Why I let my twelve year old son wear makeup

I am a Mum to three amazing boys. The youngest is Ollie aged 10 who just loves animals, the middle, James aged 11 who loves all things sport and the oldest Daniel aged 12 who loves to wear makeup.

From before he could even talk, Dan was attracted to all things ‘girly’. He had a kitchen, a hoover and various plastic hair and makeup sets. He would wrap anything he could get his hands on around his neck so that he had his very own ‘necklace; and he would love nothing better than when I would pretend to put blusher on him whilst I was putting on makeup myself. Little did I know that he would soon be able to put makeup on for me in a better way than I could dream of!

s he got older, the desire for ‘girly’ things grew and at any opportunity he would dress up in heels and dresses. Throughout primary school, he ‘tested the water’ on dressing up days, turning up in princess dresses and heels and thankfully no one turned a hair. He grew in confidence and quickly found himself a lovely group of friends who didn’t question the way he was.

Over the Summer before Daniel started secondary school, we moved house, from one side of the country to another, and for Dan this was a difficult transition. He didn’t know anybody at all which is daunting enough for any child but added to the fact that Dan’s interests were mainly in makeup, he found it difficult to find his place. Over the first couple of terms of secondary school Dan’s desire to wear makeup grew. He would spend all of his weekends practising makeup looks and he so much wanted to go out to show the world… but we were scared. At school, a small group of boys were making his life hell, he was continually called homophobic names like ‘bender’ and ‘fag’ and one day was pushed over and water thrown on him. My precious, innocent, sweet boy being bullied and judged by others was heart breaking and my husband and I were beside ourselves with worry. At home, Daniel was stressed and miserable but yet he still had the bravery and desire to want to be himself and no one was going to stop that.

We met with the school who were amazingly supportive and between us we equipped Daniel with the skills and support he needed to be himself and to stand up to the bullies. Sure enough, before long, they were bored with not getting a reaction from him and they moved on to something else. Dan soon found a group of like-minded friends, both girls and boys who liked him for ‘him’ and once again his confidence started to grow.

Dan pushes boundaries and left to his own devices, he would be out right now in the highest heels, most sparkly dress and a face full of makeup. I have spent many hours thinking about this and discussing it with family. Why should my son not be able to be himself for fear of what others think? Why shouldn’t he be able to go out with makeup on? However, there is a balance to be made here as we also have to keep him safe. It’s a tough balance to make, we need to protect him yet let him not hold him back.

We have ‘rules’ for Dan to follow, after all he is only 12. At home and with family, he can wear as much make up as he likes. He will often be found practising makeup looks on all of us including his younger brothers, Dad, Uncle and even his Grandad! When he is out with us, we will also let him wear some foundation, a lick of mascara and false nails but when he is out on his own with his friends, we don’t let him wear makeup. I wouldn’t allow my 12 year old daughter go out in a face of makeup so I don’t let Dan either.

This weekend, we travelled to Birmingham to catch a glimpse of James Charles opening the new Morphe store. James Charles is an American internet star, famous makeup artist and model. Around 8000 people turned up with riot police called in to help with crowd control. All around us were boys and girls dressed in their ‘Sister’ apparel with faces full of James Charles esq makeup looks all desperate for a peek of James, of the star himself. They chanted and screamed and as I looked around, it brought tears to my eyes. My beautiful son was happy, all around him were people with the same interests. Nobody was staring or judging, I felt like he was safe in the James Charles’ ‘Sisterhood’.

My son is bright, handsome, brave and full of joy. He wears makeup, dresses and high heels and we couldn’t be prouder.

Read more from me…


  1. Elle
    January 27, 2019 / 5:46 pm

    A wonderful post. Love to you all 💕💕💕

    • CheyAnna
      October 1, 2019 / 10:21 am

      I am so glad I found your post! My son came out to me about a year ago and has since grown very comfortable with who he is. He’s started to push the boundaries with his clothes and accessories and I absolutely adore him for his bravery. This week he asked me to show him how to apply makeup, and for the first time I hesitated in my support. I told him I would show him how this weekend under the guise that we were about to leave the house and didn’t have time, but in reality I needed some time to reflect on it. I have no idea why I hesitated. After some thought, I believe it was because I thought I was “supposed” to be against it, rather than actually caring whether he wore makeup or not. I’ve been 100% supportive of my son while coming out and finding his identity so why did I care about makeup?! It felt like we were crossing some invisible threshold and that if he wore makeup than I couldn’t protect him from public backlash. I got so mad at myself for hesitating even a little bit. Makeup won’t make my son more or less gay. People will either like it or not, but that’s their problem. It’s far more important than my son feels supported and loved at home rather than altering who he is to impress jerks out in the word. Thank you for sharing a bit of your son’s story!

      • October 1, 2019 / 3:43 pm

        Aw you sound like a great supportive Mum and I wouldnt beat yourself up about hesitating slightly. I have found that we, as much as him are on a journey together and the fierce need to protect sometimes makes me hesitant too!
        Enjoy the makeup session!

  2. January 27, 2019 / 10:05 pm

    And so he should! It makes me sad that society is so judgemental, especially children judging other children, and if your son wants to wear make up then so what? Well done him for standing up to these bullies too!

    • January 27, 2019 / 10:06 pm

      Thank you Laura, its means so much!

  3. January 28, 2019 / 9:08 am

    He is indeed handsome. I am so glad he has made like-minded friends. My daughter has a friend (age 10/11) and he loves to wear sequins, leotards and leggings – he is very popular and everybody has accepted that that is just what he loves.

  4. January 28, 2019 / 11:52 am

    I was literally going to suggest about James Charles Youtube until you said about him at the end there! He very much looks like a young James Charles. I would be the exact same as you if my son wanted to do this. He’s only 1 currently but I’m prepared to let him be who he wants to be. He does love playing with dollies occasionally and some older people always have something to say about that… But I ignore them, what harm can be done from him playing with dollies. I think it helps him learn how to nurture and care for someone, it might even help him be a great dad one day if he so wishes!

    Much love, Caitylis x x

  5. lukeosaurusandme
    January 29, 2019 / 7:51 am

    It is so lovely to read about how supportive you and the entire family are. Daniel is really luck to have such an accepting family and I’m glad he found another group of friends who like him for him.

  6. January 29, 2019 / 7:52 am

    This is such a lovely post and one that needs to be shared. There must be lots of children like your son that have the same interests but are not allowed to be the person they want to be. Although society is getting better I am not sure it’s there yet. X

  7. January 29, 2019 / 9:51 am

    Great post. So good he has found his tribe … that makes all the difference. #TriumphantTales

  8. January 29, 2019 / 10:14 am

    Bravo to you and your family. This is the kind of thing I love to read, freedom to express whatever people are into without worry. If more people think like us than the bullying he unfortunately has been victim to, will be a thing of the past.
    His makeup is on point and I definitely thought of that makeup guy when I saw it. When people find likeminded people it really is the best… if he keeps it up he’ll be a sort after makeup artist! Boy got skills!!
    Thank you for sharing this with us at #TriumphantTales. I hope to see you back next week!

  9. January 29, 2019 / 9:13 pm

    Wow he’s so good! I totally agree with your rules, like you say you’d set them for a daughter too.

  10. Bar
    January 29, 2019 / 10:07 pm

    Wow what a great and thoughtful post. I can only imagine how hard it’s all been for you- the world can be cruel but it’s so great he found a place he feels he fits in.

    And he’s amazing at putting on makeup! Go him!

  11. Tara Verlee
    January 29, 2019 / 10:30 pm

    Beautiful!! I think your rules are a nice safe and healthy balance given his age. I absolutely love how his brother let him practice on them. Now that’s family!!

  12. January 29, 2019 / 10:58 pm

    This warmed my heart. I love how supportive and open minded you are as a parent. And he looks beautiful!

  13. January 30, 2019 / 12:56 pm

    Well at 12 he’s better at make up than I am! I’d never heard of this guy but saw in the news how the Bullring was rammed!! Well done for being so proud and accepting and it sounds like you’re an amazingly supprotive mum xx

  14. January 30, 2019 / 1:27 pm

    Love it. A few months ago a fellow blogger here in the States went viral when his son was being bullied for wearing nail polish and the amount of support he ending up getting was great to see. Our kids need our love and support, not to be told not to be who they are. #triumphanttales

  15. stickymudandbellylaughs
    January 30, 2019 / 4:03 pm

    It’s nice to see that your son has such wonderful support and can be who he wants to be. He’s really good at applying make-up! 🙂

  16. January 30, 2019 / 6:45 pm

    Wow his make up looks great…far better than I could ever hope to achieve. You sound such a supportive family around him and an amazing for your support of his interests. It is such a shame about those few children making it hard for him, but he is doing well by carrying on his interests anyway. He seems to be a strong boy very sure of himself and his beliefs

  17. January 30, 2019 / 9:21 pm

    What a great mum you are! He’s lucky to have you. I’m sad that he had a rough time in school people can be so small minded. How amazing is that eye make up!! A talent there!

  18. Angela Milnes
    January 31, 2019 / 12:52 pm

    It’s really an interesting post and a topic I’ve not actually read about before. Sorry to hear about the bullying but yes our kids should be able to express themselves as they want to.

  19. February 1, 2019 / 12:12 am

    What a handsome boy you have. He should be able to be his true self, but you are totally right to have rules to protect him. Good luck to you all as you go forward in this journey; you are all an inspiration. #TriumphantTales

  20. February 1, 2019 / 12:22 pm

    Brilliant post! It’s 2019 let them wear what they feel comfortable in and sod the gender stereotypes #BlogCrush

  21. February 1, 2019 / 2:24 pm

    Great post I love it! He can rock an eyeshadow. He should do tutorials as I could never manage that #blogcrush

  22. February 2, 2019 / 11:04 am

    Awesome post! Have you guys seen the musical (or original bbc3 documentaryd Everybody Loves Jamie? It’s very reminiscent!

