Big Hair, Big Nails


Dear Dharma,

I am a mother of 3 children, 2 girls and one boy so I am no stranger to raising children. My sister is talking about taking her 11 year old daughter to get gel nails and hair extensions!

I think this is SO wrong at such a young age. She is only 11 years old and shouldn’t be exposed to this sort of thing yet. I want to give her my opinion but she always hates to hear when it’s constructive criticism.

What do you think on this issue? If you agree, how do I deal with this?

Aunty S

Dear Aunty S,

So here’s something interesting.  I already had my own thoughts ready to go as I read your question, but I turned to Google to see if they would back me up or not.  You know what word came up the most when I searched hair extensions?


I’m just saying.  Certain things fall into certain categories in life.  Hair extensions seem to fall into the category of “Kardashian.”  Interesting, right?

I also found this great quote – “Hair extensions – because it’s never too early to start doing permanent damage to your child’s hair.”  Haha.

I feel the same about gel nails.  I had one once.  Yes, just one gel nail.  In 2006, for a special occasion, and one of my own nails shattered the day of, so I panicked and had a gel put on.  To this day, that nail is ridged and weakened, cracks all the time.  10 years later.  Looks like crap.

Some people say their natural nails are already so bad that gel nails are their only alternative.  Fair enough.  But at 11 years old, can this claim already be established?

Permanent physical damage aside, I think this speaks to something a little bigger.  Teaching an 11 year old little girl that her worth is tied up in being pretty, and being pretty means she needs all this fake crap might not be the best message.

Also, when you’ve got the hair and nails all glammed up, it’s usually geared to attracting a certain type of attention from the boys.  At 11, is she equipped to handle that kind of attention?  I know kids are “older” now than they were in my day, but still… does she want her daughter entering that arena already?  She’s got years ahead of her for that.

It also encourages a fairly high level of monetary maintenance should these esthetics stick… I know some young girls whose monthly bill for hair, nails, eyebrows, waxing – it’s through the roof. Stereotypically speaking, young people aren’t yet great with money, so a credit card racked with charges from “Spa de Jour” isn’t out of the realm of possibility as they enter into adulthood.

You say you want to give your sister your opinion, but you haven’t really said what your exact thoughts are, other than to say she’s doing something wrong.  That may not be the best way to sway her.  Make it about being concerned, and tell her why.  Do some research on the physical damage to your nieces hair and nails (find pictures if you can), and dig a little deeper into the perils of encouraging this type of vanity.

At the end of the day, though, if she goes through with it, it’s ultimately out of your jurisdiction.  Just try to be a different type of role model for your young niece and hope you can create some balance.


gel nails

Got a question for Dharma? She’s probably got an answer!

Go on, submit your question in the contact form on the toolbar. You know you want to! To submit anonymously, just make up a fake name and email – as long as the fields are populated, it works!

And be sure to follow Dharma everywhere!

Instagram too!

And of course, Twitter… @deardharma

Categories: Advice, Beauty, Family, Money, Politics

1 Comment

  • notyournormalchick says:

    What the heck! Seriously? Is the next steps layers of make up and those horrible child beauty pageants? Let kids be kids for Christ sake! I am a firm believer that the only thing an 11 year old needs to have on her nails is some dirt from playing outside!

    I totally back you up on this one Aunty S!

Whether you agree with Dharma or think she missed the mark on this one, leave a Comment!

%d bloggers like this: