Sense & Sensitivity by Harriette Cole

Mother and Daughter Fight Over Makeup Shades

DEAR HARRIETTE: My daughter is in high school, and she has begun to wear makeup. For the most part, it looks tasteful and appropriate for her age. The other day, she put on a lip color that was way too bright, and it was all you could see on her face. I told her that it was not the right color and that she should change it. This turned into a full-blown confrontation. She accused me of not allowing her to express her individuality. The argument escalated until I put my foot down and demanded that she take it off. That really wasn’t how I had wanted to handle the situation. How can I revisit this? I just wanted her to see that this color was not flattering. -- Bad Lip Color

DEAR BAD LIP COLOR: Keeping a healthy rapport with your teenager is key to protecting and guiding her through life. That means when you have stumbles that include inflamed emotions -- on either side -- you need to do your best to course correct right away.

Sit your daughter down and apologize for the blowup. Tell her you never meant for the discussion about lip color to escalate into a showdown. All you wanted was for her to see that the color she selected was unbecoming. Assure her that you want her to explore her individuality and that you need her to understand that your job is to help guide her steps.

What you could have done is to have her take a selfie and then look at the picture with that lip color. You can encourage her in the future to do color tests by looking at several lip colors in photos that she takes so she can make an informed choice. Remind her that a good guideline for lip color is that it should not be so strong that people notice your lips before your eyes.

(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)

Read more in: Family & Parenting | Teens