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Makeup ‘boot camps’ tailor-made for teens

February 7, 2018 GMT

When Erin Thornton’s 12-year-old daughter Taylor began watching makeup tutorials on YouTube, she says she and her husband were shocked.

An interest in makeup shouldn’t start until age 15 or 16, right? They wondered if she should even be allowed to wear makeup.

Soon, Taylor began experimenting with cosmetics, mimicking what she saw on an older cousin. Thornton says she chose “crazy colors that were a distraction.”

Wanting Taylor to learn to apply age-appropriate makeup, Thornton made an appointment for a makeup lesson at local studio Jentry Kelley Cosmetics.

Kelley and her staff book one-hour lessons, called My First Makeover, for girls starting at age 12, “to get a hold of them before they get a hold of Instagram,” Kelley says.

Girls used to start booking appointments at age 13; lately, Kelley says the requests start at age 12.

We live in a culture where celebrities’ personal fashion and beauty choices are made public, Kelley says, and young girls may try to duplicate an extreme smoky eye or a contouring technique that isn’t right for their age.

Girls going through puberty often don’t want any advice from their mothers on the subject, she adds. “They want to hear from the 21-year-old who’s teaching about club makeup,” Kelley says referencing YouTube beauty bloggers and vloggers.

Her eight-step lesson begins with instructions on face washing, moisturizing and basic skin care.

“If the skin underneath doesn’t look good, nothing that you put on top will look good,” Kelley tells her clients.

The girls also learn the importance of wearing sunscreen daily. The most popular product from her eponymous skin care and cosmetics line for girls at this age is a sheer, tinted primer. It’s “no fun” to put on clear sunscreen, she says, but if the sunscreen has a tint to it, the girls will commit to wearing it regularly. Using primer as a base evens out the skin and covers up redness, and leaves the skin looking fresh and natural.

Girls as young as 12 and 13 are too young for foundation, she says. Though, a girl is likely to begin wearing makeup around the same time her hormones are changing.

The rest of the steps cover applying concealer, if needed, setting the face with light powder and adding bronzer, one color of eye shadow, mascara and a sheer lip gloss or balm. A My First Makeover appointment is free with the purchase of three products, the total of which will run from $60-$100.

Kelley says some clients come once a year for a makeup lesson, and she allows them to add one product each school year. This keeps their makeup routine age appropriate. On their second lesson, they may learn to add a second eye shadow color or how to wear blush, she says.

At Sensia Studio, a day spa, they offer teen makeup lessons in addition to teen facials.

“Our theory is, good habits can last a lifetime,” says makeup artist Melissa McKinney.

Thornton says her daughter, now 13, wears makeup everyday for school, spending about two minutes on it in the morning. She doesn’t use many products, and Thornton says the makeup is “very minimal - she still looks like my daughter.”

She calls the look “fresh. It doesn’t take away from her own beauty. If my husband can’t tell she’s wearing it, that’s a good thing.”