You can get special lotion for when you're a baby, acne products for adolescence, and anti-aging creams for when your skin starts "maturing." But what about that time in your life when you're way too old for Johnson & Johnson and too young for SK-II? Yes, I'm talking about the terrible tweens.
The tweens are a tough time in a girl's life--you can't quite fit into grown-up shoes, but you'd rather die than wear another pair of pink mary janes.
Enter 12-year-old girl Willa Doss. She feels your not-quite-teen-angst.
With some help from her mom she launched a line of age-appropriate skin care for girls, called--fittingly--Willa last spring. The 17-piece line isn't makeup per se--it's mostly skin care, with some very lightly colored lip glosses thrown in. Think sparkly sun block that isn't sticky, yummy lip balms, gentle face wash, and fun details like dog clips for clipping your lip gloss to your bag so it doesn't get lost.
Willa first got picked up at Target, and has since moved upmarket, recently debuting at Henri Bendel. The brand had a fete at the Fifth Avenue outpost last week, and to properly do the line justice, I brought along a special beauty correspondent for the night: Almost-10-year-old Mabel.
Mabel, a tomboy/book worm/ballerina--she'll be in the New York City Ballet's The Nutcracker in NYC this season--was excited for her first assignment, and proved right away that she has the right attitude for beauty/fashion. Upon walking into Henri Bendel, she observed, "The people here dress a little like the people in The Hunger Games."
We headed upstairs, and after gorging on some sour gummy candies for a while and trying out the lip balm, we sought out Willa for a chat about skin care.
After some requisite chit chat about how fifth grade is a real bitch (I'm paraphrasing here), we got down to business with a bit of moderating from me, the grown-up.
Fashionista/Mabel: Why did you want to start this? It seems like it’s so hard! Willa: I used one of my mom’s face washes and my skin broke out in a rash and pimples and was itching. I went to Dunkin Donuts and I had to put a bag on my head!
Fashionista/Cheryl: What was the hardest part about starting the line? The hardest thing is spreading the word. I feel like so many girls probably want something like this.
Cheryl: Mabel, what would you like to have as a product to use? Mabel: Special lotion!
Willa: Come here! We worked for a long time on the smell for this one. [expertly squirts a sample on Mabel's hand and blends]
Mabel: Ooh, it smells so good! What kind of ingredients did you use? Willa: We used a lot of natural products. Like aloe.
Mabel: I’ve heard of that. It’s green. Willa: Yes! And eucalyptus and green tea extract, too.
Cheryl: Willa, are you allowed to wear makeup? And do you want to or no? Willa: I’m not really allowed. I mean, I think I can if I want, but my makeup is my skin. I don’t think I need it.
Cheryl: When do you guys think girls should start wearing makeup? Mabel: Maybe once they start to develop. Willa: Yeah, that’s smart.
Cheryl: Anything else you'd like to say, Mabel? Mabel: Good job, Willa!
The event seemed to make an impression on Mabel, who when asked if she used any lotions now said, "No, but I'm going to start!" She snagged her first-ever beauty goody bag, too, which is a momentous occasion in a beauty writer's life. When I asked her if she thought it might be a cool job to have she said thoughtfully, "Maybe. If I was doing it with important people, like the New York Times."