Makeup: What’s With the Kid Stuff?

Most little girls (and even some boys!) have a moment where they play in mom’s makeup, pretending to be a grown-up woman. But is the reverse true as well: do grown women like to play in makeup that looks to be for little girls?

Barbie for Stila, featuring makeup mimicking Barbie’s looks over the past half-century appeared in January. Blue Smurf makeup for Too Faced also came in January and a Hello Kitty collection from M.A.C. — a pink kitty adorns all-black makeup cases — debuts this February.

I love the Smurfs and Barbie as much as the next girl, but what’s up with all the cartoon characters on makeup? And what’s next? Care Bear-inspired pastel nail polish? Strawberry Shortcake red lip gloss? Dare I even suggest orange Garfield eyeshadow? Help me make sense of all this kitsch, after the jump….Stila Barbie cosmetics are the only makeup sets I can see myself actually using: the 1959 Ponytail Doll set features some rad red lipstick and killer black eyeliner. I also dig how they included an African-American Barbie (1980 Foxy Doll), with makeup favoring a darker skin tone.

The So Smurfy makeup for Too Faced….eh, not so much. Even though the colors are pretty — for example, the hues in the So Smurfy eyeshadow palette are a dark romantic blue, a gold, a brown and a pink — the packaging is too juvenile. I have a really good sense of humor and I’m not particularly self-conscious, but I still wouldn’t whip out my Smurf lip gloss in a public ladies room.

Hello Kitty for M.A.C makes the least sense of all. M.A.C is all about bombastic, drag queen-y colors. So why collaborate with Sanrio’s kitty cat icon, favored by adolescent schoolgirls the world over? I’m guessing M.A.C’s hoping to rope in said schoolgirls before they align themselves with other brands — and in the meantime, they hope grown women will buy a lipstick with a kitty cat stenciled onto the side of it.

Though I don’t dig this trend so far, I do get how the makeup companies are wise to tap into nostalgia. Maybe it’s not as important to carry the Barbie eyeliner, the Smurf face powder or the Hello Kitty lipstick in public as it is to make a grown women feel like a little girl again. But companies need to be on top of the execution, because sometimes there is such a thing as too much kitsch.

Though if someone does come out with Care Bear pastel nail polishes, you can bet I’ll be all over that Grumpy Bear Blue…