa or mix up homemade facials.
  • Be positive: "Remember, moms, to focus on the positives when offering suggestions; compliment the young lady's features and point out how they can be accentuated," says Kurland.
  • Talk: Share your own initial makeup experiences – even if she rolls her eyes. It helps to know that you've been there, done that.
  • Be prepared: Allow your daughter to make her own mistakes – if they are within range of what you feel is appropriate for her age. Wearing black eyeliner or green nail polish won't do long-term damage. Remember the makeup styles from the '80s and '90s? We've all had our share of faux pas.
  • Be well-rounded: Teach your teen the other aspects of beauty. "Makeup is just one step," says Kurland. "For true beauty, you have to have the right attitude. Eye contact, posture and confidence are all essentials that makeup can't be without."

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