Safest shampoo for babies
This post was last updated on December 12th, 2019 at 07:53 am
Does your baby have a full main of curls? Or does your baby have just a bit of peach fuzz up top? Either way, you are definitely going to want the best baby shampoo in order to properly clean their hair and scalp!
There tends to be a lot of controversy on certain ingredients and products on the baby hygiene market, so you don’t want to make this choice blindly.
You need to carefully consider the safety, effectiveness, features, convenience, and of course, price of each baby shampoo option you may choose. The bad news is that the market for baby shampoo is unbelievably massive.
So, in an effort to make things a little easier for you and even to make sure we are using safe products for our own babies, we bring you the tirelessly researched list of our top five picks complete with detailed baby shampoo reviews!
|Baby Shampoo||Fragrance||Best for…||Price Per Ounce|
|Puracy Natural||Citrus Grove||Natural||$$|
|Aveeno Baby||Lightly Scented||Budget, allergies||$|
|Nature’s Baby Organics||Pineapple Coconut||Organic||$$|
|CeraVe Baby||Fragrance-free||Hair and body, moisturizing||$$$|
|Mustela Foam for Newborns||Gentle fragrance||Newborns, cradle cap||$$$|
Ingredients to Avoid for the Safest Baby Shampoo
As we kind of already touched on, there is a lot of controversy when it comes to the use of certain ingredients in baby products such as baby shampoo. Most ingredient lists are full of big words that may not be recognizable. This can be intimidating and even scary for us parents just trying to do our best for our little ones.
To help ease your mind and let you know exactly what to look out for, we are going to go over some of the most commonly used potentially dangerous ingredients that you want to avoid in your baby shampoo.
The dangers of parabens are becoming more widely known, so many companies are starting to steer clear of them. Consumers are becoming pickier and more careful with the products they choose and what ingredients they are willing to use. While this has reduced the use of parabens in different products, it definitely has not completely eradicated them. They are still popular in many products.
Parabens are a group of preservatives that are often used in different cosmetic and skincare products. They allow products to last much longer and therefore have increased shelf-lives. However, they are far from the only preservative option for these products. Many companies now choose safer preservative options rather than using potentially harmful parabens in their products.
The biggest known danger of parabens is their tendency to imitate the hormone estrogen within the body. Parabens enter your body, or your baby’s body, through the skin. A baby’s skin absorbs things easier and faster, so keep that in mind as well. As parabens build up and work their way through the body, they imitate the hormone estrogen. This can cause a myriad of different issues like early puberty, reduced male fertility, and breast cancer.
Phthalates are now widely-known to be very dangerous but are unfortunately still often used in a variety of different products. Phthalates within baby shampoo are generally used as a gelling agent. Basically, they help to get the desired thickness and texture of the shampoo. Just like with parabens, phthalates are being used less in products – especially baby products – now that more people are becoming more aware of their dangers.
You still need to be on alert, though, and should always read ingredient lists – especially for things you will use on your baby like baby shampoo. Phthalates are hormone disrupters for humans and can have serious negative affects on babies and adults alike. They are related to birth defects, many different types of reproductive issues, and even certain cancers. Be aware of phthalates when looking for baby shampoo as well as any other products as they are common among a variety of industries.
There is a little bit of a debate out there about the dangers of sulfates, but the thing is that nobody is debating the minor issues they cause. Sulfates are known to cause irritation to the skin, eyes, and even lungs. The debate is over the more serious potential dangers of sulfates. My thoughts are that it’s best to avoid these minor irritations as well as it’s better to be safe rather than sorry when it comes to the big stuff.
There is reason to believe that sulfates can cause damage to your skin that leaves your immune system compromised and body more susceptible to other outside dangers. It is also very drying and can contribute to conditions like dandruff and cradle cap. They are also very dangerous for the environment.
Since the main purpose of sulfates in baby shampoo or other products is to produce a lather, there isn’t really a good reason to choose products that contain sulfates for ourselves, or especially our babies. Sulfates mostly make the product seem like it’s very effective, but don’t actually do much to increase the actual effectiveness.
Phenoxyethanol is another commonly used preservative in cosmetic products and skincare products including some baby shampoos. It is not as inherently concerning as the other ingredients we have listed that you should avoid in baby shampoo but is definitely still a concern and should be avoided in baby shampoo.
