Tween years come on crazy fast. One moment your daughter is deeply enthralled with her American Girl dolls and the next minute she's putting Seventeen magazine in the shopping cart and wanting you to sell off all her American Girls on eBay to buy her an iPad and cosmetics. She used to want to make cookies and now she wants to follow recipes in fashion mags to make her own facemasks.

Tween girls are not in the mood to debate parents — they've already made their minds up that they are teens even though they aren't, technically. My 10-year-old is two months shy of 11 and is sneaking cosmetics.

By sneaking, I mean all of a sudden my mascara is missing and I find it in her room, or rather, on her eyelashes. As parents, what do we do here? Forbidding anything means they'll want it more. Embracing it makes us feel like they are growing up to fast. Some families are sitting their daughters down and showing them how it’s done (and telling them the whole routine from clean face to the wash off at night).

We can try to think about the following no matter how uncomfortable it makes us. We need to have conversations about why they want to wear makeup. What are they hoping it will achieve? Is it just for fun? How closely related is it to our own desires for cosmetics?

We remember how we were at that age. My mother didn’t allow makeup until ninth grade. She also didn’t allow waxing either. I remember feeling very hairy and blemished and seventh and eighth grade definitely could have been easier if I hadn’t had Martin Scorsese’s eyebrows and freckles on my lips. I can sympathize. My former brother-in-law took his daughter to have her upper lip waxed at age nine. It seemed weird to some, but I understood it.

Parents all over the Internet ask this same question: "What age is too young?" And girls are answering. Some are admitting starting as young as nine years old. Some are waiting until 13, but that’s rare. According to a British study last year, a survey showed that 11 is now the average age to start wearing makeup.

Is it just experimenting and having fun and wanting to express who they are, or is it something else? Or is it in response to not feeling good enough as is and the pressure to be someone else? That’s the conversation we need to have with our daughters.

I let my daughter go to Sephora with a friend of mine for a makeup demonstration. She came back with super light lipstick, super light blush, and it didn’t look bad at all, or cheap, or make her look too adult. And she was happy. My friend bought her the lipstick and blush so she could replicate it at home. We talked about it being a special occasion sort of thing and not an everyday thing. She was fine with that.

If there comes a time when she’s trying to conceal her face or asking for a nose job, I might feel differently. But for now, this little bit of cosmetic autonomy is okay with me.