Parents Spend Big on Back-to-School Beauty

Kids across America are heading back to school looking fly, thanks to mom and dad’s generosity.

A survey conducted by American Express (Stock Quote: AXP) shows that 45% of parents planned to purchase cosmetic services for their kids prior to sending them off to school while another 37% expected to buy beauty products for their kids.  

How exactly were children getting all dolled up? Haircuts were big, with 89% of parents taking their kids to get a trim for, on average, $40. Also, 37% were shelling out an average of $60 for highlights and/or hair straightening and 24% of parents were paying an average of $50 for a back-to-school mani-pedi.

The spending didn’t stop there. American Express also found that some parents were paying for less essential aesthetics: 18% were spending $70 on teeth whitening, 12% were spending $80 for spa services like facials and 11% were paying $50 for waxing.

Most surprisingly, however, was that 9% of parents coped to paying $70 on tattoos for their kids.

American Express spokeswoman Mona Hamouly told CNN that the tattoo question was included as an “outlandish” option that researchers did not expect to elicit responses. She also said that the survey didn't mention whether the tattoo would be temporary or permanent. We’re not sure what the better option is: parents that let their kids get permanent ink or parents that throw away $70 on a temporary tattoo.

The American Express survey was conducted by interviewing 2,068 consumers among the U.S. general population. These participants were divided into two groups: the affluent (a household income more than $100,000) and young professionals (under 30, college educated, with a household income more than $50,000). Five hundred of the households polled had children in kindergarten through 12th grade.

Some responses in the survey did give an indication as to why parents might be inclined to spend on these non-necessities. Of the general population and the “affluents,” 19% admitted to feeling peer pressure to "keep up" with others for back-to-school shopping, while a larger percentage of “young professionals” (36%) said they felt the need to "keep up with the Joneses." We’re thinking this demographic may be funding these trends as well.  

How can you help your child save up for spa treatments? Check out this MainStreet article on how to talk allowance with your kids.

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