The biggest problem with phenoxyethanol is that it is known for causing allergic reactions. As an adult, if you know you are not allergic to phenoxyethanol, then it isn’t a huge concern. However, in infants it can also cause some serious nervous system issues. So, it is really better to avoid altogether for babies, which would obviously include avoiding baby shampoo that has phenoxyethanol in it.
5 Best Baby Shampoo Reviewed
Since finding the safest baby shampoo is so important but can also be quite difficult, here is a guide of the top five baby shampoo options to help narrow down your choices. We have spent hours researching, reading baby shampoo reviews, and even personally testing many different baby shampoo options to bring you this!
Puracy Natural Baby Shampoo & Body Wash – Editor’s Choice
- Baby shampoo and body wash
- No harsh chemicals
- Made in the USA
- Essential oils
- Jojoba seed oil
- The BUMP 2019 award winner
One of the most popular choices and safest baby shampoos, that also happens to be one of my personal favorites is Puracy Natural Baby Shampoo.
This incredible baby shampoo is the winner of the title of best natural baby shampoo and its impressive features will make it clear why. This is an insanely clean and natural formula that is not just super safe, but also impressively effective at cleaning your baby’s hair. As an even better bonus, it also doubles as a baby body wash!
Essential Oils – Essential oils are wonderful natural ingredients that have a myriad of different benefits. The essential oils used in Puracy Natural Baby Shampoo are pink grapefruit essential oil and lavender essential oil.
Pink grapefruit essential oil has antimicrobial and antiseptic properties. It helps to cleanse and can even boost the immune system among lots of other cool benefits! Lavender essential oil is wonderful because it brings a calming effect over your baby. It’s a great way to help your baby relax during their bath, which can be especially helpful right before bed.
In 2019, Puracy Natural Baby Shampoo won an award with the BUMP in the category of Best Baby Skincare Products. This can really help to reassure you that this is the real deal and it is safe, effective, and very popular. The best natural baby shampoo is really an incredible option for all skin types, too. It’s great for cradle cap, sensitive skin, or even eczema.
One thing that I really don’t love about the best natural baby shampoo and other parents also complain about is that it is labeled as “tear-free” even though it is a lot different than other tear-free baby shampoos and can actually cause discomfort for your baby if it gets in their eyes.
For me, personally, I don’t prefer a tear-free shampoo anyways. The mislabeling is what bothers me here. Most tear-free shampoos actually contain some sort of eye-numbing agent as to prevent pain if it gets in your little one’s eyes. They have labeled this product as tear-free without these eye-numbing agents just because it is a gentle formula, but it can still actually cause discomfort and possibly pain even if it isn’t actually harmful. So, it can be misleading for parents familiar with the typical tear-free shampoo options.
- Super clean formula is free of many potentially dangerous but commonly used ingredients including parabens, sulfates, formaldehyde, and more
- Essential oils create a lovely scent while also providing other great benefits
- Price is surprisingly affordable for such a high-quality and natural baby shampoo
- pH-balanced formula helps to preserve and repair your baby’s natural skin barrier
- Plant-based cleansers help to gently and effectively clean your little one’s skin with a much lower risk of negative reactions
- Tear-free labeling can be misleading considering this formula does not contain the eye-numbing agents in most tear-free baby shampoos
I, and MANY other parents, really adore the Puracy Natural. It is an amazing option because it is super natural, clean, and safe, but also remains at a relatively low price that is affordable by most. They should reconsider the labeling of their product as tear-free, but all in all, it is incredible and very worth-while!
Aveeno Baby Gentle Wash & Shampoo – Best Overall Baby Shampoo
- Lightly scented
- Baby shampoo and body wash
- Natural oat kernel extract
- Sunflower seed oil
Aveeno Baby Gentle Wash and Shampoo has scored the spot of best overall baby shampoo of all of our baby shampoo reviews! This amazing baby shampoo is actually a really great all-around baby shampoo that will work well for almost any baby! To really top it off, it’s super affordable too!
Oat Kernel Extract – Aveeno Baby Gentle Wash and Shampoo also contains oat kernel extract! This cool ingredient does some really great stuff for your baby’s hair and skin. It is very soothing, so it can be great for irritated skin such as that caused by cradle cap or eczema. It also helps to create a natural moisture barrier that locks in moisture to your baby’s hair and skin.
