Tweens and cosmetics: Cosmetics use is rising among tweens – and parents are divided on how to handle it

Douglas Quenqua:

It began for Alyssa Pometta, as these habits so often do, with the soft stuff. We are talking, of course, about lip gloss. She began wearing it in fourth grade – Bonne Bell’s Lip Smackers, a girl’s rite of passage – after yearsof wearing ChapStick and pretending it was Revlon. But the thrill of flavoured lip gloss was fleeting, and in January, 11-year-old Alyssa asked her mother, Phyllis Pometta, if she could graduate to the hard stuff: lipstick, eyeliner and mascara.
Pometta’s first instinct was to send her daughter to her room, but she reconsidered. Instead, she took her for a makeover.
“I’m using the choose-your-battles kind of parenting,” Pometta, an independent publicist, reasons. “I figured, better that she’s informed and has the right tools than she goes into it blindly with her friends in the bathroom and comes out looking like a clown.”