Why Baby Perfumes Are a Thing: A Fragrance Expert Explains

When we found out about Dolce & Gabbana's new perfume for babies we, like the rest of the Internet, had a few questions. How indeed can anyone possibly make a baby smell better than, well, baby? It's a heavenly aroma that will make your ovaries start churning out hormones the second you encounter it. And also--are perfumes for babies something that actually exists? Is there really a market for them? And most importantly: Are they safe? We had a chat with Frederick Bouchardy, the founder & president of Joya perfumes and the co-founder of the Elements Showcase, who cleared things up for us.
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When we found out about Dolce & Gabbana's new perfume for babies we, like the rest of the Internet, had a few questions. How indeed can anyone possibly make a baby smell better than, well, baby? It's a heavenly aroma that will make your ovaries start churning out hormones the second you encounter it. And also--are perfumes for babies something that actually exists? Is there really a market for them? And most importantly: Are they safe? We had a chat with Frederick Bouchardy, the founder & president of Joya perfumes and the co-founder of the Elements Showcase, who cleared things up for us.
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Dolce & Gabbana announced earlier this month that it's launching a baby fragrance. Yes, you read that correctly--perfume for babies. The Dolce & Gabbana-produced magazine Swide ran the following blurb alongside an Instagram from Stefano Gabbana, announcing the scent: "How can babies smell even sweeter than they already do? That familiar smell associated with babies that melts our hearts will only be accentuated by this Dolce&Gabbana fragrance." The Internet got hold of this news yesterday and flipped out.

Naturally, we had a few questions. How indeed can anyone possibly make a baby smell better than, well, baby? It's a heavenly aroma that will make your ovaries start churning out hormones the second you encounter it. And also--are perfumes for babies something that actually exists? Is there really a market for them? And most importantly: Are they safe?

We had a chat with Frederick Bouchardy, the founder & president of Joya perfumes and the co-founder of the Elements Showcase, who cleared things up for us.

Bouchardy thinks baby perfume is mainly a European phenomenon, though you can definitely purchase tons of baby scents in the US--they're just not strictly babies-only. "It’s not just about a scent for a baby, but it’s also a scent for an adult that’s meant to be evocative of the scent of baby," Bouchardy told us. "I think it’s supposed to be a shared experience--mom and child are meant to smell the same." If you start hunting for baby fragrances, you'll find that this is actually how many are marketed.

While it might seem strange to perfume a baby, Bouchardy pointed out that most baby products are scented. In the US we associate babies with powder, a scent that's actually synthetic. "There's no 'extract of powder'," Bouchardy said. "And in Europe they don’t view [how babies smell] the same way. The scent of baby there is more the scent of fruit. It’s an orange blossom or an apple [smell]."

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The other issue is safety. Cosmetic allergans are a big source of debate in the perfume industry now, and a baby's skin can be more sensitive than an adult's.

"The baby fragrances have to conform to exactly the same standards as adult scents do--it’s highly regulated," Bouchardy said. "My sense is they’re absolutely safe, but on the other hand, my thought is: It’s really silly to spray a baby with chemicals. So yes, it’s an extravagance, but it’s a safe one." Most of them are formulated without alcohol.

So are people really buying perfume for their babies? Is this a growing market? Not really. Bouchardy said, "I think it’s a really niche thing. Can you imagine a whole bunch of scented babies?"

If you would like to imagine a world full of scented babies, click through to check out just a few of the options available. Prices run from $2.99 to $220. We've left in the official marketing copy so you can see how retailers present them.