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Little lookers kids' stuff

06-Jun-2009 (Sat) TODAY

By Lynette Koh From shampoos to sunscreen, the latest beauty products are made just for minors

THESE days, one should not fault beauty junkies for feeling an inexplicable urge to go “goo goo ga ga” while trawling the shelves at beauty stores.

After all, an increasing number of beauty retailers are adding products created especially for babies and young children to their menu of skin, hair and body care offerings.

At multi-brand beauty store Sephora, for example, shoppers can now pick up items from two Aussie kids’ collections, Babies Only and Milk Baby, alongside products by cult beauty brands such as Juice Beauty and Frederic Fekkai.

Last month, The Body Shop unveiled Buriti Baby, its new infant product range containing buriti oil, as well as other moisturising and Community Trade ingredients such as shea butter and organic olive oil. Diana Ng, an assistant training manager for The Body Shop Singapore, said: “There has been an increasing demand for baby care products. Being an original, ethical and natural brand, we wanted to create credible and trustworthy products for babies.”

Certainly, terms such as “natural” and “organic” are major buzzwords among the recent slew of kids’ product collections. Besides claiming to be free of synthetic chemicals and preservatives, many boast moisturising plant-derived ingredients such as shea butter, jojoba oil and even manuka honey.

Helen Lien, the owner of natural beauty store Pre Tincture, pointed out: “The skin is our body’s largest organ and it will absorb products that are applied to it. Babies react faster to harsh ingredients as their skin is more sensitive than adult skin.”

When Veronica Loh - a 35-year-old mother of two children aged three and eight - visits natural beauty store Bud Cosmetics to purchase organic skincare and make-up, she tosses children’s shampoos and body cleansers by German brand Logona into her basket as well.

Even though such products cost her about two to three times what she would otherwise pay for generic off-the-shelf brands, Veronica believes that they are gentler on her children’s skin.

She said: “If you don’t start taking care of their skin when they’re young, then when?”

Besides baby basics such as shampoos and body washes, the latest made-for-tots collections feature plenty of intriguing items which our mothers probably never dreamt of putting on their shopping lists.

One such item: Massage oils and gels. Milk Baby’s Sleepy Bubs Massage Oil, for instance, lets loving parents give their little ones the spa treatment with a relaxing concoction containing snooze-inducing ingredients such as lavender and chamomile extracts.

While not all parents see the need for such pampering - a colleague with a two-year-old daughter, on spotting one of the massage gels for infants, said with a frown: “What do babies need massages for?” - others believe that it has benefits, such as fostering parent-child bonding.

Dr Chan Poh Chong, senior consultant at the University Children’s Medical Institute at National University Hospital, said: “Touch has been shown to relieve stresses in babies, by stimulating certain hormonal changes in their brains. Light massages can therefore help crying babies.”

He advocates caution, however, when using another product that has been popping up in the kids’ section of beauty stores: Sunscreen. Babies Only, for instance, offers a zinc-oxide sunscreen with SPF 30+ protection.

While he notes that it is a good idea to opt for a sunscreen made for children because they typically contain fewer potential allergens, Dr Chan pointed out that parents should be careful about using sunscreen on babies because “they may be sensitive to some substances in most sunblocks”.

He added: “The sun is hottest between 10am and 4pm, and children should avoid going out under the direct sun during these times.”

This may well be good advice for adults, too, but those who cannot resist basking in the sun’s rays may want to avail themselves to some of that sunscreen they got for their kids.

Indeed, several of the children’s products, while created for the young ’uns, can also be used by older folk.

Containing grapeseed oil and shea butter, L’Occitane’s Mom & Baby Balm can be used to moisturise and soothe a baby’s skin - or worked into mum’s hips and thighs to prevent stretch marks.

Michelle Chew, the local brand manager of Kiehl’s - which has a range for children called Kiehl’s Baby - said: “Kiehl’s Baby is popular with parents as well as adults with sensitive skin. As we say, if it’s good for your baby, it’ll be good for you as well!”

Baby boon

  1. Kiehl’s Baby

    Formulated with gentle natural ingredients, the Kiehl’s Baby series includes products such as a diaper rash ointment, cleansing milk, and a hair and body wash (pictured, $34). Available at Kiehl’s outlets. 
  2. Milk Baby

    This Australian organic skincare range consists of interestingly named and beautifully packaged products such as its Snotty Grotty Room Spray ($25), which helps to clear babies’ nasal passages when they start sniffling and sneezing. Available at Sephora (B1-05/06/07, Takashimaya Shopping Centre). 
  3. L’Occitane

    L’Occitane offers a small range of products which can be used by both little tots and their mothers, including the Mom & Baby Cream ($37), which contains moisturising shea butter. Available at L’Occitane stores. 
  4. The Body Shop

    Buriti oil, which is rich in compounds such as beta carotene and essential fatty acids, is the main ingredient in The Body Shop’s new Buriti Baby collection. Products such as the Buriti Baby Body Butter ($34.90) help to nourish young skin. Available at The Body Shop outlets. 
  5. Babies Only
    Organic manuka honey takes centrestage in Aussie brand Babies Only, which includes items such as an SPF30+ Clear Zinc Sunscreen ($25) and Don’t Bug Me 100% Natural Insect Repellant ($19). Available at Sephora.