Pure Beauty

What beauty can learn from the 'Sephora kids' controversy

By Amanda Pauley | Published: 24-Jan-2024

Videos complaining about the behaviour of tweens in Sephora stores have taken over social media. Retail expert Janet Milner-Walker explains the key takeaways for brands

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Social media is awash with shoppers complaining about Gen Alpha arriving at Sephora in their droves to buy products from popular beauty brands Byoma, Drunk Elephant, Glow Recipe and Sol De Janeiro

Beauty shoppers and Sephora staff alike have taken to TikTok and Instagram to complain about the behaviour of these children in-store over the past couple of months.

Social media content creators have accused the young shoppers (born between 2010 and 2023) of breaking testers, leaving a mess of shelves and being rude to salespeople. 

Others have even complained about Gen Alpha allegedly running around in large groups in-store and leaving product spills.

Influencer Daniela Ueman’s (@dani.cazz) video ‘Are 12-year-olds actually taking over Sephora?’ showed messy shelves, with tester caps missing and items knocked over. 

The clip has more than 66,000 views on Instagram, with some users commenting they had experienced the same thing in store. 

Companies need to focus their marketing on educating this consumer group on the benefits of certain ingredients

Another TikTok influencer Avery Warneke (@avery22w) shared her experience with children at Sephora in a video that has more than 460,000 views.  

“I’m not mean, but if a little girl comes in my way and pushes me out of the way to get something she wants when I was already there, I’m going to have a problem,” Warneke said. 

“I heard these little girls in Sephora talking about their spending limit… these little girls have American Express (Amex) cards in their hands. 

“Their parents gave them Amex cards… I was in shock”. 

Drunk Elephant's viral D-Bronzi bronzing drops have been one of the most sought-after products by tweens

Drunk Elephant's viral D-Bronzi bronzing drops have been one of the most sought-after products by tweens

In light of these videos, some are now comparing Sephora to teenage accessories retailer Claire’s and asking why tweens are not shopping at this store anymore, such as content creator Gianna Caldera (@_giannalove).

In the video, which has 3.3 million likes, Caldera shared her experience of being in a store with a girl, “who could not be older than the age of ten”, who ran and grabbed the last Drunk Elephant D-Bronzi bronzing drops just before her even though she was there first.

MUA and beauty advisor

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