What Is the Appropriate Age?

So my daughter, who is 9, wants to wear nail polish. Right now, I’ve said no, because basically my issue is that I wouldn’t let her wear makeup at this age, so I shouldn’t allow nail polish. They are both self-adornment in my eyes, but I know that plenty of kids run around with nail polish on as opposed to makeup. [name]Aren[/name]'t they fundamentally the same concept? Can I allow one but not the other? I feel like I’m being very strict but I have certain principles – perhaps they aren’t entirely reasonable, but I wanted to hear from this community. And if I said yes, would the color matter? Is pink or red better than orange or blue? Can I persuade her to use clear?

Any thoughts are appreciated! Thanks a bunch!

Well honestly I think that’s kind of ridiculous. My mom used to paint my nails when I was about 7 because I begged her to, because I thought it was pretty. It was never an issue, and I didn’t start wearing makeup until I was about 14 and even then it was only a bit of mascara now and then. I really can’t see the problem in having some colour on your nails. Sorry if I seemed rude, that wasn’t my intention.

I was not allowed to wear makeup as a child (except for dance recitals) but my mother painted my nails, both fingers and toes, as soon as I was old enough to not put my fingers in my mouth. I think it was mostly because she loves nail polish, but my sister and I saw it as nothing but fun to see the different colors and we eventually got bored with it. Neither of us have painted our nails in years, nor do we even wear makeup on a normal basis, just because we don’t care for it.

Allowing her to use it, at least when she dresses up, might indulge her interest in it enough to keep her from going crazy with makeup when she reaches her teen and adult years.

My son is only two and he often has his toe nails painted. I don’t think it’s the same as make-up, at all.

I was about your daughters age when I was allowed to wear nail polish, 9 or 10 I think- only clear, pink, or other “neutral” colors for the first couple years.

No makeup until 13 and my mother insisted I learn how to apply it well before I was allowed to wear it out (for that I’m grateful because I missed those awkward clown years as a result!)

My family was probably a little stricter than the majority of my friends, but not a whole lot.

I don’t think it’s the same as makeup. It’s way more appropriate for a little one.

I am totally ok with self adornment. I mean, hair bows & any clothes that go out of their way to be cute over functional can fit in this category too and I love those things.

I would get the higher end natural nail polish & to me the color doesn’t matter. Letting her choose is part of the fun!

It is good to make it a big deal, like it’s a big girl thing. Maybe make it a special reward thing.

A 9 year old wearing any color of nail polish wouldn’t seem strange or inappropriate at all to me. Facial make-up at that age would seem a bit precocious to me, but nail polish strikes me as seeming completely age appropriate.

I don’t think it’s a big deal at all. Nail polish has never been in the same category as makeup for my family, at least. I think it’s just part of dressing up and being a little girl, but could be saved for special occasions, if you prefer.

I’m not trying to come off as rude whatsoever by saying this, but I’ve never heard of anyone having an age requirement for nail polish. I think it’s a little strict, especially for a 9 year old. I think mostly any color is just fine, but pink could be a nice start as you’re warming up to the idea of her wearing it!

My grandmother died when young and we really only saw that set of grandparent twice a year. My memories of her are sparse to be honest, but one memory/picture I will hold dear is her painting my and my sisters nails (age 7 and 5). Nail polish is fun and silly, totally different than face makeup. I would rather my nine yr old be painting her nails, than say, listening to ke$ha.

I think makeup and nail polish are two different issues. Makeup is worn by girls to hide blemishes or enhance facial features in a more adult way. Makeup often brings with it thoughts of either vanity or, conversely, low self-esteem (as in, “Now that I see how pretty I am with makeup, I realize how ugly I am without it”). Makeup attracts a certain type of attention from the opposite sex that you wouldn’t want a child receiving. Makeup can also be associated in the most extreme cases with show girls and prostitutes. Having said that, I will add that I am NOT anti-makeup and wear it every day, but I wouldn’t want a child developing these feelings about her appearance at such a young age, or attracting the type of attention that makeup attracts. Nail polish, on the other hand, seems much more innocent to me. Adding fun colors to the tips of one’s fingers doesn’t elicit the type of attention from boys that makeup does, doesn’t cause the girl to have extreme vanity or to feel as though she is now ugly WITHOUT nail polish. It does nothing more than add color and sparkle to her life the way a pretty necklace or bright hair clips do. Nail polish allows a little girl to be creative and play with fun colors and combinations, and through experience she can learn what colors look good together, what colors clash, what colors match her outfits and style better, etc. I come from a very conservative [name]Christian[/name] family, but my sisters and I were wearing bright pink [name]Barbie[/name] nail polish at very young ages. In my view, nail polish is completely appropriate for a child of any age, even a toddler if she wants it. I personally see no harm in it.

I’m not a mom, but I do know that my mom has been painting my nails since forever. I have five little cousins aged 2-13 and their favorite thing to do is paint each other’s nails. My family is very strict about makeup wearing and I wasn’t even allowed to touch the stuff until I was fifteen, but not nail polish because it’s not the same thing at all. It’s just a fun thing that little kids like to do.

