The skincare aisles have been ransacked by kids.
Having quickly become the new EOS lip balm, Drunk Elephant skincare is all the rage amongst kids. Drunk Elephant is a brand whose products have been used and endorsed by Alix Earle, an influencer with 6.3 million TikTok followers. A huge part of her followers contains kids and tweens who look up to her and consequently want to use what she endorses. This is described as the parasocial effect, where kids and tweens stray away from being influenced by their parents, and rather their peers. However, in the digital age, this extends to social media. Influencers have a bigger hold on kids and tweens than ever before.
This skincare craze doesn’t stop at Drunk Elephant’s products. Kids and tweens have been using inappropriate products for their demographic’s recommended skincare. Popular skincare used to include gentler cleansers and products, which worked for young skin. However, now many of the most recent popular products are marketed towards skin issues most common in more mature skin. This has led to kids and tweens using chemicals that are far too harsh for their skin, causing chemical burns, rashes and irritation. Effective but less harsh substitutes for kids and tweens include the CeraVe moisturizing cleanser and moisturizer.
Some might claim that it is good to have a skincare routine at any age to build the habit, so the products don’t matter. While it is good to have a routine, the products that are popular in the market aren’t suitable for kids and tweens. Most of the major influencers who are promoting these harsh products are getting paid to do so, but they are also old enough to use them. Since a portion of their viewers are not able to do so, companies should ask their content creators to give a brief statement on their intended age demographic. For example, products with retinol can be used when a consumer is 20+, while sunscreen products can be used at any age. Moreover, companies can push their least popular products onto consumers so that they can expand their consumer base. Drunk Elephant has defended their skincare line because many of their products can be used by kids and tweens. This is true, but many of the products they’re referring to aren’t marketed as heavily by the content creators they have partnerships with.
The solution to the storm of kids in Sephora and other beauty stores is to fight fire with fire. Marketing age-appropriate skincare to kids and tweens will get them out of the retinol and back to being kids. With the help of parental restrictions on what their kids are watching and the proper marketing, the skincare aisles will be cleared again.