A California Bill Could Ban "Sephora Kids" From Buying Anti-Aging Products

The bill could end up prohibiting kids from buying products containing retinol and other anti-aging ingredients.

Lauren Wellbank - Author

May 16 2024, Published 3:08 p.m. ET

Tweens wearing face masks
Source: Getty Images

If you've never heard the phrase "Sephora kids" before, it's a term used to describe a younger generation of skincare enthusiasts who love to shop for products at the aforementioned retailer.

And, while Sephora kids often get called out over their high-end taste and the expensive skincare routines they've adopted in their quest to stay forever young, this generation may face their biggest challenge yet: a new bill prohibiting them from purchasing anti-aging products.

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If California lawmakers have their way, the so-called Sephora kids will be barred from buying items creating certain ingredients due to concerns about what impacts these chemicals could have on their health. Continue reading to learn more, including how critics say this bill may backfire, putting more kids at risk of preventable skincare issues.

Tweens do facials in bathroom
Source: Getty Images
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California's AB 2491 bill would ban "Sephora kids" from buying anti-aging skincare products.

A California bill was introduced by Democratic Assembly member Alex Lee on April 24, 2024, in an effort to protect children under the age of 13 by banning them from buying skincare products that contain common anti-aging products, including:

  • Vitamin A and any common derivatives that would include ingredients like retinol and retinoids
  • Alpha hydroxy acids including glycolic, ascorbic (vitamin C) and citric acids

This is due to the potential for both short-term and long-term skin damage likely to occur at this age.

According to USA Today, the bill has already made it through the Environmental Safety and Toxic Materials Committee, and it's slated for a May 16, 2024 appropriations hearing. If it passes, children won't be able to purchase any over-the-counter products, including these ingredients.

Retailers would be expected to take reasonable measures to enforce the new rules, which may include hanging signs, questioning shoppers about their date of birth, and even asking for ID.

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The bill appears to have a lot of support from those who worry about the possible dangers to young children who have been inspired to take a deep dive into the world of anti-aging skincare by social media influencers, but some caution against instituting such broad and sweeping regulations, including representatives from the Personal Care Products Council.

Four teen girls applying skincare at a sleepover.
Source: iStock
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In a statement read by USA Today, the council warned that limiting the sales of some of these ingredients would prevent children from accessing a broad range of essentials. They worried that kids would be limited when shopping for products like cleansers, sunscreens, and moisturizers, all of which they say play an important role in maintaining skin health at this age.

Kids and preteens are using more skincare than ever.

If you're curious about why there is a sudden need for regulations surrounding children's skincare, all you need to do is look to the throngs of kids, tweens, and teens caught up in the skincare craze.

There are even influencers like Evelyn, a young tween who went viral for her "get ready with me" style videos. While Evelyn, who spoke to Allure magazine in April 2024 about her sudden fame, may not use those ingredients California lawmakers worry about, plenty of others do.

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A Reddit thread dug into the Sephora kids drama, with people on both sides of the fence sharing why they had strong opinions about kids using expensive anti-aging ingredients when they haven't even begun to experience those fine lines and wrinkles the products promise to erase. For the most part, supporters believe these kids are doing what generations have done before and mimicking what they see their parents doing at home.

Two teens doing skincare in front of a mirror.
Source: iStock
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Of course, others appear to agree with lawmakers because they don't think it's safe for kids this age to be messing with such strong chemical treatments, especially when they're doing so because of peer pressure. "It’s influencers and the skincare TikTok that is really driving the skincare stuff," user @Rumpelteazer45 wrote, adding that their concern was more so that aging is bad, and that "getting older somehow diminishes your worth."

California tweens will have to wait to see what lawmakers decide about the proposed ingredient bans. Until then, it seems that when it comes to the Sephora kids, people are concerned about more than just what they're putting on their faces.

Unfortunately, it will take more than a piece of legislation to show them that growing older is an important part of growing up and not something that can be erased with a cream, no matter what social media tells them they should do.

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