Here’s the Difference Between North West’s Hair Extensions and Playing Dress-Up

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Mother-daughter chic? (Photo: Instagram/Kim Kardashian)


While on a spring ski vacation in Vail, Colo., Kim Kardashian and Kourtney Kardashian posted photos of their daughters with a new eye-catching accessory: waist-long boxer braids.

It’s not clear from the photos of North West and Penelope Disick whether the girls are wearing hair extensions of the sit-around-all-day-getting-glued variety, or if they’re just extra hairpieces woven into their braids. Either way, this is a pretty elaborate hairstyle for a 2-year-old (North) and 3-year-old (Penelope). It’s also reminiscent of the grown-up beauty procedures we’ve recently seen on other young celebrity children. Last month, Beyoncé posted a photo of daughter Blue Ivy wearing makeup and face jewels, and Tori Spelling admitted to letting her 7-year-old, Stella Doreen, dye her hair. The results, as we’ve seen on Instagram, are honestly, supercute.

Related: Is It OK for Little Girls to Dabble in Makeup?

But are they right for the girls? What’s the difference between letting kids play with costumes, hats, and ribbons versus these more adult forms of dress-up?

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Photo: Snapchat/Kim Kardashian

“I think there’s a big difference between adding ribbons and adding hair,” child psychologist Barbara Greenberg told Yahoo Beauty. “If you think of dress-up, kids like to play different roles. They have all kinds of costumes, and they can do selections, so it’s imaginative play. The extensions have a different tone to it.”

The semi-permanent, professionally done nature of extensions makes them less about trying things out — the way, say, a wig can be switched out with a firefighter’s hat — and more about beauty, in a way that is inappropriate for young children, Greenberg said. “At this age, kids should be focused on learning to play and using their imaginations,” she said.

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Photo: Instagram/Khloé Kardashian

Related: Is There Anything Wrong With Controversial Photos of Jessica Simpson’s, Kris Jenner’s Kids?

Greenberg also questions the Kardashians’ motives in doing the girls’ hair like this. “They turn their kids into little mini-me’s,” she said, echoing aunt Khloé Kardashian’s Instagram quote. “Is it a narcissistic thing? Are they doing it so their kids will be admired and adored, or are they doing it so the child will have fun?”

That is not something we can actually judge from a couple of pictures, of course. At the same time, it’s pretty typical for kids of any age to watch their parents getting dressed, putting on makeup, shaving, and doing their hair, and want to do the same. Greenberg says there’s a way to play with your kids in that case without hiring a personal stylist. Go ahead and braid their hair, or teach them how to style it on their own, without sending the message that physical appearance is of utmost importance, she said.

“Let them do things that make them feel fancy or playful,” Greenberg said. “The focus should be on play, not on being beautified and sexualized.”

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Photo: Instagram/Khloé Kardashian

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