Opinion: Leave The G.R.W.M.s to The Grown-Ups

The popularity of internet virality and beauty consumerism is growing faster than ever - and children shouldn’t be in the mix.


     Just like how the young generation of the 2010s was hooked on flip phone lipgloss and neon hair extensions, the youth of today has also found excitement in the world of makeup and beauty as a whole. But while the beauty crazes of the early 21st century centered on expression and strayed away from fast-paced maturity, the new and apparent world of tween cosmetics seems to steer closer to just that.

     All over TikTok in the past few months, people have been commenting on the apparent increase in children in many “adult” beauty-centered stores, this type of youth being labeled as “Sephora Kids” for their greater commonality in those locations. In turn, kids are now entering the world of beauty content creation, as the youth are starting to post “get ready with me”s, which involves the process someone takes to get ready for the day (i.e., skincare, makeup, and other forms of self care).

      Kids and teens now more than ever favor content creation over blue and white collar career choices. In a recent study by YouGov in 2021, it was found that 11% of boys thirteen to seventeen years of age want to become a content creator or internet personality when older, and 6% of girls of that same age have similar job aspirations. Roughly, that is more than 100 million teens in the world who have dreams of becoming a part of the internet-based entertainment industry.

      To young girls with access to social media, it is appealing to want to have this influencer lifestyle, especially with the way the content is marketed. Kids almost always mimic the people they idolize, like how many do with their older siblings. However, when you replace a close family member with the entirety of the Internet, who knows what a child might stumble upon and try to mimic, especially if that chosen role model is a multi-million follower creator with content of full-faced makeup looks.

      Therein lies the problem with this growing issue: on the surface it seems justifiable, an innocent admiration. But by allowing kids to buy these products specifically made for older people violates the sacredness of childhood.

    It’s not just a problem of a lost sense of child-like identity; economically, it raises a problem of consumerism. While this new revenue from the younger generation is good for Sephora, the constant investment in products develops a financial burden on families. Especially since trends are ever changing and kids are more impressionable, most families cannot keep up with buying every new product portrayed on social media, and this creates unrealistic economic expectations.

     Behind the curtain, influencers are not actively buying these products, but instead are receiving sponsorships from brands as well as free products to help endorse their merchandise; something that young kids might not comprehend and instead will view as “the current trend” as opposed to having an actual desire for  the product. 

     In addition, most of these products are insanely expensive. One of the most popular skincare brands amongst these young kids, Drunk Elephant, sells products with prices going as high as $134 for only a 2 ounce bottle, and a Dior Lip Oil, a lip product loved by the younger generation, is worth $40.

       Of course, there’s no problem with self expression. Makeup is in itself an art form, and if kids want to experiment with fun colors and age-appropriate products, there is no harm in letting them find creativity in that hobby. Despite this, most of the makeup looks young girls are wearing aren’t centering around glitter or bright eyeshadows – they focus on tanning serums, full lashes and contour, the very makeup practices utilized for means of beautification.

     Similar to how adults always wish they could get the chance to relive their youth, kids always find the idea of adulthood appealing. It’s a constant cycle; a longing for the life you once had or the life you wish to experience. But what makes these moments in life so precious is the fact that it will one day end or begin, and what’s important is to cherish the time of one’s age and maturity and love it for what it is and not what it isn’t.

     Kids shouldn’t have to worry about what mascara to use or what makeup routine to follow, what the latest trends are or what product to buy; kids should be free from those social constraints of beauty and insecurity, to be able to live their youth without fear of judgment and with the sense of whim and adventure that kids innocently possess.


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