Jan 20, 2024 - Business

Sephora tweens are spending big on beauty products

Illustration of a kid looking at themselves in a vanity that has a hundred dollar bill as a mirror.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

Sephora, once a beauty refuge for grown-ups, has become increasingly dominated by tween girls spending adult-sized sums of money.

Why it matters: Girls between the ages of 10 and 13 have become an economic force far beyond the Stanley craze.

Between the lines: The brands popular with the tween demographic have historically been relatively cheap, as befits their lower purchasing power. Thanks in part to TikTok, that's now changing — especially when it comes to beauty products.

What they're saying: "We are a little young," one tween admits to Axios. "Honestly? I don't even need makeup. I just love applying it. I love my skincare routine."

  • Any given evening, she says, she's likely to use a face wash, a facial scrub, a lip exfoliant, a hydrating serum, a moisturizer, a highlighting serum, an eyelash serum and a lip mask.
  • Some of those products will come from relatively affordable brands like CeraVe. But many will be from Drunk Elephant, Glow Recipe, Laneige, and other high-end labels.
  • "Sometimes I use Kosas facial spray," adds the tween. "It smells really good. I don't really know what it does, but it probably doesn't need to do anything."

Zoom out: Naturally, there's a morning skincare routine as well, on top of a makeup routine and an even more elaborate hair-care routine.

Be smart: The routine is mostly a ritual for ritual's sake. "I don't need my skincare routine," she says. "But I feel weird if I go to sleep without doing my skincare. It's so fun to do."

  • "What adults don't understand is that it's not even to look good," adds her friend. "It's just really fun to have a routine and stick to it."

The big picture: Tweens are clearly no stranger to spending power. Some of that comes from larger allowances or price-insensitive relatives. But it's also a function of the way that pay for things like dogsitting or babysitting has risen.

  • Food inflation means lunch-price inflation, which in turn means more money freed up if you skip lunch and save the cash instead for this weekend's shopping trip.

The bottom line: Perhaps the cocktail craze is being driven by adults seeking out the last tween-free space.

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