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Tiktok's Viral "10-Year-Olds at Sephora" Controversy Explained

Pop Culture

Sun, January 14

TikTok has a new trend and it isn't what you’d think: With ten-year-olds and tweens flooding their nearest Sephora, adult skincare and beauty enthusiasts and experts are coming out with their experiences and concerns with the growing interest these kids have within skincare and beauty. At the forefront of this trend are discussions on the surprising surge of 10-year-old girls purchasing beauty products typically targeted at older audiences, including brands like Drunk Elephant from Sephora.

Delving into the phenomenon of pre-teens and teenagers embracing the beauty industry, this discourse aims to unravel the implications this trend holds for our society.

The Situation

In an unexpected twist, Sephora stores are experiencing an influx of ten-year-olds (and young kids in general), sparking a controversial conversation among older teens and adults.

What's the reason behind this unexpected trend, and why is it raising eyebrows in the beauty community?

Last Christmas, skincare products took top priority on many of the wish lists of young tweens and kids, as reported by NPR. While the desire to explore beauty routines is a natural part of growing up, the alarming aspect is the amount of money being spent by kids on products that may be unnecessary and potentially harmful.

Influencers like Stephanie Chen and Patrick Starr have both provided their perspectives on the situation in unique ways on the TikTok platform with Stephanie creating a video with her perspective and analysis on what can be done and Patrick recreating the uncanny experience of meeting and interacting with these 10-year-olds.

What are kids buying?

Enter the world of premium beauty brands like Drunk Elephant, Glow Recipe, and others better suited for older people. These brands are known for their high-end, potent formulations, often packed with harsh active ingredients such as retinol and chemical exfoliants (like AHA and BHA– looking at you Glow Recipe AHA/BHA toner).

The concern here is twofold: not only are these products becoming less accessible for adults with genuine skin concerns, but there's also the risk of young children using these products incorrectly and causing irreversible damage to their skin.

Still, why do people care so much?

It's crucial to recognize that the misuse of these harsh ingredients can result in more harm than good, especially on young and developing skin. There is also the mere fact that some kids don’t necessarily practice proper etiquette in shops. Displayed behavior such as overusing or destroying makeup samples, several anecdotes of adults facing rude behavior from children and their overall strand and uncanny nature of seeing a 10-year-old searching for the same concealer shade and exfoliant cleanser as say a 27-year-old woman.

The question that arises is: Why are kids gravitating towards these products in the first place?

Several plausible explanations exist, each rooted in valid grounds. The influence of social media on consumerism has played a significant role, with beauty standards and trends easily accessible to everyone–children and teens included. Additionally, the modern culture's fear of aging and the pressure to constantly look good, fueled by viral moments and filters on social platforms, may be contributing to this early interest in skincare.

As beauty enthusiasts, it becomes imperative to address these trends responsibly. Education on proper skincare routines, age-appropriate products, and the potential consequences of using powerful formulations at a young age can help guide these budding beauty enthusiasts towards healthier choices. Let's navigate this phenomenon with awareness and ensure that our younger generation embraces beauty in a way that enhances their well-being rather than putting it at risk.

Mudia Ighile
5,000+ pageviews

Writer since Mar, 2022 · 6 published articles

Mudia is a current freelance writer and current intern with the Girl's Life publication. She enjoys writing entertainment, lifestyle, and education niches.