It seems like "Sephora kids" are everywhere — so recently, I talked to a dermatologist and a couple of mental health pros about the current craze for higher-end skincare among kids and tweens.
In the comments, members of the BuzzFeed Community who are the parents of Gen Alpha kids (and some Gen Alphas themselves) joined in the conversation to share their takes on this trend. From parents sharing how they're managing this moment with their kids to kids sharing how all this discourse is affecting them, there's so much to talk about. Here's what they had to say:
1."I told my 12-year-old the best thing she could do for her skin is liberally apply sunscreen all day while she is outside. But of course, she doesn’t want to hear that part, right? She just wants to fit in."
2."I know a little girl who is 10, and she said she 'needs retinol to prevent wrinkles.' 😥 Retinol is so harsh, especially for a child. And no 10-year-old child should be concerned with getting wrinkles. It broke my heart."
—Jamee H., Facebook
3."I have over 410k followers on Instagram, so many supportive women, and my comments are still full of grown adults saying horrible things to me and calling me a Sephora girl because of these posts and TikToks. It’s really mean and sad. Like, who wants to promote bullying tweens and teens?"
4."It is trendy, and they are finding these tutorials from influencers on YouTube and TikTok. My daughter is turning 10 and talks about contour, highlighter, and 10-step routines. She has moisturizer, cleanser, and some makeup for play. It has become an obsession like putting filters on photos on Instagram! So not needed at age 10. Very detrimental to their mental health. For the kids I know, it has nothing to do with actual skincare and health, just being trendy and following influencers. We block YouTube, TikTok, and all that other stuff at home, but sometimes they find a way to access it at school and other places."
5."Really this is on the parents. As a mother of six, I know that my 10-year-old kids didn’t ever have a job. And other than the occasional birthday money that might come in a card from their grandparents, they had no source of income, LOL. If the parents were not driving them to Sephora and paying for expensive skincare products that the children did not need, then this would be a non-issue. But apparently, nobody in this country knows how to tell their children no anymore. Everybody out here is acting like kids are driving themselves to Sephora and using their credit cards to purchase expensive skincare all on their own."
—Tiffany M., Facebook
6."My brother's girlfriend's daughter is 11 and LOVES Sephora. He took her there to spend Christmas gift cards and had to steer her away from things like anti-wrinkle cream with retinol. He was like, 'Honey, that's an old person thing; you're 11. You don't need to worry about wrinkles yet!'"
7."My daughter has gone to Sephora with me, and she has her own skincare routine, BUT we have had in-depth conversations about what she does and doesn’t need. I have skincare products for me that she shouldn’t use, and it’s important for her to know why I say she can’t use something she sees me using. All she needs is a gentle cleanser and moisturizer. Every little girl wants to do face masks, and there are some that can be used in a safe and fun way. This should be more on the parents than the store. I would never just let her grab stuff and use it. I do, however, think hygiene and skincare is important to teach them."
8."I absolutely don't buy makeup. Don't shop at Sephora. I don't do any of this, and somehow, my daughter who is 9 is always asking to go to Sephora! I said no. It's too expensive. F* that. I let her play around with makeup at home, but I buy it at Target. Or get a makeup kit on Amazon. I just don't get it!"
—Kelly F., Facebook
9."The problem is social media allows the opinions of so many strangers into our child's mind without any vetting of the quality or accuracy of said information. I definitely cut back on my child's access to social media because of this. Some stranger in another state or country should not be influencing a child when their target audience is much older. The child will not always grasp what is for them and what is not."
—Cara J., Facebook
10."I made my 8-year-old watch a TikTok I found of a dermatologist stating why kids shouldn’t be using certain products."
11."I myself am a 'younger' teen, and I, too, have no clue why everyone else is using millions of products when we literally don't need them. Things like moisturizers and cleansers along with acne spot treatments are perfectly fine, but we are still children, so I really don’t think we need to worry about getting anti-age cream and stuff, but to each their own. Most importantly, I also wanna add that the 'Sephora kids' need to be more respectful of the sampling items 'cause they aren't yours to mess up and make little potions with."
12."I did a little research and made my 13-year-old a skincare hamper for Christmas with everything she would need. Cleanser bars, toners, moisturizer, spot treatment patches, microfiber washcloths, jade roller and gua sha, the whole works. I taught her how and when to use everything, and her spot-prone skin has made a huge improvement in less than a month. She’s more confident and comfortable, too. It’s possible to start them out on an effective routine for their age and skin concerns without shelling out on the expensive brands that she doesn’t need (well at least not until she can afford them on her own 😂)."
—Leann K., Facebook
13."I have been low-key disagreeing with my goddaughter for two years now on how much stuff she should use. I’m all for the colors and techniques stuff, but have actively refused to buy her foundation as she has perfect skin, and I will not be the one to mess it up. I cringe for her prematurely aging her skin."
14."I mean, be a parent and monitor? My daughter is 9 and has a skin condition that causes keratin buildup. She has a skincare routine recommended by her pediatrician to treat it because it makes her feel insecure. It’s healthy when parents parent. Y’all really letting your kids just buy anything?"
