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The Rise of Sephora 10-Year-Olds

If you’ve been on social media in the last few weeks, you may have come across the term “Sephora 10-year-olds”. This refers to the terrifying little girls prancing down the aisles of Sephora, buying hundreds of pounds worth of anti-ageing skincare, and ripping beauty products from the hands of ancient, decrepit girls in their 20s who actually need them. The question seems to be, is the situation that bad, or are we just getting old and acting shocked by typical tween girl behaviour?

Now that we are in university, it’s been about a decade since we were tweens, so we may have forgotten exactly how cut-throat and horrifying this time period is. Gen Alpha also has the disadvantage of social media being popular during their development years, which is undoubtedly harmful to their mental health and self-image. People seem to forget that girls at that age just want to be older and cooler, and if older girls are putting retinol on their faces and using Drunk Elephant skincare, it’s not that far-fetched that young girls may do it too. 

That being said, the issue lies in that this “toy” of sorts isn’t a toy at all, and is instead a reflection of one of the most vulnerable fears that isn't supposed to hit you until your mid-twenties — getting older. These girls can be as greedy as they want when they’re snatching products off the shelves and leaving beauty stores a mess, but the products they are spending their allowance money on hurt them more than they help. Children should be relishing in the innocence of youth instead of dreading impending wrinkles, trying desperately to preserve their youthful glow. Especially since tweens are usually trying to look older, it is concerning that social media is pushing the importance of youth so much that the actual youth are trying to preserve their appearance as a 10-year-old. 

As the ‘coquette’ aesthetic has gripped young women across the internet, pushing them to wear bows and embrace youthful femininity, it is clear that the beauty standard is getting closer and closer to the depiction of a child. If women are trying to look like young girls and young girls are ditching makeup to keep their child-like appearance, we have to seriously consider if the undertones of paedophilia in the media may be shaping our beauty standards. Young girls are notorious for acting overly mature and even mean-spirited, but this phenomenon seems to transcend typical tween endeavours. We can’t as adults ask kids to continue playing with toys we played with at their age or even act confused when they don’t frequent the stores we used to go to in our youth. However, we can reflect on what message we may be promoting as adults if children are scared to age past 13. 

When it comes down to it, there is truly no blame to place on these children. Whether it be the pandemic, social media, or learned behaviours from parents, Gen Alpha is a reflection of what we as adults are promoting and enabling. If Drunk Elephant didn’t want children buying their anti-ageing products, they shouldn’t package their skincare in bright colours with a dispenser that is distinctly toy-like. While I personally haven’t had my skincare ripped from my hands in Boots, I can imagine it’s a similar experience to having a girl rip my flip-phone-shaped lip gloss kit out of my hands in Claire’s when I was that age. Yes, kids should learn manners and make sure they’re leaving beauty establishments clean. However, bad manners aren’t a new problem, and they’re also the first group of children growing up in an age of digital media and a pandemic, all whilst surviving millennial parenting. They deserve role models who embrace ageing and model healthy habits instead of projecting insecurities onto them.

Illustration by Jordan Anderson

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