Aveeno labels this to be lightly scented, but it is still too much for a lot of people. Many parents say they aren’t a huge fan of the smell and wish that it was either unscented or at least a different scent. I have mixed feelings on it myself. It’s kind of hard to describe the smell – almost kind of like oats. I don’t hate it, but I do prefer unscented baby shampoo.
- Natural oat kernel extract helps to soothe and nourish hair and skin – especially when irritated
- Plant-derived moisturizers help your baby’s hair and skin to stay comfortable and moisturized
- Hypoallergenic formula is gentle and helps to reduce chances of irritation or a negative reaction
- Tear-free formula keeps this product from hurting your little one’s eyes
- Scent may be unpleasant or irritating to some – especially those sensitive to smells
Overall, this is an amazing and worthwhile baby shampoo option. It is simple and effective. It also happens to be very affordable, so is a great way to save money while still getting your baby nice and clean in a safe and enjoyable way.
Nature’s Baby Organics – Best Organic Baby Shampoo
- Natural coconut pineapple scent
- Organic baby shampoo
- Organic aloe
- Organic calendula and chamomile
Our guide would not be complete without the best organic baby shampoo. More and more parents are becoming more health conscious and therefore more careful about the products they use with and on their babies. If you are trying to go with more organic options, Nature’s Baby Organics is effective and one of the safest baby shampoo options out there!
Organic Calendula – Calendula is an amazing flower with incredible properties. The organic calendula does wonders for your little one’s skin and scalp with anti-inflammatory, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial properties. It is especially amazing for cradle cap, eczema, or just irritated skin.
Organic Chamomile – Another amazing flower is the chamomile flower. The organic chamomile helps to soothe scalp and skin irritation as well as prevent dandruff. It also encourages healthy hair growth and makes the hair shinier and healthier in appearance
The formula of this shampoo is great! It even doubles as a baby body wash for added value. The packaging, however, is questionable. It comes in a pump bottle, which you would think would make it more convenient.
Lots of parents use it without issues, but there is a relevant amount of complaints out there about parents having difficulty due to the quality of the pump. Considering that this is a higher-priced baby shampoo, you would hope for a better-quality bottle and pump.
- Organic ingredients are better for your baby and for the environment
- Aloe, chamomile, and calendula have amazing natural benefits such as healing, soothing, hair growth, conditioning, and more
- Free of harsh chemicals and dangerous substances such as parabens, dyes, and SLS
- Vegan-friendly formulation works well for a variety of families and lifestyles
- Effectively cleans and naturally moisturizes both your baby’s hair and body
- Some parents have issues with the pump bottle
- One of the more expensive baby shampoo options out there
Due to price, the best organic baby shampoo won’t be everyone’s first choice. It isn’t too bad considering the organic ingredients, natural smell, and overall effectiveness – but it is pricey for baby shampoo in general. If you are more interested in leading a more natural lifestyle with more organic products, it is definitely the perfect baby shampoo option for you!
CeraVe Baby Wash & Shampoo – Best Baby Shampoo and Wash
- Baby shampoo and body wash
- Accepted by the National Eczema Association
- 3 essential ceramides
- Hyaluronic acid
From the well-known brand CeraVe Baby comes the best baby shampoo and wash! This amazing 2-in-1 formula is perfect for using as both a body wash for your baby’s body as well as shampoo for their hair and scalp.
Most baby shampoo options are able to double as a body wash for your baby as well, but there are a few things about the this CeraVe Baby Wash and Shampoo that we believe really does make it the best 2-in-1 baby shampoo option!
Hyaluronic Acid – This is my personal favorite! Hyaluronic acid is such an incredible ingredient in any product that goes onto skin. It’s able to hold a massive amount of water within a very small amount. This really helps your baby’s skin and hair to hold onto moisture better for much longer. This is one of the huge reasons that CeraVe Baby is specifically the best baby shampoo and wash – because it is so good for your baby’s skin.
What’s not surprising is that the this option is fairly pricey. It isn’t unreasonably expensive, but it does rival the best organic baby shampoo previously mentioned. The super high-quality and specialized ingredients certainly make it worthwhile if you have a little extra room in your budget.
