Dear Ask the Stylist,

I have a 10-year-old daughter that asks repeatedly to have her hair highlighted. What age is appropriate for her to begin getting her hair colored?

– Worried Mom

This question comes up often. And by having a conversation with your daughter about a topic that seems so minor, there is much you can learn about her and what’s currently going on within her ever changing, emotional pre-teen state of mind.

A few things should be considered before allowing a young person to alter their appearance. This applies to any chemical hair service, radical haircuts, even clothing choices. It’s important to have a talk with your daughter and discover her reasons behind it. Does she lack confidence? Is she feeling pressure from her peers? Does she want to do it just for fun?

Crescent LoMonaco

If your daughter has low self-esteem and thinks having her hair colored will make her more beautiful, then it’s important to talk to her about confidence, and to instill upon her that beauty is not just about what’s on the outside. Beauty comes from within. Check in with your daughter to learn if her physical goals are realistic. While it’s healthy for her to take pride in her appearance, it can be quite dangerous to expect unrealistic physical goals of herself and her body. This could lead to unhealthy patterns down the road. Be mindful of not placing too much emphasis on beauty with regards to yourself. “Do as I do,” not “Do as I say” has a much bigger impact on young minds.

Peer pressure begins younger and younger these days. Are her friends at school urging her to have her hair done? Does she really want to? Or does she just feel like she should because her friends say so? A conversation about peer pressure may be in order. Again, confidence comes into play here, as the better she feels about herself, the less likely she is to give into peer pressure.

Is your daughter a fun, stylish girl? While low self-esteem may be the reason for giving into peer pressure, the opposite may be true here. Perhaps your daughter’s confidence level is great, and she just wants to show off her style and have fun with her look. After all, changing the way we look is a girl’s prerogative! If she likes to change it up and experiment with her look, you may want to check into less permanent options, as she may want to change her hair more often than is healthy for her hair.

Does the school have rules about natural versus colored hair? Many schools have dress codes in place that also address hair, so check with the school to find out what’s allowed.

What are your thoughts and feelings about the situation? Do you feel your daughter is mature enough to start having her hair done? Is she mature enough to maintain the look? Who will pay for her hair maintenance? Listen to her, learn her reasons, and have a heart-to-heart. In the end, the final answer is up to you. Having such a discussion may allow you two to learn more about each other and hopefully bring the two of you closer. Who would’ve thought a discussion about hair could improve a parent-daughter relationship, one head at a time?


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