Gen Z Tweens Shop at Sephora Now—Here’s What 5 Millennial Influencers Used on Their Skin in Their Teenhood

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With all the buzz around tweens and teens shopping for luxury and premium beauty products at Sephora, many of us millennials are wondering how today’s youth can afford its price points when we were collecting coins from lemonade sales to afford drugstore items.

It’s hard to wrap our heads around the fact that Gen Alpha teens’ bathroom cabinets are chock full of prestige brands like Drunk Elephant, Glow Recipe, and Charlotte Tilbury, compared to their millennial counterparts, who (mostly) shopped drugstore—and maybe treated themselves to the occasional Clinique perfume or Lancome mascara if it was a good month for that after-school babysitting gig.

We decided to ask a few of our favorite millennial-age influencers exactly what they were using during their teen years to see if we were the only ones shopping CVS (... or was it Sav-On back then?) aisles in the ’90s and the ’00s.

Sazan Hendrix

“Ah, the teen years—a whirlwind of hormones and skincare trials! My trusty companions during those acne-prone days were First Aid Beauty products. [Its] gentle yet effective formulas kept my skin in check, allowing me to tackle whatever life threw my way with confidence. And let's not forget the lifesavers: Neutrogena’s makeup remover cloths and makeup remover,” she tells The Daily Beast.

“I took the age-old advice about not sleeping with makeup on as gospel; and with my skin’s temperamental nature, a strict regimen was non-negotiable! So, you bet I stuck to it religiously, never once risking a night (sleeping) with makeup on. BareMinerals was the first makeup brand my skin ever touched, providing a gentle introduction to the world of cosmetics. Then came Laura Mercier, swooping in with its iconic Secret Brightening Powder—a cult classic that remains a favorite of mine to this day!”

Buy on Amazon, $26

Joslyn Davis

“The concept that my mom would have ever thought even once about buying me luxury beauty products as a tween is laughable. As I write this, I’m cackling,” Davis tells us.

“Even in my 40s, my mom thinks my face is perfect without anything! And that’s honestly probably to her credit—she was an early adoptee of encouraging daily sunscreen. In terms of brands, though, if it wasn’t from CVS, it wasn’t happening. My face can thank a steady stream of Clean & Clear, Neutrogena, and, at one point, even the GOAT, Noxema!”

Buy on Amazon, $8

Emily Gellis Lande

“Funny enough, I used absolutely zero skincare products in my teen years. I’m pretty sure I just washed my face with water. As far as makeup goes, I absolutely loved my Benefit Cosmetics Hoola bronzer and black eyeliner in my waterline,” she tells us.

“Aside from that, I ‘borrowed’ some of my mom’s Bobbi Brown eyeshadow palettes and lipliner on the weekends and ended up getting grounded for not returning them. We really did zero skincare, and I have to say I kind of liked it that way! I miss the days of playing snake on my Nokia phone before everything was on the internet (I digress).”

Buy on Benefit, $36

Erica Stolman Dowdy

“My first memory of entering the world of makeup and beauty started at Nordstrom—specifically the Bobbi Brown makeup counter. At the time, Bobbi Brown was marketing toward teaching young girls how to do makeup, and I remember my mom asking them to help get us started on some age-appropriate makeup that wouldn't negatively affect my skin. She also got me the Bobbi Brown makeup manual for teenagers book, which quickly became my holy grail for all things makeup,” Stolman Dowdy tells us.

As I got a bit older, I ventured into more of the trendy beauty products of the moment: [DuWop’s] lip venom was all the rage for plumping your lips. My friends and I collected Lancome Juicy Tubes like Pokemon cards, and we spent our afternoons at Bath & Body Works (Cucumber Melon everything!), and not a day would go by without a generous dousing of Victoria Secret’s shimmer body spray. We also loved to go to the mall and get the eyeshadow stacks from the makeup kiosk—it was basically a tiny clear tube of eyeshadow, and you could get new ones and stack them into tall towers. The scene of beauty and makeup was so different in the mid-2000s than it is now, and honestly, I am so grateful I got to experience those truly iconic times!”

Buy on Sephora, $25

Gregoria Reyes-Lou (“Greivy”)

“I am a mother of a teen and pre-teen, and seeing their interactions with my products and interest in their beauty routine has brought so many memories of my relationship with beauty and the products I used then and some I still use today,” Reyed Lous tells us.

Noxema every night for breakouts was definitely a favorite of mine. My Clinique 3-Step routine and roll-on lip gloss or Bonne Bell Lip Smackers. In my late teens I was introduced to Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant and it’s been part of my routine for over 20 years now!”

Buy on Sephora, $33


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