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Inside The Beauty Routines of The Very Young

Do you think you're high-maintenance? Wait until you read the two-hour grooming routine of Bethany Conheeny:

After washing her naturally wavy hair, she spritzes, sprays and straightens it with £120 [around $240] designer ceramic straighteners. If there's so much as a kink left, she starts again. She's rigorous in her cleansing, toning and moisturing routine, and before leaving the house, applies a slick of lip-gloss. At the weekends, it takes longer. Bethany — who has £70 [around $140] worth of beauty treatments each week, including a spray tan, pedicure, manicure and eyebrow wax — applies St Tropez blusher, pink eye shadow and mascara.

The catch? Bethany is nine years old. To get my take on this situation,

Frankly, when I saw this mentioned on Jezebel, I was flabbergasted. Obviously, I love makeup, hair, spa treatments and the like—and lots of little girls are interested in playing dress-up. But this level of primping and maintenance seems unhealthy, particularly when these girls seem to be buying into the idea that they can't be pretty without spending two hours getting ready. Really, does any little girl need to have her eyebrows waxed? I can't imagine that even the prepubescent Frida Kahlo needed that!

Don't get me wrong: I think there are age-appropriate ways to enter the world of beauty, like painting toenails with Mom or wearing Bonne Bell lip balm. But some of these girls are getting leg waxes, tanning-booth sessions, and begging to wear Chanel foundation—all before they've turned 12 years old. It doesn't seem like healthy curiosity; instead, it seems like an obsession that breeds insecurity at a time when these girls need to believe they're smart, talented and pretty just as they are.

I know what you're thinking: Where are the parents? You'll be shocked—shocked!—to find out that many of them are actively encouraging these beauty routines. Catherine Conheeney, mom of high-maintenance Bethany, is hoping that her daughter's looks can help her become successful. "Bethany will need to be slim to be a model," she says. "But I'm working hard to explain that she needs the right balance of food to make sure she's healthy. I've just entered her for a modeling competition to find the next Kate Moss."

Like I said, I'm flabbergasted. Are you? Or is this merely a sign of the times?

