Beauty Is Having Its Own Baby Boom

PARIS – Oh, baby! 

With the so-called Sephora kids continuing to stoke debate as they snap up age-inappropriate skin care, the race is heating up among luxury brands to win the hearts — and wallets — of consumers who are even younger: babies and children.

It’s a growing niche, including the likes of Dior, Hermès and Petit Bateau, with an expanding fan base, especially in the Asia-Pacific region. With price tags that can run well northward of 200 euros, such products are being conceived for the youngest members of Generation Alpha and, increasingly, their whole families. 

“Brands were touching on baby fragrances or cosmetics, but there seems to have been in the last couple of years a big surge in this area,” said Fflur Roberts, head of luxury goods at Euromonitor International. “It’s definitely a very niche area. That said, it’s probably going to be growing, as more brands are expanding into other categories or moving further into lifestyle.”

Jumping on the bandwagon is Baby Dior’s new beauty line, which is starting to globetrot, most recently in the U.S. starting in June exclusively in Dior’s New York boutique and the city’s JFK airport. The collection includes Bonne Étoile, an eau de senteur with notes of pear, eglantine and musk. Developed by Dior perfume creation director Francis Kurkdjian, it contains no alcohol and 98 percent of ingredients stem from natural origins. A 100-ml. bottle retails for 255 euros. 

There is also La Mousse Très Fondante Baby Dior cleansing foam for babies and children’s faces, bodies and hair, for 85 euros; Le Lait Très Tendre face and body lotion, for 105 euros, and L’Eau Très Frais liquid cleanser, for 85 euros, as well.

Bonpoint has been a pioneer in the prestige babies and kids’ beauty segment. The fashion brand was launched in 1975 by Marie-France Cohen, and 10 years later its iconic fragrance Eau de Bonpoint for kids and Eau de Senteur for newborns, created by her sister Annick Goutal, came out. A women’s fragrance, Eau Intense, was launched in 2018. 

These days, a gift from Bonpoint is generally sprayed with the brand’s fragrance.

“It’s part of our immersive experience,” said Gala Sarmini Kressmann, Bonpoint’s chief marketing and digital officer. “All our customers know it. It’s kind of their madeleine de Proust.”

Bonpoint’s iconic scent’s note of orange blossom appears in the brand’s skin care line, which launched in 2010. Today, it has 20 permanent stock keeping units, including cleansers and moisturizers for face and body. A baby-friendly sun care range already out of stock four times, and shampoo, with a whipped cream pump, came out a year ago. Each vegan formula contains a minimum of 94 percent natural ingredients and is made in France.

“All our skin care is really made for babies and the family,” said Sarmini Kressmann. “The scent is very subtle in skin care.”

The products adhere to France’s strict regulations for baby and child care and are tested by pediatricians, as well as dermatologists.

More recently, the brand has extended its reach beyond children. Bonpoint’s Crème Revitalisante, launched in 2023, is for pregnant women or young mothers. “That shows our objective of growing into [a line for] the moms and kids,” she said.

The brand is in 14 spas, where it gives specific treatments for mothers and children age 6 years and up. Twenty percent of Bonpoint’s beauty line is used by parents themselves. Its fragrance and skin care are sold in 30 countries through 130 boutiques, as well as wholesalers. “APAC, and China in particular, is where our beauty line is the most famous,” said Sarmini Kressmann.

Beauty is a growing business, making up 30 percent of Bonpoint’s total sales, which industry sources estimate are about 50 million euros annually. The beauty line has double-digit growth worldwide.

In China, where Bonpoint has three dedicated beauty boutiques, the category generates around 45 percent of sales, making it the brand’s largest beauty market. There, Bonpoint is also sold in duty-free Hainan, Hong Kong, Seoul and Macao.

Europe is a big market, too. For the first time, this summer Bonpoint will have a dedicated pop-up in Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport’s Terminal 1. The brand is also growing in the U.S.

“Whether it’s skin care or perfume, we’re really going to deploy the range,” said Sarmini Kressmann. 

Dr. Barbara Sturm’s Baby & Kids Collection, with five prestige skin care products, also performs well in the APAC region, with gifting being a strong influence there. Its other top markets include the U.S., U.K. and France, in luxury retailers, such as Bergdorf Goodman, Holt Renfrew, Harrods and Le Bon Marché, according to Barbara Sturm, founder of Dr. Barbara Sturm Molecular Cosmetics.  

“The curated baby and kids sets in the collection perform best, as they offer a nice selection of products and provide everything children need for their sensitive skins, plus make for a beautiful gift,” she said.

