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As parents, we always want to do what is best for our kiddos, and that includes using the best shampoo. Baby shampoos are formulated with extra moisturizers, milder ingredients, and in general, pose a reduced risk of allergic reactions, so that’s a start. Still, knowing which shampoo to pick from the dozens that line the baby aisle of your local store can be difficult.
So, what is the best baby shampoo for your baby or toddler? A natural, hypoallergenic baby shampoo that’s free of sulfates, phthalates, and parabens is best. Specific needs like eczema, dry skin, cradle cap, or a tight budget should also be considered.
Below, I have recommendations for each of these specific needs. Each recommendation was chosen carefully through research and testing. If you want to skip all the reading and jump right to their product pages on Amazon, here they are:
|Best for Cradle Cap||Best for Eczema and Dry Skin||Best for Budgets||Best Natural Option||Best for Every Day Use|
|Mustela Baby Organic Cleansing Gel||Puracy Natural Baby Shampoo and Body Wash||Cetaphil Baby Wash and Shampoo with Organic Calendula||Burt’s Bees Baby Shampoo and Wash||Aveeno Baby Gentle Wash & Shampoo|
|See on Amazon||See on Amazon||See on Amazon||See on Amazon||See on Amazon|
But if you have a minute, keep reading because I’m going to tell you exactly why I choose those specific shampoos, beginning with things that you MUST look for when choosing a baby shampoo. So, let’s get into it.
Baby Shampoo No – No’s
Your number one priority when choosing a baby shampoo is finding one with ingredients that are gentle and safe for your baby’s sensitive skin.
Here are the things you need to pay special attention to avoid in any baby shampoo you choose:
- Parabens, Formaldehyde, and Other Preservatives: There are several chemicals that you should completely avoid, including formaldehyde, phthalates, and parabens. Most of these are often found in adult shampoos, however, they can be sometimes found in inexpensive baby shampoos as well, so be on the lookout.
- Phthalates and Other Synthetic Fragrances: Fragrant baby shampoos can be irritating to a baby’s sensitive skin. Whenever possible, go for brands that use natural fragrances made from botanical extracts and essential oils.
If you’re over the moon for that lavender or baby powder scent, consider testing a small amount on a small patch of skin on your baby before getting it all over their body.
- Sulfates: Because babies’ skins are still developing, they don’t retain moisture as adult skin does. Using shampoos with harsh surfactants, like sulfates, can cause their scalp and skin to dry out. This is a bigger problem for babies with dry skin or eczema.
- Tear-free: Some shampoo or soapy water will inevitably get into your baby’s eyes as they squiggle around in your wet and soapy hands. Tear-free shampoos have no eye-irritants, making them safer for use with babies.
Best Baby Shampoos for Your Baby’s Needs
As promised below I have all the details about our choices for the best baby shampoos you can find in 2021. They are:
The Best Baby Shampoo for Cradle Cap: Mustela Baby Organic Cleansing Gel
When it comes to getting rid of cradle cap, oil is your friend. You want to keep from stripping all the natural oils from your baby’s scalp, and you want to moisturize it with additional oils.
It’s a soothing and gentle cleansing gel formula with Olive Oil and Aloe Vera that cleanses without stripping the skin of natural oils, leaving it soft, and hydrated.
This makes it the perfect product to use when your little one is dealing with cradle cap and a sensitive scalp.
Mustela Baby Organic Cleansing gel is sulfate, phthalate, paraben, phenoxyethanol, and tear free, meaning it meets all of our criteria.
- Paraben-free, phthalate-free, phenoxyethanol-free.
- Bio-degradable Formula.
- Safe for daily use from birth on.
- Doesn’t dry out your baby’s skin.
- Because it’s made with oils, it doesn’t rinse off completely (leaves a moisture barrier), which is not for everyone.
The Best Baby Shampoo for Eczema and Dry Skin: Puracy Natural Baby Shampoo and Body Wash
Puracy Natural Baby Shampoo is a clinical-grade baby shampoo that was formulated specifically to help with eczema and dry skin problems.