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Join The Conversation
Sparkina Sparkina 8 years
This is mucho pathetico. When I was nine, deodorant was a product for adults or for those who were on their way to becoming such and not something one used before puberty -- and makeup and high heels were for let's-pretend play, not for street. All this beauty stuff for a child as a make-believe game is one thing, but to give the message that she has to do this in her real life, before going out in the street, in order to be accepted in social company -- that's BULLTOOT. And why to kids have to play at being adults every minute of the day anyhow? Whatever happened to rollerskates and storybooks and hopscotch and jacks, for crying in Manhattan
princess325 princess325 9 years
What kind of nine-year-old does this? What kind of parents LET their nine-year-old wear all this makeup? I didn't wear makeup until I was thirteen. This is just sad.
chrysanthemums chrysanthemums 10 years
why would you let your child waste so much money and time...? she's nine. for God's sake.
Muffins Muffins 10 years
I'm sure this has all been said before, but all of this just made me throw up in my mouth a little bit. Lol. All that money wasted on expensive cosmetics? You could practically buy yourself a new car with all the money spent. These girl's parents are teaching them all the wrong values. Sure, it's nice to look neat and presentable, but this is just way too much. I feel sorry for these kids, because they probably will never know that being a good person and beautiful on the inside is just as important, if not entirely more, than being beautiful on the outside. Really, really sorry.
Heather36782 Heather36782 10 years
My daughter is 10 yrs old and doesn't really want her hair combed. Her dad and I are divorced and he seems to think she should be more like that-all diva like and obsessed with her appearance-I think she will get there when it is time, probably in about 2 or 3 yrs when she starts liking boys. EEK!! This stuff is getting out of hand.
cleegiants cleegiants 10 years
it's quite sad that children as young as 9 need to get this pampered. even as an adult - massages, manicure, facials, etc. are a means of pampering myself - for a special occasion or after a very long work period. and why does a 9 year old need to be waxed? this world totally needs to stop with the beauty obsession. accept your natural beauty - especially as a child!
kalaloughary kalaloughary 10 years
At nine I still considered swimming as counting as a bath! Really I cannot fathom this. This is why there are soo many underage girls getting pregnant. And arn't you just assking for child predators!!!!
makicabrera10 makicabrera10 10 years
oh, I forgot to mention one thing, back in 6th grade I had a strip of pink hair. Like, neon pink. I always thought my hair was plain so I wanted to make it noticable.....it worked. I was the only girl in school with pink hair. So, it was a quick dash of popularity, but I got over it in 7th grade. Then I changed schools, and there's like 3 girls with one or more pink strands in their hair, so it is no longer my trademark :-(
tralalala tralalala 10 years
I started dyeing my hair when I was in grade 7, but I never wore makeup regularly until I graduated high school (I decided sleeping until I had to leave was a better option haha). I don't necessarily have a problem with girls starting a beauty routine when they're young, but that is super crazy excessive.
makicabrera10 makicabrera10 10 years
I'm 13, and I started wearing MINIMAL make-up around 9/10. It was just soft pink eyeshadow, soft pink blush, and soft pink/peach lipgloss. I have never waxed (WAY too scared!!) or tanned (I live in Miami, so I don't really need it anyway, thank gawd, the last thing I want is to look like a cheetoh). And I'm not even tan-tan, just sunkissed. I have straight hair and sorta-wavy near the bottom, and I've only curled it twice, and never straightened. And poor little Bethany is gonna have fried hair and disgusting skin pretty soon. I've only gotten 3 manicures, 2 pedicures, and 1 facial in my life, and this girl gets them weekly. I got my first mani at age 12 (I got them frenched, it was my first, I wanted something special, ok?), but when do you thik this girl started? Maybe even earlier than 9. For my nails I get them in a soft pink, but I admit to painting my toenails red (just cuz they look good with my skin, and this is somethng I started doing around 12). And she gets them painted by a pro, I only got my nails painted by a pro 5 times (mani-pedi), I usually get them done by my mom (who does them like a pro, I'm lucky ;-)). For my skin, I have the basic 3 step system (cleanse, tone repair), and plus I use Avon, not some hundred-something products. (P.S. I will also admit to using their blackhead cleanser, even if I don't have any blackheads, just because it leaves my skin so silky smooth ;-)) And for now, I use lipgloss, tan/neutral eyeshadow, occasionally mascara, and RARELY eyeliner. I don't even use blush, I just pinch my cheeks and BAM!, money saved instantly. A lot of what she does is not even neccessary. Wavy hair is cute, very natural and summery. And for the eyebrows? Having a freekishly perfect pair scares people (plus that is so what? 60s?.......I see how you can tell her mother encourages the eyebrows 0.o)
precious_pets4 precious_pets4 10 years
This is not a question of where's the parents -- THE PROBLEM IS THE PARENTS! I would be incredibly surprised if this young girl started any of this on her own. I'm certain her mother is behind it all -- and the mother probably spends just as much time, if not more, obsessing about her looks and 'getting ready'. This has got to be the ultimate example of someone living thru their child. I would bet every penny I have that the 'mom' always wanted to be a model, but never was one. I would also bet that the mother does not work outside the home -- how could she find the time? she must spend every minute in front of the mirror or on the waxing table. These are the same kids who have their own credit cards, I'm sure. We SERIOUSLY need to let children be children!! The need to be carefree, happy, playful, and not obsessive over their looks. It's not just the fault of the media -- because when you allow it to become a part of the child's life, it's YOU!
haleylovesjohn haleylovesjohn 10 years
I am 14, and I have to say that I was just brought up around make-up. I have been in love with it since I was a little girl.
littlemissvixen littlemissvixen 10 years
ridiculous, i can't believe her parents are actually encouraging her as well!
SugarIsSweeter01 SugarIsSweeter01 10 years
Wowsa, these girls are higher-maintenance than I am!
LuciLu LuciLu 10 years
absolutely disgusting.
marley11 marley11 10 years
this is ridiculous. i'd shoot myself if i cared about looks when i was that young.
brittni brittni 10 years
What a waste of money. but then again if you had the money products time and resources...might you do it too?
Kadronious Kadronious 10 years
This is all too true. My guy's little sister goes tanning nearly everyday, dyes and straightens her hair, waxes her brows, and owns well over $100 worth of foundation. And she's in 7th grade. And her mom encourages all of this. Not only will she be incredibly shallow, she'll probably get skin cancer by the time she's 20. It's aweful.
shoppingprincess shoppingprincess 10 years
I'm 13.I just had a manicure today at Selfridges that cost £23, and I nearly passed out (not joking, I went all dizzy and felt sick) when the manicurist cut my cuticles off without softening them. I think it's important to look as good as you can every day :D
potterlove potterlove 10 years
Oh my gawd. I hope those girls would be open to lessening their routines! I mean seriously! Waxing? Toning? Spa treatments every WEEK?! I don't think that's healthy for a little girl!
shoppingprincess shoppingprincess 10 years
OMG just realised that it posted itself 3 times. Sorry :( I am too impatient and must've clicked too many times
shoppingprincess shoppingprincess 10 years
In the about post, where it's a face with glasses, I meant 8
shoppingprincess shoppingprincess 10 years
I'm now 13 and admit that I do have a beauty regime. When my cousin (a year older than me) got straightners at the age of 11, I got them at the age of 10. My mum made me use heat protection and I only straightened my hair twice a week. At the age of about 9 I had hair curlers but with the amount of time it took for me to curl my entire head of hair, I got bored of them and they were used only for parties. Now I straighten my hair but not obsessively and curl it if I can be bothered. I curl/straighten my younger cousins hair and at the age of 9/10 she loves to be pampered. I cleanse and tone and when I was 11, my mum got me cleanser/toner/moisturizer for Christmas saying "you're gonna get spots if you don't look after your skin" and I used it. She regrets not looking after her skin when she was younger so learned from her mistakes. Now I sometimes use Clinique 3-step but I generally use cheaper stuff. It's a treat to go to the salon and have treatments. I don't have regular manicures/pedicures but (not boasting) but I am really good at doing nails and can do them like a pro but It's nice someone else doing all the hard work for you. I wear short false nails but not for school. £15 for the odd manicure/pedicure is ok as long as you give to charity as well. As for make-up,some of my mums friends disagree that she let me wear make-up at about 10 but hey! whats wrong with that. I don't need foundation, I don't need concealer (which I beleive is because of my facial routine) I daily wear a neutural eyeshadow, mascara, highlighter (to define the cheekbones), tan blusher (give me a bit of a glow) and lipgloss. Some of my family say that all they wanted for christmas at 10 was make-up so they know why I wear it. I do buy designer make-up, Lancome, Clinique, Dior are my favourites but I mix them in with highstreet brands such as No7, the body shop, Barry M and Bourjois. I wear perfume most of the time and I had perfume really young (about 8) just kiddie ones but I've always loved my beauty products. I go into Debenhams beauty area and get really happy, beauty can just be a bit of fun and it's fine if it stays that way!! :):D:):D
SugarCookies SugarCookies 10 years
THIS IS RIDICULOUS!!!!!!! IT MAKES ME SICK!!! UNFIT PARENTS.
beingtazim beingtazim 10 years
i'm sad for her - clearly she's been brought up to think she's not good enough unless she looks model-like and spends so long primping. i'm thinking she has a pretty low self esteem or else will later.
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