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Waxing Tweens

Does Pampering Send the Wrong Message?

I remember getting my first manicure before my eighth grade dance. It was a big deal and I appreciated how special the gift was from my mother. I didn't notice my eyebrows were bushes to be reckoned with until my first year of college. Thankfully, while growing up I never felt the need to excessively beautify myself as I had confidence. For kids these days, it's a different story.

To see what the latest underage beauty treatment is,


Now, lil ladies as young as five are lined up for manicures and pedicures at spas. The owner of hair salon Ouidad in NYC told ABC:

I have children as young as six and seven come into the salon. They do a chemical treatment.

It is definitely becoming a trend to tend to oneself at a younger age. Some resorts like the Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort and Spa in San Antonio cater to the crowd with a youth spa called the "SPAhhhT." Since girls wax their bikini lines in 6th grade and get nail treatments in elementary school, the worry is that they will put too much emphasis on their looks and lose their self esteem.

Stressed Out Girls author Roni Cohen-Sandler says:

The earlier that girls begin to see themselves as objects that are appealing to the opposite sex and worry about how they look — that is harming them psychologically. They're not able to feel good about themselves.

When my daughter is old enough, I will gladly spoil her with a mani–pedi for a momentous event. As for the waxing and chemical peels, she can pay for those herself.

Would you allow your child to start such beauty regiments at such a tender age?

