The student news site of Adlai E. Stevenson High School


The student news site of Adlai E. Stevenson High School


The student news site of Adlai E. Stevenson High School


The Invasion Of The 12 Year Olds

Sephora tweens take over the makeup industry
he Drunk Elephant display shines through Sephora with their neon products. Drunk Elephant started their company in August 2013 and features many lines of skin care.

Neon products shine brightly compared to the rest of Sephora. The freshly stocked bottles with pink, blue, and green caps line up neatly on the shelves. The sweet scent of pistachio, caramel, and vanilla from Sol De Janeiro’s Brazilian Crush perfume fill the air.

As soon as the employees open the local Sephora at 10 a.m., young tweens (children between 9 and 12 years old) flood into the store, tearing down display after display to try and get the hot new products. 

How do they know what to buy and where to buy it? Good question. Many tweens are getting their knowledge from social media. 

With the increasing presence of social media in the younger generation’s lives, kids are becoming more exposed to the powers of TikTok or Instagram. After watching famous Tik-Tokers such as Alix Earle and James Charles, the need for the Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi Bronzing Drops, or the Glow Recipe Glow Niacinamide Dew Drops, suddenly becomes their top priority in order to emulate their idols.

However, there is a key difference between influencers like Earle and young tweens: Earle is a 23-year-old woman, while these tweens are still pre-adolescent – certain makeup products and skincare should not be used by young kids. 

According to a study conducted by CNN, more than 50 percent of prepubescent girls worldwide are purchasing anti-aging products —a 30 percent increase from 2012—the same chemicals used by our aging mom. These products tend to do more harm than good, leading to more oily skin, an increase in acne, and aggravated skin as a whole. 

Case in point: to combat the“Sephora girl” trend, Drunk Elephant’s recent Instagram post recommended that kids and tweens avoid products containing retinol and acid. It’s surprising that in a generation dominated by technology, many brands have not issued similar warnings. 

Tweens are so entranced with following their influencers that they aren’t doing proper research to find out what products have harmful chemicals and which are safe. This leads to an endless cycle of buying new, popular products to combat the damage the old products left. 

Makeup companies are contributing to the societal pressure  that makes young tweens want to fill their face full of makeup, creating insecurities when they can’t meet the beauty standards. According to a study found by Massage Envy and the NY Post, 81 percent of adults believe that makeup and society’s beauty norms have contributed to their lack of confidence. If companies didn’t try to profit off of young tweens, they wouldn’t be induced to rely on society’s unrealistic, impossible beauty norms in the first place. 

These beauty standards to fit in, or look good, have caused kids to grow up incredibly fast. It is crucial for kids to savor their childhood, and not rush into adulthood.

True adults understand that if, for example, they want to try a new lipstick to test if it’s good quality, they have to use a Q-tip to get the lipstick off the tester, and make sure to not leave a mess. Meanwhile, tweens treat the store like a playground, ruining testers, mixing products together, and letting them dry out. 

By not following societal norms, such as cleaning up after themselves, it is evident that tweens in today’s generation are lacking societal values. While their passion is understandable, the way in which they are acting is unacceptable, and must be solved for future generations. 

Sephora features many different makeup and skin care lines in their store, such as Drunk Elephant, Glow Recipe, Rare Beauty, Dior, and Summer Friday.

It is also important to note that tweens are not the sole blame for this lack of maturity; parents play a huge role as well. Utilizing the “Groups” page on Sephora’s website, many people have shared complaints about witnessing parents drop off their tween at the store as if it were a daycare station. 

Many parents of the “Sephora girls” don’t know how to limit their kids. Instead, they unintentionally let their children take advantage of them and spend ridiculous amounts of money on products they simply don’t need. 

Parents need to be proactive. Of course, it is natural for young tweens to want to dress up and play with fun makeup products, but there’s a difference between a lip gloss from Claire’s and a lip plumper from Dior. 

We aren’t saying there needs to be an age limit for those allowed in Sephora. Yet, we do strongly believe that parents need to think twice before allowing their kid to be entrapped in the world of makeup. 

If we have seen anything from this invasion of 12-year-olds in the makeup industry, it is that we need to end this cycle for the next generation. It starts with encouraging tweens to keep their childhood innocence for as long as they can and to reduce the use of unnecessary products to protect their health or growth.

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  • J

    Jerry Patt | Mar 8, 2024 at 1:42 pm

    Pretty good article. Well written with a stated point of view.