Xem thêm

Young Girls and Their Obsession with Sephora: What Are Parents Saying?

CEO Tinh Phung
People are buzzing about a new "epidemic" that is sweeping across Sephora stores nationwide. But this time, it's not a contagious disease. Instead, it's a surge of preteens storming the aisles, grabbing high-end makeup and...

People are buzzing about a new "epidemic" that is sweeping across Sephora stores nationwide. But this time, it's not a contagious disease. Instead, it's a surge of preteens storming the aisles, grabbing high-end makeup and skincare products like Drunk Elephant and Rare beauty , leading many experts to question whether these products are appropriate for children.

Videos of young girls filling their shopping baskets with hundreds of dollars worth of beauty products have been flooding TikTok for weeks. The store, some say, resembles an elementary school for beauty-obsessed 10-year-olds, and reports have emerged of these young shoppers mistreating store employees and damaging displays.

Even nannies have shared stories of parents giving them unlimited budgets to take their kids on makeup shopping sprees, an experience that some find both humbling and embarrassing. The question arises: When do we draw the line and say enough is enough? Is it even our place to intervene?

But before we place blame, we must consider the circumstances. Preteens today are bombarded with influencer-sponsored advertising and online tutorials showcasing the latest makeup and skincare trends. Their social interactions mostly happen on-camera or through social media platforms. Meanwhile, age-appropriate resources for young girls are becoming increasingly scarce. They no longer want to be treated like children but are still at the early stages of adolescence.

The consequence, according to mental health experts, is a generation of children experiencing unprecedented levels of anxiety and self-esteem issues.

"Suddenly, social media influencers are targeting a younger audience, placing immense pressure on kids to fit in and follow the latest trends in order to feel connected with their peers," explains Sonia Rodrigues, a psychotherapist and senior director of Child and Adolescent Services with Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care in New Jersey.

The parents of these "Sephora 10-year-olds" find themselves torn between supporting their children's interests and worrying about their maturation process. Jenjit Howard, a mother from Georgia, shares her ambivalence. Her 6-year-old daughter loves watching makeup tutorials on TikTok and is drawn to colorful products in stores, assuming they are intended for kids. However, Howard insists on limiting her daughter to colorless lip gloss.

"I have mixed emotions about it. This younger generation learns faster and has access to information at their fingertips, allowing them to become experts in areas we never dreamed of," Howard says. While she doesn't want to stifle her children's creativity, she acknowledges the fine line between encouraging their interests and age-inappropriate maturity.

Context is crucial in these scenarios, emphasizes Rodrigues. A 6-year-old experimenting with makeup at home is one thing, but a 10-year-old wanting to wear red lipstick to school raises different concerns. Hobbies like dancing, cheerleading, and theater further blur the lines for children, making it challenging for them to discern when it's appropriate to wear or purchase makeup.

Gloria Ross, a mother who started taking her daughter to beauty stores at the age of 11 for modeling purposes, now restricts her daughter from wearing makeup on a daily basis. Ross explains, "She may apply a little bit to her eyebrows and wear lip gloss when she models. But that's as far as it goes for now."

The preteen years are undoubtedly a transitional phase where kids are caught between childhood and adolescence. Their parents often find themselves grappling with the lack of age-appropriate resources available for this in-between stage.

"It's incredibly challenging to find appropriate clothing for this age group when, developmentally, they're still trying to figure out where they fit in," adds Rodrigues. "These preteen years are a time of identity formation and exploration."

It's worth noting that exposure to makeup for young kids goes beyond social media. Television shows and even dolls are adorned with mascara and eyeliner. Jenjit Howard reflects, "It's not so much that we're robbing our children of their childhood; we're simply trying to navigate a world that didn't exist when we were kids. Little girls do seem to mature faster nowadays, and you want to protect their innocence, but there are limits to what you can do."

Rodrigues suggests engaging in conversation with children regarding their interest in makeup. Asking questions like, "Where did you hear about this?" and "Why is this important to you?" can help parents gain a deeper understanding of their child's perspective.

As trends come and go, parents must remain flexible and adapt. "You're constantly walking a fine line between guiding and protecting your children's innocence while recognizing that they will inevitably be exposed to a world beyond your control," Howard advises.

With these insights in mind, the "Sephora epidemic" among young girls unveils a broader conversation about the challenges parents face in raising children amidst an ever-evolving digital and social landscape.