Pretty as a Princess –a tale of makeup, jewelry, and dresses

Pretty as a Princess

The other day I was shopping, and I bribed my kids. Yep! I did it. I said “If you two are good – meaning don’t ask for everything in the store and stay right with mommy – I’ll buy you a toy.” The toy I meant was from the dollar aisle, so it wasn’t that big of a bribe. It worked. The kids were well mannered, the shopping got done efficiently, and so I let them pick out a toy. My Kindergartener picked out a game, and my preschooler picked out what I thought was a pretend makeup kit.

It was a real makeup kit – just “formulated for children”. Seriously! Why do children need makeup in the first place? But that’s a rant for another blog post.

Pretty as a Princess |
My preschooler asked me all week if she was pretty yet.


I let her keep it. I even opened it and helped her apply it the first few times. I cooed over her and said she looked fancy. And as I was doing so I wondered why she liked the makeup so much? I am not a makeup wearing adult. My children rarely see me applying makeup. I’m more of a pony tail, jeans and tee shirt, minimalist type of a person. I know how to dress professionally, and at times I enjoy fussing over my appearance, but it’s just not a high priority. I’m usually happy just to get a shower in the morning.

So, where did this affection for makeup come from in my daughter?

Not only that, but after she’d applied her makeup by herself, she was upset with me because I wouldn’t tell her she was pretty. I told her she looked fancy. My husband and I have tried really hard to teach our daughters that they are beautiful as they are. We say jewelry, hairdos, fancy clothes and makeup are fun, but they aren’t necessary to make someone pretty.  We should make sure we take care of ourselves, clean ourselves, and look well groomed, of course, but makeup, jewelry, and fancy clothes are just that – fancy. It’s the whole “beauty comes from within” idea.

Pretty as a Princess |
Her punk rocker makeup look.


After she got “good” at applying her makeup – she started looking a lot like a 1980’s punk rocker, but that’s beside the point; she started putting on all of her dress up jewelry, coming and finding me, and saying “Now am I pretty?” My answer has been, “You are always pretty, but now you look fancy.”

Again, I am very simple in the jewelry department. My wedding rings, a ring my Grandmother gave me, and maybe a necklace – that’s it, that’s all I wear.  So, again I find myself wondering where my preschooler has learned that jewelry makes a girl beautiful.

Pretty as a Princess |
Now, she’s wearing all her jewelry.


She tried one more time. This time she got into her princess dress, added all of her dress up jewelry, applied her makeup, and came to find me. And again she asked “Mommy, am I pretty now?”

Pretty as a Princess |
“Am I pretty now?” a heartbreaking question.

My heart nearly broke. I gathered her up into my arms. I told her she was beautiful. I told her she was lovely, beautiful, kind, pretty, and amazing. I didn’t place any stipulations on being those things with or without the fancy clothes, jewelry, and makeup.

She then told me I was squishing her and messing up her makeup. So, apparently the moment wasn’t as important to her as it was to me.

But it left me with some lingering questions. The main one being, how can I teach her that makeup, jewelry, and fancy clothes aren’t what makes someone pretty? How can I teach her to love herself as she is? How can I teach her she is always amazingly beautiful, no matter what she looks like on the outside?  Anyone have any thoughts? I’d love to hear them.


  1. Kristin Kroh

    A random moment when she is in clean clothes with her hair brushed but without the makeup or accessories is a perfect time to make a big deal about how pretty she is. Emphasize that cleanliness and good grooming are wonderful things that enhance our beauty, and that they are enough to make her look “pretty.” If she’s grinning from ear to ear about something, make a big deal about her pretty smile and how smiling enhances her beauty. Find the true beauty and concentrate on making her feel pretty then. Then continue to emphasize that the other stuff is just fun and fancy and has its place where it is appropriate and where it is not appropriate. Good luck! It is hard to foster real positive self esteem when the world contradicts everything that is truly important.


    1. Thanks Krisitn, these are fantastic tips and I will do as you suggest. I’ll tell her you love her too, just the way she is! Boy, we miss you guys. I hope you all do well and love seeing your comments. :) Thanks for visiting!

  2. Kristin Kroh

    Oh, and tell her that Aunt Kristin always thinks she is pretty!


  3. I’ve wondered this myself. I don’t wear makeup much either, and I don’t know what to say when my daughter wants to know “Am I pretty? Don’t I look pretty Mommy?” Yes, you’re the most beautiful girl in the world - but I don’t want her to think that’s important. So I also make sure to tell her she’s smart and kind and all that other fun stuff - often. I think you handled it wonderfully! :)


    1. Thanks for the encouragement and fellowship. It nice to know this is something other Moms deal with. Thanks for coming by and commenting. :)


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