Children Getting Manicures – How Young Is Too Young?

Most women will remember sneaking into their mother or grandmother’s bathroom and closet to try on their grown up makeup and clothes (I admit as a 20 year old I still sneak into the bathroom to try on Mom’s lipstick when she isn’t home, what can I say she has some great MAC stuff). Today, increasing numbers of mothers are taking this a step further, by bringing their daughters with them to the salon to get grown up treatments like manicures and pedicures, and Mani/Pedi birthday parties for young girls are becoming increasingly popular; but how young is too young?

A 2007 study conducted by Experian found that 2/3 of the respondents aged 6-9 had used nail polish. Today’s generation of young girls is seeing an increase in products and services aimed at them. Cosmetics companies and salons are taking advantage of the young girls wanting to be more grown up by creating products that are moderately priced and have packaging aimed at young children.

Parents are divided in opinion about taking children to the salon; one view is that it is over-sexualizing children and teaching them that appearance is the most important thing, whilst another view is that it is perfectly natural for girls to want to be like their mothers and this is just a modern version of trying on your mother’s makeup in the bathroom. The difference in opinion is perfectly demonstrated on the discussion forum Constant Chatter.

In 2011, a survey of more than 750 parents conducted by parenting magazine found that 71% of respondents agreed that 12 was an appropriate age for a manicure. Ultimately the decision lies with the parents, but if you do choose to paint your daughter (or son’s) nails at home, we recommend using Melijoe’s ‘Little Bu’ range of polishes. Retailing at $14.60 a bottle, these polishes (although being a bit expensive for children’s polishes) are water-based, non-toxic, odorless and wash off with soap in warm water. They provide a great balance for kids who want to look more grown up with nail polish but not rushing them to the salon too early for their first treatment. We also think Piggy Paint, Hopscotch Kids, and Suncoat Girl are great options. As with anything to do with your child – do your research and go with your gut!

– Mette Jorgensen

Elise Wright

Elise is a social media strategist from Sydney, now living in NYC, who has a long standing love affair with the beauty industry- especially the nail industry!

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