WATCH: Exposing the dangers of Tween TikTok beauty trends

The rise of the ‘Sephora tween’ underscores the need for a balanced approach to skincare. Picture: Brent Lewin / Bloomberg

The rise of the ‘Sephora tween’ underscores the need for a balanced approach to skincare. Picture: Brent Lewin / Bloomberg

Published Apr 7, 2024


In recent years, social media has created an array of tween trends, including the emergence of what’s been dubbed the “Sephora tween” phenomenon.

The influx of pre-teens flooding beauty retailers, clamouring to purchase skincare products popularised by TikTok influencers.

With two 10-year-old daughters, I can relate to this obsession with make-up, skincare and anything beauty related. My skincare drawer and cosmetics bag get raided on a regular basis to contour, colour and create their private TikTok videos.

Where does this end?

Global analytics company Circana found an 18% increase in Generation Alpha (those born 2010 and after) skincare sales in 2023 and believe that they will drive the increase in years to come.

However, the root of this obsession doesn't solely rest on the shoulders of the growing number of teenage influencers.

Beauty brands are deliberately targeting younger people to the products with colourful packaging and marketing strategies aligned with social media trends.

This allure of ‘coolness’ is compounded by influencer endorsements that draw tweens into the world of beauty products, many of which contain active ingredients like vitamin C, glycolic acid, and retinoids, which are designed for mature skins.

Despite their appeal, these products can pose significant risks to tween skin, which is more sensitive than adult skin, potentially causing irritations and dryness as tween skin doesn't require such potent formulations.

The challenge lies in bridging the gap between trendy skincare and beneficial skincare. Most tween skincare routines require the basics - gentle cleansers, oil-free moisturisers and sun protection.

What does the future hold?

Perhaps this is a digital literacy issue around social media in order for young children to understand what they are seeing online - like the differences between sponsored content and someone simply sharing their favourite products. The relentless advertising and algorithms targeting them makes it difficult to differentiate between the two.

Ultimately, the rise of the “Sephora tween” underscores the need for a balanced approach to skincare that empowers young people to care for their skin responsibly, while dispelling the allure of trends that prioritise aesthetics over health.

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