Join The Conversation
jJuliet jJuliet 9 years
Every time I read an article about this, the first reaction is "OMG these young girls are being sexualized! We are sending them the wrong message!" But then when you read the reasons why people actually give spa treatments to these girls, there is nothing perverse about it. I think the negative gut reaction is a generational misunderstanding. I've never been to a spa myself, but I imagine that it's more about making women relaxed, healthy, and happy than about sexualizing them. Women indulge in fashion and beauty for themselves and other women. Middle school boys are going to develop crushes on middle school girls regardless of when they start shaving their legs. Every woman here knows when she and her friends started shaving, but ask an adult man when the girls in his class started shaving, and I'm sure he will have no idea.
jistpeechy jistpeechy 9 years
Yeah, there's a difference b/w wanting to be "sexy" and wanting to not be self-conscious b/c you have hair "down there" during swim class. I totally agree w/ lickety split. I think that certain situations need to be handled with care and guidance, like some said, that they got Chem peals b/c they had devastating acne, not b/c they were trying to be a "sex pot". It should be important that the kid's intentions are clear, not b/c of a boy in class. I started shaving my legs in 4th grade mostly b/c of the other girls talking about it and I don't regret it, I didn't us it to show off my legs or anything. Oh and the whole shaving vs. waxing thing, waxing is so much better b/c there's less breakouts and in the case of swim team or gymnastics that is probably an issue too. I can't wait to take my little girl to the salon and have a pretty mommy and me day getting a mani/pedi and a blowout or haircut.
milosmommy milosmommy 9 years
I got chemical peels starting 6th grade. I had horrible acne and it helped. I went to an aesthetician sometimes twice a month depending on how broken out I was. It helped relieve some of it. Which is better letting your little girl get mercilessly teased because of her "pizza face" at school damaging her self-esteem, or taking her to get a chemical peel and "sending the wrong message". I think it's all situational. I see nothing wrong with spending some "mommy & me" time getting a mani & pedi, and lickety split has a good point about the bikini line issue. I'd take more issue if my daughter wanted to wear ten tons of make-up or wear "sexy" clothes than just basic up keep like this seems to be.
anniekim anniekim 9 years
Yes, this send a wrong message--or at least one I don't agree with. I think this promotes an early push into adulthood, concurrent with the "tween" movement, which promotes a sexualization and objectification of young girls. It's no for nothing that the article on this trend is only a few away from the "oral sex in 8th grade" article. I probably sound strident, and I'm sorry for that, but I get a visceral creep out about this topic.
bailaoragaditana bailaoragaditana 9 years
I spent a lot of my childhood playing with Petite Miss makeup and any of my mother's or grandmother's makeup that I could find, but it was all about smearing liberal amounts of bright colors on my face - not any attempt to look "sexy" or anything like that. I got my first bottle of nail polish when I was 8, but to this day I've never had a salon-style manicure. I'll paint my nails when I can be bothered, but mostly I don't bother. I didn't start shaving till middle school, and the bikini area didn't become a factor until swim team and gymnastics in high school, and even then, it involved no wax. I don't think that this stuff constitutes "taking care of yourself" when you're really young. Hygiene is about washing your face, brushing your teeth, showering, washing your hair, wearing deodorant, and I think that's the only place pressure should be exerted - that's really where parents should guide children. Unless body hair is causing the child undue anxiety or is the reason for teasing (ie, a massive unibrow or something like that), then I see no reason for anything to be done at such a young age. (And to be honest, adults don't really NEED things like bikini waxes either... but at least they have a choice. Children don't.)
PeaceLove415 PeaceLove415 9 years
Oh my god i cant believe you got your first pedicure in 8th grade! And you didnt wax your eyebrows until college!? Wow that is extreme to me personally because I belive theres nothing wrong with teaching young girls to take care of themselves. I first waxed my eyebrows when I was 11 and the same with my legs. I have been getting manicures since I was about 8 and on a monthly basis. Im sorry but I just dont agree with your article.
graylen graylen 9 years
I'm really blown away by the bikini waxes. I had never thought of the swim team issue, but I think that at that age, shaving is still more appropriate. I was allowed to wear makeup at 13 and shave at 12. I'm pretty sure I painted my own toes at that age, though I wouldn't have a problem with my girls getting pedis at a younger age (though a much cheaper one than mine!).
vmruby vmruby 9 years
I've taken my daughter for mani's and pedi's for about 2 years now.She's seven.I go every 3 weeks and she doesn't always go with me so it happens alot less fo her.She loves having her nails and her toes polished but most importantly, it also gives us some fun,relaxing mommy and me time. As for the other beauty treatments it's not happening.She's way too young and she definitely doesn't need them.
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
my kids are on swim team and i can't imagine any kid being comfortable with pubic hair showing every day at the pool. i've noticed that a lot of the teen girls wear a bikini bottom under their speedo a week each month, so i can guess they don't want certain things exposed. i've already discussed the need for grooming the pubic area with my girls and i hope i can afford laser hair removal so they don't have to mess with shaving every day down there. speedos don't cover much and my kids are at the pool every day for swim team and twice a week for dive team. no matter how old you are i think it's just gross to have pubic hair exposed.
JennyJen2 JennyJen2 9 years
The more I think about this - what I am actually most concerned with is the age that some people allow their kids to go to tanning salons or lay out in the sun. That has a definite prooven negative effect. I mean when I was a teenager it was not unheard of for kids (myself included) to go to tanning as young as 14-15 years old. Now I think that is just wrong and I have heard of children even younger then this tanning now!
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
I agree that the mani and pedi are ok ... I've never had one and I'm sure I'd enjoy one, and I don't see a problem for younger girls to get them. I told my mom about this and she had a good point: "Yeah, I can't understand these young girls doing everything so young. They will have nothing left to look forward to. They will get burned out on things way before they even should be experiencing them. NOT GOOD! I think some times that is what causes them to get into really weird and bad stuff. They are trying to get a thrill because they have done everything else and nothing excites them any more." The extreme stuff like boob jobs, nose jobs, lipo, etc are happening younger everyday and I can only imagine that it is coming from starting chemical peels and waxing so young... trying to achieve the 'perfect beauty'. I may be wrong though.....
carrieann9016 carrieann9016 9 years
No way! Mani pedi for her first dance yes!
blackjade blackjade 9 years
wow - um, I got my first bikini wax a few months before my honeymoon! And didn't tweeze my eyebrows until college. I started shaving gmy legs i the 7th grade. My mom (a woman who doesn't leave the house without makeup - ever) never pushed or even encouraged me to go the grooming route. This is just excessive. I've never been so glad that we're having a boy!
JennyJen2 JennyJen2 9 years
Okay - I agree with the waxing and chemical peels being acrazy, but I don't see what is wrong with having a mani or a pedi as a little girl. I mean who has not had their nails painted by their big sister, an aunt or mommy when they were a kid. In this fast paced world we live in - it seems like going for a pedicure is kind of the new way of doing things. I will probably get abused for this, but my 1 1/2 year old goes with me when I get my pedicures and they paint her nails and massage her legs. I think it is cute!
Greggie Greggie 9 years
Manis and pedis? I'd do that with a 5-year-old. Our salons do really cute little girl manicures and pedicures. Chemical treatments, no way. I started waxing my mustache in 7th grade and if my daughter wants hers done then I'll let her. Mine was a big source of embarrassment. But not bikini. That just ain't happening.
schnappycat schnappycat 9 years
Oops. *regimens* NOT regimes. LOL.
schnappycat schnappycat 9 years
Wow, I didn't even start shaving my legs until 7th grade. I can't imagine waxing! In fact, I probably didn't even know what it was then (although I'm guessing it wasn't as popular, or at least as talked about, in the 80s). I did get my hair highlighted for the first time for my 8th grade dance and graduation and that was a huge deal. I'm a nail biter, so manicures are pointless for me, and I don't think I had my first pedicure until I was an adult (which I now do regularly). Apparently I'm out of it and 6 year olds have better and more thorough beauty regimes than I do. Oy.
snow-flake snow-flake 9 years
I can NOT believe that 6th graders are having their bikini line waxed. That is far to young. As a middle school teacher I do notice that young children are putting a higher value on looks now more than ever, but a bikini wax is absolutely ridiculous. I have noticed several children in 5th and 6th grade have dyed hair-- which I find too young. Personally I started shaving my underarm and leg hair at age 12 (most definitely due to peer pressure). I waxed my eyebrows starting at age 13 or 14- looking back maybe that was a bit too young.
anniebananie anniebananie 9 years
Chemical treatments? Yikes! I doubt that is good for a growing girl. I won't oppose a little tweezing here and there if she has a unibrow, waxing will be a hard to decide. Hopefully she won't get her daddy's hair genes.
kikidawn kikidawn 9 years
Waxing in 6th grade?! Seriously?! when I was in 6th/7th grade I was so excited that I was growing up and getting pubic hair that I wouldn't have considered waxing/shaving it off! lol :rotfl: But seriously I can't believe that. Yes, in my opinion that is way too young. I've never had a wax and I'm 21 (sorry if TMI)
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