“Sephora kids”: What are they?

Since the beginning of 2024, we kept hearing the term “Sephora kid” again and again. And although we didn’t make much of it at the time, just one deeper look into it made us shiver, dither, and quake. Yes, it turns out, the “Sephora kids” are the Karens we once knew, just in smaller (and fiercer!) packages.

So, what’s the deal with these tween kids plaquing Sephora aisles?

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What is a “Sephora kid” and why are so many people against them?

The term “Sephora kid” is used to describe preteen kids (mostly girls) who visit and hang around in beauty shops, just like Sephora or Ulta. While that in and of itself might be just a mere nuisance, it’s the way these kids act once they enter these beauty oases. First, these girls (usually a pack of them) are very rude to the employees, use profanity, leave displays in disarray, and boss everyone around. So, your general Rude Ruth.

@michelasheedy This is embarrassing. Go get a lip smackers 😳💀 #sephorakids #sephora #makeup #drunkelephant #kids ♬ Funny - Gold-Tiger

The second—and even bigger problem—is that these nine to twelve-year-olds demand to have full-blown skincare routines consisting of products meant for adults. This obsession might rake up to a couple of hundred dollars each month, which obviously comes from their parents’ salaries. Besides the money, there’s also the fact that absolutely no preteen needs things like retinol in their skincare, which might actually damage their skin beyond repair.


when i was 10 i wanted booster juice not drunk elephant smoothies

♬ origineel geluid - Tik Toker

Of course, if these “Sephora kids” get on your nerves every time you visit a beauty store, you can always resort to shopping online and using Monetha to get the most out of your purchases. However, the “Sephora kids” problem might be more than just an irritable occurrence, and we’ll discuss it in a later section.

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How did “Sephora kids” come to be?

Much of the talk has been dedicated to the behavior of the “Sephora kids” who always leave the aisles thrashed, the tester products beyond repair, and the store employees hurt, but the problem is much deeper here. For instance, why do these preteen girls want makeup and skincare products that are designed for much older women?

The answer to that is, of course, a pretty ironic one. These girls have been groomed to want these things by the beautiful women and influencers they see on TikTok.

TikTok’s biggest problem is that there are no restrictions on age-appropriate content. Just look at the platform’s “beauty” page, and you’ll see what we mean.

While the other generations had their own preteen starlets to follow, Gen Alpha is growing with young adults and adult influencers as their guiding stars. So, naturally, when they see these beautiful women using retinol products, extensive skincare routines, and full-on makeup looks in their videos… They want it, too. Or, in this case, demand it.

@delaneykalea Sephora Beauty Advisors are not babysitters. I cannot believe how messy the store is when I come in everyday. ☹️Please have respect for us and our stores. #sephora #sephorakids #kidsatsephora #drunkelephant #glowrecipewatermelonglow ♬ original sound - Delaney Kalea

Another precondition that spawned “Sephora kids” is none other than a mixture of globalization and gentle parenting. These young girls are expert consumers because the internet, with all its shopping-at-your-finger-tips, has been there since the day they were born. Consumerism is only natural for these girls.

As for gentle parenting, the main idea is to acknowledge a child’s feelings without any actual punishment. However, such a policy can backfire and create an individual who has never heard the word “no,” knows no boundaries, and believes they should always get what they want without any repercussions or consequences.

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Kids just don’t have the skepticism that adults do, and if there are things marketed to them, they are unquestionably excellent consumers. In a nutshell, a kid bullying their parents to buy them a $100 skincare routine and bottles of luxury perfume shows there is something really wrong.

So, probably, the problem of “Sephora kids” isn’t just a nuisance but rather something that should be taken a bit more seriously.

Why are anti-aging products not suitable for preteen kids?

One of the most prominent fixations of these “Sephora kids” is retinol products (retinol is a strong anti-aging product), and one particular skincare brand is called Drunk Elephant.

So, what is retinol?

Retinol is a fat-soluble vitamin found in the A vitamin group. Because retinol is so good at increasing skin cell production, skin exfoliation, and collagen production, it is often used in anti-aging products.

While using retinol products, if you are thirty-something, that might be okay; it is no product for nine-year-old skin. See, the skin of preteens is in a constant renewal and skin cell production state. In a nutshell, kids have the most beautiful and perfect skin. Now, if you apply retinol to such skin, it might become dry and develop a rash, photosensitivity, and irritation, just to name a few. Some dermatologists say that anti-aging products might actually have a reverse effect on such young skin, with actual aging symptoms starting to become visible much earlier than they would naturally.

And what’s with the “Sephora kids” love for Drunk Elephant?

There’s nothing wrong with the brand itself. Its products are clean, have effective formulations, and come in pretty minimalistically-designed packages that are not targeted to preteen audiences. The obsession comes, you guessed it, from TikTok and its influencers. Because the brand is so viral these days, the “Sephora kids” want to get their hands on these products designed for older women. And that’s the one and only reason which confirms our theory that kids are the most eager consumers when something is advertised to them.

@dermarkologist Dermatologist rates Drunk Elephant Products for kids with a simple Yes or No #drunkelephant #sephorakids ♬ baddie background - Dersim 👅

Which skincare products are safe to use for preteens?

Such young skin does not need an extravagant skincare routine, and the products should be kept at a minimum. If your kid wants to start using skincare products, a face wash, a moisturizer, and an SPF is quite sufficient. It’s important that each of these products is dermatologically approved and does not use any harsh ingredients in their formulations. A good kid-friendly face wash choices could be these.

Takeaway note

The highly susceptible preteens, dubbed as “Sephora kids,” are actually a bigger problem than just a mere nuisance of kids hanging around in beauty stores. In fact, this emerging problem might be just the tip of the iceberg of some hard social truths we needed to address a long time ago.

However, if one of these “Sephora kids” is not yours and you are just looking for ways to shop for your skincare and makeup products in peace, you can always stick to online shopping. This way, at least, you won’t leave a Sephora store with your feelings hurt and might even save some money.

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