by Cassandra R. Elias
Maybe it's the whole "Toddlers and Tiaras" influence. Perhaps it's watching the kids of reality stars like "The Real Housewives of New Jersey's" Teresa Guidice's daughter celebrating her ninth birthday with a salon party. There's a hair-raising trend in little girls becoming a great source of revenue for spas and salons in the United States.
We're not talking about taking your little princess to an occasional "big girl" mani/pedi appointment with you. We are talking about treatments that you yourself may not have even had before you were in college!
Very young girls are buffing, plucking, spray tanning and even waxing! At Drybar in New York City, kids under 10 can get what they call the "Shirley Temple" hair blow-out for $28. Imagine paying $28 to blow dry your five-year-old's hair! Manager of Dryber, Alex Ketcheson, told Good Morning America, "They always love it. They always have a big smile on their face, and a lot of times they'll get up and give their hairdresser a big hug."
I imagine the hairdresser has a big smile on their face when they get paid, too.
At Beehives and Buzzcuts in New York, no one is too young. They give manicures to one-year-olds, fancy updos, just about anything you can name is on the menu. Salon owner, Karolyn Massey said, "There's always a market for little girls and giving them a little special time and a little love. You can really relax."
Relax from what? Knocking over blocks or napping?
The tween beauty business is a huge market, too. Business at the Simon Says spa in Skokie, IL is booming and at New York's Sothy’s Spa, tweens can expect a "stress-free spa day." Tweens can get coconut and lemon facials and "seasonal facials" according to Trena Ross, Sothy's spa director.
At Salon Ouidad, a national chain of spas catering to clients with curly hair, some of the smallest clients say they're unhappy with their curls. Those young clients make up as much as 20 percent of the salon's clientele. Quidad's owner tells Good Morning America, "I have nine-year-olds coming in for chemical treatments. I have as young as six- and seven-year-olds. They do a chemical treatment to release and loosen their curls."
It goes beyond all that we described, too. Girls as young as 11 and 12 are even getting bikini waxes. One mother says it's part of their hygiene regimen. Another mother said if her daughter didn't mind the pain, she would be fine with her daughter getting a bikini wax as well.
While there's little doubt that the tween set may well enjoy these spa treatments, one has to wonder what kind of message we are sending our young girls by letting and even encouraging them to change their appearance at such a young age.
Would you let your daughter get these treatments and if so, which ones? What age is too young?