BEAUTY

Why TikTok’s Child Beauty Influencer Culture Is A Problem

10-year-olds are the new beauty influencers.

Little girls have always tried to grow up too fast. Whether it’s rifling through their mother’s beauty cabinet or playing house, impersonating grown women is a girlhood right-of-passage. But for the generation of girls growing up in the age of social media, playing at being a woman isn’t just a game anymore. 

A scroll through TikTok’s #BeautyTok will reveal thousands of videos made by beauty content creators—many of whom are children. These girls, who seem to be in their early to mid-tween years, talk their viewers through their rather complicated skin care routines.

It’s not unusual to watch a 10-year-old wash their face with a $200 cleanser before applying hydrating serums, moisturisers and toners from whatever the cult beauty brand of the month might be. 

Then, there are the get-ready-with-me videos, which sees young girls expertly apply their makeup with a supply of products that would put most grown women to shame. 

North West sharing her skincare on TikTok.

These videos tend to leave adult viewers with the same sense of discomfort that you might get from watching a children’s beauty pageant—the troubling vision of womanhood being thrust upon girlhood. 

For younger viewers, things are a little more complicated. It’s one thing for children to see adult women talk about their beauty routines but an entirely different thing for them to see girls of their own age do so.

It’s the reason we’re now seeing 10-year-olds drag their parents to Sephora with hundreds of dollars worth of products on their wish lists. 

Of course, the majority of these cult products weren’t created for young skin, which in most cases, hasn’t even gone through puberty yet.

TikTok’s child beauty influencers, like Kim Kardashian’s daughter North West, are using products specifically formulated for ageing skin, made with ingredients that help with wrinkles, discoloration and pigmentation. 

While it’s hard to know whether the children using these products are genuinely concerned about ageing skin, or are simply wanting to buy a product they have seen their favourite influencer use, I worry for a generation of girls who start thinking about their future wrinkles at the age of 10. 

What notions of beauty and ageing are we sending them off into the world with? Certainly not ones of self-acceptance. 

Related stories