The Controversy of “Sephora Kids”: Are Expensive Beauty Products Harmless Fun or Cause for Concern?

24 January 2024

The trend of children purchasing expensive beauty products at Sephora has sparked a heated debate among parents, dermatologists, retailers, and social media users.

The rise of “Sephora kids” has captured the attention of millions, with videos of young children shopping for and using elaborate skincare and beauty products going viral. While some condemn this trend, blaming parents for allowing their children to indulge in adult products, others argue that it is harmless and simply a reflection of children mimicking their role models. As the controversy rages on, dermatologists warn about the potential harm these products can cause to pediatric skin. Amidst the debate, the beauty industry is experiencing a surge in sales, driven in part by the buying power of Generation Alpha.

Influencer Culture and the Rise of “Sephora Kids”

The trend of “Sephora kids” can be traced back to influential figures like Kim Kardashian’s daughter, North West, who posted a video of her skincare routine at the age of nine. This video and others like it have inspired many children and tweens to follow suit, posting their own hauls and routines online. While some argue that this is simply children imitating their idols, others express concern about the influence of social media on young minds.

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The Beauty Industry’s Growing Market

The Canadian beauty industry has seen an 18% increase in sales, according to Circana, a global analytics firm. This growth is expected to continue, especially in the higher-end product market, with Generation Alpha driving the demand. The enthusiasm of young consumers for prestige beauty products, particularly skincare, is expected to shape the industry’s future. Sephora, with its 114 locations in Canada, holds a significant position as the top sales producer in the country’s beauty industry.

The Role of Brands and Parental Responsibility

One of the brands carried by Sephora, Drunk Elephant, has gained popularity among Generation Alpha. The brand’s founder, Tiffany Masterson, acknowledged that many of their products are suitable for all skin types, including children and tweens. However, she emphasized that certain potent products containing acids and retinols are not meant for children. Dermatologists echo this sentiment, highlighting the importance of using products specifically formulated for sensitive or hypoallergenic skin.

The Debate Over Harmlessness vs. Potential Harm

The controversy surrounding “Sephora kids” has divided online opinion. TikTok videos with the hashtag #SephoraKids have garnered millions of views, with adults expressing frustration over children wasting samples, being rude to employees, and spending excessive amounts of money on adult products. Former Sephora employees have also shared their experiences, warning against the potential damage these products can cause to young skin. However, defenders argue that children have always imitated older role models and that their interest in beauty products is a form of self-expression.

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The Need for Parental Guidance and Industry Response

While the responsibility of guiding children’s choices ultimately falls on parents, some argue that retailers like Sephora should also play a role in ensuring that children are not purchasing products unsuitable for their age. As the controversy continues, some children have defended themselves, expressing their pride in being part of Generation Alpha and emphasizing that their interest in beauty products is a reflection of the times.


The rise of “Sephora kids” has ignited a passionate debate among parents, experts, and social media users. While some view it as harmless fun and a natural part of children’s development, others express concern about the potential harm to pediatric skin and the influence of social media on young minds. As the beauty industry continues to thrive, it is crucial for parents to provide guidance and for retailers to ensure the availability of age-appropriate products. Ultimately, striking a balance between self-expression and responsible consumption is key in navigating this controversial trend.

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