April 14, 2024

DIYClearSkin

Define Beauty Yourself

Gen Alpha takes over skin care social media scene, but are they too young?

Forget dolls, tea parties, and playing dress up. There is a controversial, viral new trend among young girls as high-end skincare products seem to be the latest obsession.

Tweens have taken to social media to share their make-up and skincare routines, often referred to as “Get Ready With Me” videos, showcasing their favorite products oftentimes featuring lux brands like Drunk Elephant, Glow Recipe, and Charlotte Tilbury with price tags exceeding $100.

“Impact x Nightline” explores the trend and the concerns raised by it in an episode now streaming on Hulu.

Stock photo

Jackf/Getty Images

Many of these 7- to 15-year-olds, members of “Generation Alpha,” have crowded beauty retail stores like Sephora and Ulta Beauty, and some customers and employees accuse them of destroying sample products. The tweens are scooping up popular, high-end skincare products much to the annoyance of adult customers who have expressed their frustration online about dealing with the less-experienced consumers.

“It’s the middle of a Thursday, why aren’t these kids in school? Whose mom is buying them this?” a social media user posted after visiting one makeup retailer.

Meanwhile, some parents are defending their teenagers, with one mom posting on social media, “My daughter is empathetic, she gets good grades. If she wants to spend her hard-earned money to go to Sephora […] I’m going to let her do it.”

Mother and social media influencer Adrea Garza has been posting videos with her 7-year-old twin girls Koti and Haven on her TikTok account for years. The Garza Crew has gone mega-viral with nearly five million followers for their beauty content, in which Haven and Koti show off their skincare hauls and often post routines in the popular “Get Ready With Me” trend.

“My first memories of make-up are definitely just wanting to look up and emulate my mom and just have fun and play. And I think Koti and Haven are the same exact way,” Garza said.

However, Garza and her girls are not immune to criticism of their videos. She admitted that she didn’t worry about her twins being affected by the responses to her videos, but once they started to learn how to read, she got more worried.

“I do want to protect them from these nasty, mean things that people say that are so untrue, but at the same time, I don’t want them to live in a bubble,” she said.

Garza, who has helped to secure brand deals for her daughters, asserts that every generation has worried about something that is making their kids grow up too fast.

She said that her videos of her daughters are helping them to be “financially blessed to the point that a lot of people don’t have in their life.”

“I would love to just bottle up my kids’ innocence and keep it forever and ever and have them never spread their wings and grow,” Garza said. “But then, at the same time, I can’t wait until they spread their wings and grow.”

PHOTO: Dr. Claire Wolinsky speaks with "Impact x Nightline."

Dr. Claire Wolinsky speaks with “Impact x Nightline.”

Nightline

While the Garza’s and other tiny influencers may be drawing in millions of clicks and lucrative deals with big beauty brands, some parents and experts are raising concerns questioning whether or not these skincare routines are safe for such young skin.

Dr. Claire Wolinsky, a New York City dermatologist and influencer, told “Impact” that she considers the extensive routines as “mostly unnecessary.”

“I don’t think you need all this skincare,” she said. “I think, No. 1, it’s financially burdensome, and No. 2, you’re likely to cause more irritation to the skin the more products you use.”

When it came to concerns from some parents about the ingredients used in their child’s beauty products, such as retinol and glycolic acid, Wolinsky said it is unlikely those products will cause long-term damage but advises against using them on young skin.

“I really don’t think that we have to worry about the systemic effects, meaning that what you’re putting on your skin is going into the bloodstream and causing any scary side effects later in life. What we do have to worry about is irritation,” she said.

Skincare brand Drunk Elephant released a statement in December on its Instagram page stating, “Many of our products are designed for all skin, including kids and tweens.”

The statement went on to say that younger consumers, “stay away from our more potent products that include acids and retinols.”

Ashley Fell, a social researcher at McCrindle who has been studying Gen Alpha – children born between 2010 and the end of 2024 – for more than a decade told “Impact” that this generation has more influence than previous generations because of its early access to social media and ability to persuade their parents to spend on them.

“They are quite an empowered generation. And that’s why we say they do have that purchasing power beyond their years, beyond their income, which is quite minimal at this point in time,” she said.

With Gen Alpha’s immense spending power becoming clear, it’s no wonder that some beauty companies are after their attention.

Newcomers to the industry, like Bubble and TWiiSH, now market products specifically made for the Tween consumer in mind.

PHOTO: Influencer Adrea Garza speaks with "Impact x Nightline."

Influencer Adrea Garza speaks with “Impact x Nightline.”

Nightline

“At its core, beauty is fun, and it’s a way for these girls to explore,” said Faith Xue, the executive beauty director at Bustle Digital Group. “And it’s like their version of going into their mom’s makeup cabinet, except instead of that, it’s a Sephora store. It’s that element of discovery.”

Xue pushed back against the criticism over young girls’ elaborate skincare routines arguing that this was their way of expressing and discovering themselves.

Meanwhile, mental health experts raised concerns about the potential dangers of young girls focusing too much on physical appearance at such a young age.

“If it’s a situation where they’re taught how to wear makeup, to look a certain way like everyone else looks, it has them focusing on the wrong things. When that becomes almost an obsession and they’re being bombarded by these messages, it may not be healthy,” psychologist Jeff Gardere told “Impact.”