Kim Kardashian is so used to being criticized for letting her 5-year-old daughter North wear makeup that when she posted a video on Instagram of the little girl wearing red lipstick last month, she preempted the backlash.
“Relax Mom Shamers it’s coming off in a few mins,” the makeup mogul captioned the clip, helpfully identifying the shade as No. 6 in her new Classic Blossom collection. “I needed a bribe to get [her] out of the door . . . you feel me?!?!?!”
Kardashian was called a “horrible mother” for allowing North to walk in a runway show in LA wearing a crop top, sunglasses and lipstick, and her parenting skills were once more called into question when North rocked a bright orange eye look (artfully drawn by one of Kardashian’s makeup pros) to go see her dad, Kanye West, perform on “Saturday Night Live.”
But while the spotlight is shining on North’s famous face, like it or not, little girls across America are troweling on the eye shadow and blush and pouting for the cameras. Aged just 5 to 12, these mini divas are social-media savvy, hip to the latest techniques, obsessed with the coolest cosmetic brands and fans of beauty influencers. With professional makeup brushes clutched in their tiny hands, these darlings are copying sophisticated online makeup looks with grown-up powders and potions at home. And they’re even making money doing it.
Take 7-year-old Molly, who carefully contours her forehead, cheeks and button nose with two shades of concealer and a drop of oil, then blends a shimmery eye statement. She stands to earn $12,000 this year from her makeup tutorials on YouTube (Courtney McCutcheon) and Instagram (@lipgloss_and_crayons).
“My favorite products are lipstick and glittery eye shadow,” Molly tells The Post. “And I really like blush because it makes my cheeks stand out.”
Then there’s Zara (who goes by Yoshidoll online), a second-grader who is sometimes recognized on the street, even outside of her hometown of Atlanta. She has 208,000 Instagram followers (@yoshidoll) and over 132,000 subscribers on her eponymous YouTube channel.
“My daughter has her own Caboodle full of stuff she gets to wear at the house,” says her mom Ellarie Noel, a beauty influencer. She says she restricts her daughter’s cosmetic use to home and doesn’t let her wield a mascara wand herself.
Zara makes sponsored videos featuring hair-care products — and can easily pocket $20,000 a year from those deals, according to her mother — but her most popular videos involve makeup. “Transforming Into My Mom!” which shows Noel tracing winged eyeliner and slicking red lip lacquer on her baby-double has racked up more than 3.4 million views on YouTube.
“I look like Beyoncé!” announces Zara after the ruby gloss is on. “Girl, don’t push it,” responds her mom.
While tweens and teens have always played with makeup, experts say that iGen is particularly informed and sophisticated. “With the proliferation of technology, smartphones and access to information at ever-younger ages, you have an incredibly knowledgeable and discerning consumer,” says Natasha Cornstein, CEO of Blushington, a chain of beauty lounges with seven locations across the country. She estimates that 20 percent of her clientele falls in the 12-to-18 age group, with a notable number of under-12 customers.
Cornstein reports that girls as young as 6 years old have birthday parties at Blushington and $150 “Makeup 101” classes are particularly popular with budding face-painters. “Color matching is a top request,” she says, referring to the process of picking complexion-flattering shades.
Several of 11-year-old Pippa Locke’s Manhattan middle-school friends already know their foundation shades and worship teenage beauty influencer James Charles, CoverGirl’s first male spokesmodel and a proponent of full-on red-carpet glam. The classmates enjoy hanging out in small groups, experimenting with colors and looks. “They like the selfie aspects of it and the how-tos,” says Jenny B. Fine, Pippa’s mother and WWD’s executive beauty editor. “Overall, it’s a positive form of self-expression.”
Not everyone agrees.
Molly’s mother, store manager Courtney McCutcheon, has been viciously slammed online. “It was awful, people were calling me a child abuser,” says the Missouri-based amateur makeup artist. “They were saying it’s going to ruin her skin and she’s going to have acne. People were telling me I should be arrested or I’m going to go to hell, or that she should play with Barbie dolls or she should be outside.”
McCutcheon dismisses these charges, saying Molly and her 5-year-old sister June lead perfectly normal, age-appropriate lives and only occasionally are permitted to wear a little glitter and gloss outside of their home. “Molly begs me to do videos and likes creating content. It’s innocent and she’s having fun.”
McCutcheon also notes that her daughter is earning good money and learning about work. “She can make off one video what her dad or I can make in one week.”
But experts warn that modeling adult behavior can come at a price. “The risk is that little girls focus on appearance, buying the right things and looking the right way, instead of developing a broader range of interests and skills,” says Diane E. Levin, professor of applied human development at Boston University’s Wheelock College and author of “So Sexy So Soon.” “Developmentally, they’re objectifying themselves.”
Posting such content online amplifies her concerns: “One of the dangers is interacting on the Internet with trolls and escalating problematic sexualized behaviors,” Levin says.
Other critics worry that girls are being exposed to toxic chemicals, such as phthalates and parabens. Danielle Maguire, a mother of three in Haddonfield, NJ, and a Rodan + Fields consultant, solved that potential problem last Christmas by investing $100 in organic makeup from Anthropologie for daughters Estella, 12, and Wynnie, 10.
“I want to teach them early that they need to be aware of what they’re putting on their skin,” she says.
Eftiola Fundo’s niece Jenny Ana Sofia may be the most precocious primper of all. When the tot was 1, she picked up a makeup brush and started waving it around in front of her face.
Last year, Fundo, a South Florida-based dental hygienist posted an Instagram beauty tutorial (@facebyeftii) with the then-3-year-old moppet that went viral. “It was so much fun for the both of us,” says Fundo. “She loves it. She’s like, ‘Can I watch it again?’ ”
The proud aunt didn’t bother responding to the inevitable flurry of fault-finders.
“If you don’t have trolls,” says Fundo, “there’s something wrong.”