Monday, May 12, 2008

Johnson & Johnson Marketing Toxic Baby Perfume?

The other day my friend told me that she has a friend that puts perfume on her baby.

My immediate thought was: WTF?

I questioned her about it and found out that this woman does indeed put perfume on her infant. Cuz, you know, she wants to make her baby smell good.

Why anyone would want to mask the wonderful natural baby smell by putting synthetic fragrances on a baby is beyond me.

But my next thought was: Companies actually sell baby perfume? People actually buy it? Nooooo. I really didn't believe it. I figured she must just be using a lotion or something.

So today I decided to research it further. I knew that if baby perfume existed, Google would tell me.

And guess what I found during my 30 second Google Search?

Perfume makers are looking to infants as a "new market."

Yep, baby perfumes exist alright. There is more than one brand out there, but for the sake of brevity, let's talk about Johnson & Johnson's Baby Cologne.

Here's how Johnson and Johnson describes their product:

JOHNSON'S® Baby Cologne has a gentle, fresh fragrance with a pleasant combination of floral and citrus hints. It leaves your baby smelling clean and fresh. This clinically proven mild formula is alcohol free, making it just right for your baby's delicate skin.

So what's so bad about putting perfume on a baby - aside from the fact that I think we can all agree that that is WEIRD.

Well, I took a quick look at the ingredients because I was sure they'd be 100% safe - especially since this stuff is meant to be used for "your baby's delicate skin."

So here are the ingredients:

Water, Polysorbate 20, Trideceth-9, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Fragrance, Sodium Benzoate, Phenoxyethanol, Citric Acid, Propylene Glycol, Tetrasodium EDTA, Simethicone, Ext. Violet 2, Blue 1

Yikes. Not so safe after all. For a quick snapshot of how hazardous most of these ingredients are, click here for the analysis.

The fact that Johnson and Johnson and other companies are marketing totally unnecessary and clearly hazardous products like baby perfume to parents who may not realize the toxicity of the products they are buying is unethical and shameful.

Johnson & Johnson has some explaining to do. I'd like to know what they have to say for themselves. Perhaps if they'd just put a "poison" warning on the baby cologne, we'd call it fair. But their product description reads with phrases like "Clinically proven mild and gentle" and they encourage parents to "use JOHNSON'S® Baby Cologne anytime you want to give your baby a clean, fresh scent."

Do they think we're stupid? Do they think we're going to sit back and let them sell us products that we don't even need and that contain carcinogens and hormone-disrupting chemicals and then PAY them for their toxic crap?

Really, J&J, you just had a big old conference bringing together mommy bloggers right? Did you talk about the fact that your company is selling toxic baby products? Perhaps we can do a breakout session on that at your next event. I think I can find a few mommies that would like to attend to hear what you have to say. In the meantime, I'd like to propose a boycott on all of your products. Readers, if you'd like to show your support for this idea, please leave a comment and tell Johnson & Johnson what you think.


Blogger Feener said...

why on earth would they make this ?
and who on earth is buying it ??? i do not use perfume for myself cept about 3 times a year ??? this is crazy. i am sharing this for sure.

4:47 AM  
Blogger MsAbcMom said...

That is terrible. I can't believe that they would market something like that to babies.

As a teacher, I have issues with other teachers who put plug in air fresheners in their classrooms as well. Kids, like adults, have perfume allergies. Many students may not know that they have these allergies and will suffer in the classrooms. Others, who know, don't want to say anything against their teachers and so they just sit in those rooms and suffer.

Can you imagine what it would be like for a mere baby to be forced to wear the baby perfume and suffer from some sort of allergy from that perfume. How will that baby be able to communicate?

5:41 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've been boycotting J&J for years already. This baby cologne is beyond stupid. Grrr..

8:16 AM  
Blogger slssasmom said...

I agree, this is just WEIRD! Seriously, if there hadn't been a picture I might have been tempted to think you made this up. Yikes!

9:20 AM  
Blogger lildb said...

and maybe I'm completely sans brain, but isn't


alcohol? and don't they claim that the product is alcohol-free?

unless, maybe they meant the kind you can drink. 'cause they didn't want to infer that you could get wasted on baby perfume. you know. for those of us who are that desperate.


9:36 PM  
Blogger Kyla said...

Ridiculous. I'd think of something coherent to say on the matter, but I'm too busy beating my head against my keyboard.

9:09 AM  
Blogger kgirl said...

fabulous idea. i already stay away from j&j, including aveeno.

