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The Daily Targum

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“Sephora Kids” have reportedly engaged in behaviors that disrupt the store environment and other customers’ experiences Article by the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) earlier this year.

The BBC said the term, commonly used on TikTok, is used to describe young girls who have obsessively devoured beauty stores like Sephora to buy both cosmetics and anti-aging products.

The Daily Targum spoke with Sonia Rodrigues, executive director of school and community-based programs at Rutgers University Behavioral Health Care, about the rise of this trend and its impact.

She said the trend is based on an increase Affiliate marketing through influencers, a form of advertising in which a company pays independent publishers to make customers aware of their products and services. The number of teens accessing information about beauty products encourages them to purchase these items to feel included, Rodrigues said.

“I also think it has to do with kids constantly using FaceTime or Snapchat, where the focus is on the face,” she said. “There’s a lot of pressure to make sure they look good.”

According to a Pew Research Center reportMore than 80 percent of teens said social media helps them feel connected to their peers and their lives.

Rodrigues, who runs a private practice in addition to working with children and youth in school and community settings, said she has also observed that young people want to experience a sense of belonging in their workplace. She said she has had several encounters with young customers who have spoken about their desire to follow beauty standards, which may have led to them joining the trend.

She noted a particular case when a teenage client and his family discussed the client showering around midnight on weekdays. Rodrigues said she asked the customer if she could start showering earlier in the day, but the customer declined because she felt they had to be camera ready while her friends were awake.

“I also have a teenager who asks me to buy products I had never heard of,” she said. “They were particularly interested in purchasing some of these products that they had heard about on TikTok.”

Rodrigues' clients have highlighted several mental health implications of this trend. For one client, the desire to feel included among others was just a consequence. In addition to this stressor, she said the pressure the customer felt to choose a product from a wide range was overwhelming.

Rodrigues said these impacts could also extend to parents, who may be under pressure to buy the products for their children, even if the family does not have the financial means to do so.

Both influencers and caregivers can take steps to prevent these consequences, she said. Influencers can do this by providing information about how to use these products and who they are intended for, while guardians can listen and pay attention to what their children see and why they are asking about these products.

“I think the best advice is not to silence the kids if they want to talk about it,” Rodrigues said. “(Have) a lot of discussions with (children) about this time period, the pressure they experience from their peers to conform, and what products are best for their age group.”