compulsive shopping

I Can’t Stop Buying Products Meant for Babies

Good for babies and adults. Photo: Sante Forlano/Condé Nast via Getty Images

My first beauty purchase upon moving to Los Angeles in the early ’90s was a bottle of Petit Guerlain, a perfume meant for babies. I smelled it on an infant belonging to a big-name actress, and when she told me it was French (and only available at Barneys), I was instantly sold. It was a light, alcohol-free formulation that smelled like expensive lemons and fresh lavender, and I wore it for a good ten years until they finally discontinued it sometime in 2014. (Petit Guerlain recently relaunched with a new formulation, and it’s lovely, but doesn’t smell close enough to the original to scratch my sense-memory nostalgia.)

That perfume turned out to be the gateway to a lifetime of using beauty products meant for babies. Not only are they more stringently tested for sensitive skin, but they smell better and make me feel wholesome, like I’m as unjaded as the infants they’re meant for. Here’s a peek at what items technically meant for infants are currently residing in my medicine cabinet — and if there are others to try, please let me know.

The best baby products are always at City Pharma in Paris, home to stern, lab coat–wearing salesladies who know more about skin care than even the most devoted SkincareAddiction redditor. And out of all the products City Pharma sells, the most heavenly are from French bebé skin-care brand Mustela, loved by infants and adults alike. Their Soin Croûtes de Lait is an awesome overnight treatment for mild seborrheic dermatitis, but their star product is easily this SPF 50+ Mineral Sunscreen Stick. The wide, flat “deodorant stick” design fits neatly in your pocket or purse and is easy to apply on your arms, neck, chest, or décolletage. It never irritates sensitive skin or causes breakouts, and isn’t ever greasy or wet after application.

Weleda makes one of my all-time favorite products, the much-ballyhooed Skin Food, but what I really love is their White Mallow Baby Derma Face Cream. While it’s obviously meant for babies, this cream also works to calm sensitive skin and provide eczema relief. I like it as a moisturizer because it goes on velvety smooth, sinks in instantly, never clogs my pores, and leaves my skin properly moisturized without making it overly dewy or greasy. (I feel like everyone is kind of way too dewy these days.) You don’t have to wait to apply makeup afterward, and the moisturizing yet dry formula happens to act as the perfect skin primer.

Photo: ©2008 David S. Mutter

Baby oil is the best shaving-cream alternative there is, and it’s also aces at removing stubborn makeup like waterproof mascara. I am a forever fan of Burt’s Bees lovely Baby Bee Oil, a blend of apricot and grape-seed oils that is emollient without being outrageously greasy. I suffer from armpits that sting and burn after shaving with soap or old-fashioned shaving cream, but using a few drops of this baby oil keeps the burn at bay.

This unscented baby shampoo and bodywash from iconic soap-maker Emanuel Theodore Heilbronner is meant for washing infants, but I use it to hand-wash my most delicate clothing instead. The la