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Born into a world where smartphones are children’s preferred toys, members of Gen Alpha have a digital-first perspective that sets them apart. Social media platforms are not just sources of entertainment: they are integral parts of social fabric, shaping young people’s views and aspirations – including when it comes to perceptions of beauty and self-image.

“This is the first generation that’s really grown up in this digital age when TikTok and YouTube have replaced linear TV. So they’re getting all this information because media agencies can target them easily,” Dr Marnie Nussbaum, a dermatologist specialising in non-invasive aesthetic rejuvenation, told US morning TV show Today in early January. “They want to emulate those videos that they’re seeing – the problem is, they’re being marketed products that are not right for their skin.”

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Gen Alpha is becoming a key customer base for the beauty industry, and the influence of celebrity children, particularly the Kardashian kids, has been monumental in popularising tween skincare trends. In early 2023, at only nine years old, North West shared her skincare routine, including products from Drunk Elephant and Skkn by Kim, on her joint TikTok account with her mother, Kim Kardashian.
Khloé Kardashian, Penelope Disick, Kim Kardashian, North West and Kris Jenner attend Beyoncé’s Renaissance tour in September 2023. Born in 2012 and 2013 respectively, Penelope and North have each shared their skincare routine with their followers. Photo: WireImage for Parkwood
At age 11, Penelope Disick, Kourtney Kardashian’s daughter, also showcased her skincare regimen – featuring brands like Dior and Charlotte Tilbury in posts that, while popular, have drawn criticism and concern around how appropriate such routines and products are for children.
The products in question, often formulated to address signs of ageing such as fine lines and pigmentation, raise concerns among dermatologists. “Cleanser, oil-free moisturiser, lip balm and SPF – that’s all they need,” Nussbaum says.

Dr Jeffrey Jackson, a dermatologist and dermatopathology specialist, suggests that, while these products are unlikely to cause harm, “they are unnecessary for young skin, which is naturally equipped to maintain its health at that age”.

Evereden is a premium family skincare brand created by three mothers who are also dermatologists. Photo: Handout

Far from employing the trial-and-error methods of earlier generations, today’s tweens are navigating the beauty landscape equipped with sophisticated AI systems and online communities offering immediate advice and solutions. Their proficiency isn’t confined to simply absorbing content either: they are also becoming creators. A prime example is @garzacrew, an account run by a mother alongside her twin daughters, Haven and Koti, aged seven, from Oklahoma. Their range of content – from showcasing Sephora shopping sprees to sharing “get ready with us” sessions – has garnered an impressive TikTok following of 4.7 million.

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Parallel to the rise of young influencers, brands are emerging to cater to Gen Alpha. While millennials relate to Glossier and Fenty Beauty, and Gen Z connects with brands like Rare Beauty and Rhode, the industry eagerly awaits which brands will resonate most deeply with Gen Alpha – among their favourites so far are brands like Evereden, Sol de Janeiro, Elf Cosmetics and Drunk Elephant.
Best known for its Brazilian Bum Bum Cream, Sol de Janeiro has proven a hit among TikTok influencers. Photo: Handout

Following Gen Z’s preference for eco-friendly products, tweens reportedly favour sustainable beauty options too. In response, Wonderverse Labs has positioned itself as a Gen Alpha self-care brand focused on teaching healthy routines to kids as young as pre-tween. It emphasises cruelty-free and attractively designed products, aligning with the values and interests of this rising generation.

Still, the question of whether 10 is too young for a skincare routine is multifaceted. “On one side, there are benefits linked to establishing good skincare habits from an early age,” says Jackson. “On the other hand, the risks associated with using products formulated for adult skin on younger, developing complexions can’t be ignored.”
Drunk Elephant states that it focuses on “healthy pH levels, formulations the skin recognises, small molecular structure that’s easily absorbed, and effective active ingredients” – while leaving out six nasties the brand has dubbed the Suspicious 6. Photo: Handout

Currently, Gen Alpha stands at the forefront of a new era in the beauty industry. Their preferences for sustainable and ethical products, combined with their unique approach to social media, are not just influencing market trends but are also likely to dictate the industry’s future direction, both online and offline.

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