Oh man. Bathing a baby was wondrously uncomplicated a generation ago. You washed their hair with Johnson & Johnson’s baby shampoo. The “no more tears” claim was reassuring, if a bit suspect. But at least it stung less than, say, Prell.
For soap, we were all scrubbed with whatever bath bar our parents stocked. This meant either Ivory, Dial, or Dove, because those were the only brands for sale. Oh wait – there was also Zest and Irish Spring, which left a gross soapy residue on everything.
We boys were fine using those soaps indefinitely. But girls experienced a complex progression of facial cleansers, which I shall briefly delineate for the sake of anthropological edification:
It began around puberty with the discovery of Noxzema face cream. It’s unclear whether the attraction lay in the cold texture, the medicinal smell, or the invigorating tingle brought on by the combination of camphor, stearic acid, and menthol.
After that girls progressed to some variant of the apricot facial scrub, with grains of sand in it. Nightly applications could exfoliate whole layers of epidermis. Extra care was required, since vigorous scrubbing was capable of removing a tan.
Next the females fell hard for Neutrogena, the amber colored glycerin bar. It offered a refreshingly simple cleansing. But on top of its being expensive, it had a tendency to dissolve into a useless sliver while left alone overnight.
After the glycerin bar, things got unpredictable. Girls either went for obscure brands, like Madame Marcella Borghese. Or else they went back-to-basics with some homemade oatmeal/vinegar/egg wash.
But that was all a long time ago. Now the market is fractured into so many brands that it’s a mystery how any of them stay in business. Weirder still, the market for baby soap has gotten nearly as crowded.
Since when did babies go metrosexual with the high-end product? Then again, babies may be the original metrosexuals. Think about it: they a) have great complexions, b) are enviably free of sexual hang-ups, and c) are always wearing the latest fashion, if only because they keep outgrowing their clothes.
I’m in charge of bath time for our son, which means I pick the product. I’ve always bought the California Baby line, mostly on the strength of its eco-credentials. But I’ve never particularly loved it.
Recently I discovered little twig, one of those companies with an inexplicable aversion to capital letters. But their line of bath products is sort of a revelation.
First up was their bubble bath. My son’s previous bubble bath experience came from the business end of a bottle of Mr. Bubble, purchased by my wife a year ago. It seemed about as gentle on skin as if we’d dumped in a scoop of Cheer laundry detergent.
I drizzled the little twig lavender bubble bath into my son’s tub. It induces the hazy, drowsy-lidded contentedness of a freshly laundered pillowcase. Come to think of it, the bubble bath is so indulgent and relaxing that it’s probably wasted on your baby. Totally save this for yourself.
(Pro tip: if, like me, you have a hard time reconciling bubble bath with your extreme manliness – round out your bath experience with some scotch and a cigar.)
Next I bathed my son with little twig’s lavender baby wash. It’s the color of honey, with a similarly satisfying viscosity. The soap is gentle, intoxicating, and smells like farts. No, I jest! It smells absurdly good. In fact, the only downside is you can no longer coerce your children by threatening to wash their mouths out with soap.
All of little twig’s products are mild, effective, and made with impressively natural ingredients. They’re actually the only baby bath products I would happily use on myself, which is handy when packing light for vacation.
Regrettably, finding a store that carries little twig is so challenging, it could be the premise of an Indiana Jones reboot. You could always buy directly from their web site, but shipping is pricey. Amazon carries a well-priced (though incomplete) selection. So maybe petition the buyer at your local Whole Foods, CVS, or Jiffy Lube. (I’m just thinking out loud here.)
Get some for your baby, if you can find it. Little twig also makes a slick present for your favorite mini-metrosexual.