12:25 PM  
Blogger Redsy said...

Amen sister!! They are so beyond clueless it's really insulting.

I linked you up today on Strollerderby..


1:32 PM  
Anonymous Kathy said...

You have got to be kidding me.

One step forward, two steps back. Good job J&J. Maybe they'll start making baby deodorant for those smelly babies too.


5:54 AM  
Blogger Threeundertwo said...

I always thought my babies smelled like fresh-baked bread, but maybe it would have been more fun if they smelled like tropical fruit or something. We moms deserve choices in how our babies smell. [rolling eyes]

This is a new low in baby marketing. Great post.

9:05 AM  
Blogger sryan said...

That is so funny, but I have something for you that is even funnier and you are going to thank me. Two of my best mom friends that are sometimes my therapist recommended the best book, "The Book of Mom" by Taylor Wilshire. The mom's in the book don't put perfume on their kids, but they drink coctails, laugh, go to therapy and offer insights to life. It was a little self-helpie for me, but I loved it and think you would too!

5:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband bought baby perfume from a high end boutique... He had no idea it could be bad(he just wants to spoil our little girl). I am furious at the store for selling it, and talking my husband into buying it!!!
AAAuugghhh!! Thank you for the info., I knew I had a valid argument.

10:16 AM  
Anonymous Izzy said...

That's actually a Hispanic thing, at least here. If you go to a store that serves our Cuban and Puerto Rican population, you will find a variety of "baby perfumes" on the shelves. I always thought it was kind of odd. I don't know why but I'm really surprised to hear that J&J is making it, too.

12:38 PM  
Blogger Lance, Tiff n Ash said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

10:58 AM  
Blogger Lance, Tiff n Ash said...

This isnt a surprise, Johnson and Johnson have harmful ingredients in ALL of their BABY products. This just shows, that the babies health truly isnt a priority to them. I found outstanding Hair & skin care products that have DO NO HARM philosophy, and comes in SAFE plastic so no leaching is taking place. For more information take a look at my website.
A very generous portion of the proceeds go to children in Africa. They really have a great purpose.

11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Childrens perfume is popular in France (birthplace of perfumery), South America and Malaysia.

These consist of essential oils, purified water and are free of alcohol and unnatural preservatives.

I use a European baby perfume on myself and my baby's clothing. We are happy and healthy and smell yummy.

7:36 AM  
Blogger Rusty Jordan said...

Now that is so crazy, I have 3 young children of my own. Lately I have been constantly learning more and more about what items have in them and it is crazy. It is just like some deodorants have aluminum in them which many people with breast cancer are found to have high counts of aluminum in that area.

I am glad I have found Trivani which has a "Do No Harm" Product philosophy, unfortunately they do not have a baby line yet.

Thank you so much for sharing this,


5:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you guys have way to much time on your hands i mean ..its good your looking out for our kids but you know what theres other f-ing things to worry about like crack mothers...young girls having babies..child abuse.etc.. so lay off the baby cologne its not killing anyone!!!

7:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

God will come to get us when our time is ready..enjoy your life and you's too short to research every little thing..mother of a 2 year old

5:12 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ladies what yall need to understand is that there is not a lot of responsible mothers like us unfortunately that give their babies a bath everyday or a shower with them everyday like your supposed too. A lot of this mothers are young and first timers and have no idea what to do or how to take them a shower. I am a first time mom but unlike others I shower with my baby girl and as wonderful as she smells just the way she is it doesnt hurt when you put natural perfumes on them, lets say just when you go out. You have no idea how much people like the idea of a baby smelling fresh and good. The ones that dont have alcohol and some of those toxic ingrediants, just because you have a baby does not mean that you have to buy products that are johnson & johnson there are actaully a lot of products that you can find that are better suited for the skin of your baby. But theres no one that knows her baby more then a mother so whatever you do is because you know what is best for your baby so don't let anyone tell you different.

6:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ladies what yall need to understand is that there is not a lot of responsible mothers like us unfortunately that give their babies a bath everyday or a shower with them everyday like your supposed too. A lot of this mothers are young and first timers and have no idea what to do or how to take them a shower. I am a first time mom but unlike others I shower with my baby girl and as wonderful as she smells just the way she is it doesnt hurt when you put natural perfumes on them, lets say just when you go out. You have no idea how much people like the idea of a baby smelling fresh and good. The ones that dont have alcohol and some of those toxic ingrediants, just because you have a baby does not mean that you have to buy products that are johnson & johnson there are actaully a lot of products that you can find that are better suited for the skin of your baby. But theres no one that knows her baby more then a mother so whatever you do is because you know what is best for your baby so don't let anyone tell you different.

6:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Each to their own. I use the Johnson and Johnson cologne on my 2 year old all the time and I love it. I do not put it on my toddlers skin at all. I just put a dab on the bottom of his shirts and it is just wonderful. Johnson and Johnson has been around so many years. People are going to buy what they want and other products also. We cannot change that-get over it.

8:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was given this many years ago by a Philipino friend's mother as a gift. I used it on my son who is now almost 11 and he has been fine. As a matter of fact, I only found this site b/c I was online looking for the baby cologne. To each his own and God bless. --Mom of 4 (11, 9, and n/b twins)

10:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whee! Late comment!
This is an interesting topic to stumble into (I was looking for some mild baby products for my sensitive skin). I suppose it seems weird to put cologne on a baby, but I think its popular in really humid climates. Anyway, I hope J&J keeps making this because paying about 4 bucks for a perfume for ME sounds pretty sweet in the current economy. >____>

6:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wear this myself has no alcohol in it and I find I can use it to feel fresh any time of day without overpowering others with my perfume. My husband loves this scent. It's affordable and can be used lavishly - it's cute and I love it. I hope they make it always.

7:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmmmmm.IT is gross, dumb and insulting.
I've seen baby perfumes around for years though, the "luxury" perfume trade tried it. What I'd like to buy is "eau de baby". My baby smells so gorgeously of himself that I dread the day he looses it and starts to smell of stinky sock boy!

8:58 AM  
Anonymous Amber said...

Agree with Izzy. I live in Chile, and in any shop you can find a whole range of baby perfumes.
Not a big deal.
There are lots of people exclaiming "Why would you cover up that gorgeous natural baby smell?!" when in fact, that "natural" baby smell is probably the smell of their baby wash, powder, cream etc. An actual NATURAL baby smell smells of...nothing.
This is just a harmless way to make babies smell nicer.

9:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To all the mothers who are using this toxic product without a second thought, enjoy weakening your children's immune systems. Good mothers!

I am glad none of you are my mother. Without our mothers to protect us from toxins, who will?

10:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Without our mothers to protect us from toxins, who will?" Ummm, maybe your local hypochondriac?

8:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do any of you mothers use...dare I say oils and/or lotions? That is what that wonderful baby smell is. Babies have no odor. Sniff your baby before giving them their evening bath and you'll realize they have the same smell as most humans, of hair, skin and other enviromental things. I am not one of these mothers that wants to put her child in a bubble. Children need to be exposed to SOME things. SOME things actually help to build an immunity. I mean this is almost as bad as this random woman giving me advice when I was pregnant about not giving my baby vaccines because it'll cause Autism. Sorry but my child's grandfather is from Venezuela so I sure am going to give him vaccines so that he can go visit his mother's paternal family.

5:54 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Glad to see J&J will have a lot of buyers out there who are going to throw their money away. I won't be one of them.

10:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Trully, alot of you have way to much time on your hands, and you are internet junkies... Relax, do what is right for you and stop preaching to everyone else..That is waht is wrong is this world, that if you are not doing what everyone else is than your a bad Mom! Really??? Voice your opinion but do not attack others whomay not agree with you 100%. Do not bash someone for using a product, simply advise them, hey this is not what yo may think it is, look into it I did, and I was supried. But to Call someone a bad mother for using a product that you feel is not good. Really Get a life, and judge yourself first before judging others.

9:18 AM  
Anonymous women pheromones said...

Your blog so informative but still I am using only cologne for my baby not a perfume. :)


12:51 AM  
Blogger katty said...

I love to have differente kind of perfumes for every ocation, i think the perfume determine our personality. I usually feel identify with my perfume specially when i have a date and i know the boy buy viagra, so i know he could be powerful and i must to be really attractive.

5:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Y'all are bashing this claiming that only bad parents use it. I just bought it to try on my daughters stinky feet and thats the only place she gets a bath at least once a day sometimes twice. Why don't you lay off and find something more important or quit being so judgemental when you don't even know

5:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a judgmental article. Because your little bubble of the world as you know it has no place for baby cologne, you assume it is a weird practice and it is clearly the mark of a bad parent. I was raised on Johnson's cologne - my mother put it on me and my siblings, I put it on my daughter and will put it on my next child. We never put it on the skin and if for some reason there is a reaction, obviously someone would discontinue using it. I suggest you ask yourself whether you sound ignorant, entitled, and superior before you publicly post your opinion and expect everyone to agree with it.

