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What do you think about three year olds and make-up? My daughter is being required to wear it for an upcoming dance recital and photos. I have a big problem with it, but the dance studio says it is not optional. Thoughts?”

15 replies so far...

  • I am a dance teacher, and yes, make up is used for both girls and boys to keep their faces from being white blobs on stage. I remind the parents that it is 'stage' make-up and as far as pictures go, I say all natural is the best way to capture the moment!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by churchlady on 15th May 2009

  • We did the dance recital thing last year, and while make-up wasn't mandated, almost all of the girls came with it on. I think 3 is way too young for make-up of any kind to be mandated. I agree with Mollys that it is my job to teach them to be comfortable as they are, and not how others think they should be. We play with my make-up from time to time, for fun only.
    I would go along for now to finish the session, and then I would go someplace with more personal decision friendly practices.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Niki D on 30th March 2008

  • No way, that creeps me out.
    But who knows, lots of ladies here have had daughters in dance, have experienced it and are ok with it, so I really have no basis for my answer except what I am feeling at this moment!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Earthmama on 29th March 2008

  • No way would I put make up on a 3 year old. Doesn't matter if it's for a recital. She's still 3!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by shanspring on 28th March 2008

  • I'm opposed to makeup on a three year old. I'm not sure what the "right" age is, but three years old definitely isn't it. While it may be a commonly accepted practice for dance performances, we should ask WHY -- is to make girls meet a certain standard of prettiness? Is it for theatrical purposes? If the boys aren't required to do it, I'd argue it's not really for theatrical purposes...and that's very bothersome. I think one of my jobs as a mom is to help my daughter feel comfortable in her own skiin; makeup at a young age runs contrary to that thinking.

    That being said, I am in the same boat with the original poster. My plan is to have my daughter participate in the recital -- that way we finish what we started. We will explain that makeup is for the stage only and will remove it as soon as her performance is over. After that, we'll look for dance studios that don't have such requirements!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Mollys on 26th March 2008

  • A particular shade and brand? That's the part that makes me a little uneasy. I can see that on stage she'll need a little touch-up under the lights, but if they're mandating a particular product, you'd better at least get a discount.
    Any chance of moving to a different studio? One that still works for quality, but doesn't overdo the make-up thing? Not now, but in the future...

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Daisy on 26th March 2008

  • Ok...time out, ya'll! The make-up is for theatrical purposes. Jen S, I'm taking it here that you've never had to be involved with a recitial. 1st off...if it's anything like what most are, you're going to be sitting in an audieance and your daughter will be on-stage, probably >100 feet or more away from you, under theatrical lighting. Now, add that with trying to film the recitial from the back of the audiotorium or theatre, and you will most definitely start to understand. The reason for the bright red lipstick is that otherwise her mouth, i.e. lips, won't show up and all you'll see is a figure, no facial expressions. Believe me, there is a reason for all this. I was skeptical once, also. But my daughter took dance from age 3 to age 14. By the last 2 years, I didn't have to deal with staying back stage to do makeup and strip her multi-layers of tights in various colors to go with various costumes (and YES, you can layer 3 pairs of tights and it doesn't matter - the bottom layer is the last dance )

    Guarenteed, your daughter may look like a garish doll close up, but on-stage, under the lights, it's a totally different matter.

    Oh, and YES, the boys wear some makeup as well. They have to, to be seen.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by JKLD on 26th March 2008

  • Hang on... "GIRLS look better"? So they're not making the boys wear it, too? Because if it's just for pictures, the boys need it, too. And if the boys don't need it, we're getting into some seriously icky stereotyping.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by MaryP on 25th March 2008

  • Three-year-olds are babies. They should not be wearing makeup (except as a couple of the moms have indicated, a weeny bit of gloss to pretend they're big like mommy). What you've described is iin no way "minimal". Whatever the rationale, what they're doing is suggesting that it's normal and/or appropriate for a toddler to wear makeup.

    Toddlers are perfect, just the way they are. Why do they need to be "improved"? What message will that send to her, if not now, then in a few years? It churns my stomach into knots, just thinking about it.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by MaryP on 25th March 2008

  • Ok, Having been the recitial route for 12 years, I can tell you it's NOT a big deal and the reason it's done is because it's considered stage makeup AND they're most likely gong to be filming it. In fact, why my daughter was 5, we had a situation arise where there was a family wedding the same weekend as recitial. My daughter informed me that Daddy could go to the wedding and I had to be with her cause Daddy didn't know how to do her makeup.

    It's really no big deal. Just get yourself a bottle of hair gel (to plaster the hair down with cause they'll want it off the face), red lipstick, blush, some mascara, and coordinating eyeshadow to go with the costume. After all....all it basically is at this point is extreme dress up.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by JKLD on 25th March 2008

  • They are having us purchase a particular Mary Kay foundation and lipstick that she must wear - the lipstick is bright red! They said that "Girls look better on stage with make-up" - but I keep thinking, why does she have to look better? Who does she have to 'look better' for? What message does that send? I do understand that stage lights wash you out, etc. but it seems a little crazy. And I'm not 100% buying the whole 'stage' reasoning because they are also requiring it for the recital photos, which are no different than normal studio photos. I was just caught off guard by it and trying to figure out if I am reading too much into the message it may (or may not) send. I thought I had a few years before I had to deal with these kinds of things! I do appreciate your comments - thanks!

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Jen S on 25th March 2008

  • My 3-year-old loves her lip balm/chapstick, and her grandmothers spoil her by painting her finger and toe nails (a light color!), but it's all for play, like dress up (well, she actually needed the chapstick this winter). I'd be OK with her wearing some for a play or a photoshoot because that, to me, is a lot like playing dressup, too. But on a regular basis, no way. A little kid should look like a little kid, not a tarted up miniature adult.

    Flag as inappropriate Posted by Lylah M. Alphonse on 25th March 2008