Friends often ask me what perfumes are appropriate for...CHILDREN! Call me old fashioned, but I don't want to smell a child wearing Kouros (the shock...like seeing a six-year-old boy sporting a handle-bar moustache) or Chanel No. 5 (as surreal an experience as any episode of Toddlers & Tiaras). Colognes for children should be light, simple, unobtrusive, but still have some lasting power (otherwise the child is likely to reapply constantly). Oh, and children's colognes should be inexpensive (I bet they'll leave their perfume in the car on a hot day or lose it).
I started keeping a perfume notebook a few years ago, and I just added Fragonard Jasmin1 to my list of fragrances appropriate for young, female perfume lovers. Jasmin smells like a "play perfume"...in the same category of playtime luxuries as plastic "diamond" rings and "pearl" necklaces. Jasmin is overtly artificial smelling — from start to end; Fragonard's PR materials state Jasmin contains jasmines from Egypt, India and France (if so, they're made to SMELL like they're from a lab in New Jersey).
Jasmin commences with jasmine candy and a hint of green-tinged citrus; the jasmine turns a bit musky in mid-development (this is pre-school musk, not sultry or sexy musk!) and then, almost immediately, sugary FRUIT comes to the fore (not the promised apricot I was hoping for, but a colorless, sweet fruit aroma). That's it: not too much, not too little — just right (for a child).
Fragonard Jasmin comes in a cute bottle that will fit nicely in your little girl's vinyl purse and best of all: it's $25 for a 50 ml Eau de Toilette.
Other options for children interested in perfume (let THEM ask for perfume, don't foist a bottle on them) are Demeter Fragrance Library scents ($20 and under), inexpensive (delicate-smelling) soliflores or classic Eaux de Cologne. Of course, sun and perfume on young skin may not be a great match, especially for children with allergies (in those instances, why not offer a fancy spray bottle filled with distilled water and encourage your child's imagination?) Tip: only give a perfume you can abide to children; having to smell a hated perfume on dolls, stuffed animals, clothes, sheets and furniture is like having Toy Story on a continuous loop in the living room! And a final note: don't let a too-young child tote around a glass bottle...there ARE limits to the age a child should use "perfume." When children DO start wearing cologne, be a kind teacher: tell them where to spray fragrance (the face? not good!; the family dog or cat: no), how much to spray (a little goes a LONG way); when not to wear perfume (at school; you don't want to annoy a teacher or fellow-student). Children should not be encouraged to "play sales people at Macy's" either; don't create a child that sprays every animal and person in range!
Please share your opinions on children and fragrance. I'm truly interested in knowing if you have a child who loves perfume. What do they wear? How young were they when they wanted perfume? How young is too young for fragrance?
1. Listed notes: bergamot, petitgrain, jasmine, apricot, amber.
Note: top image is from Afternoon Tea: Rhymes for Children. by J. G. Sowerby and H. H. Emmerson, [altered] via Wikimedia Commons.