Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


Academic Magnet High School - North Charleston, South Carolina.


Pre-Teens in Makeup Stores

Do they really need to be shopping here?
Pre-Teens in Makeup Stores

All over social media currently, Sephora employees and customers are complaining about the young girls in Sephora. They do not have a problem with them shopping in the store; however, the way they treat the products and employees is becoming a huge discussion. Many employees are sharing their complaints on TikTok and Instagram about 10 to 12-year-olds ruining testers and making a mess in the store, while also being disrespectful to employees. Employees of these stores are sharing their personal stories about interactions with Gen Alpha shoppers, while other creators are mocking how this generation is acting in POV TikTok.  This has started an ongoing debate in the media: Should these young children be allowed into Sephora and Ulta?  Should they even be wearing makeup and using expensive skincare products? What long-term effects do these products have on their young skin? Does it cause more harm than it helps?


Drunk Elephant tester in Sephora

The first problem with children in Sephora is how rude and disrespectful they are to employees. Most of them are destroying the testers and making a mess of the aisles, which the employees have to clean up after. Sephora employees are saying they have to use more of their product stock to replace the testers, causing them to lose money and inventory of popular products. Currently, on TikTok, many Sephora and Ulta employees are speaking out about their interactions with these young customers. The most viral TikTok about this is from @natsodrizzy who shared her story about a young girl she helped check out on a busy day in her store. She said her basket was overflowing with products and her total came out to almost $900. She seemed to be unsupervised and alone without a clear plan on how to pay for her products. Once the young girl’s mother came over and saw the total, she told the young girl she needed to put back some of what she grabbed, which infuriated the young girl. The girl and her mom proceeded to argue at the checkout counter over what she could keep and what she had to put back. This age group is not only rude and disrespectful to Sephora and Ulta, but also to their parents when they do not get what they want, causing unnecessary arguments in the middle of public stores. I am not going to go into the whole gentle parenting thing and the parents not telling their children “no” because that is a whole other can of worms I am not going to open.


Drunk Elephant products
Glow Recipe products

The next issue being discussed is, should these young kids be using high-end makeup and skin care products found in Sephora and Ulta? What long-term effects do these products have on young skin? It’s pretty simple. According to Huntington Beach, CA dermatologist David Rayhan MD, he believes that children are already beginning to develop acne, and using these pore-clogging cosmetic products on young skin can be very harmful. They need to use gentle skin products on their skin to preserve their health and reduce the possibility of developing bad acne in the future. Delray Beach, FL dermatologist Dr. Janet Allenby says most importantly that parents should be responsible for skin care products and buying and researching the best ones for their children’s skin. This young generation is obsessed with following the trends and following what they see on social media. As they see more “skincare routines” and “get ready with me” TikTok from adults and teenagers on their for you pages, they are going to want to follow these trends even more. The most popular and marketed products on these TikToks are Drunk Elephant and Glow Recipe, which many of these shoppers are looking for and purchasing when they go to Sephora or Ulta. Many of these products contain retinol, a chemical used for anti-aging and acne, but the long-term effects of using this could be harmful to young skin. A 10-12-year-old’s skin is much more sensitive than an adult’s skin, so these two very different age groups should not be using the same products. According to Dr. Riyaz, most ingredients in the skincare products marketed to these young teens on social media can cause more harm than good to their skin.


Influencer culture and marketing have heavily influenced the young Gen Alpha to want the popular products they see on social media without knowing the good and bad about the product. According to the New York Post, Dr. Jeffy believes that “social media filters have created unrealistic expectations of perfect poreless skin fueling sales of makeup to kids” causing an increase in makeup sales globally to this young generation. Dr. Jeffy is concerned not only with the physical harm these products will cause to their skin, but also the psychological problems that will follow from the desire to fit in with the crowd and have “perfect” and poreless skin. Dr. Jeffy believes it is also important for parents to filter out what their children see online and limit their time on social media platforms.


While Sephora and Ulta can not fully ban this age group from shopping in their stores, we can influence them to be respectful and conscientious shoppers, while also teaching them that what they see online is not always real life. Striving for perfection is impossible, but they need to learn to use good products on their skin while also slowly being introduced to makeup and skincare products. Sephora and Ulta have yet to comment on the issue, despite the many articles, TikToks, and other complaints about this issue surfacing.


News, F. (2024, January 10). “Sephora Kids” causing mayhem in makeup stores with “mean girl antics,” staff “bullied” by “aggressive” preteens. New York Post.
Bido, T. (2024, January 9). The 10-year-old Sephora trend: Derms weigh in on the viral phenomenon. NewBeauty.
Drayton, T. (2024, January 8). “the 2 perfumes alone came out to $300”: Sephora worker blasts 10-year-olds who are “Way too young” to be shopping there-and their moms. The Daily Dot.
Latifi, F. (2024, January 11). An actual 10-year-old weighs in on the “10-year-olds at Sephora” outrage. Teen Vogue.
Sahakian, T., & Fox News. (2024, January 10). Women rage against pre-teen “Sephora Kids” on social media, store employee talks about “mean girl antics.” Fox News.

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