In 2004, a survey by NPD Group showed that on average, girls started to use beauty products at the age of 17. Today that average is 13.
Influence of Media on Children & Beauty
There’s a scene in “Toddlers & Tiaras,” the TLC reality series, where 2-year-old Marleigh is perched in front of a mirror, smothering her face with blush and lipstick. She giggles as her mother attempts to hold the squealing toddler still, lathering her legs with self-tanner. “Marleigh loves to get tan,” her mom says, as the girl presses her face against the mirror.
The quote above is about Marleigh, one of the pageant girls on the show. Does anyone find something disturbing about this picture? She is two years old. Unfortunately the ridiculousness of this scene doesn’t end on screen, it is a depiction of our current generation.
What do these shows have in common? “Extreme makeover”, “I Want a Famous Face” “Little Miss Perfect” “Toddlers & Tiaras”. These are shows centered around raising the bar of what is considered the norm when it comes to beautifying our children.
With reality TV shows, thousands of beauty product commercials, air-brushed magazine ads, and beautiful celebrities adorning every movies we watch, the norm of the importance of beauty has changed dramatically. In 2004, a survey by NPD Group showed that on average, girls started to use beauty products at the age of 17. Today that average is 13.
But even that figure could be an overstatement. According to a market research firm Experian,
- 43 percent of 6 to 9 year olds are already using lipstick or lip gloss
- 38 percent are using hairstyling products
- 12 percent use other other cosmetic products
By the time they are 50 years old, an average women would have spent nearly $300,000 on just their hair and face according to Newsweek’s research on beauty trends (noted below). But is this surprising considering girls ages 11 to 14 are exposed to 500+ advertisements per day? 8 to 12 years old already spend $40+ million a month on beauty products according to NPD Group. Teenagers? $100 Million.
More Statistics on Beauty
- Cosmetic Surgery Procedures for Under 18 – Doubled last 10 years
- 14% of Botox injections given to 19-34 age group, seeking “preventative treatments”
- [American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery]
- 42% of 1st to 3rd Graders want to be thinner
- 81% of 10 years olds fear getting fat
“When you have tweens putting on firming cream… it’s clear they’re looking for imaginary flaws,” – Harvard psychologist Nancy Etcoff
True Cost of Lifetime Beauty
Economy got you down? Trying to pinch a few pennies here and there? How about cutting out on some beauty products and enhancements! See the chart below.
- What are your thoughts about young children and teens spending so much time and money on beautifying themselves?
- How about Adults?
- What can be done to help push up against our image driven culture?
- Can anything be done?