A spa day is right up there on our list of favourite things to do, but would you allow your child to have a spray tan? How about a facial or a manicure?
This is a question that 2,768 British mums were asked during a survey conducted by the British Association of Beauty Therapists and Cosmetologists (BABTAC), and the results may surprise you: Two in three mothers (68 percent) allow their daughters under the age of 8 to receive professional beauty treatments.
The results were published in Scratch magazine, and state that mums were asked how regularly they allowed their daughters to have professional treatments, with 41 percent revealing that they left it for special occasions while 33 percent of parents allowed their daughters to have “regular” treatments.
But why are parents taking their daughters to receive professional beauty treatments like manicures, hair removal, facials and professional makeup?
According to the organisation, three-fourths of these mums claimed that the reason for these treatments was because they improved their child’s confidence. Some 61 percent of mothers said it was a “great chance for me to bond with my daughter” and 69 percent stated, “My child wants to fit in with her peers.” However, there were also 12 percent of parents who chose to take their child for professional treatments because they “make her look better.”
It’s no secret that child beauty and pamper parties in the U.K. have become big business in recent years, and a quick Google search shows just how many pamper party services are out there. But is the emphasis that these treatments place on beauty adding unnecessary pressure for children to conform to unrealistic standards of beauty?
BABTAC spokesperson Lesley Blair shed some light on this subject. Speaking of the results she said, “Most parents of young girls know how much interest they can take in their mum’s makeup bag and how they love to have their nails painted. It’s not unusual for children as young as three or four to imitate their mother and want to be a part of the beauty regime; all that is just harmless fun and a part of growing up. If you think about how popular children’s pamper parties are, where the little ones are decked out in glitter and are given manicures and pedicures, it’s no surprise that mums like to treat their little girls every now and then.”
But is allowing your child to have professional beauty treatments a bad thing? Should they not wait until they are older?
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“There is not necessarily any harm in that kind of thing, providing it is a special treat and not an everyday expectation,” Blair said. “Kids should have the chance to be kids, without worrying about what they look like; they will spend enough time thinking about that in a few years’ time when they are teenagers! The real trouble comes when they pick up negative behaviours and traits, getting on the bathroom scales and criticising their reflection in the mirror, and then feeling that they need these treatments in order to boost their self-esteem. During this time in a girl’s life, she is very vulnerable and impressionable, so it’s important to work on their confidence so they are happy with their natural selves.”