How girls as young as 11 are getting anti-acne facials, bikini waxes and hair-straightening before summer camp
18:50 GMT, 7 June 2012
Tweens and teenagers are gearing up for summer camp, which has become a complex process now involving multiple visits to beauty salons.
Girls as young as 11 are having keratin straightening treatments to reduce humidity-induced frizz, their legs, underarms, eyebrows and bikini lines waxed, as well as anti-acne facials.
And to ensure their image-conscious daughters don't worry about stray fuzz during sleep-away camp, mothers are spending up to $350 for just one treatment.
Off to camp: Girls as young as 11 are having keratin straightening treatments to reduce frizz, their legs, underarms, and bikini lines waxed, as well as facials
Maggie Santos, the manager at waxing salon J Sisters, told the New York Times nearly 40per cent of her clients during late May and early June are younger than 16.
Jill Greenspan, a New Jersey mother, admitted she is taking her 11-year-old daughter, Taylor, to receive an Absolute Frizz Control $250 hair-taming treatment before she leaves for two months of sleep-away camp in Pennsylvania.
Mrs Greenspan said: 'She hates
blow-drying her hair, so I guess it makes it a little easier. It’s just
one less thing she has to stress about.'
While these beautifying procedures might sound superficial, surprisingly it is not precocious adolescents who are having them done, so much as self-conscious teenagers with a basic desire to fit in.
Dr Laura Kastner, a psychologist specialising in teenagers said: 'It’s more about peer conformity than peer pressure. The pressure really comes from within.'
Bobbi Brown, the founder of her namesake make-up empire, has written two books for teenagers and said: 'It’s about making sure your child is comfortable.
'If she’s going to be in a bunk with all
these girls, and she feels insecure because she hasn’t taken care of
the hair on her lip or her legs, you know what You do whatever you can
do to make her feel good when she gets there,' she added.
'It’s about making sure your child is comfortable, you do whatever you can to make her feel good when she gets to camp'
New York based mother, Elizabeth Harrison, said: 'It’s about grooming and cleanliness'
She took her 13-year-old daughter, Charlotte, for a full leg and moderate bikini wax last year in preparation for camp in Maine.
'Last summer, she started to sort of say, “I’ve got a lot of hair on my legs.” It seemed like a natural and smart thing to do so she wouldn’t have to worry,' she said.
For young girls, a pre-camp, or even a general pre-summer visit to a salon can seem like a feminine rite of passage.
No-matter the generation, young girls have been self-conscious about their bodily flaws, and in a hurry to grow-up, since
the advent of advertising.
Catherine Ridha, a 24-year-old public relations manager, told MailOnline she first shaved her legs at 12, and began waxing at 13, under her mother's supervision.
Bobbi Brown: The make-up artist believes it's about making sure your child is comfortable
She said: 'We're young girls, we walk around aspiring to be a woman, and all women are hairless, in ads, walking down the street, in magazines.
'At 11 or 12, it's just a hurry to be like the seniors you're surrounded by, and look up to, at school.'
Miss Ridha also believes the desire to visit beauty salons is a normal process for girls as they grow up – a trying time during adolescence made easier because of supportive mothers, no matter the daughter's age.
'I had my first bikini wax at 15, but all girls develop at different stages. If you're growing hair that makes you uncomfortable at age 11, then there's nothing wrong with getting rid of it, with your mother's permission, at that point.'
She added: 'However, other girls may not have to worry about hair-growth, acne, or frizzy hair until they are 14. It's dependent on the person.'
Some salons require signed
parental consent forms to perform waxing services on clients younger
than 18, such as MaxWax or Benefit; and Haven in SoHo, New York, refuses to wax anyone under 14.
Waxing may pose greater risks for younger clients, who have thinner skin, than for adults, said Dr Nanette Silverberg, director of pediatric and adolescent dermatology at St Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital.
She said: 'Thinner skin burns more easily with hot wax. Although the wax would obviously be intended to stick to the hair, in a younger patient you might potentially cause some open areas of skin. You have to proceed with caution.'
As for chemical hair-straightening, Rita Hazan, the founder of a Manhattan salon, said: 'If you do it once or twice a year, it’s
not that much chemical for a young kid, and you’re relieving them of
their own insecurities.