Babies are born with their own built-in moisturizer. Vernix – a waxy substance that coats the skin before birth – has beneficial moisturizing and antimicrobial properties, and the most recent guidelines from the World Health Organization state that a baby’s first bath should be delayed by at least 24 hours to allow it to do its job. Even after that, baby’s skin doesn’t need much more than warm water for the first few weeks of life.
But beyond that, everything is up for grabs. And the beauty industry likes to start them young. Once upon a time, “clean” skincare without everything was of concern to those struggling with vexatious issues such as childhood eczema – go-to brands such as Green People (founded in 1997) were a buoy rescue for parents. Now, savvy shoppers take ingredient lists for granted.
When Olivia Chantecaille and Barbara Sturm had children (both, coincidentally, in 2014), they were always going to be interested in what was happening near that pristine skin. Baby skincare ranges weren’t far behind – Dr Sturm’s Baby & Kids Baby Bum ‘Mini Molecular’ cream, with marigold extract and zinc, £20; and Chantecaille Bébé’s Orange Blossom Face Cream, £40 – and other brands soon followed.
Chantecaille Baby Orange Blossom Face Cream, €40 for 50ml
Dr Barbara Sturm Baby & Kids Baby Bum Cream, £20 for 75ml
Bamford Organic Baby Balm, £24 for 50ml
Hermès Cabriole eau de scent, £82 for 50ml
Bamford’s Baby Balm (£24 for 60ml) is the sine qua non of a certain baby shower variety, with its go-anywhere reputation giving it a cult quality reminiscent of the adults’ Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream. Bonpoint, the French children’s clothing brand, has a moisturizer (£70 for 50ml) and a mission to “awaken children to developing a sense of self-care”, says CEO Pierre-André Cauche. The company has long had skin in the game (so to speak). It launched its first children’s fragrance in 1986 – Eau de Senteur (£50 for 50ml) – and cosmetics accounted for 30% of the company’s sales in 2021. It completes its beauty offering with shampoo and cleansing gel for hands on the way to Christmas time.
Even Hermès has put its fearsome nose, Christine Nagel, to the task of creating a perfume for children – alcohol-free, of course. Cabriole (£82 for 50ml) combines Osmanthus, honeysuckle and sandalwood in a perfumed water reminiscent of “the apricot smell of a child’s cheek”.