From Newsweek:  “Generation Diva. How our obsession with beauty is changing our kids.” Written by Jessica Bennett.

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Excerpt:

Girls today are salon vets before they enter elementary school. Forget having mom trim your bangs, fourth graders are in the market for lush $50 haircuts; by the time they hit high school, $150 highlights are standard. Five-year-olds have spa days and pedicure parties. And instead of shaving their legs the old-fashioned way—with a 99-cent drugstore razor—teens get laser hair removal, the most common cosmetic procedure of that age group. If these trends continue, by the time your tween hits the Botox years, she’ll have spent thousands on the beauty treatments once reserved for the “Beverly Hills, 90210” set, not junior highs in Madison, Wis.

Reared on reality TV and celebrity makeovers, girls as young as Marleigh are using beauty products earlier, spending more and still feeling worse about themselves. Four years ago, a survey by the NPD Group showed that, on average, women began using beauty products at 17. Today, the average is 13—and that’s got to be an overstatement. According to market-research firm Experian, 43 percent of 6- to 9-year-olds are already using lipstick or lip gloss; 38 percent use hairstyling products; and 12 percent use other cosmetics. And the level of interest is making the girls of “Toddlers & Tiaras” look ordinary. “My daughter is 8, and she’s like, so into this stuff it’s unbelievable,” says Anna Solomon, a Brooklyn social worker. “From the clothes to the hair to the nails, school is like No. 10 on the list of priorities.

(Emphasis mine.)

The article continues,

Why are this generation’s standards different? To start, this is a group that’s grown up on pop culture that screams, again and again, that everything, everything, is a candidate for upgrading. These girls are maturing in an age when older women are taking ever more extreme measures, from Botox to liposuction, to stay sexually competitive. They’ve watched bodies transformed on “Extreme Makeover”; faces taken apart and pieced back together on “I Want a Famous Face.” They compare themselves to the overly airbrushed models in celebrity and women’s magazines, and learn about makeup from the girls of “Toddlers & Tiaras,” or the show’s WEtv competitor, “Little Miss Perfect.”

Read the full article here – and check out the interactive chart about women’s beauty spending, from childhood into their 60s. Disturbing stuff.