    • February 2, 2019 / 2:20 pm

      Hi Chloe, Ive heard about the documentary but havent seen it as yet! Thanks for reminding me!

  23. February 2, 2019 / 1:33 pm

    Wow wow wow! His make up is just incredible! I am so envious of his skills! My daughter absolutely loves James Charles! You are an amazing mum and I just love that you are allowing him to be exactly who he is. x

  24. February 7, 2019 / 7:08 am

    Such a fantastic post. Thank you for supporting your son in order for him to be himself and grow in confidence – it is so important for his self-esteem #blogcrush

  25. Lucy At Home
    February 7, 2019 / 11:01 am

    Oh it must have been so difficult to see you son being ridiculed and bullied, but I’m so glad to hear that he is settled now and you have all found a routine that works for you. (P.S. I feel so out of touch – I had never even heard of James Charles until I heard about the store being opened and how it had brought the city to a standstill! Haha) #blogcrush

  26. February 9, 2019 / 2:24 am

    Love this post, sounds like you’re raising one hell of a family and embracing their individualities, particuallary like your ‘going out rules’ #blogcrush

  27. Ian Northeast
    February 9, 2019 / 9:23 am

    How lucky you are to have Daniel in your life and how lucky he is to have such great parents. So many kids are to afraid to be themselves, which shouldn’t be how it is. What a great post and read and tell Daniel to rise above the mindless bullies and continue to be himself.

    • February 9, 2019 / 11:54 am

      Thank you SO much for your kind words!!

  28. Rebecca - Glutarama
    February 12, 2019 / 9:10 pm

    He is stunning, you must be very proud, I’m going to show my 14yr old daughter his make up she’ll be so impressed. Beth has type 1 diabetes, coeliac disease is being tested for autism and has a girlfriend…we’re all about individuality here….being unique is good x

  29. Lucy At Home
    February 14, 2019 / 9:24 am

    Just popping back to let you know that someone chose this post as the best one they’d read all week and chose to add it to the BlogCrush linky for you. Hurray! Feel free to pop over and collect your “I’ve been featured” blog badge #blogcrush

  30. February 16, 2019 / 5:09 pm

    You’re doing such an amazing job being a mother to Dan. He’s going to be an amazing young person in the future and you have to praise yourself for that every day that he smiles because of your heart. Beautiful blog post. Thank you so much for sharing

    • February 16, 2019 / 5:26 pm

      Thanks so much, I really appreciate it xx

  31. February 27, 2019 / 10:58 am

    He’s got a lovely supportive family which is going to make all the difference. I’m so glad the school helped him deal with the bullies.

  32. karenforgyva
    February 27, 2019 / 7:06 pm

    This is such a touchy subject and most of us never imagine that our idea of what our life was going to be as a parent turns out a little differently. I too am going through a similiar situation but its my 13 yr old daughter. She says she doesn’t feel like she likes girls or boys yet but she feels like she is a boy locked in a girls body. I love her unconditionally and I try to say and do the right things to help her understand its okay to feel that way, but I can’t help but worry about how she may be feeling inside. I’m so happy you are embrassibng your son for who he is and not what our sometimes cruel society expects of our young boys and girls. I would love to hear if you have found some support groups online dealing with this? I would like to meet other parents in this situation. Thanks for the great post! Your sons are such handsome lil guys!

  33. ERFmama
    March 12, 2019 / 5:17 pm

    It’s so beautiful to read this post. It’s so so important to let kids be who they are, it’s all part of growing up, who knows – for many it’s just a phase, but it’s still important that we let them discover themselves, for others it’s who they will be when they are adults.

    Thank you for being one of those parents who fully support your son’s choice! x

  34. March 13, 2019 / 4:51 pm

    What a beautiful post. You are such a supportive parent and the strength and happiness your son has has obviously been encouraged through your parenting. It’s a diverse world we live in and wouldn’t it be just boring as hell if we were all the same. Good luck to your son… I hope he goes on to do wonderful creative things with his life!

  35. Jessica Rondeau
    June 17, 2019 / 3:31 pm

    This literally warms my heart!! Thank you for sharing! My son is 10 almost 11 and he is showing more interest in makeup. My struggle is having a supportive husband with this. he Just wasn’t raised that way. And that’s ok, but our son isn’t being raised the way my husband was raised… so getting him to accept and be supportive is the difficult part for me.

    • June 23, 2019 / 6:03 pm

      Hi Jessica, thanks for your message. I was in literally the same situation as you with my husband but in time he has come round, he has no choice and I make a big fuss of how well he deals with it which really helps!

Leave a Reply