WHEN Victoria Beckham shared a photo of daughter Harper having a “baby facial”, it seemed like celebrity madness.
The seven-year-old was seen on a treatment bed at the German HQ of Dr Barbara Sturm — pioneer of the “vampire” facial where celebs are smothered with their own blood, at great expense.
But kids’ beauty treatments are now taking off in the UK, with facials and massages for those as young as three, or waxing and bleaching for 11-year-olds.
Youngsters feel pressure to look like social media influencers and other celebrities but experts fear for their mental health — and that they may later want more extreme work done.
Tru Powell, 34, who runs Kandy Girl Kids Spa in Birmingham, says: “The world is teaching children that self-care and self-love is important. We have done facials and massages on three-year-olds, individually and for party packages.
“TV and social media are the influences for things like lip fillers. Everyone wants to be the next Kim Kardashian.”
His prices range from £2 for a lip scrub and £3 for a mini face massage, to £45 for the Kandy Girl VIP Experience including manicure, pedicure, foot massage and facial.
He adds: “We use organic products. It doesn’t necessarily do anything, other than it’s fun. The kids like the smells. We use cocoa in facials, that they can eat.
“Three-year-olds are excited, they see what their mums and sisters get.
“At pamper parties, they get gowns to wear, and non-alcoholic Disney cham-pagne. They sit on thrones and have a foot spa while reading magazines. It is not that we make them like adults, we’re following protocols of what a spa is like.”
Studies show one in five girls in the UK, aged ten to 15, is now unhappy with her body.
But the British Association of Beauty Therapists and Cosmetology says two in three mums book salon treatments for their under-eights.
Clinical psychologist Emma Citron fears mental health issues.
She says: “Facials and massages could be relaxing but waxing and tinting introduce kids to the idea they must beautify themselves and look at themselves a certain way that is sexually attractive. I don’t think it’s good.
‘LAST CHANCE TO BE A CHILD’
“Before they reach teenage years, it is the last real chance to be a child — frolic in the park, play with teddies.
"Parents could be putting cash toward taking their children out, giving them a hot chocolate in the park — memories to cherish.
“Peer pressure to look a certain way is an issue going forward and there’s no going back. Social media encourages children and young teenagers to have these treatments because peers put on perfect poses. If you get into this early, it can lead to problems with mental health.”
Lisa Muldowney, manager of Pure Bliss in Sunderland, offers treatments from the age of 13 and believes it helps victims of bullying.
She says: “If young girls are bullied at school for having hairy legs, we want to help. This is the society we live in, we must move with the times.
“Kids have a higher standard of beauty to live up to than we did. It’s a sad fact.
“Our teen menu is popular. We get lots of teenagers coming in with their mums. We do workshops encouraging skincare, to ensure they use correct products. It’s not really about vanity and there are treatments we would refuse.”
Psychologist Dr Abigael San is also worried. She says: “Too much of a focus on appearance could make anxiety and depression more likely. People only post pictures of themselves looking fantastic, so children compare themselves to this.
“When it becomes normal to get an eyelash tint, you feel bad after it fades. When it is normal to wax your legs, you feel bad when the hair grows back. It’s important parents take control. Treatments may also make kids aware of other treatments, so it is more likely they go on to have Botox and lip fillers.”
Consultant aesthetician Sadaf Jaffari says: “It’s worrying. There has been a huge increase in interest for non-surgical cosmetic aesthetic treatments.
Spray tan for girl, 8
HAIR and beauty salon owner Lisa Loughran lets eight-year-old daughter Isabel get a host of treatments.
Lisa, 40, of Middlesborough, says: “She began asking to get her nails done at age two. Now she also has her brows trimmed and the odd spray tan.
“She began getting hair extensions when six.”
Many kids come to the salon from age 11.
Lisa says: “It’s for brow-tinting, waxing, threading, leg-waxing, hair extensions, eyelashes, gel nails and extensions.”
“I wouldn’t encourage young girls to have facials or any treatment. I would only advise using sunblock. The younger they have a facial, the younger they may want to try something new.”
Lesley Blair, of the Confederation of International Beauty Therapy and Cosmetology, says: “For parents, there are naturally concerns around pressures for children to look a certain way.
“Sadly, we often see young people being bullied for their appearance, particularly during puberty. Beauty therapies can be a saving grace, helping to take back control and empower.
“On the other hand, there are instances where unnecessary focus on appearance can undermine self-esteem.”
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