The best beauty, skin, hair & suncare for babies & kids… with Sarah-Jane Corfield-Smith
I find the world of baby & kids skin, hair and suncare baffling. There are SO many products that sound lovely and look pretty. But do I actually need to use them? Should I still be using baby products on my almost 4-year-old? What about hair washing – baby shampoo? Kids shampoo? Adults shampoo? And suncare? Do sleep sprays work? So many questions.
Luckily, I have a very good friend who happens to be a Beauty Editor. Sarah-Jane Corfield-Smith contributes to many a glossy women’s magazine but is also the go-to lady for all things baby beauty having held titles at Mother & Baby mag and written pregnancy columns for national newspapers. She’s also mother to two little ladies – a 4-year-old and a 4-month-old. So, one day when I was debating over whether I should be using anything other than just water to clean the kids’ faces I thought ooh, I’ll text SJ and ask her. Then I thought of a million other questions so asked if she’d answer them all for me and recommend her best baby beauty buys so I could share them here. She obliged – THANKS SJ! Hope you find it as useful as I did…
Should you wash kids’ faces with anything apart from water?
I don’t use anything other than the bath water to wash my children’s faces. With my older daughter I sometimes put the tiniest bit of La Roche-Posay Lipikar Syndet AP+, £16.50 on a flannel and get scrubbing if she’s had her face painted or is very grubby. It’s a really gentle body wash, I also use it as a bubble bath if she has any random rashes or itchy patches of skin.
My daughter has crazy curly hair. Any tips on dealing with it?
Definitely make sure you are using a conditioner when washing hair. Some shampoos can actually make hair quite dry, which makes all hair types but especially curly hair more difficult to brush through, so slather in a conditioner and leave it on for as long as your little one will allow. In my honest opinion Child’s Farm Conditioner, £3.99 is the best. It smells amazing, is a great price and the packaging is really fun.
You will also need a great detangling spray and a brush that your little one will let you near their hair with. My daughter has very fine cotton-wool-like hair and even though she goes to bed every night with it perfectly brushed, she wakes up in the morning looking like a tangled banshee. Every morning I have to detangle her hair, and it’s really important to take the time to do it as otherwise knots and tangles can get so bad that the only way to get rid of them is to snip them away. Curls have a similar issue, if they’re not brushed through then they won’t form great looking ringlets. I have tried every detangling spray out there and my favourite is the Paul Mitchell Kids Taming Spray, £10.25.
As for brushes, Tangle Teezer do some great kids ones with different designs, by getting your little one to choose the brush they might then allow you to use it on them. For really curly hair, or hair that gets super knotty then I really recommend a Wet Brush – again, it’s so good, I use it on my own hair.
What are the best baby bath products to use? And at what age?
When it comes to choosing bath products it probably comes down to budget and what your child needs. I wouldn’t recommend using anything on your baby until they are a few weeks old. I do think a great baby oil is fab at this stage. Spending just a few minutes after the bath massaging in an oil is a really great way of establishing a bedtime routine. One of my favourites is Burt’s Bees’ Baby Bee Nourishing Baby, £7.96.
As they get bigger it’s all about bubble bath. I repeat buy Bloom & Blossom’s The BFG Wispy-Misty Bubble Bath with my online shopping. it’s £4.99, smells amazing and you only need the smallest drop to fill a bath with bubbles. Child’s Farm has been my go-to shampoo, £3.99 for the last few years. It’s a great price point, makes hair lovely and clean and smells delicious.
What about toothpaste? Any recommendations?
I never knew that toothpaste would be such a minefield with children! I must have bought every different type for my daughter to settle on an orange flavoured one from Lidl purely because she liked the monkey on the packaging.
Okay, another baby one. Nappy cream. Do you need it?
It totally depends on your baby’s skin. My eldest daughter needed nappy cream with every change. I should have bought shares in Sudocrem, £2.99! She got horrific nappy rash when her teething began. It was so bad that she would get sores and broken skin on her bottom. And the only thing that worked on her was a combination of Sudocrem and Metanium plus lots of nappy free time, which is fun when you’re in the weaning process. However, my youngest daughter doesn’t seem to need anything on her bottom (at the moment) and I’m a great believer in not putting anything on baby’s skin if they don’t seem to need it.
Which suncream is the best to buy? I get stressed just looking at them!
I am the mother to a whiter than white red headed four-year-old and a 5-month-old baby snowflake with blonde hair. Sun cream is essential in our lives. La Roche-Posay is the only brand that I put on my baby. Purely because it has amazing broad spectrum, high SPF protection and is designed for sensitive skin. If your child shows any sign of eczema or reactive skin then this is the only one I would recommend you stick with. If your child doesn’t, then as they get older Nivea Sun Kids are brilliant. They have varieties that come in a spray gun, which makes it much more fun to apply, a roller ball – again anything that makes application a novelty rather than a chore is always a winner – and also formulations that won’t rub off in the sand.
Do sleep sprays actually work?
There are those that probably poo-poo sleep sprays but I think they are magnificent. And my reasons are two-fold. Firstly, and this goes for adults too as I use This Works Pillow Spray every night, there is nothing better than getting into bed, nestling into your pillow and it smelling like a spa. Secondly, I think sleep sprays are another great way of establishing a routine at night. For my daughter we do bath, some milk, read a book, spray her ‘magic sleep spray’ (if in doubt, make everything magical) and then its bed time. For my baby I think making her bed smell specific helps her link into sleeping but is also a great way of quickly making an unfamiliar bed or travel cot if you go away instantly feel like home. The two I rely on are Bloom & Blossom Pillow Spray, £15 – again, they have done a BFG version, Dream Catcher’s Pillow Spray, it’s dreamy – and the Little Aurelia Sleep Time Pillow Mist, £22 which makes a beautiful gift.
Any products you always keep in the cupboard?
La Roche Posay Cicaplast Baume B5 Multi-Purpose Repairing Balm, £6.50 or as it’s known in our household, Magic Cream. I use it on everything from grazes, sore skin, mosquito bites and even when there’s nothing there at all but my daughter is insisting her finger hurts.
Any other must-haves we should know about for new mums or little ones?
They might not be the most glamorous but there are a few things that every new mum needs. Nipple cream. An essential if you are breast-feeding. Make sure it contains Lanolin as that’s what will heal any broken skin but also act as a barrier. Make sure you have a great lip balm and hand cream on you at all times. It’s very easy for mums to get dehydrated and your lips are one of the first places to show it and as you spend more time washing-up than is imaginable your hands take a serious bashing. Again, La Roche-Posay do brilliant ones but you can also use your nipple cream as lip balm and if you want to treat yourself Clarins Hand and Nail Treatment Cream, £22 is what the Queen herself turns to and if it’s good enough for her…