- 3 essential ceramides help to restore and maintain your baby’s skin’s natural protective barrier
- Accepted by the National Eczema Association
- Free of potentially harmful substances such as parabens, sulfates, and fragrances
- Hyaluronic acid does an incredible job at helping your baby’s skin to really lock in and maintain moisture for longer
- Fairly expensive as far as baby shampoo goes
CeraVe Baby Wash and Shampoo can be an excellent choice for many reasons. It’s great for all skin types but can be especially useful for babies that suffer from eczema, cradle cap, or other skin irritations. It is incredibly moisturizing but won’t leave your baby’s hair or skin feeling greasy either. It is safe, effective, and very beneficial for your baby’s hair and skin!
Mustela Foam for Newborns – Best Newborn Shampoo
- Foaming formula
- Avocado extract
- Clinically tested
- Natural ingredients
This awesome foam shampoo from Mustela is our pick for the best newborn shampoo on our best baby shampoo list! This shampoo can certainly be used for babies of all ages and has great benefits, but it is specifically formulated with newborns in mind!
Citric Acid – Another interesting ingredient included in Mustela Foam Shampoo is citric acid. This ingredient helps to naturally cleanse the hair and can actually even promote healthier hair that grows faster. The really great thing, though, is that the citric acid is used as a pH adjuster. That keeps the Mustela Foam Shampoo pH-balanced and therefore won’t interfere with your baby’s natural skin barrier.
The best newborn shampoo is also the best baby shampoo for cradle cap on our list! It is specially formulated to help gently exfoliate your newborn’s scalp. This helps to remove annoying and sometimes uncomfortable cradle cap flakes, which are especially common on newborns. From there, it also helps to soothe, heal, nourish, and protect your baby’s scalp in addition to being good for hair growth. Together, these things work to prevent further cases of cradle cap for your baby.
While it is always best to avoid getting anything into your baby’s eyes, if something were to happen and a little bit of this shampoo did get into your little one’s eyes, there’s nothing to really worry about. This is a tear-free baby shampoo and won’t hurt your baby. Rinsing with a little water will take care of it quickly and easily.
The best newborn shampoo is also the most expensive baby shampoo on the best baby shampoo list. It’s actually considerably more expensive than the other options. So, it may not work well for everyone long-term. However, it still makes an excellent choice for the newborn stage and even for any older babies or toddlers that may still suffer from occasional cradle cap issues.
- Mustela Foaming Shampoo is very effective at treating and preventing cradle cap
- Foaming formula helps to keep it right where you need it without any dripping
- Mostly plant-based formula is safe and gentle for your baby’s sensitive skin
- Free of dangerous substances such as parabens, phthalates, and phenoxyethanol
- pH-balanced formula won’t irritate your baby’s natural skin barrier but instead helps to maintain it
- Most expensive baby shampoo option that we reviewed
While it is pricey, the best newborn shampoo can certainly be worthwhile. It is a great option for your newborn in the first weeks or even months of life. It is super gentle, and the foaming formula really makes a huge difference in convenience – especially with very young babies. It’s also a wonderful option for cradle cap as it gently and effectively treats and prevents it!
Baby Shampoo FAQ
Adult shampoos often have a lot of harsh chemicals and potentially dangerous additives that aren’t as gentle or safe for your baby. Choosing a great baby shampoo will help you to effectively and safely clean your baby’s hair and scalp.
The best choice of baby shampoo for each baby and family is going to be different. Your baby’s sensitivity as well as your own preferences will play the biggest roles in what baby shampoo is best for you and your baby. We hope that our guide above can help narrow down your choices and make a decision about what’s best for your baby.
It’s hard to say that there is one single safest baby shampoo option out there. There are plenty of safe options to choose from, though. Check out the section on ingredients to avoid in baby shampoo above to help you find safe options. All of the options we reviewed in our list are definitely good, safe baby shampoo options for your baby.
Yes, even newborns need some basic washing, including their hair and scalp. They won’t require baths super often since they don’t get dirty, but most baby shampoos are certainly safe to use on newborns. Check that they don’t contain any of the ingredients we discussed in our ingredients to avoid in baby shampoo section above. If they don’t, they should be fine for your newborn. Just take extra caution to be gentle and not get any baby shampoo in your newborn’s eyes.
You may interested to read: Best Baby Lotion for Newborns with Sensitive or Dry Skin.