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How to Pick Your Daughter's First Perfume

If your daughter enjoyed playing dress-up, trying on your clothes and experimenting with makeup, she's probably fascinated with perfume, too.
If your daughter enjoyed playing dress-up, trying on your clothes and experimenting with makeup, she's probably fascinated with perfume, too.
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If your daughter enjoys playing dress-up, trying on your clothes and experimenting with makeup -- and we can't think of too many little girls who don't -- she's probably fascinated with perfume, too. Dabbing an exotic scent onto her wrists is one of those things that make her feel excitingly grown-up, and if she likes your fragrances, it's only a matter of time before she asks for her own bottle ... and then it's time for you to decide whether she can have one or not.

There are obviously no laws on the books about the minimum age for wearing perfume, so it's entirely up to you to decide what age is appropriate. (We mean it when we say there's no minimum age; believe it or not, there are actually fragrances on the market for babies as young as 6 months old.) Whatever age you choose, it'll probably be well before you're comfortable with her wearing makeup, so buying perfume can be one way to postpone the inevitable.

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If your daughter doesn't have a particular fragrance in mind, you don't necessarily have to buy one that's advertised as "kids' perfume." But it can be a good idea to search out natural ingredients and steer clear of perfumes with alcohol in them, especially if she has sensitive skin. Just make sure that she likes it, it's age-appropriate -- and that you teach her how to apply it without dousing herself.

Assuming your daughter is able to walk and talk when you buy her first fragrance, here are some guidelines for how to pick out the perfect perfume.

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Depending on your daughter's age and personality, she might want to pick out her perfume. If she's expressed a general interest in perfume and doesn't seem to have a preference for a particular kind, she'd probably love a surprise. For some little girls, it's just the concept (and the pretty bottle) that matters. She might not care exactly what the perfume smells like as long as she can have a good time spraying it on -- and if Justin Bieber's face is on the package.

But if she's a budding control freak who tends to have strong opinions, you'll probably want to take her shopping with you. This can be a really fun trip -- you don't necessarily have to go to the drugstore for cheap teenybopper scents or search out a fragrance that's just for kids. If you're feeling adventurous, go to a "real" perfume store and start testing! You'll obviously want to avoid very heavy scents and anything that seems overtly sexual or too grown-up, but you'll probably find plenty of light fragrances that she can enjoy.

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Once you're home with your purchase, you'll definitely want to give your daughter a lesson in the art of perfume application. "Less is more" is the prime concept here -- she doesn't need to bathe in the stuff. Teach her that a couple of carefully placed spritzes is probably enough for the whole day.

There's lots more information about perfume on the next page.

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Sources

  • Care Fair. "Fragrances for Children?" (Aug. 17, 2012) http://www.carefair.com/Beauty/Fragrance/Fragrances_for_Children_2934.html
  • Carriere, Nadia. "Top 10 Baby Perfumes and Fragrances for Children." Child Mode. June 1, 2010. (Aug. 17, 2012) http://www.childmode.com/2010/06/01/top-10-baby-perfumes-and-fragrances-for-children/
  • Perfume Posse. "Your First Fragrance -- A Guide to Raising them with the Right Smell." May 19. 2012. (Aug. 17, 2012) http://perfumeposse.com/your-first-fragrance-a-guide-to-raising-them-with-the-right-smell-ari/

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