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How Young is Too Young to Wax?

Photo: 510families.org

How did you prepare for summer camp when you were a kid? My to-do list typically included packing my comfiest sleep clothes, my favorite pillow, and a couple dog-eared books (occasionally a stuffed animal if camp was really far in the woods). But these days, the New York Times is reporting that there’s a new trend among tweens and young girls: they’re waxing their underarms, legs, lips, and even bikini lines before they head to sleepaway camp.

The hypothesis behind why middle school and early high school-aged girls are doing this? The desire to fit in, according to Dr. Laura Kastner, a psychologist and professor from University of Washington who specializes in teens.

“It’s more about peer conformity than peer pressure,” [Dr. Kastner] said. “The pressure really comes from within.” In school, she added: “Kids can struggle and get typecast. They can go to camp and literally remake themselves, like the way people do when they go to college.”

The article goes on to say that the procedures are fairly minor, and Bobbi Brown is even quoted saying that these mini-makeovers are about “making sure your child is comfortable.” 

We’ve discussed ‘tween trends before on the blog, like the heartbreaking one of YouTubers asking commenters if they’re ugly. This isn’t nearly as extreme but at the same time, it’s not the best message for young girls. Yes it gives these girls a sense of fitting in, but does it also prevent them from becoming comfortable in their own skin? Not to mention that waxing also seems to take a particular fortitude—it can be pretty painful. I tried it when I was in middle school and found it to be an anxiety-inducing experience—the hot wax, the sitting still, the anticipation of the agonizing cloth pull. I didn’t go back for a second try until I was safely in college, though I do know other girls who felt good about the experience and continued to do it throughout high school.

What do you think? Is early adolescence a good age to begin these types of beauty treatments?

—Candice

One tween trend we can get on board with: starting with SPF and good skincare habits early. Read all about new brands catering to young skin.

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