Young girls getting highlights

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It seems to be all the rage these days: talk of teens, and tweens, and their primping. When is it too soon? When is it too much? I remember getting my ears pierced at a relatively young age--I think I was in the second grade--but makeup? Well, even though my mother and grandmother generously indulged in that, I wasn't allowed until I was much, much older.

These days, as you can tell just by walking down the street, watching Nickelodeon--Miley Cyrus, anyone?--or hitting the local mall or salon, beauty is not just for adults anymore. And primping isn't just about beauty anymore, either--it's about pampering. I don't know when pampering ourselves became such a pursuit, but it is, at least with many of the women--and their daughters--I know.

A recent article in the New York Times probes this phenomenon. Girls want to be like their moms and the women they know. They want to go to salons, too. They want to get highlights and whatever else done to their hair as well as having their toes painted and their colors done. One girl's mother interviewed for the article commented that her daughter works hard and gets good grades. Her mother contends, because of that, she deserves a trip to the salon--to get her hair highlighted, to be pampered.

A woman who works at Toadly Kool Salon, where many tweens go for their 'dos, says she's seen little girls as young as six coming in for highlights. I'm sorry? WHAT??? Others echoed those findings. I cringe as I read all this, mainly because of my own experience. When I was a kid--and I mean a kid--my mother and grandmother (who was a beautician and owned her own salon) agreed to give me a perm. I may have told you this story before, but the result hasn't changed.

My hair was essentially a rat's nest until it grew out. I always wanted curly hair, though, and got my grandmother to keep perming away. The best result I got was a tight little poodle perm, not the long glorious wavy locks of beauty queens I so coveted. Perhaps my hair would have looked like that had I actually been old enough to take care of it.

Hair--coloring, perming, relaxing, straightening, highlighting, whatever--takes money, time, and commitment. Something little girls simply do not have. Perhaps you disagree with me on this, and i am no one to say mommy/daughter pedicures are bad, but I think six years old is too dang young for highlights. I don't care if Hannah Montana has them or not.

if this trend continues, when will it be acceptable to just look like you do? Three? Four? Or should we just go ahead and curl their hair and put makeup on them too? Heck, why stop there--as soon as she's out of the womb we should take a look at her and make all those changes. It'll be a mommy/baby daughter bonding thing.

Please. Perhaps this is the conservative mom in me speaking out now that I have a child but I see the hell little girls go through at an earlier and earlier age. Their self esteem is shot by the time they're six now because they don't have highlights. It stinks.

Whattaya think? How young is too young--or does it even matter?

Pic of hair like I wanted as a kid by Franco Folini.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.