Only a generation ago, little girls had to beg their moms just to put on make-up for a special occasion. But things have changed quite drastically since then. Moms these days are actually pampering their daughters at kiddy spas with custom-made packages to suit their needs. And believe it or not, some of these girls are as young as seven!
Whoever heard of a seven-year-old needing a massage, right? But the demand is apparently so great that the spa industry has really begun to target children in a big way. Adult spas are adding separate menus of services for little girls, and most major cities in the US have day spas that are meant exclusively for children. Manicures, pedicures, hairdos, makeup, oil rubs and even custom-sized robes are made available to clients, who are often too young to have had their first pimple.
According to the International Spa Association, industry trends indicate that 25 percent of the approximately 20,000 spas in the US now offer services that are specifically meant for the under-13 set. They offer kid-friendly music, banana-scented facials, and age-appropriate vocabulary – customers are ‘princesses’ and toes are referred to as ‘pigglies’.
Photo: Toys “R” Us
Case-in-point is the “kids’ treatment” menu at the Beverly Wilshire spa in Beverly Hills, California. They charge a hefty $50 for a 15-minute princess facial, which includes a facial cleansing and a massage. For those who are looking for something cheaper, there are the likes of the $30 Orbeez Luxury Spa at Toys “R” Us. It’s a toy pedicure station where girls can immerse their feet in small gel-filled balls.
Seriously Spoiled, on the other hand is a New York-based spa that’s completely dedicated to little girls, and they do take the business of spoiling them quite seriously. I went over to their website, and it really is a vision in pink. Apart from the regular salon and day spa services, they also offer a custom-made service called ‘Birthdays and Celebrations’.
Photo: Scoops Kid Spa
These are group events where little girls can get together for a day of pampering – they come in for a complete makeover, and then enjoy sweets provided by the in-house bakery. Similar services are provided by other spas across the nation, including Sweet and Sassy, a national chain of spas that employs cosmetologists who are specially trained to work with children.
“I feel like the best princess in the world,” said Paige Ehresman, who recently celebrated her seventh birthday at Sweet and Sassy. Paige and her friends enjoyed two hours of beauty treatments at the party, after which they walked down a red carpet and disappeared into a hot pink limousine for a spin around the parking lot. Needless to say, all the tiny guests at the party took loads of selfies.
Photo: Sweet and Sassy/Facebook
“They do deserve something special,” said Paige’s mother, 33-year-old Kari Ehresman. “I don’t want them to feel that my saying ‘no’ means that I don’t love them.
Child-oriented spas tend to make the most money from these birthday parties, which are a more sophisticated option compared to a day of pizza or burgers. Parties at Seriously Spoiled cost anywhere between $500 and $3,000, depending on the options chosen. Kari, on the other hand, spent $400 on the party she hosted at Sweet and Sassy for her daughter’s birthday.
Photo: Seriously Spoiled/Facebook
Most parents are quite appreciative of these services, and really do seem to believe their daughters deserve the very best. Some say it’s like ‘honoring the feminine’, while the International Spa Association president Lynne McNees said that it’s very good for girls to learn that beauty treatments can reduce stress and promote health. “It’s very similar to taking little kids to the dentist,” she insisted. “Let’s get them early, and get those really good habits.”
Not everyone is supportive of the concept, though. Child psychologist and author Madeline Levine called child spas ‘the worst idea ever’. Sociologist and author Christine Carter agreed: “What are we coming to? Spas for children?” She cautioned parents against sending their daughters to places where they could potentially be treated ‘like a Kardashian’.
But mothers argue that spas are harmless for girls as long as they don’t overdo it. “I try to teach them to take care of themselves at home, do their own nails, do their own hair,” said Donna Amoruso, who recently hosted a party for her daughter at Seriously Spoiled. “I think it’s fun for them to do it only once in a while, but not to take it seriously,” she added. “They can have fun and then they take it off and they definitely don’t go to school looking like that.”
Well, if you still think seven-year-olds are too young to be in a spa, wait till you hear this – parents Ken and Jen Brown got their daughter Faith a manicure as a special birthday treat, and she’s only three years old! Now that that’s out of the way, they plan to get her potty trained pretty soon.
Source: The New York Times