Is Kids' Makeup Actually Better Than Adults'?

When I was a kid, I loved when the time came around for my dancing show when I would have my hair scraped up into an elegant bun and my mom would put a little makeup on me so that the glaring stage lights didn't "wash me out." I would feel so grown up and long to experiment with kids' makeup but I didn't get my mitts on any makeup until I was about 12.

In some ways, I am happy about my "late" love affair with makeup — I was generally a late bloomer and I was more interested in making fun home movies with my friends than boys; and who knows? Maybe my lack of makeup had something to do with this. On the other hand, I have not had as many years' practice as a lot of women; thus, I have had to experiment with makeup in my late teens/early adult years when I would have preferred to be a bit more knowledgeable about it all. C'est la vie!

So I decided to make up for lost time and perform a little experiment with "kids' makeup" and "adult makeup." When I use the term "kids' makeup" I am referring to cheap makeup that is affordable for children to buy with their allowance, and that has packaging specifically aimed at kids: i.e. cartoons, butterflies, and traditionally girly things. In terms of "adult makeup," I am referring to any kind of makeup that would be marketed at an older demographic.

I wanted to see if kids' makeup held its own against adult makeup because I thought if it did, why on earth are so many women (myself included) spending a ton of cash on expensive adult makeup when kids' makeup does the job? Here's what I discovered.


I prepared my face by moisturizing and applying a layer of Bourjouis Healthy Mix Foundation in “Vanilla."

The Products

I was seriously excited about these princess themed nail varnishes, but when I got them home and looked more closely at the label, I noticed they were "nail varnish pens." I cannot even tell you how distraught I was. What even are nail varnish pens? I will ensure they don't go to waste and will give them to my five-year-old cousin. Or maybe I'll just hang on to them for a little while and test them out for her... Is it so wrong for a 25-year-old woman to want a totally cool nail varnish themed pen?!

This cute clam/crown shaped compact caught my eye and my mermaid loving heart skipped a beat. For the mere price of £1 (approximately $1.50) I just had to have it.

Next, I noticed this star shaped palette of the same "Glam Girl" brand and I saw the little red lipstick in the middle; so of course it also got added to my shopping basket.

Step 1: The "Blusher"

I really wanted to try this cute, pink eyeshadow shade (from the star palette) on my cheeks because I love experimenting with makeup and putting different types of makeup on areas of my face that they're not technically designed for (e.g. using eyeshadow as lipstick).

Also, eyeshadow and blusher are not too dissimilar in the fact that both are comprised of a powdery substance that can be blended onto your skin. Above is a picture of the palette before I applied it.

Here is a picture after I had used it. As you can see, it was not the easiest makeup to apply. I had to use a small brush to even reach the makeup and then eventually when I grew tired of the tiny amounts of makeup being transferred onto my brush, I used the end of my brush to dig out chunks of it so that it became looser. I would like to say it had a nice consistency but it didn't; if you can imagine what it feels like to apply powdered chalk to your face, that's almost what it felt like.

After much "digging" and many layers of "blusher" this is what my cheeks looked like. Not bad star palette, not bad.

Step 2: The Eyeshadow

Next, I wanted to create a summery, citrus fruit inspired eye by blending together the yellow and green eyeshadows from the clam/crown palette. I chose these two as I thought they would complement each other but also because the yellow eyeshadow had a very light pigment and the green had a denser pigment; I wanted to try one of each to see how they fared against each other as well as against the adult makeup.

First I applied the yellow shade all over my eyelids to create a base to blend with the green. As you can see, I had the same trouble as with the pink eyeshadow from the star shaped palette. This makeup makes you work for your beauty look!

It looks like I'm not even wearing any eye makeup. I jest you not, this is what my eyes looked like with a considerable amount of the yellow eyeshadow on.

Next, I tried the green eyeshadow. It is worth noting that in comparison to women's makeup you have to use a lot of this eyeshadow to look like you're wearing any at all. Although with a lot of women's makeup I have encountered, if it looked like this it would appear that the palette had been used multiple times as the pattern had almost completely disappeared; whereas this is just from one use.

The green eyeshadow was slightly better; at least you can tell I am wearing makeup. However, it is still incredibly pale and not very pigmented.

Step 3: The Lipstick

Can you even call this a lipstick? I am not entirely sure. Maybe if it belonged to Thumbelina or Arrietty.

I was quite pleasantly surprised by this shade, which was a pretty pink, although it looked nothing like the red shade of the lipstick packaging. It felt a little like a colored lip balm and made my dry lips feel moisturized again.

The End Result

To finish, I added a layer of Lush "Eyes Right" mascara to complete the look. I look a little like I fell head first into Barbie's makeup bag and I am not sure if this is a good or a bad thing...

The Challenge

I wanted to directly compare kids' makeup and adults' makeup so I thought the best way to do this was to apply kids' makeup to one half of my face and adults' makeup to the other. So here's me with one half of the kids' makeup removed. I applied my foundation again to the right side of my face to keep the challenge fair.

I applied a layer of Bourjois blush in “Rose Frisson” to my right cheek and the first layer of women's eyeshadow to my right eye. I used a yellow Barry M Dazzle Dust. As you can see the Dazzle Dust is much brighter than the kids' yellow eyeshadow.

However, there's not too much of a difference in the cheeks aside from maybe that the right cheek is covered slightly more evenly. This could be down to the fact that I didn't want to cross contaminate my normal blusher brush (which I use with my Bourjois blush), plus I couldn't access the tiny pot of pink "blusher" (eyeshadow) very easily with my large brush so I used a smaller one. But with the eyeshadows I used the exact same applicators that came with the kids' makeup sets to allow for a fair test.

Next, I delved into my thrifty “Brights Eyeshadows” palette by Technic and picked out a green shade. As you can see, the pigmentation in both of the adult eyeshadows is way denser than the kids' eyeshadows.

After this, I chose a red lipstick to go up against the kids' "red" lipstick. I went for a bright red Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick in “Diva Red.” As you can see, this lipstick lived up to its name/packaging unlike the pink kids' lipstick (which was masquerading as a scarlet shade). I finished off the adult makeup side with a coating of Lush mascara just like I had done with the kids' side.

Adult Makeup Look

Kids' Makeup Look


Well, it appears I won't be switching to kids' makeup anytime soon. Its barely there pigmentation and misleading packaging has ensured I'll be sticking to women's makeup. Kids' makeup is a fraction of the price of women's makeup for a reason. Darn it.

Images: Phoebe Waller; Giphy