Sturm launched baby products in 2018 with a bathing milk, hair and body shampoo, face cream and baby bum cream; prices range from 20 pounds to 40 pounds.

“I created it for my daughter Pepper, because I had such a hard time finding skin-friendly products on the market for her,” said Sturm. “So many products are full of harmful ingredients that irritate our children’s skin.

“Children’s skin is much more sensitive than adult skin and prone to perioral dermatitis, eczema, allergies and other skin dysfunctions if we do not take correct care of it,” she continued. “In fact, putting the wrong ingredients or using the wrong approach on children’s skin can trigger or worsen those skin dysfunctions.”

With this in mind, she developed the products without fragrance, mineral oils or essential oils. Those, she said, “can be harmful to anyone’s natural skin barrier function, but especially for babies’ and children’s delicate skin.”

“Fragrance could trigger inflammation and skin disfunctions,” said Sturm. “My passion is to continue to educate on the unique needs of young and teenage skin, and also to inform on ingredients often found in skin care that cause inflammation and many of the skin conditions clients are looking to treat.”

Tous, the Spanish jewelry and accessories brand, started with prestige fragrance for kids in 2007 with Baby Tous. Fast-forward to today, and Korea is the brand’s second-largest perfume market after Europe. Latin America, including Mexico, Colombia and Chile, ranks third. 

In Spain at launch, there was no taboo about using an alcohol-based fragrance, especially on children’s clothes or hair. But that was not the case for elsewhere in Europe for which Tous launched a more alcohol-free product, said Sonia Graffin, creative and strategic marketing director for perfumes and fashion at the brand’s parent company PyD.

“[Baby Tous] is still in the top five of the brand’s bestselling fragrances globally for us,” she said, adding Tous has about 20 scents.

Tous Kids followed next, first with a product for boys (in blue packaging) and for girls (in pink packaging). In 2024, Tous Kids will be relaunched with new spray caps, removing gender-specific forms that are replaced with teddy bears. A yellow addition is being added, too. 

“We continued to build loyalty among our consumers,” said Graffin, explaining that includes mothers and is without major marketing investment.

Nonetheless, Tous sells between 300,000 to 350,000 units of fragrance per year. Its 100-ml. eau de cologne generally costs between 65 euros and 75 euros, generating approximately 15 million euros annually. 

“Over the last years, we are talking about growth of 20 percent, 25 percent,” said Graffin.

In the luxury segment, Dior’s baby fragrance and beauty collection was also created with Cordélia de Castellane, artistic director for the Baby Dior Collection, and first launched in Europe in November 2023. She had dreamt of a new baby fragrance for the house, which in 1970 introduced an eponymous eau de cologne. That was a lighter iteration of Edmond Roudnitska’s Eau Fraîche, and came in a set with shampoo, an oil and two talcum powders.

Today, the proliferation of luxury beauty products — especially fragrances — for babies and children have raised some eyebrows and derision. 

“Obviously, price is a big thing,” said Euromonitor’s Roberts, adding that’s true, too, about anything physically put on babies or children’s skin. “It’s such a delicate area, in terms of the politics behind it, but also from a scientific point of view and people’s opinions on whether we should be doing this or not. Lots of brands might not want to go into that area because it can be challenging in terms of consumer perception.”

When Dior first revealed its Bonne Étoile line in November 2023, for instance, questions were asked online.

“Should we be perfuming babies?” wrote Nanshy on X, at the time.

“It’s interesting to see high-end brands entering the infant skin care market,” wrote The Private Empire on X. “While the idea of Baby Dior might sound luxurious, it raises questions about the necessity and affordability of such products for the little ones. Prioritizing simplicity and safety seems more fitting for baby care.”

Despite such concerns, the luxury and prestige baby and child-specific beauty products are poised to keep growing. There is no worldwide data for the category. But overall, with all price segments combined, the segment should continue expanding at a good clip. Euromonitor’s estimates show that between 2023 and 2024, its sales are estimated to increase 7.7 percent, and between 2024 and 2025, by 7.3 percent.

This trend for luxury — and prestige — baby and children’s products mirrors what’s going on in the entire beauty industry, according to Michael Nolte, senior vice president creative director at BeautyStreams, a business-to-business market insights and trend platform specialized in the cosmetics sector. He noted numerous trends, including inclusivity, sustainability and sensitive skin issues, all of which are boosting sales. But perhaps the key driver is today’s trend toward self-indulgence. 

“Luxury baby care is self-indulgence for adults, in a certain way, because you are telling everybody: ‘I can afford luxury for my baby,’” said Nolte, noting that with global birth rates dropping, many might be looking to spoil their fewer children even more.

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