Girls as young as three are being offered “pink cocktails”, temporary tattoos, manicures, lipstick and limos by companies providing “pamper parties” for tiny tots.
A Daily Mail investigation discovered companies up and down the country advertising such services to youngsters, some not even of primary school age.
Critics expressed concern about the activities, with one warning such parties could give “girls an image of themselves which is based solely around their physical appearance”.
The investigation highlighted seven companies which offered services including a non-alcoholic “cocktail bar”, eyebrow shaping, a catwalk and “sparkly makeovers” with eye-shadow, lip gloss and blusher.
Bedford-based Pretty Girl Parties offers “Lipstick and Limo” party packages to girls as young as three.
The youngsters receive facials, manicures and makeovers and are then taken on a 30-minute limousine ride where they can “indulge in non-alcoholic pink champagne and chocolates”.
Pink Parties UK advertises, for girls of three to seven, “sparkly makeovers” with eye-shadow, lip gloss and blusher, “glitzy nails”, fruit-based “pink cocktails”, pageant-style tiaras and an award ceremony.
And “Lil’ Mizz Glitz” makeover packages, which feature mini-manicures, nail art with sparkle finish and “glitter make up and jewels”, are available courtesy of Mizz Glitz which operates around Derby.
The newspaper’s findings were met with concern from Reg Bailey, chief executive of the Mothers’ Union and the man in charge of a Government-backed review into the sexualisation of childhood.
“I am disturbed by this trend and I suspect I’m far from being alone”, he said.
Mr Bailey also commented that parents “need to give our children a sense of confidence and meaning to their lives which is not just simply about how you look and what you own”. He said: “The saddest thing to me, as a parent, is what this is saying to children – that they only see themselves as needing to look pretty.”
Dr Katherine Rake, chief executive of the Family and Parenting Institute, commented: “This type of activity is giving girls an image of themselves which is based solely around their physical appearance”.
Dr Rake added: “That puts huge pressure on them to conform to some kind of unachievable standard. This results in low self-esteem, eating disorders and all sorts of psychological and health issues.
“The Government should provide some leadership on this issue and reflect the concerns that parents are feeling.”
Lisa Burgess, who organises makeover parties for girls between the age of six and twelve, said the criticism was unjustified.
The owner of Pamper Parties, based in Canvey Island, Essex, said: “We don’t go over the top and the children enjoy themselves.”
Miss Burgess said: “The cocktails are really popular because they make the girls feel that little bit more grown-up.”
“They have them in plastic champagne flutes with the little stirrers and umbrellas. It’s just like the grown-up drinks but without the alcohol.”
The sexualisation review, headed by Reg Bailey, was launched last year and will explore whether rules should prevent the marketing of overtly sexual products to children, or whether a watchdog on the issue is needed.
A code of conduct on “age appropriate” marketing may also be recommended to the Government by the review, which will gather the views of parents and businesses.
In February, before the General Election, David Cameron warned: “More and more today, sexual-provocative images are invading public space – space shared by children.”
Writing in the Daily Mail, Mr Cameron said it is “our shared responsibility to protect children from aggressive commercialism and premature sexualisation”.