A salon called Uni K Waxing, which has locations in Florida and New York, is having a promotion: get waxed for half-off, as long as you haven't hit your 16th birthday.
The idea that girls in early high school (or even middle school) would get waxed isn't anything new. The New York Times recently ran a story in which salon owners defended the right to wax young, saying that girls should be able to remove hair — on an upper lip or eyebrow, for example — that they're insecure about.
When I called Uni K Waxing's corporate office, I expected a similar defense. That's not quite what I got.
Carlos Calderon, the company's Director of Operations, told me that the Uni K's creative team came up with the idea for the promotion because "girls get bored when they go out with their Moms to do errands."
"At our centers, the daughters often come along and look at their mothers getting waxed and they have questions and they're not part of the fun and it just becomes a regular activity," he said. "It's just another thing you have to do with Mom, like running errands or something else that becomes boring."
They do require that the girls come in with a parent's consent, but once they're in the salon, all procedures — including bikini waxes — are fair game. "Depending on the girls, they'll have choose what service they want depending on how the hair grows," Calderon said.
Waxing is, he added, "a process in life" that the salon wants to make "fun." "We want them to be right next to someone who's going to guide them through this as well so that they have that support."
I think we can all agree that girls "have a lot of questions" before their first wax and that encouraging a parent's support is fine and well, but it doesn't answer why the salon would try to draw girls its way with a half-off promo. Calderon couldn't supply much of an answer to this question, and neither did a blog post on the company's site.
"The 50 percent off is just a number," he said. "'We want to give all the young ladies an opportunity to come in with Mom, without paying full price."
The company has also pegged the promotion to the month of July — saying that the promotion offers girls "independence."
"We want them to celebrate freedom and independence all July when they go out with their Moms and experience this waxing treatment," Calderon said. "It goes along with our country."
After all, nothing says independence like your mother dragging you to a waxing salon that's offering a discount just because you happen to be in 8th grade.
[Update]: Uni K Wax issued the following statement about the promotion:
For the past 22 years, Uni K Wax has been in the hair removal industry providing young girls who are facing unwanted hair growth with an approach that is safe and affordable. Our wax is 100% all-natural and ideal for sensitive skin. It is elastic and applied at body temperature. Hair removal has been practiced for centuries, and it is something most young girls go through. We offer the parents a unik solution for their daughters. For many years we have seen mothers bringing their daughters and even granddaughters to our centers for waxing services. Our July promotion was aimed to parents since they are the decision makers. It gives them an opportunity to make their daughter’s first waxing experience natural, safe and pleasant. Our waxing specialists are rigorously trained to use our proprietary wax and to provide the highest level of customer service. The benefits of our waxing system are providing these young girls with a hygienic solution that in the long run will leave their hair progressively thinner and lighter. This is not a trend, it is not grooming; having hair removed is a hygienic necessity. Salons and spas are in the grooming business, we are centers that specialize only in hair removal.