The best part about this shampoo is that it does all of this without the need for any toxins or harsh chemicals. Puracy Natural Baby Shampoo relies on its sea salt content to work, giving your baby’s hair natural hydration and flyaway control while soothing their sensitive skin, making it safe for all skin types too!
- It works on all skin types.
- It is a food-grade shampoo, which means it won’t harm your baby even if it ends up in their mouth (as so many things do at a few months of age).
- It is an award-winning, all-natural product
- It’s made in the USA.
- Comes in a big bottle, so you’re set for a long time given how little your baby’s tiny head needs.
- The citrus scent is a bit on the strong side.
- It is quite light, and not as rich and lustrous feeling as other cleansers.
The Best Budget Baby Shampoo: Cetaphil Baby Wash and Shampoo with Organic Calendula
I like this baby shampoo because it perfectly balances price and value. I also really like that it comes from Cetaphil, a brand that is known for making quality cleansers for all skin types.
Cetaphil Baby Wash and Shampoo with Organic Calendula is designed for use on sensitive skin. It comes with extracts from the calendula flower which has calming properties. It is also one of the thickest formulas on this list, making the lathering process all the more enjoyable for both you and your little one.
- Contains calming calendula extracts.
- Dermatologically tested.
- Has a strong fragrance.
- Not an all-natural product.
The Best Natural Baby Shampoo: Burt’s Bees Baby Shampoo and Wash
While several of the shampoos on this list are very natural, Burt’s Bees goes that extra step, as we’ve come to expect from this brand. This baby shampoo makes it to this list because it is made of all-natural products that are kind and gentle on your baby’s skin. The secret behind this formula is soy: soy extracts pack it full of proteins that naturally moisturize your baby’s skin.
Being plant-based, it is also packed with essential minerals and vitamin B that will nourish your little one’s skin as you bathe them. It is also completely tear-free and features 0% parabens, phthalates, SLS, petrolatum, and other harmful chemicals.
- 98.9% natural origin ingredients.
- Free of phthalates, parabens, petrolatum, and SLS.
- Sweet honey fragrance is pleasant and not overpowering.
- Not tested on animals.
- Not 100% vegan.
- Not fragrance-free.
Best General Daily Baby Shampoo: Aveeno Baby Gentle Wash & Shampoo with Natural Oat Extract
When trying to decide on the best baby shampoo for general use, it was a tough call since all of the shampoos we spoke about above would be great. That said, when considering all needs, like budget, natural ingredients, gentleness, etc., Aveeno Baby Gentle Wash & Shampoo with Natural Oat Extract stood out as the best all-around option.
Aveeno Baby Wash and Shampoo is made from oat extract. The oat content gives it natural moisturizing properties.
I also love its delightful, faint scent that isn’t too overwhelming. I think both parents who love scents in their baby’s shampoo and parents who don’t will appreciate this.
Aveeno Baby Wash and Shampoo also lathers really easily,. You only need to use a small amount to get lots of luxurious bubbles. It’s also quite thick, which is great for those moments when you just want to massage it into your baby’s skin as you wash them.
Compared to the other options on this list, this baby shampoo checks all the requirements of good baby shampoo, not just one or two. It has zero harmful chemicals, substituting them with natural plant-based ingredients. So you won’t find any sulfates, phthalates, or parabens in it.
It also has a mild, gentle fragrance that comes from its natural ingredients. It has a moisturizing property, which makes it non-drying when used on your baby’s skin. It is also completely tear-free and has an EWG rating of only 2.
Overall, Aveeno Baby Wash and Shampoo has everything you need in a shampoo for your little one, which is why it is my number one recommendation of the best baby shampoo.
- Great price.
- Made with soothing natural Oat Extract.
- Gentle enough for everyday use.
- Tear-free, soap-free, hypoallergenic, paraben-free, and phthalate-free.
- Gives a rich lather that rinses clean.
- Has a pleasing, light, fresh fragrance.
- Claims to be the #1 pediatrician recommended brand.
- Not 100% vegan.
- Not fragrance-free.