When you first step into Sugar Sugar Salon in Scottsdale, your first thought might be that the young ladies waiting in the lobby are there for a haircut. But it turns out that 14-year-old Macy Deak and many other teens coming to the salon are looking for a more permanent type of hair removal.
"I get my eyebrows done and I get my lip done," Macy said. "But I want to get my arms done because I don't like having hair on my arms."
It turns out she is not alone. Salons across the country are seeing more teens going in for waxing, or in Deak’s case, sugaring.
"We take sugar, lemon and water, we melt it down and cool it and it is able to adhere to your hair and dead skin," Sugar Sugar owner Aimee Blake explained. She believes sugaring is less painful and less irritating to your skin than waxing.
Blake said the salon had barely opened its doors when moms started coming in asking about hair removal for teens.
"Well, we were open about a week and all of a sudden I had mothers coming in asking if we were sugaring minors," she said.
After hearing that some teens had been bullied because of thick eyebrows or dark hair on their lips or faces, Blake decided her salon would offer a special menu just for teens.
"So, brows would definitely be No.1, and lip, quite a few young women don’t want the darkened peach fuzz. So we can take care of that too," Blake said.
But the services for teens are limited. Blake said Sugar Sugar does not, for example, do a full brow shaping.
"We don't bikinis," she said. "And we tell the mothers right up front if at any point the daughter says, 'No,I don't like this. I am uncomfortable,' we have the right to stop this."
Blake said that while some girls have tried shaving, the hair can actually look thicker afterward. She also would not use wax on teen skin.
Macy said she had tried and although it was unpleasant, it was worth it to get the look she wanted.
"I used to get really red and it used to hurt for maybe a few hours," she said.
But it wasn't quite enough.
"I had more [hair] growing down by my eyelid and so it bothered me a lot and so I wanted a little more shape," she explained
That is why her mom, Sherry Deak brought, took Macy to Sugar Sugar.
"You want to give them every opportunity to feel confident," she said.
Peter Tumolo, a licensed therapist with Arcadia Counseling Center, said it is fine for kids to want to look their best, but he encourages parents to talk with their kids about what they are looking for.
"I would encourage parents to ask their children what is their motivation for this. What is the end result? What are we trying to achieve?"
Tumolo said that conversation can help teens avoid heading down a potentially dangerous path.
"And if we are constantly pinning our self-worth and self-esteem on what other people think, we can really get trapped in a cycle of chasing after other people's approval," he explained.
Deak said she thought about that, but in the end decided fewer hairs actually did mean more confidence for Macy.
"It brightens her whole demeanor," she said.
"It just makes me feel better about myself, so why not do it?"
Tumolo said if kids fall apart or become overly emotional if you say no, it might be a sign that the request is about more than just grooming. He said you need to let kids know they are loved and accepted just as they are, but it's up to you to decide what is right for your child.
You can reach Tumolo at 480-227-6440 or ArcadiaCounselingCenter.com.
Blake said teens younger than 15 need parental consent for any procedure and reiterated that the salon reserves the right to stop if the child feels uncomfortable.
You can find Sugar Sugar at SugarSugarAZ.com or 480-36-SUGAR (78427).Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.