DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Little girls are often fascinated with their mother’s makeup. Elena O’Hanlon is just 2 years old and already loves playing with the cosmetic products. “She sees me put makeup on. She always asks me to put some on for her,” said Arlington mother Jolene O’Hanlon.
And by the time a girl reaches her pre-teen years, she is usually already wearing makeup. Taleah Hayes is 12 years old, and started wearing cosmetics about a year ago. “It like it because it’s cool,” she said. Hayes is looking forward to a new product line called GeoGirl.
The GeoGirl cosmetics are designed for girls ages 8 to 12, and will be sold at Walmart stores starting next month. The line includes mascara, eye shadow, blush and even cleansers. GeoGirl could be hitting a gold mine. The tween makeup market rakes in more than $24 million each year.
CBS 11 News spoke with North Texans about the products and found that parents have mixed feelings.
“I think that’s nuts,” said Walmart shopper Porsha Leisure.
“If you put makeup on them, a 10-year-old looks 16,” said stepmother Kristy Wade.
Psychologist Dr. Sylvia Gearing said that she thinks the new makeup line sends the wrong message. “The obsession with appearance begins with childhood,” Gearing explained. “We need to get away from these things. We need to cultivate other things in them, like strength of character and athletic ability.”
According to Gearing, the appropriate age for parents to start allowing their young girls to wear makeup is about 13 years old. She said that girls should start with lip gloss and then build into the other products.
But Walmart insists that the product line will be marketed toward parents, not the children themselves. In a statement, the company said, “The GeoGirl line was developed in partnership with our customers, to give parents a healthier, age-appropriate option for their tween girls who ask about wearing makeup.”