Babies’ skin is already perfect. Dior wants to sell them a skincare line – The Guardian

Baby Dior isn’t the only brand marketing products to newborns – including a $210 box of ‘essentials’ and $70 moisturizer
The concept of “baby-soft skin” – a naturally plump, dewy and glowing face – has been the beauty industry’s gold standard for decades. So why is the industry now trying to sell these bundles of joy bottles of moisturizer, cleanser and perfume?
This month, Baby Dior unveiled a so-called “complete skincare line for little ones”. Think babies, who enter this world with that delicious milky, soapy newborn smell, don’t need perfume? You could be wrong, as the one per cent can now mist their children with Dior’s Bonne Étoile, a $230 “scented water” that has whiffs of pear, wild rose and white musk. Pear also features in Le Lait Très Tendre, an all-body moisturizer that goes for $115. For those who wish to “turn baby’s bath time ritual into a precious moment”, Dior offers a $95 bottle of face, body and hair foam. At the same price, one can buy a “cleaning water” that’s “composed of 98% natural-origin ingredients and infused with mallow flower extract”.
With Sephora selling “teen skincare” products and fresh-faced twentysomethings lining up for “preventative” Botox, the $430bn beauty industry’s target demo gets younger by each season. But, as much as a three-figure designer baby lotion feels like a manifestation of late-stage capitalism, it’s actually a revival of a Dior child fragrance line from 1970. Francis Kurkdjian is Parfum Dior’s creative director and the man who made Jean Paul Gaultier’s Le Male, which is generally regarded as one of the bestselling fragrances of all time. Kurkdjian told WWD that he’d been a fan of the past line and took the gig at Dior hoping to replicate it.
Not everyone shares such enthusiasm. “Good luck finding a baby that has $250 to spare,” read one tweet about Baby Dior’s skincare. Dr Hayley Goldbach, a board-certified dermatologist and assistant professor at Brown University, went further.
“I agree that baby perfume sounds like a scam, but it’s also potentially harmful,” she said. “The scent of your baby helps you bond with them, and even ‘natural’ perfumes like essential oils have the potential to disrupt a baby’s endocrine system. Avoid at all costs!”
It’s not just Baby Dior gaming for a space in the nursery. Dr Barbara Sturm, whose work with celebrities spawned the “vampire facial” trend, sells a $210 set of “essentials” for babies – including “bathing milk”; jojoba and sweet almond oil-infused face cream; and “bum cream” to soothe diaper rash. The baby and toddler products brand Lalo sells a $170 bathtime gift box that promises the under-12-month set “the ultimate spa experience”. And on TikTok, estheticians show off their work on newborns, giving them “baby facials” that rack up views in the millions. “Pampered little princess,” reads the caption of one video from a Milwaukee-based spa, where gloved hands put gentle pressure on one lucky baby’s forehead. “How did she stay so still?” wondered one commentator of the totally unbothered kid.
Testing skincare products as an adult can be a lengthy, and perhaps emotional, process based on trial and error. Will this serum make me break out? Is this eye cream actually doing anything? It’s even riskier for babies.
Dr Karan Lal, a Scottsdale, Arizona-based pediatric dermatologist, says he’s noticed a rise in well-intentioned parents wanting to liven up their babies’ skincare routines, only to accidentally hurt them in the process.
“I recently made a TikTok video about a mom who was using Axe body spray on her baby,” said Lal, who posts about dermatological issues on the app. “When people are skincare-savvy themselves, they want to give something to their baby, but in reality that’s not good, because anytime we’re introducing a lot of things to baby’s skin, we increase the risk of them developing irritation or allergic contact dermatitis.”
Jessica Ourisman is a beauty writer based in Los Angeles, where there is no shortage of parents looking for “natural” alternatives to staple products – especially as Johnson & Johnson faces thousands of lawsuits alleging its talcum powder caused cancer. Because of this, Ourisman has “seen ‘clean living’ parents mobilize to invest in indie care products for babies that are marketed as non-toxic”.
Ourisman has friends who use the “clean science” brand Pipette, which offers a baby lotion costing only $9. Those with cash to spend might opt for Skincando, the organic skincare company that hawks a $70 moisturizer with the rather intimidating name of Combat Ready Baby Balm.
Jeniece Trizzino works in product and package development for a luxury fragrance subscription service. She’s also the mother of a one-year-old boy. Though the company she works for does not sell baby fragrances, she’s not surprised by the Baby Dior release.
Trizzino compared designer baby beauty products to designer baby clothes – products that appeal to a very niche, monied audience. “When I got pregnant, my husband and I were like, ‘We’re going to dress our baby in head-to-toe Ralph Lauren the second he gets out of the womb,’” she said. “But then he grew so fast that we had to buy him new clothes every two weeks. At this point, he wears whatever I can get on Amazon, because I can’t spend $600 on clothes for him to poop on. I think there’s a market for baby beauty products, but only as a status symbol.”
At the same time, Trizzino says finding products to soothe her baby’s ultra-sensitive skin can be taxing, and stressed-out parents could be motivated to cough up for moisturizers or serums that seem effective. “I’ve tried everything under the sun and found a $50 jar of moisturizer that basically worked on my son overnight,” she said. “That might sound expensive to a lot of people, but I’d pay three times that amount as long as it worked.”


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