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Tween Beauty: At What Price?

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Expensive new trend: Moms spending hundreds on their daughters at the salon.


Moms, hold on to your purse! Pricey highlights and permanent straightening treatments are quickly becoming the norm among young girls ages 6 and up, according to the New York Times.

What happened to the days of $5 bottles of "Sun-In"? Today, girls get their hair professionally colored, cut, and coiffed just like their mommies...and the rest of their friends.

Some Moms say spending $200-plus on an 11-year-old's hair is absolutely outrageous, but others say there's no harm in pampering little girls a bit. If money was no object, would you send your daughter to a high-priced salon, or say no way?

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22 comments so far | Post a comment now
lizgriffith0 April 4, 2008, 6:03 PM

Special occasions are one thing, but regular trips to pricey salons seem like a waste. I think teens—not tweens—should get salon style treatment once they’re earning an income or allowance and decide this is a wise investment.

Beyond that, I’d rather see moms take their tweens to Sally Beauty Supply (or Target) and buy hair coloring and perms in a box and then spend some quality time at home in the bathroom having girl talk. Suggested conversation: Why
there is so much pressure on women to look their best at all times and self-esteem building.

Tracy April 4, 2008, 6:40 PM

people have WAY too much money. If I had that kind of money I’d spend it on travel so my child could see the world— Not for useless highlights

Charlene April 4, 2008, 6:42 PM

why are you people so judgemental? I personally want my daughter to feel pretty and confident and I’ll pay whatever it takes.

Kristine April 4, 2008, 6:47 PM

I’m 19 years old (not a mom, I just love reading this stuff)… And for the most part, my mother has been the only one to ever cut my hair. I’ve dyed it a few times on my own, but most of the time, she does that for me too. The only times I’ve stepped foot in a salon have been for proms and such… a total of three times!!!

I think that if you’re making your own money, go for it, but there’s no need to spend so much at a salon. I agree with what lizgriffith0 said, buy a box of dye and do it yourself! i think it’s more fun that way, anyway :)

April April 5, 2008, 12:47 AM

I would rather teach my daughter confidence that isn’t attached to her physical appearance. Paying “whatever it takes” so that she can feel good about herself isn’t teaching a young girl to value herself - it’s teaching her to value appearances. It just seems like the easy way out to me. It’s like parents don’t want to spend the time or effort to ensure that their children are strong and confident with their whole selves.

jackies April 5, 2008, 7:00 PM

Whatever happened to sports and good role models and not thinking about beauty at 12 years old. What is next? Are we going to allow our girls to get nose jobs at that age too? This society is WAYYY too beauty focused. This pisses me off. take your kid to europe-save your money. there are more important things.

GladMyKidIsGrownUp April 5, 2008, 8:48 PM

Parents today are basically suckers and let their kids walk all over them.

tracy April 5, 2008, 11:41 PM

ok, i can see spending a little here and there… but im sorry, i want my kids to be kids not adults… what fun is it to be a kid that wants to act like an adult.. i know when i was a kid the last thing on my mind was to dye my hair and what not. really now, what is going on today with our kids, why grow up so fast… enjoy them being kids. i love my little girls with all my heart and want to give them everything i can, but a line has to be drawn somewhere, right?

michelle April 6, 2008, 12:31 AM


get over it

Billy April 6, 2008, 2:00 PM

6 years old are you kidding me??
maybe at 12-MAYBE. but 6? Now that is just ridiculous.

Sassi April 10, 2008, 10:19 AM

I am a 21-year-old non-mom, but this article is interesting to me because I first began dying my hair as a “tween.” In 7th grade, my friend Celia encouraged me to highlight my hair. She highlighted hers, and it looked great. I went home to my mom that day (It was mid January, and I’d turned 12 a couple weeks earlier) and said I wanted to dye my hair, and she told me I could if I spent my own birthday and Christmas money (I’d been saving money I received from holidays and special events since age 8). She thought that’d make me say no, but it didn’t. Throughout middle school and high school, I went for highlights and hair cuts six times per year. I live in Massachusetts, and the haircolor alone cost $600/year. When I got to college (I’m currently a junior), I used the dye boxes more often, to save money, but I go in for a professional touch-up and haircut during my breaks. I believe that when a girl reaches middle school, similarly to what I did, she should be able to dye her hair if she can afford it. Allowing a girl to get makeovers, hair dye, or manicures at a relatively young age teaches responsibility if you have her pay. Though I’ve been dying my hair for 9 years, I am able to pay for college, will soon be renting my first apartment, and am able to go to dinner, movies, and theatrical performances with my friends after work and classes. When I began working (age 16), I also put my checks in the bank towards dying my hair. I believe that it really did teach me responsibility, and it is a great socializing experience.


Anonymous April 10, 2008, 8:03 PM

If you’re 14 and you Want to… sure. Maybe once or twice? Or work out a thing to pay if that’s a deal, but…
Honestly, I’m more comfortable with the usual pre-teen need to punkify slightly with colours not found in nature…
Changing from YOUR natural colour to someone Else’s… that smacks of self-image and the rest. Black is different, but I’d still be reluctant.

11 is crazy. Just. Crazy. 11 = child.
For the-

12, I could live with. 13, 12…
I know we’re all getting older, “faster” now, but there’s gotta be a line drawn Somewhere. This isn’t even Child-fashion… and not being little Puratins, they shouldn’t look like little… (celebrity, in this case,) adults.

Margaret May 4, 2008, 10:07 AM

I really don’t think that preteens need to color or highlight their hair for any reason other than a Halloween party. A good cut is one thing, but highlights? Get real, people, totally not necessary.

Anonymous June 8, 2008, 1:10 PM


Heahter June 10, 2008, 7:26 PM

Get real..Nobody cares what your hair looks like…My daughter is 11 and i already gave her blue and red highlites. and we died her bangs and the tips brown.and the whole underneath is blue…And we goin to black so get over it its no big deal!!

Naomi June 11, 2008, 1:46 AM

I think that you should be able to do anything with your hair, it is your life, but not if your 5 or somrthing becauae then you might regret it when your older. Fully sick mate.

jamirah March 11, 2009, 10:19 AM

umm…i think highlighting a childs hair at a young ade is a little strange. number 1 ur going to mess up ur childs hair at any early age. second who wants they’re child to look like an adult?? children are growing up too fast!!

momof1 February 26, 2010, 8:47 AM

We came across this situation when my daughter was 6. My daughter has milk white skin and eyes that are a mixture of violet and hazel. She had dark brown hair with deep red highlights naturally. She wanted to go bleach blonde, her grandma and I wanted to talk her out of it so we took her to a wig shop because we thought it would look terrible.We were wrong, she turned and looked at us and said “I told you so” after looking in the mirror. We took her to a salon once a month over the next year and a half to get her highlights , and we had more and more highlights added every time we went until she was fully blonde. Honestly, it was a pretty good decision the platinum blonde hair suits her better than her original color and she has had no regrets, she is now 11. She knows that the rules are that all of her grades have to be nothing under a B+ to keep the roots done and so far she has risen to the occasion because she loves the hair. I am not sure that it is the huge deal that folks make it out to be , if it looks good and the child truly likes it and you the parent are comfortable with it , no big deal.

Emmanuel Tropea November 13, 2010, 4:33 PM

Interesting post, I am going to put it on my blog

Julieann Macoreno November 15, 2010, 12:39 AM

Interesting…I am gunna have to look into this a little more

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