Not to derail, but I was once followed when I was 14, and this ^ was the mindset I had. I had thought I could avoid unwanted attention by avoiding makeup, skirts, etc. Wasn’t wearing makeup, and I’m flat-chested. My clothes weren’t revealing (school uniform.) What I eventually got into my thick skull is that creeps are creeps; the way you look won’t change that. Doesn’t matter if you’re in a full cloak or a bikini.

Nail polish is fine [name]IMO[/name], it’s just a little bit of fun and glitter. Most girls just apply it for the fun of it. I was always a tomboy but applying nail polish with my older sisters was always fun. I don’t advocate makeup for little girls, just because I think it’s growing up too fast, kind of like giving them a bra or a period pad early on. But I don’t think it should be avoided for the wrong reasons, explained in my first paragraph.

Yes, I think you can say no to one and not the other. I understand you saying no to make-up at this age. Nail polish is different to me; I see it as more playful. I agree that facial beauty/make-up is tied into a lot of issues for women and girls. A manicure doesn’t carry the same weight to me or have the same messages.

To answer your last question, I am pretty out of the loop about what kids like “these days.” Maybe give her three colors? Like, pale pink, pearly white, and nude. That way you can still set limits while letting her have a little fun too.

I’m not sure if it exists anymore (that would have been about 10 years ago) but when I was about 7 or 8, my cousin (who’s a year older) and I painted our nails with nail polish that washed off with just water. It was just for fun; neither of us wore it out of her house (I guess I washed it off before I went home). I think it was light pink but not sure. I doubt we painted it on very nicely but our parents were okay with us using it since they didn’t have to get involved (like they would have if we had needed nail polish remover to get it off, due to the alcohol).

And if you don’t really want your daughter wearing nail polish outside, maybe you could let her play with it just at home the way kids play dress-up?

You took the words right out of my mouth. ^^^

I let my four year old wear nail polish because she enjoys it, I mean, any way to get more pink on her body is a great thing in her eyes! And I obviously would never allow her to wear make up at this age. Honestly nail polish has never crossed my mind as being anything like make up.

I, personally, don’t find it a problem but it is YOUR choice. What age would you want her to wear nail polish? Maybe you can buy the colors you want her to wear- I don’t think any color is better than the other for her age but if you feel orange and blue is better than red and pink that’s up to you- and that will be the only colors she can really choose from. If you feel that you need to take baby steps, but clear polish first then graduate to pink, purple, orange, green, etc. I hope this helps and you and your daughter can make a happy compromise.

Completely different, imo. Nail polish is just pretty colors and usually has nothing to do with trying to make yourself more attractive, which is the major problem I see in giving young girls makeup. I would NOT let a girl use makeup before she’s maybe 13, but I would probably allow nail polish starting when she’s 7-9 years, depending on how mature she is and why I think she wants to wear it.

Possible restrictions - I would steer clear of red and burgundy as those tend to be seen as sexier colors. I’d suggest pastels (baby blue, pink, lilac, pale green all seem like such innocent colors to me) or maybe crazy, fun colors like lime green, sparkly fuschia, different colors on each nail, things that seem very different from a “woman’s” manicure and more like a girl’s. Maybe because my whole reason for getting interested in nail polish WAS “ooh, pretty colours,” but I’m not sure about the suggestions to go with subdued colors like nudes and white - that looks to me more like you’re introducing her or even grooming her for an adult thing, womanly manicures, rather than an innocent childhood experiment. And that makes me a bit uncomfortable for that age.

i agree with the previous posters about nail polish/manicures being a fun activity rather than about hiding blemishes or vamping up someone’s appearance. I LOVED doing crazy colors on every nail! I also think it can be a great way to practice fine motor skills- especially painting her own dominant hand’s nails!

When i was around that age, i got one of those Klutz books- it was a nail art kit. It had loads of small bottles of nail polish in different colors with patterns and themes to do- like ladybug nails, flowers, color swirls… it was really fun! I would spend an hour or more perfecting my nails… talk about easy, quiet entertainment! I also had SO much fun trying out those designs on my mom’s nails (or toe nails if she had an important meeting the next day!).
I was majorly into art (still am) and i thought it was a fun way to be ‘girly’ and creative, too!

I don’t see any problem with it, then again I’m not a mother! I babysit a lovely little three year old, named [name]Lillie[/name], and she often has her nails painted. Once she asked me to paint them in a rainbow. Her mum has no problem with it, and she is very conservative. Her mum just asks her, "[name]Lillie[/name], do you want to show my friend, Mrs. Pardoe, your nails? ". Its just fun stuff, I used to paint my nails often when I was 8 and 9 but now I rarely do, except for [name]New[/name] Years when I did glitter.

Also, if you think other mothers will cringe if they see your daughter has neon pink and sparkly nails, they won’t. It’s really quite harmless, I think (unless its like black or red).