A recent media report about beauty trends in Beirut by Natacha Yazbeck (AFP) underlined how the spa and salon trade was focusing their marketing efforts on Lebanese children, as young as 4 and 5 years of old.
Little girls, as the report goes, are being encouraged to learn about basic beauty care at an early age. This learning process includes receiving lush chocolate facials as well as luxurious manicures and pedicures.
Although first thoughts might be that the children are being excessively pampered, Maya Hilal, 34, the owner of Spa-Tacular, located in Beirut's trendy Ashrafieh district was quoted as saying "it's not about spoiling our children" but instead "it's a matter of maintaining their cleanliness. It's hygiene. It's feeling good about yourself."
A similar movement has occurred in the United States over the past five years although the rationale behind encouraging child spa and customized salon services are tied specifically, as experts claim, to helping cultivate new clients for a sagging salon and spa industry.
Not so in Lebanon. The country, which many have noted functions similarly with or without government, the Lebanese beauty craze is, to some, not a luxury but a routine part of life no matter their circumstances or age.
The war-torn country which is often haunted by rubble left behind from Israeli or Shiite militant bombings places a high value on looking beautiful. Lebanon is known for being a country focused on image and a population that is very image-conscious. It is also known for a plastic surgery mecca.
As part of the push for beauty at a young age customized salons are popping up which are for children only. While some members of the beauty industry believe promoting beauty and grooming to young children is good because it trains young women to become "future brides" and more "marriageable."
Some mothers in Lebanon are concerned, even when their daughters are still young that they learn to look their very best because "it's survival in competition for a man."
Other experts believe this is sending a bad message and could ultimately impact young girl's self-esteem.
Regardless whether the trend for focusing on children's beauty needs, is positive or not, it has taken hold in Beirut and is considered one of the fastest growing beauty trends in the country. In Lebanon which functions the same with or without government, the Lebanese beauty craze will continue to be not a luxury but a routine part of life no matter their circumstances -- or age.
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