From Barbies To Blush - New Survey Reveals Young Girls Are Wearing Makeup Earlier Than Ever To Hide Their Insecurities

In response to study, The Renfrew Center Foundation stages second annual national campaign, "Barefaced & Beautiful, Without & Within," during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

Feb 21, 2013, 13:37 ET from Renfrew Center Foundation

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The Renfrew Center Foundation, a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to advancing the education, prevention, research, advocacy and treatment of eating disorders, today announced survey results, which revealed at least one in five young girls between the ages of 8 and 18 who have ever worn makeup have negative feelings about their image when not wearing makeup, associating a "bare face" with feeling insecure and unattractive. Additionally, two-thirds of the girls surveyed who wore makeup began doing so between the ages of 8 and 13.

This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of The Renfrew Center Foundation, from Dec. 4-11, 2012, among 572 young girls 8-18 years of age. Highlights from the survey include: 

  • At Least One in Five Young Girls Have Negative Feelings When They Don't Wear Makeup
    At least 20 percent of girls who have ever worn makeup have negative feelings when they are not wearing makeup, reporting feeling self-conscious (20%), unattractive (17%) and naked/as though something is missing (15%). Only five percent of these girls said going without makeup made them feel more attractive.

  • Young Girls are Starting to Wear Makeup Much Earlier
    Almost three in five young girls surveyed (58%) admitted to wearing makeup. Of the girls who wear makeup, two-thirds (65%) started between the ages of 8 and 13: Twenty-nine percent between the ages of 14 and 16, 50 percent between 11 and 13, and 15 percent between the ages 8 and 10.

  • Not Being Seen Without Makeup
    Over a quarter of girls who wear makeup (27%) rarely/never leave the house without it. The places that makeup-wearing girls felt were acceptable to be seen without makeup were home (89%), pool or beach (84%) and gym (82%). The places that were least acceptable were a friend's house (67%) and school (58%).

This is the second consecutive year that Renfrew has conducted a survey examining how females feel when they don't wear makeup. Last year, Renfrew worked with Harris Interactive and surveyed women ages 18 and older. They had similar responses about perceived negative self-images when they weren't wearing makeup.  However, among this group the driving force was feeling unattractive when they weren't wearing makeup, whereas the biggest issue for the young girls polled was self-consciousness.

"Experimenting with wearing makeup is often a rite of passage for young girls in our society," said Adrienne Ressler, National Training Director for The Renfrew Center Foundation and renowned body image expert. "However, the concern is how young is too young? Girls who start too early may be hiding more than an acne breakout – they may be demonstrating early signs of self-esteem issues and a negative self-image or setting up a ritual that is difficult to break. Unfortunately, these behaviors and feelings can set the stage for addictions or disordered eating patterns to develop."

For the second year in a row, during National Eating Disorders Awareness Week (Feb. 24March 2), The Renfrew Center Foundation is sponsoring a national campaign, entitled Barefaced & Beautiful, Without & Within ( The goal of the campaign is to encourage women nationwide to go without makeup for a day and participate in an on-going dialogue about healthy body image and inner beauty.

"In this age of toddler beauty pageants, digital retouching, peer pressure, celebrity worship, and other unrealistic cultural messages about beauty, there are definite challenges to developing a positive body image; challenges that put young girls at risk for eating disorders and other self destructive behaviors," said Ressler. "Our hope is that through Barefaced & Beautiful, Without & Within, we will continue to promote the realization that real beauty and self-esteem truly begin from within."

To support Barefaced & Beautiful, Without & Within, The Renfrew Center Foundation is asking for women to go without makeup on Monday, Feb. 25, and promote their involvement through their social media networks --Twitter, Facebook and Instagram—with the hashtag #Barefacedbeauty. Supporters can also post a positive comment under someone's natural photo or retweet positive body image messages from Renfrew's Twitter page @RenfrewCenter. To learn more about participating in Barefaced & Beautiful, Without & Within, please go to

The Renfrew Center Foundation
The Renfrew Center Foundation, founded in 1990, is a non-profit, charitable organization dedicated to advancing the education, prevention, research, advocacy and treatment of eating disorders. The Renfrew Center Foundation is supported financially by private donations and funding from The Renfrew Center, the nation's first residential and largest network of eating disorder treatment facilities. The Renfrew Center has twelve facilities in ten states. Through its programs, the Foundation aims to increase awareness of eating disorders as a public health issue and research the pathology and recovery patterns of people with eating disorders. The Foundation also seeks to educate professionals in the assessment, treatment and prevention of behavioral and emotional disorders by sponsoring an annual conference, as well as numerous seminars throughout the country. To date, the Foundation has trained nearly 25,000 professionals. For information about The Renfrew Center Foundation, please call toll-free 1-877-367-3383 or visit

Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Harris Interactive on behalf of The Renfrew Center Foundation from December 4-11, 2012 among 572 girls ages 8 to 18. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and, therefore, no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Laura Feragen at 609.682.4157.

About Harris Interactive
Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll® and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris possesses expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in more than 196 countries and territories through our North American and European offices, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what's next.  For more information, please visit

SOURCE Renfrew Center Foundation