Latest News

The latest teen hangout? It's the spa

"It feels sooo great," crooned 13-year-old Taylor Cyganiak, who the day before had a fresh coat of "Koala Berry" pink polish applied on her manicured fingers and toes. "You have such a busy life and you're always running, and then all the sudden you can just relax."

Cyganiak's beauty routine -- which, to the tune of a few hundred dollars a month, takes her into the spa for manicures, pedicures, eyebrow waxing and facials about every other week -- marks a shift in the demographics of those seeking to pamper themselves.

Day spas and wellness centers that were once the domain of a privileged older crowd are now just as likely to be waxing and shaping adolescents' eyebrows or hosting group massages for parties of 8-year-olds.

And while some businesses are wrestling with implementing consent forms for high schoolers who request services such as bikini waxes, others see their treatments as providing moms and daughters and girlfriends with healthy outlets for relaxation and bonding.

At Hair Decisions & Oasis Spa in New Berlin, Wis., owner Margi Fagan said the number of girls coming in for $14 eyebrow waxes has tripled in the last few years, and many of them are as young as 11 and 12.

"I think the fascination with waxing comes from the way clothes are worn now," she said. Photos of young people in magazines seem to be driving a desire to have the "right eyebrows shaped properly for your face."

She wasn't sure what was prompting more requests for bikini waxes, which more girls have asked for during spring break season.

"We don't usually have anyone younger than 15 for those," Fagan said.

Bikini waxes for teens?

At In Excelsis Day Spa in West Bend, Wis., manager Angela Prost said the store is weighing concerns about age-appropriate body waxing as it expands its store to include the service. She is sure of this much: The store won't be offering bikini waxes to young teens.

"In my eyes, it seems like it just isn't right to offer it when they're that young, no matter how popular the service is," Prost said.

The spa's increase in younger clientele has mostly resulted from girls who come in with their moms for side-by-side pedicures or massages.

"A day of shopping just doesn't do it anymore," said Donna Klotz, whose eighth-grade daughter got hooked on spa treatments at In Excelsis after Klotz offered them as a reward for making the honor roll.

"It's nice when we get to go and relax together," Klotz said. "It's like a little piece of heaven."

And while Klotz and her daughter look forward to having someone break up the tension in their shoulders, children as young as 6 and 7 are getting similar therapeutic attention at the Oriental Wellness Center and Spa in Pewaukee, Wis.

Owner Phebe Pernell said that in addition to working on children with health problems, they also accept bookings for birthday parties where all the kids get facials and massages.

"They do soccer and gymnastics, and it stresses them out," Pernell said. "We make it into a party with food and mini-lectures that teach them about stress and how to take care of themselves."

The grown-up demands from such young clients may have some people raising their un-waxed eyebrows, but Cyganiak's mother, Karen, said it's an approximately $100- to $200-a-week luxury they can afford, and it lets the girls have fun.

Recently, she gave up her nail appointment so that Taylor Cyganiak could introduce her best friend to the world of manicures and pedicures.

"They learn more about themselves and their bodies and how to pamper themselves," Karen Cyganiak said, then laughed. "I think Taylor is now getting more treatments here than I do."