1:56 PM  
Blogger Caleb's Journey said...

I have no idea what you all are in such an uproar about. It's baby cologne. Do you honestly think that is the worst thing that your child is going to come in contact with? And I agree with some of the other all are too opinionated & over the top regarding this. I have a child w/a life limiting condition. Even after bathing him by the next morning he stinks bc he sweats so much. I love to put on a little bit of cologne. There are MUCH BIGGER things for me to worry about. My gosh lighten up and live a little.

7:38 PM  
Anonymous Irene Robertson said...

J&J are guilty of having many dangerous chemcals in baby products that should be banned.. how theyve got away with this for so long is beyond me and dont forget .the make air fresheners too one of the worst harmful items on the market.. this baby perfume has hit a new low with them. shame on you at J&J...

11:57 AM  
Anonymous Irene Robertson said... so have a think before you douse your baby in junk. its all petro chemicals. wisen up...

12:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Phenoxyethanol is a glycol ether, which is in lot's of every day products, and products used by the health industry. If all you have to worry about is baby cologne...

Well Zwitsal cologne should be banned it's horrible, however
Nenuco :-) ......

3:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is NOT "terrible". Some of you may choose to abstain from using this on your child and that's fine... But to call people who do use it on their children "bad mothers" is the equivalent assumption that I could say to those who don't use it that your kids must smell like garbage. It's ridiculous and extreme.

The Hispanic culture uses baby cologne all the time... This is partially due to some Latin American countries having a high heat index and children get sweatier (and sometimes stinky). This is used to freshen up the baby and also maintain a good "baby" scent.

I grew up using it and it was probably even applied onto my skin when I was older and it's FINE. Stop being such worrywarts! ;)

6:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These are the same chemicals that are used in soaps, lotions, and oils. Did the mothers quit using their favorite perfume because the oh so toxic oil might rub off onto their child? No. Look at yourselves before you call names.

10:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

F.U.C.K you ladies, I think all of you smell like she....t

12:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


1:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

J&J baby colognes have been in the market since early 1990s... I love J&J Baby Cologne - Heaven... I use it myself and a dab on my children's clothes...

5:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love Johnson and Johnson baby cologne. I give my kids baths 1-2 times a day and put the cologne on their clothes not on thier skin. It's about having a refreshing scent. To each his own..this is NOT ridiculous and I'm glad Johnson and Johnson has this product.

12:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would have thought baby perfume was crazy too, until I had a child that needed it. I was prego with 2 toddlers when a friend told me she had to bath her 1 year old 2X a day because he was particularly sweaty, and that obviously leads to him NOT having that yummy baby smell. I thought this was a bit weird and probably rare, UNTIL I had my third. He get stinky from his perspiration so quick, that I had to think of something to help that, so I found johnsons baby perfume, and everyone that smells him LOVES it. If JOhnsons could make it healthier, than great, but im sure most of you are already using other product with similar ingredients, you just never looked up.

12:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

it is not that damn serious! if you don't want it don't buy it. and what the f**k is natural "baby smell"? i buy it for my daughter who's 4 and put it in a spray bottle as body mist. she likes to imitate me with perfume so this its a HARMLESS alternative. stop the madness

12:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What is all this fuss about baby eau de cologne? I'm from Sri Lanka which has a tropical, humid climate and we've used it for generations. We bathe our babies everyday and dab their heads with baby cologne.I have 3 children who grew up bright, talented and intelligent. Our two daughters are Mothers themselves and domiciled in the US and UK. To put it succinctly, Baby eau-de-cologne helped keep them fresh and clean!!

10:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Western media goes through these phases from minus to plus about products. It is like coconut and its by products. Who knows in a few years time Eue de cologne will be the in thing because Kardashian or whatever her name is has appeared for a baby perfume ad with Lindsay Lo, and that Hilton girl! Lol!!

9:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It seems perfectly natural for a corporation to turn babies into products and then sell accessories. Better still if you get the youngsters to hate their own smell.

1:17 PM  
Blogger Felix Rivera said...

A Hispanic thing. Really??? I'm puerto rican ad grew up in new york, ct, and puerto Rico and I never saw no "baby cologne" advertised in any of the places that me and my family frequent at. I think you should do a better research before you start pointing your finger at a specific group of ppl.

10:56 PM  
Blogger Felix Rivera said...

