Makeup Sales to Elementary School Students Surges in South Korea

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As if parents don’t have enough to worry about, South Korean elementary school students buying beauty products is on a fast rise says new industry data as a growing number of South Korean girls are donning makeup at a young age.

According to figures from SK Planet e-commerce platform, sales of lipstick for children jumped 549 percent on their site. The company added that the sale of cosmetics to children at the online platform have seen a sharp rise in recent years, jumping 94 percent in 2015 and and 251 percent in 2016.

“The popularity of cosmetics, which have long been regarded as just for women, is expanding to include men and even children now,” an SK Planet official told Yonhap News.


Yonhap also reported on a study posted on the Korea Citation Index that showed 42.4 percent of elementary school students wear makeup and that 43.4 percent of respondents said they first started wearing it when they were in the fifth grade.

The survey was conducted on 288 girls in the fourth, fifth and sixth grades at elementary schools in Seoul, Incheon and the industrial city of Ulsan.

As to how to react to the increase, the South Korean government is considering whether to monitor children’s cosmetics by adding a separate category that requires manufacturers label ingredients, including those that may cause allergies.

“There have been different views on whether we should make a separate category for children,” a government official said. “We are currently at the stage of gathering more opinions.”


Some parents have come to accept the trend and allow their children to purchase makeup as students under pressure from peers have reportedly resorted to using pens and markers with unsafe chemical ingredients in lieu of real makeup.

The South Korean cosmetics industry has been a boom market globally over the past few years as the country enjoys an increasingly favorable reputation for its homegrown brands.


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