Zoë Foster Blake says we need to be educating 'Sephora kids'

We need to talk about these 10 year olds in Sephora

Beauty Crew Beauty Editor / January 25 2024

Ten years ago pre-teens were having to beg their parents for the mere opportunity to be allowed to step foot in a Smiggle store. The promise of potentially owning one of the stationery brand's signature, multi-coloured, zip pencil cases and lord it over everyone of their classmates was glory enough. 

Now, 10 year olds are said to be terrorising beauty retailers and their employees. Ruining store samples and unopened products, and throwing tantrums in stores if their parents don't let them spend hundreds of dollars on skin care and cosmetics formulated for mature age skin. 

The strange phenomenon has sparked a broader discussion online about a generation of 'iPad kids' who seem to be lacking the right information about beauty products and parents unwillingness to discipline their own children in public.

As with every generation before them, today's 10 year olds are simply wanting to buy what's cool. While we all start experimenting with beauty products in our pre-teens and teens, the concern is that these children are being influenced to invest in skin care trends by content creators. Buying products that are usually intended to be used on adult skin, because they contain strong ingredients that can cause damage when not used correctly. 

Coupled with the fact that parents seem more willing than ever before to buy these beauty products for their children in an effort to keep them happy, these kids are checking out of beauty hot spots like Sephora, Mecca and Ulta with hundreds of dollars worth of products using their parents credit card.

American TikTok creator @natsodrizzy is a Sephora employee who recently experienced the wrath of a 'Sephora kid' first hand. In a story time video she filmed in early January, Nat said she watched a girl no more than 11 years old argue with her mother at her store's register for over 10 minutes.

The reason for the argument? Her mother wouldn't pay for the $900 worth of products she'd rung up at the register and asked her daughter to remove a few items from her massive Sephora haul.

"The little girl lost her mind," she recounted in the video. "They're arguing back and forth and the little girl kinda is just, she's not having it, she's like, 'I'm not putting anything back'."

The pair argued back and forth for some time until the young girl removed several items from her cart, bringing her purchase down to $500 instead of $900, which her mother was okay with.

"I'm sorry, who's the mum here?," Nat questioned in the video. "This is the problem. The problem isn't the kids, it's the parents, because why aren't you holding your ground?"

"These iPad kids, these little girls, have never heard the word 'no'," she continued, saying that parents give into their tantrums and give them what they want just so their kids will be quiet.

"I've seen a lot of people talking about the ways we can avoid having these little girls come in Sephora, but there's literally no way that it's gonna happen without the action of the parents," she said plainly. "Nothing is going to change until the parents change."

Adriana (@queenofbadtan) is a TikTok creator and an employee at Mecca who has had similar experiences.

In a recent TikTok, she said people need to stop blaming employees of beauty retailers for selling skin care products that are too strong and potentially harmful.

"Kids come in with their parents, they’ve seen this product on TikTok and the parents are wanting to buy it for them," she explained, saying she will always advise the parent if a product is not suitable for a child.

"If the parents agree with you, that’s great, [because] we could find an alternative product," she said. "But if the parent is like, 'no, my kid really wants this, I want to get it for them', we can't stop them. So we have to let them buy it."

In her opinion, it's paramount parents do more research before agreeing to buy their children trendy skin care products in the first place.

@queenofbadtan #stitch with @TYLER WOODMAN it’s so important to educate yourself before buying the product #sephora #mecca #skincare #makeup #fyp ♬ original sound - Adriana 🫶🏽

It's a sentiment that Zoë Foster Blake, Australian author and founder of Go-To Skincare agrees with: "It's never too young to start good skin care habits."

"I'm not going to slag them off because I know if I was 10 years old and if I had access to social media I would 100 per cent be doing the same thing," she said via Instagram. 

"I do want to talk about how important it is, if you have a tween or teen in your world, [because] you can help them actually get it right," she went on to say. "We have an opportunity to encourage this idea of looking after your skin, not because it's trendy, not because the bottles are cute, but because it can create self confidence and create really strong skin care habits that [can support] them for decades and decades."

"They have so much information and so much confusion because of that," she explained. "Simplicity and key points are going to become really critical otherwise they'll get completely overwhelmed and they'll use things that are completely unnecessary and harmful for their skin."

She advises parents to help their kids to create gentle and simple skin care routines if they're starting to show an interest in beauty products. But she says to steer clear of active ingredients until they're in their teens and have skin issues they actually need to treat such as acne.

In the meantime, a gentle cleanser, moisturiser and SPF should suffice.

Christmas may be over, but you can still gift your teen some beauty products that you've had the time to researched.

Main image credit: @sephoraaus

Briar Clark got her start in the media industry in 2017, as an intern for Marie Claire and InStyle. Since then, her keen interest in fashion and beauty has landed her gigs as a Digital Content Producer and Beauty Editor with titles like Girlfriend, Refinery29, BEAUTYcrew and beautyheaven. She loves the way seemingly innocuous topics like skin care and style have the ability to put a smile on people’s faces or make them think about themselves a little differently. A big believer in self love and experimentation, Briar has made a point of becoming the Australian beauty industry’s unofficial guinea pig for unusual treatments and daring hair trends. When she’s not testing out the latest beauty launches, Briar is big on broadening her horizons, mostly in the form of food but she’s also partial to travelling to new destinations both near and far (and of course, allocating an extra bag to bring their best beauty offerings home with her).

Related tags

mecca /

tiktok /