Hey responsible mom... Do some research. You aren't supposed to give your infant a bath everyday. Nor are you supposed to bathe with them either.

10:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I came from the Asia and grew up always smelling good. We grew up with Johnson& Johnson baBY COLOGNES and Nenuco from ESpanya. This has been a practice for so many generations in our country. After bath our parents put baby colognes. When I went to the US and got pregnant, I noticed I never saw colognes in the department and grocery stores. I had to order online. Europeans especially French and Spanish use them too. Our babies smell fresh and clean. We grew up healthy and smart. Seem to me that US is the only country not using baby colognes. I certainly respect American moms who chose not to use it because that is how you grew up with, not using baby colognes but certainly nothing wrong with mothers who are using it. It does not mean they do not care about their kids,but because that has been the practice in their countries. Even in the reviews of the baby colognes in Amazon, a lot of reviewers said there that it reminds them of their childhood. The scent of the cologne reminds them of their childhood. J&J did not just start selling it lately. It has been there so many generations ago. Americans just saw it now because of internet. You go to Asia and Europe, it has been in the market for soooooo many years. ...generation to generations... I love baby colognes. I specially love Nenuco. We do not mask baby's scent. We bathe our babies really good maybe more often than other American mothers do and we still dab baby colognes. So funny, some won't put cologne and yet would drink alcohol when they were pregnant?. yeah right.

7:18 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know this is an old post but I came across it. Just because it's a company that does baby products, doesn't mean it's solely for babies. Adults use baby oil on their skin for example. The cologne is good to put on skin to help keep mosquitos and such away and is used by adults.

3:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I just started using the J&J Colgne on my kids and everyone talks about how good they smell. I am not stupid enough to put it on their skins but I do dab their clothes and they have been just others say, to each it's own. This doesn't mean I am a bad mother b/c I chose to use this product, that is just your opinion. I will continue to use it!!!

12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with Anonymous.

8:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I used johnson and johnson baby producta on my child all the time. After finding oht what is really in my sons baby wash all i can say is wow. What are they thinking putting known poisons into BABY WASH. Of all things to poison you people choose harmless children.

7:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Theres no right o wrong way on bring up a baby/child we all do it differently and just because in the United states doctors dont suggests that you bath ur baby very day doesnt mean other countries/culture follow the same rules, I come from a different culture an where im from we do give our babies a bath every day and doctors/specialist do agreen that is safe and good for a baby/child to bath very day... so as parent we can decide whats best for our family and dont let people/blogs tell you what to do and respect others

10:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tumbs up

10:48 AM  
Blogger NessaWrites said...

I'm mexican and no one in my family ever did this. Buuut, my daughters old baby sitter is from costa rica and she was always putting baby cologne on her! I hated it only because I didn't like the smell. Lol. My daughter loved it because it was something special since I never put any perfumes on her. And I thought it was weird and a bit wrong since she was only a year old... she didn't start watching her until she was 9 months old, and I wonder if she'sd have put it on her when she was younger given the chance! Anyway, I'm mexican which makes me Hispanic n I didn't find the comment offensive. Youre being a bit uptight... relax. The only thing I found a little offensive was the sentence "that serves our cuban and puerto rican populations" lol say "the" instead of "our" please... they aren't yours lmao. Like we are possesions or something. Lol anyway,...

3:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment is now coming from a born and raised Puerto Rican. Born in Mayaguez Puerto Rico, we are raised on this stuff. Babies are exposed to a Spaniard perfume called Nenuco, you can find it in every town pharmacy, even the big chain ones like Walgreens, Walmart even sells Nenuco. Felix Rivera I dont know in what bubble you were when you visited the island, but the first thing that my 75 yr old grandfather gave me as a present for my first born daughter was a bottle of Nenuco!! No need to get offended by the comment Izzy made, she may of generalized, but still is true, Puerto Ricans are known for selling this in stores. Now before you get offended do your research!!

8:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you all are like really dumb, its just so sad how dumb you all are.

7:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This product is also helpful if you have a baby with plagiocephaly and they have to wear a corrective helmet 23 hours out of the day. They get stanky, no mater how well you clean it. Think sweaty feet all the time. Put a dot of baby cologne on their clothes and its not too bad.

10:12 PM  
Anonymous Ashley Madison said...

I bought my Johnson's baby cologne at for my son, I've been using it for a year. So far, there are no negative symptoms that showed up. I recommend that don't use a large density of it for your child, a small will do.

11:58 PM  

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