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The Rise of Sephora Kids: A Reflection of Society's Obsession with Beauty and Youth

Some may have already come across the new trending term “Sephora kids”, which has recently been garnering attention. When first heard, it immediately raises questions about the parenting of Generation Alpha. However, that is just the tip of the iceberg when thought about how this term offers insights into the broader societal implications of social media and the pervasive fascination with beauty and youthfulness.

“Sephora kids” is the nickname given to little girls up to the ages nine or ten who are frequents of Sephora, a retailer offering a wide array of makeup, skincare, and fragrance products. These girls exhibit a preference for specific brands like Sol de Janeiro, Drunk Elephant, and Glow Recipe, among others. Notably, their interests often diverge from toys or gifts, preferring skincare and cosmetics instead. Moreover, Sephora kids actively document their purchases and skincare or makeup routines regularly on social media, especially TikTok.

One of the primary concerns voiced by older patrons of Sephora regarding the presence of "Sephora Kids" pertains to the potential disruption and messiness attributed to young children exploring the store. Since these are literal kids, as the name indicates, they are expected to engage in experimentation and exploration, which may result in less-than-ideal cleanliness while interacting with testers. This has raised apprehensions among older customers, particularly regarding the preservation of the store's tester products. Sephora has testers for almost everything in their stores, which enables customers to be freer and make easier decisions while shopping. However, with the new Sephora kids, older customers are worried the luxury of testers will be taken away since, with the new resurgence of kids in Sephora, many stores have reported that the testers in the stores are either being stolen or are in really bad condition.

This wouldn’t initially mean that kids are to blame, but the rise of Generation Alpha's engagement with social media has led to an increase in videos showcasing skincare experimentation, often involving mixing multiple products as they claim to prepare “skincare smoothies.” This trend has raised concerns due to the resulting waste of products and potential inconvenience for other customers, considering they may not want to try a skincare smoothie but rather one product. Some Sephora stores have already started to decrease the number of testers they offer, and Sephora workers have come out to state how uncomfortable they are with these children and how time-consuming it is to clean up their mess.

Numerous influencers have weighed in on the issue of children in Sephora, highlighting the inappropriate nature of their presence and questioning parental responsibility in allowing them access to makeup and skincare products. However, the main issue here shouldn’t be finding someone to blame but rather understanding where Generation Alpha’s obsession with being perceived as beautiful at all times and stopping the natural process of aging comes from. Exploring why young children feel compelled to post complex skincare routines and mature beauty standards is essential in addressing this societal trend.

The rise of social media has indeed introduced new pressures, particularly for Generation Alpha, who have been active users from a young age. Initially, social media served as a platform for sharing experiences, leading users to carefully curate their online image by seldom posting something, trying to make sure that they were looking their best. This is where one of the major drawbacks of social media comes in. Users can easily manipulate their online persona. This can start innocently but it can escalate to a criminal level, especially with catfishes.

Nevertheless, the impact of social media on developing brains, particularly among children like Sephora kids, cannot be understated. Exposure to content promoting unrealistic beauty standards and anti-aging ideals can have a profound influence, shaping their perceptions and aspirations. Therefore, when Sephora kids see grown-up women on social media who are always sharing their hacks to stay young forever, to get rid of wrinkles, or to get abs for summer, they believe it, or even if they don't, it unconsciously settles into their brains that women are always looking to be more beautiful or to stay young, and that is what they should aim for. It's important to understand that the responsibility of the situation doesn't lie with the adult women who are helping their peers since their target audience is different from elementary school children.This highlights a broader societal issue, reflecting the influence of older generations' obsession with youthfulness on younger ones. Understanding this dynamic is crucial for fostering a healthier attitude towards beauty and self-image across all age groups.

Generation Z, or even millennials, are known to be the generations who have mastered Photoshop and filters; they are the ones who look perfect on social media with smooth, porcelain-like faces and perfect bodies. They are the ones who added fuel to the already existing obsession with beauty and youth and took it to the next level with a new trend or product every other week, like straws that will “save you from any wrinkles” or cleansing oils that will “give you a baby face”, which never work because they are all lies or they have temporary effects. In reality, the “results” are all accomplished by filters. This doesn’t only affect people mentally and fuels their search to be the “perfect” version of themselves like the “people” they see on social media, which are, in reality, most of the time social media personas, but also promotes over-consumerism as it always pushes the audience to buy a new product.

With the history of previous generations and the residue of their experiences being on social media till eternity, it is not surprising how Sephora kids became what they are today. Generation Alpha seems to be following in the footsteps of Generation Z, who was commonly known for being mature for their age, making it clear why Generation Alpha is also keen on growing up early.

The early generations and their unconscious pressures on little kids are not the only ones to blame, as companies are underlyingly pushing the narrative that it is normal for nine-year-olds to use skincare products by not making a statement on the issue or making statements that can be easily misinterpreted.

Sephora kids are only victims of unrealistic beauty standards that women are subjected to almost every day. Criticism and cyberbullying towards these children on social media for their behavior won't address the underlying issue of societal pressure on women to conform to beauty standards. The presence of "Sephora kids" reflects a culmination of societal expectations, generational influence, capitalist culture, accessibility to products, and technological advancements. Addressing these systemic factors is crucial for fostering a healthier attitude towards beauty and self-worth.


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