—Bethany J., Facebook
15."I think if you, as the parent, research the products and pick the right products with your kiddos, then you’ll be fine. I see where the trends are happening for sure. My two older boys do skincare twice a day. They’re in sports so it helps with acne from sweating and hormones. They keep it simple, wash, toner (once a day or every other day), and moisturizer."
—Echo S., Facebook
16."My daughter is a skincare-obsessed tween. At first, I was worried that she was concerned about wrinkles or saggy skin. But, when we chatted, she revealed that she loves the routine, it’s calming, and it feels good to take care of herself. I cannot fathom spending more than $25 on a cream, but it’s how my daughter chooses to spend the 50% of her birthday cash and allowance that doesn’t go into her saving and donating accounts. It’s her money to spend. I appreciate the list of harmful ingredients for young folks and will share these with my daughter. We’ll also chat about tester etiquette. Though we’ve had ongoing opportunities to talk about being polite, sharing, and hygiene, being explicit about testers might be needed. In the end, as long as she still maintains a variety of age-appropriate interests and remains engaged, thoughtful, creative, and silly, I’m not worried."
17."My family member who is 9 has just requested Glow Recipe Watermelon BHA Toner. I told the parents it's really not appropriate for a 9-year-old, but it's fallen on deaf ears AND it's £31!!!! [~$39 USD]."
18."Give me a break. Let kids spend their money on what they feel like. They’re not worried about wrinkles and sagging skin; they just want to do what they see in videos. And truthfully, once mine started taking care of her skin, I noticed immediately that she absolutely glowed. I’ve never heard her mention wrinkles. They get excited about the packaging; they get excited about the smell. Every generation has different trends. I seriously think people forget what being a kid is like. You say let them be kids, but this is them being kids! Not every generation is the same, and we’re not supposed to be. Quite often I will take mine window shopping to Sephora, and then we go to other cheaper places to get some things with the same ingredients."
—Megan R., Facebook
19."One day the 12-year-old I tutor asked me about my skincare routine and if I used all these different things. When I told her all I use is a cleanser and moisturizing lotion, I could see the judgment on her face. She told me I needed to start using all this stuff. I told her that as long as people keep mistaking me for being 10+ years younger than I am, I don't need to add anything. And since she's a child, she doesn't need that stuff, either."
20."I'm a mom of a 14-year-old, and this is their Abercrombie & Fitch. Definitely talk to them about how they do not need all of the skincare, but also it’s okay to allow them to be into the latest fads. This, too, shall pass."
21."My daughter is 10 and started getting pimples really young. I made sure I got her very clean and age-friendly products. Now she has her 10-step face routine that’s better than mine, and her skin looks soooo good. I’m so proud of her. This generation is more conscious; we just have to guide them to the right products."
—Vale E., Facebook
22."My tween inherited acne-prone skin. This trend has been a godsend! While I had no idea about skincare at her age and suffered, she understands her skin needs, and her complexion has markedly improved — all on her own!"
23."My 11-year-old is exactly like this. I won’t buy her the expensive stuff, but she will save her money and ask for it as gifts. I don’t see the harm. She loves doing her skincare routine and her makeup. You can see it puts her in a trance and relaxes her. She also does special effects makeup on herself which I think is very creative. Better than being on the phone."
—Tiffster K., Facebook
24."I was just at a basketball tournament weekend with my 10-year-old, and there were hundreds of 4th–8th graders. The Sephora in the mall attached to the arena was PACKED with teens and tweens. Shelves were bare, and the must-have accessory was that little white and black Sephora bag. One of my friends had her 13-year-old daughter shopping with us, and she was a total skincare expert."
"The funniest part is the shared experience for us moms (in our 40s) — despite growing up all over New England, we all used Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizer. That was the fancy must-have product! After a cocktail of Seabreeze toner, St. Ives peach scrub, and Oxy Pads on our delicate skin, it was probably not a bad thing to have a good moisturizer."
25."My daughter's enjoyment of her skincare routine is the least of my worries. She is knowledgeable about the products, ingredients, drugstore alternatives, etc. and purchases luxury items with her own money. Her skin looks great, and she feels good. The world doesn't have to find fault with everything girls/women like. My generation sure could have used more SPF early on!"
26."My 10-year-old asked me recently if she could start a skincare routine. She's over the moon with her child-friendly face wash and moisturizer! I think it's really good to get into a routine of caring for your skin, but it must be suitable for their skin and your budget!!"
—Vicky C., Facebook
27."My 10-year-old daughter loves skincare, but let’s be honest, she’s not buying anti-aging creams, skin peels, or abrasive exfoliants. She’s buying cleanser, moisturizer, hydration masks, lip moisturizer, things that are safe and appropriate for her age. And she quickly found out that her pocket money really doesn’t go far in Sephora, so she has learned to save or go for less expensive options like E.l.f., CeraVe, etc."
—Jemma M., Facebook
28."Shopping in Sephora with my 14-year-old, I definitely notice how the store is arranged and set up. Colorful, eye-catching displays, and the packaging is not set up for my age group. I’m a big believer in a simple skincare routine. We go to the dermatologist as needed and only buy the products at Ulta or Sephora that work for my daughter. Every generation has its trends. As parents, we need to lean in and ensure our kids are buying products suitable for their skin. Read labels, stay informed, and communicate with our kids."
Do you know a kid who's into the 10-step skincare trend? Tell us about them in the comments.