Use of certain cosmetics has risen sharply among children aged 10-12, according to a new study by consumer research firm Nielsen. Children, who are reaching puberty early, are being influenced by social media — selfies on Instagram and videos on Snapchat, among others — to look attractive.

“Kids suffer from many skin problems at adolescence, including acne, pigmentation and dark spots,” said Vandana Luthra, founder of VLCC. “To cover that and work on their appearance, most of the spending is on beauty and skincare.”

Some cosmetic products that have seen a spike due to heightened usage by pre-teens are nail art, sunscreen, kajal, spotless creams and hair colour. With the onset of early maturity and the desire to look attractive at a much younger age than before, products that used to target women of 18 are now looking at a much wider market beginning from the age of 12, Nielsen said.

While most large cosmetic firms refused to comment on the trend due to being seen as targeting kids, brand expert Harish Bijoor called the trend down-ageing. “It’s similar to parents dressing up their kids in fashionable clothes,” he said. “Apart from Instagram icons that propagate the use of make-up, kids are being made to talk and walk like grown-ups more than ever before.”

However, it’s not only girls, who are concerned about their appearance. Boys, too, have taken to products such as hair gels and deos. “In an increasingly connected world, the need to look and feel good is becoming dominant than ever before at an early age,” said Sameer Satpathy, chief executive (personal care products business) at ITC. “This is reflected in the fact that Engage, as a perfume brand, has received encouragement from the youth.”

Rajesh Shirali, executive director at Nielsen India, said, “Young females, especially in metros, have been using skin creams, face washes, make-up, foundation, colour cosmetics, highlights using hair colour even before attaining the age of 15-16. In addition, they have been visiting parlours for treatments such as facials, hair-removal and hair-colouring.

Courtesy: Economic Times

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