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The Great “Sephora Kids” Debate: When And Why Should We Allow Kids Skincare And Makeup Products?

Sephora Kids Should You Let Your Teen Wear Makeup
Style & BeautyPost Category - Style & BeautyStyle & BeautyParentingPost Category - ParentingParenting - Post Category - Tweens & TeensTweens & Teens

We take a look at how Hong Kong Mamas are managing their “Sephora Kids” –  tweens and teens experimenting with skincare and makeup. And we discuss the merits and dangers of this worldwide beauty trend.

Browsing through the skincare aisles at Sephora, I overheard the voice of a preteen saying, “I really think you should go with the Niacinamide cleanser, it does wonders for your skin texture”. To which her friend responded, “Wait, but I saw on YouTube that Salicylic acid is better for acne-prone skin because it has low pH”. As a 28-year-old overhearing this conversation, I had two thoughts. First, these young girls know a LOT more about skincare products than I did at that age. Second, what do their parents think of this?

Sephora Kids Hong Kong Debate

Is Your Child A “Sephora Kid?”

If you haven’t already come across the terms “Sephora Kids” and the “Drunk Elephant Trend”, it refers to the increasing curiosity and over-eagerness that tweens and teens have with skincare and makeup. Kids as young as 10 years old have been swarming makeup shops looking for sophisticated cosmetic products (often being messy and disrespectful to older shoppers!), raising concerns amongst parents and skincare experts.

While teens using skincare and makeup is not new (we’ve even had a “Makeup Lessons For Teens” article on Sassy Mama!), the acceptable age has been dropping pretty quickly. And while a quick Google search for “teen skincare” or “teen makeup”  will throw up a never-ending list of websites recommending “the best” and “safe” and “natural” products, how often do parents closely examine each ingredient in these recommended products?

Read More: Dermatologists In Hong Kong – Skin Care Clinics For The Whole Family

Sephora Kids Debate

So, How Did We Get Here?

We all remember the awkward skin stages of our teen years – the oily skin and acne were enough to make us want to hide from the world! So it should come as no surprise that in today’s world, with the wealth of information and access available, tweens and teens are actively seeking solutions to tackle this problem.

The internet is saturated with beauty influencers reviewing new brands, posting makeup tutorials with their favourite products and advocating the 10-step skincare routine. Though these videos are not aimed directly towards kids, they end up watching and discussing it with their peers. Add unrealistic beauty standards into the mix and you’ve got the perfect recipe for a “Sephora Kid”.

Read More: Beyond “Beautiful” – 3 Practical Ways To Start Meaningful Conversations About Body Image

Sephora Kids Hong Kong Debate

What Mamas Are Saying About Teens & Tweens Using Makeup

We asked Mamas on the team and some of our friends about whether they let their tweens and teens use skincare and makeup products and why. Here’s what they had to say…

Anita Balagopalan, Senior Editor at Sassy Mama

10-year-old daughter and 8-year-old son

“I let my daughter wear makeup occasionally, for example, when she has a music performance, school play or when she is dressed up in her Indian best for festive occasions. I don’t wear too much makeup myself and can’t stand the fuss, but I don’t want to impose my views (and my laziness!) on her. If I don’t make too much of a big deal about it, she will make up her mind when she grows up. She has occasionally asked if she can wear makeup for birthday parties, but I don’t allow that. I have even tried to get my son to wear makeup for school plays and Christmas concerts so they both realise there are occasions when it’s needed, but he has flat-out refused to! I do tell them that we have to be careful about the ingredients used in makeup – it should be cruelty-free, lead-free, paraben-free, etc. That way, when she grows up and buys her own makeup, she will know that she needs to put some thought into it.”

Emilie De Cannart, CEO at Sassy Media Group

14-year-old daughter

“I’m all for my daughter using skincare, but I like to keep it simple and address specific skin concerns. Her makeup routine is also quite minimal, but for special occasions, I give her the freedom to use some of my makeup. If she were to request additional skincare and makeup products, I would have a heart-to-heart conversation with her to understand what she’s looking for, if she genuinely needs the products and has considered the financial aspect. I’m a big advocate for using products that are as natural as possible, so I would encourage my daughter to prioritise brands that share this value. However, I’m also aware of the powerful influence that social media and advertising can have on her choices.

Read More: Mental Health For Kids – How To Start The Conversation

Yuki, Reader of Sassy Mama

18-year-old daughter

“I let my daughter use cosmetic products because most girls her age are already taking care of their skin and using makeup. I think teens nowadays are more informed than us so she buys products herself. I occasionally monitor her choices to ensure she avoids harmful ingredients, considering the direct impact on the skin.”

Emily, Reader of Sassy Mama

15 and 13-year-old daughters

“I look at the ingredients to ensure they include natural components or come from reputable brands. While I don’t have specific ingredients in mind, I generally lean towards simple and natural compositions for their skincare items.”

Anaitha, Reader of and Contributor to Sassy Mama

10-year-old daughter

“She’s ten! Like any other girl her age, she loves the idea of dressing up. However, there is a fine line between dress-up and her believing that she needs skincare and makeup to make her beautiful. Once in a while for her birthday or a performance on stage, or even a mama-and-daughter dress-up day, sure – I wouldn’t mind it. But certainly not everyday and certainly not to school.

Sephora Kids Debate Experts

What Experts Are Saying About Teens & Tweens Using Makeup

Experts worldwide have warned about the dangers of the Sephora Kids trend. While learning about makeup could spark a genuine interest in dermatology, cosmetology and/or chemistry in the long run, for now – little knowledge is a dangerous thing! Many young children are using products that are completely inappropriate for their age (take anti-ageing products for acne, for example!). The effects of these on their skin and hormonal health have to be considered.

Dr. Joyce Tang, a specialist in Dermatology and Venereology at SkinCentral advises, “The key to healthy skin is to thoroughly wash off makeup with a makeup remover, followed by a cleanser and moisturizer. If the makeup is not removed completely, it can lead to clogged pores, which can cause comedones or even acne. When it comes to teens’ skincare routine, it should be simple with a SPF in the morning, and gentle facewash followed by a lotion. Ingredients like retinol and hyaluronic acid may not be essential at this age and sometimes could cause skin irritation.”

Still on the fence about allowing your kids to use makeup? Read the full article here, speak to a trusted dermatologist, paediatrician or a well-informed mum, and make the right decision for your child (and you!).

Image 1 courtesy of Getty, image 2 courtesy of Getty, image 3 courtesy of Getty, image 4 courtesy of Getty, quote graphics 5, 6, and 7 are courtesy of Sassy Media Group.

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