David Creel: Lightening up the 'tween' years?

November 28, 2010 12:46:00 AM

David Creel -


A current conversation beginning in carpool lines and spilling over into fifth-grade homework time is less about long division and more about hair color. Yes, it''s true, young ladies are living in the shadows of highlighted older sisters, moms and grandmothers, so naturally the topic comes up. 


It happened to me many moons ago when our eldest niece Courtney made peewee cheerleader in junior high, and the transition from "little girl" to "big girl" called for drastic measures. I tried to reason with her about the challenges of hair color that Teen magazine failed to illustrate on its colorful pages of celebrities and Disney princesses sporting chemically-altered locks. Alas, I lost the battle, and somewhere between the end of the first nine weeks and Christmas break, I lightened up, figuratively and literally.  


Ultimately, parents or caregivers must decide whether to indulge a young lady whose heart longs for a few foils around the face in a lighter hue of totally awesome. I fought hard to keep my Courtney a "little girl," but as a veteran of the hair industry, I knew it was only a matter of time before she wore her parents down to a "yes," or became the victim of a dye-job-gone-wrong at a slumber party. After all, it was only hair and, for many, a rite of passage. 


Maturity level plays a big role in the decision. Clip-in hair extensions and temporary hair color sprays and mascara paints are cool new ways to try before you buy. It''s a fact that once any person begins coloring hair, it''s difficult to ever regain that untouched look. My rule is, "Moms rule, period." Having said that, I believe a mature 10-year-old is the minimum age to begin considering color services, and I always recommend just a few select strands of a shade one to two hues lighter than the natural hair color.  


This color story ends with my newest hair color client and niece, Hannah, 10, who thought about the pros and cons this summer and lightened up. It was just the beginning. The other day while showing me the latest "apps" on her iPod, she casually said, "Day-Day, I need my highlights redone soon." And youngest niece, Emma, coming along fast behind and requesting a sequined dress for the holidays, will be hard pressed to wait until age 10! 


Maybe that''s it. We try to keep them "little" for as long as we can by leading them away from "grown-up" things. And from some things, that is an obviously correct choice. About hair color, well, I say to all the moms, dads, and grandmothers -- even myself -- we might as well lighten up! 


David Creel, formerly of Columbus, is a national makeup artist for Estee Lauder and owns Beautiful with David salon in Jackson. E-mail him at [email protected]

Former Columbus resident David Creel owns Beautiful With David salon in Jackson and has 20 years experience in the beauty industry. Contact him at [email protected]