It was just a few days back when I watched an episode of Modern Family and I could not stop laughing when Joe was ‘baby sniffing’. You know that wonderful feeling when you carry a baby in your arms only to be overwhelmed by the desire to smell their sweet and powdery fluffy heads? And here I was thinking that we all love the smell of babies as is. Then I came across an article by Jenn Sawyer on Vera Wang’s new product, perfumes for babies. What is happening to this materialistic and branded world of ours? While I’ve heard of a lot of strange perfumes and cologne ideas, including wasabi-smelling one, I’ve never heard of perfume for babies. Perfume for adults are fine. I bought a bottle for every woman in my family and they’re all pleased. Perfume for babies on the other hand is totally not for me.
I am very familiar with this feeling and recently had a go at ‘baby sniffing’ while visiting my family in Canada over the winter holidays. Our little girl, Kate, is 4 months old and has that amazing baby smell that has got me addicted. Sniff sniff.
Here are my issues with perfume for babies.
I think they smell absolutely wonderful as they are. There’s a reason ‘baby sniffing’ is such a well-known term. Almost everyone I know loves the smell of babies. Why would we do anything to change that? And how is one expected to ‘enhance’ this smell with synthetic perfume or cologne? The amount of fragrances we breathe in on a daily basis is already on the rise, with air fresheners in our cars and homes, air sprays for your stinky shoes and gym bag, the scented lotions, shampoos and shower gels. The list goes on and on, and one may not realise that this is a direct correlation to the amount of toxic chemicals we breathe in.
Fragrances, perfumes and colognes are plain bad for us. There is a vast amount of research and studies which have linked perfumes to multiple, and sometime hundreds of toxic chemicals. Phthalates is usually the main toxic chemical which can be found in a variety of products ranging from vinyl flooring, building supplies, insecticide etc. And here we are using it as an ingredient in our cosmetics, soaps and perfumes. Studies have found this toxic to be responsible for a range of health effects from feminazation of males, hormone imbalances, malformations of the reproductive tract and undescended testes in males. Perfumes and colognes have also been widely known to exacerbate asthma in both children and adults.
Furthermore, consumers have limited access to information on chemicals in fragrances which could potentially be toxic. Due to poor laws and regulations, companies that use ‘fragrance’ in their products do not need to single out the chemicals which have been used to create that particular scent such that it looks like one item on the label. The result? Consumers are deceived and burdened with trying to navigate the marketplace for au naturel products with little or no information. While there isn’t much we can do to stop producers and manufacturers from using perfumes and colognes and marketing them to our children, we can choose to not buy these products. And in the meantime, I’ll continue to sniff my baby the natural way.