The Preteen Fragrance That Holds Up Past Puberty

I'm still completely in love with the perfume I wore in elementary school.

There are a lot of products that bring to mind my earliest experiments with beauty. An old pot of Avon's Beauty and the Beast lip gloss transports me back to the early '90s with a twist of a cap.

And Love's Baby Soft, in its slightly phallic-looking pink bottle, is a certifiable powerhouse when it comes to nostalgia.

I had been on the hunt for a new bottle for years. You can find it at Walmart in the U.S., but the shelves here in Canada don't stock it. The same goes for the drugstore chains. I had even searched pharmacies when visiting NYC, hoping the regional change would turn up a bottle of the powdery goodness. Nope.

But then Christmas morning came and I opened a tiny gift box to find a bottle of my little Holy Grail, along with a Love's logo embroidered white teddy bear.

I was overjoyed to finally have my trip down memory lane, but I quickly realized that I wouldn't be using this cologne spray purely for nostalgic purposes. The thing is, it smells really good. Basically anyone who grew up in the '80s and '90s, and perhaps the '70s, too (it has been around since '74), will recognize the scent.

It has a clean, powdery base that's meant to evoke innocence, but it rounds out with more grown-up notes like jasmine, lavender, and a touch of patchouli.

It's a cologne spray, too, which means the initial whiff is a bit heavier than what it dries down to--light, fresh, and floral.

The marketing campaign during Love's first few years was bizarre to say the least. The ads toyed with the idea of innocence as sexy ("I'm Baby Soft" panties, anyone?) with imagery that definitely wouldn't (and shouldn't) fly today. Later on they eventually realized that their target demographic was much younger than what they'd been aiming for with the creepy entendres, and the clean and sweet factor took over. Then they seemingly disappeared altogether.

But Love's Baby Soft is still very much around, and it still smells the way you thought being a grown-up should have when you were 11.

Spritzing yourself with a bit of this incredibly affordable stuff will definitely bring up memories for passersby, but at its core it's simply a very pretty, fresh scent. Since it's so cheap, why not keep a bottle in your gym bag, one in your purse, one at work? For those times you need to be weirdly, innocently sexy.

  • Did you wear Love's Baby Soft as a preteen?
  • What other scents remind you of that time in your life?
  • What's the weirdest beauty ad you've ever seen?