- Leah Garcia, a realtor and content creator from Texas, is raising two daughters.
- A TikTok of her waxing her 3-year-old’s unibrow recently went viral.
- Garcia said she’s waxing her daughter’s brows for a good reason: to protect her from bullies.
Leah Garcia, a mom from Texas, didn’t expect a TikTok of her waxing her 3-year-old daughter’s eyebrows to divide people online.
A realtor and content creator, Garcia told Insider she regularly gives her followers glimpses into her day-to-day life, sometimes including interactions with her daughters, Behautti, 11, and Bliss, 3. But none of her videos received quite as much attention as the one she shared in early October of her waxing Bliss’ unibrow.
The clip, which has more than 27 million views, shows Garcia pulling a waxing strip from the center of her daughter’s eyebrows before the 3-year-old says: “Ow, that hurt me. Ow, mom, that hurt me still.”
Garcia said her account had been flooded with comments from people who supported or disagreed with her parenting choice. “The hate is on another level. I’ve never experienced anything like it,” she said. “To be attacked as a mom when my intentions and my heart are so pure when it comes to this situation, that hurts.”
She says the kids decide whether they want their eyebrows waxed
Garcia said that in her household, eyebrow waxing is a standard procedure that started when her eldest was 3. “It’s kind of a routine that we do in the house,” she said. “So if I’m getting waxed, which I have to do weekly, I just kind of make an announcement to the house: ‘Hey, guys, I’m waxing. Anybody wants one, come in.'”
She said she’d never consulted a medical professional, but a family member who was in cosmetology school was the first to carry out the hair-removal treatment on Behautti.
Eventually, Garcia began waxing her eldest herself using a type of wax for sensitive skin. She said Bliss would watch her older sister getting waxed and would repeatedly ask if she could do the same.
“She’s just a grown woman trapped in the little girl’s body,” Garcia said of Bliss, adding that she waxes Bliss’ eyebrows every three months. “I took the opportunity to wax her when she asked for it. And she’s never cried.”
“Nobody’s holding her down; nobody’s forcing her,” Garcia added.
Garcia said she’s preventing her daughters from being targeted by bullies
Garcia said a common accusation in the criticism she’d gotten is that she’s projecting her own insecurities onto her daughter. To that, Garcia said she could “almost guarantee that those people have never been bullied for having a unibrow.”
She said she vividly remembers being made fun of in school for having bushy eyebrows, as her parents didn’t allow her to try any hair-removal methods as a child.
“My parents did a phenomenal job making sure that I was a confident little girl, making sure that I knew that I was beautiful, even though I did have bushy eyebrows,” she said. “But at the end of the day, it doesn’t change that horrific experience when you’re a kid at school without your parents, without your siblings having your back.”
She said she wanted a different experience for her children. She added that while her daughters would inevitably be self-conscious about some things about their appearance and that she’d support them through that, a unibrow doesn’t have to be one of them, as it’s an “easy fix.”
“If they want to grow it out when they’re older or at any point in their life, they can,” she said. “It’s so much easier to come back from a waxed brow than a bullied childhood.
“Me waxing my daughter’s unibrow doesn’t mean that I think they’re flawed,” she added. “It doesn’t mean that I think that they’re hideous with it. I’m just genuinely trying to protect them from any type of negative words or any type of bullying that could harm them. Something as simple as a wax, if that’s what it’s going to take, I’ll do it.”
A child-and-adolescent psychologist weighs in
Angela Karanja, a child-and-adolescent psychologist who founded Raising Remarkable Teenagers, said she viewed Garcia’s waxing Bliss as a self-care practice that seemed to be “coming from a place of fear.”
“My suggestion is in addition to doing the waxing, focus on building her child’s self-worth and -esteem from within,” Karanja said. “Remind the child she is worthy and beautiful no matter what, because her beauty is not an external thing.”
However, she added that it’s important to teach children to look after their appearance and likened removing extra hair on the face to correcting crooked teeth. “This is good,” she said. “It’s for the kid’s highest good.”
Karanja said it’s also important to assess the motive behind the action. She cautioned against parents projecting their own fears — like a fear of bullying — onto their children, which can “lead to disallowing a child their own expression and authenticity.”
“It’s important that we and our children learn to practice healthy self-care,” she said. “Looking after ourselves because we are worthy, not so that people don’t bully us.”