A first-person view of an adult bracing themselves against the ground over a smashed baby bottle in a puddle of milk vomit.
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I’m a fan of Melanie Martinez. I dig her gross ruined childhood aesthetic. Her music consistently slaps, and Cry Baby is the song of my life. I was glad when she came out with a perfume. She has an artistic vision more easily/obviously expressible in perfume than other performing artists, so it wasn’t just about throwing bux at Martinez. I had real confidence that the perfume would be done well.

The packaging is a slam dunk. The commercial undersells it. The cardboard powder canister is a vintage-style vanity treat, and is the only perfume packaging I’ve ever owned that has a PMRC warning label on it. I’ve kept the canister. I almost never keep anything other than the bottles. I did discard the freshness seal and the pink and blue accordion paper shreds inside, but those were cute. They made opening the canister feel like opening a little present.

And then there’s the bottle. Good lord, what a well-designed bottle. It’s a beautiful, weighty replica of a baby bottle complete with rubber nipple. The glass is painted white except for a panel in the back. That panel is clear with measurement marks molded into it, so that you can see just how much Perfume Milk you have left. And yes, it’s milky! The perfume has the same thin, semi-opaque off-white look as the liquid in toy milk bottles - you know, the ones you tip and the milk magically vanishes? Those were my jam when I was six. The finishing touch is the words ‘fuck off’ printed on the atomizer. Whoever was in charge of this thing needs to get all the Fifis. Yes, even the ones for prestige. Lalique doesn’t do bottles this good and it’s their one job.

Cry Baby Perfume Milk, like many other celebrity perfumes, is a candied fruit bomb. It differentiates itself from the others with literal references to a childhood scent landscape: baby lotion, strawberry milk, and lipstick. The fruit tries to drown out the lotion, but does not succeed. The strawberry milk note is distinct from the rest of the fruit, despite there being a LOT of fruit. Also on the note list is ‘burnt caramel.' I don’t know if it’s the caramel, but something does smell burned. It’s a little unpleasant. That’s okay. Unpleasant things happen sometimes. The burned part fades. The milk persists through the the drydown. It’s very snuggly.

It took me a few wearings to really appreciate it. The modern celebrity fruit part of the composition, the part that’s kin to things like Pink Friday and Cloud, was very distracting to me. I got over that. The fragrance gives plenty of showtime to the lotion and milk, the accords that I came for. I wanted playroom flashbacks from this perfume, and I did get them. I just had to open my heart a little more. It’s not like I didn’t have candy or fruit growing up. There’s a complete picture here of my tiny self running around in scented jelly shoes, wearing some lipstick I stole from my mom, my hands sticky from chewing on a candy necklace. Plus, you can do a cool hack I figured out if you want to ramp up the lotion: just put some baby lotion on before you spray. I like Baby Magic. This also helps longevity, perfume loves moist skin.

That said, Cry Baby Perfume Milk does not really need longevity help. It lasts a reasonable amount of time. One spray is enough, two wouldn’t be too much. I wouldn’t go as hard as Melanie does in the commercial. That’s probably why she goes googly-eyed at the end. Don’t do four sprays.

- 2/22/20