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I Want To Smell Like a Baby in a Bella Hadid Way

I tried six baby perfumes and found two that are cheap, chic, and too good for the brats.

I don’t know why or how “baby style” became inextricably linked with the male gaze, but it is, it’s cringe, and it’s not what drew me to baby perfumes.

I was drawn to baby perfumes because I wanted a clean, not-expensive splash to wear to bed. Because I like wearing perfume to bed—for myself. I like when my sheets smell like me.

To me, baby perfume is like no-makeup makeup; a glossy skin care face with brushed up brows and lip balm. It feels very... I'm a supermodel but this tank top is Hanes. I guess I want to smell like a baby in a Bella Hadid way.

I know I lost half of you at baby perfume. You thought, Powdery violet-y yuck. Your nose hairs tickled just thinking about it and you clicked away. Come back!

I mean, some baby perfumes are only those things, but some are a little of those things with surprising amounts of citrus, lavender, soft florals, sandalwood, and even a bit of musk.

And I am talking about actual baby perfumes that are sold as splashes for baby and spritzes for baby blankets, clothes, etc.—not infant-adjacent luxury fragrances like Annick Goutal’s $128 Petite Cherie, which sounds nice but is way too pricey for my sleepytime purposes.

(Sidebar: I’m sure the clean beauty moms are sharpening their pitchforks about how bad baby perfumes are for actual babies. I do not care about actual babies. I am the only baby I care about.)

I purchased six baby perfumes from Amazon and found two that I genuinely like.

Bedtime Splash: Mamãe e Bebê by Natura, $20

This is like if Johnson & Johnson’s classic baby scent got a spa makeover. It’s lavender and wet florals with a base of sandalwood and musk.

It does veer a little on the soapy side, but I like that because I usually put it on after showering. Sadly, this doesn’t last long on the body (barely long enough for me to fall asleep), but it does leave traces on my sheets and pajamas. I like the scent so much that I forgave the short lifespan. Will definitely rebuy.

I also use this as a pre-gym splash. You can sweat in this without smelling obnoxious. It’s like sweating from a place of just-showered and clean, not sweating from a place of perfume and doing too much.

24/7 Baby April: Zermat Baby Michelle, $24 (comes with free soap!)

Direct-to-Below-Five is my impression of Zermat, a totally random cheap-o brand. This only endears me. I love cheap stuff. The bottle also gives, strongly. It feels like something my mom would have received at my baby shower in the ‘80s. Maybe she did? That would explain why I immediately liked this.

It’s got the baby powder thing, but also some woody undertones and a roundness that reminds me of almond oil. It’s 100% the type of scent I’d wear with silk shirts or cashmere sweaters in the fall.

What shocked me, too, is the lasting power. It’s decent! The scent stays on my clothes for days, and I can smell it on my skin for at least three to four hours after application. I really like it and I reach for it often.

Other Baby Perfumes I Tried

The most internet-famous baby perfume is Royal Violets ($6), a staple in Cuban and Latinx households. It has almost no lasting power and so much alcohol that it kind of stings. This is why Latinx kids are strong as hell. To me, it smells like sitting next to an older Cuban gentleman at mass.

Para mi bebe, or P.M.B. ($10), is another Latinx favorite. It smells like bubble bath! I’ve been splashing this on before the gym quite often. Might rebuy.

Tender Moments by Jafra ($20) would be great if it lasted more than five minutes. I like the peach and citrus combo. There should be more peach frags! Would not rebuy.

Jai Osé Baby ($10) was a novelty purchase. It’s not a baby perfume but it’s in a baby bottle and I couldn’t stop myself… It’s just powdery aldehydes but I’m still glad I own it for design purposes alone.

That's all! This was fun. What other beauty products can I rob from the cradle? I'll be on the lookout.

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