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Tween girls are invading Sephora stores and customers are calling out their ‘ruthless’ behaviour

Tween girls are begging their parents to buy them expensive skincare and makeup at Sephora, and adult customers are blaming influencer culture as a result

Meredith Clark
New York
Wednesday 03 January 2024 18:41 GMT
Related: IndyBest: Best of Sephora’s own-brand products

It seems that there’s been an invasion of tween girls at Sephora, and both customers and employees are equally confused and outraged as to why.

This week, hundreds of adults have taken to TikTok to address the newest epidemic: 10 to 12-year-old girls reportedly begging their parents to buy them expensive skincare and makeup products at chain beauty stores like Sephora and Ulta. Not only have millennials and Gen Z shoppers noticed that younger customers are buying products that may not be suitable for their age or skin, but they’re supposedly being “disrespectful” and destroying tester products in the stores.

It all began just days after the Christmas holiday, when a TikToker named Chloe asked her more than 12,000 followers if they too have noticed a recent uptick in Sephora stores being overrun with tween girls. “Has anyone else noticed that every time you go into Sephora now it’s just all little girls?” she began the video, which has been viewed more than three million times.

Chloe recalled that she was recently shopping at Sephora when she spotted “a cute little girl” who appeared to be about seven years old. She heard the young girl yelling at her mother in the store, begging her mom to buy her more than one concealer. “I don’t know if this is everywhere lately, but I swear everytime I go into these expensive makeup stores it’s just all really young little girls, which is really upsetting to see,” Chloe said.

It didn’t take long for fellow TikTokers to share that they’ve also noticed young girls purchasing skincare and makeup products that they don’t need. TikTok user Megan Lacey went viral when she detailed her recent experience at Sephora, when she noticed 10 to 13-year-old girls “taking up every single section in the store” and a group of girls “surrounding an employee” asking about skincare products.

“The employee is literally like: ‘It’s actually retinol, like, you actually don’t need that,’” Megan explained.

As it turns out, the beauty brands popular among Generation Alpha - according to customers and employees on TikTok - are Drunk Elephant, Glow Recipe, Rare Beauty, and Sol De Janeiro. However, these products may not be suitable for their age or skin. “I don’t know, whatever they put in Drunk Elephant and Glow Recipe needs to be studied,” said one Sephora employee named Gigi in her TikTok video. “Why are these little kids going crazy for that s***? It’s not even made for them!”

Not only do these products contain chemicals such as retinol and niacinamide, which are used by adults for their anti-ageing benefits, but some customers have also noticed that tween shoppers are destroying the free testers throughout the store - making something known as a “skincare smoothie”.

In one video, TikTok user Dane recalled how he noticed “a group of three young girls” were browsing the Drunk Elephant and Rare Beauty displays in Sephora. “The same girls come up next to me and one girl was like: ‘Can you move?’” he explained. “That is so rude. There needs to be a genetic study on these girls.”

Meanwhile, TikToker Kiley Ryan urged young shoppers not to be “disrespectful” to fellow customers and Sephora staff. “These kids are ruthless,” she said in her video. “I don’t really mind that they have an interest in makeup. When I was younger at that age, I liked playing with my mom’s makeup. I think it’s just the fact that they’re dirtying up the store and using all these testers to do whatever.”

“Do what you want, but just don’t be disrespectful,” she added.

As hundreds of TikTokers shared their own experiences with tween shoppers at Sephora, some people suggested that perhaps Generation Alpha is not at fault for this seemingly younger, widespread consumerism at chain beauty stores. Rather, they blamed social media, influencer culture, and even parents for encouraging young girls to use expensive beauty and skincare products that they don’t need.

In her original video, Chloe explained that she believed “this need to want to grow up younger” stems from social media, while Megan called out influencers like Alix Earle for constantly spotlighting their “get ready with me” videos and makeup routines - unknowingly influencing their younger demographic to purchase the same products.

Many people experiment with beauty and skincare at some point, but many adult women pointed out that when they were tweens, they used inexpensive makeup sets from stores like Claire’s and Limited Too (or when it was rebranded to Justice). According to TikToker Hazel, these colourful makeup palettes made for children 12 years old and younger allowed them to “pretend to be adults” without spending $38 on Drunk Elephant bronzing drops.

Despite the outrage from adult Sephora customers over the tween invasion, there were some people who made a case for the 10-year-old shoppers. When it comes to marketing or branding, there’s no longer a focus on the tween stage of life and there are limited spaces tailored to their age bracket. As a solution, TikToker Stephanie Chen proposed that beauty and makeup chains like Sephora and Ulta create “standalone” youth stores that will provide “a focused and immersive beauty experience” for girls who are under 15 years old.

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