Bath time can be stressful, especially for new parents. But hey, it can also be a blast. The first time you see your infant blowing bubbles or splashing around in the bath water, your heart melts (admit it). And to do baby bath time well, you’ll need the best baby shampoo, one that will leave your kid’s hair fresh and clean without irritating their skin, which is more prone to being sensitive than adult skin.
First, some basics from the Mayo Clinic: Don’t go crazy with bath time. A newborn should be bathed maybe three times a week, otherwise you risk giving your infant dry skin. The same applies to toddlers, who will likely start going nuts for fun bath toys.
See more: Best Toys for 1-Year-Olds
The best baby shampoos are made of natural, high-quality ingredients. They’re free of aggressive cleansers, fragrances, and dyes. Some of them are tearless, and some of them aren’t; make sure you know which is which when you’re picking one, and make sure that if you choose a non-tearless brand you’re extra careful when your kid gets in the bath. We looked for baby shampoos that, judging by reviews posted online, plenty of parents love. Then, we examined their makeup in search of soothing ingredients that are perfect for little ones who need to get clean.
This baby shampoo is heavy on the moisture, light on the suds with very mild bubbling agents for sensitive scalps.
This baby shampoo has vitamins B and E in it to moisturize hair and scalp, and it’s a tearless formula. It does not contain triclosan or dyes.
DAPPLE's baby shampoo and body wash is a tear-free, plant-based formula that's unscented. It's made without parabens, sulfates, phthalates, mineral oil, synthetic dyes and fragrances.
Dapple’s baby shampoo and body wash is a pH-balanaced prebiotic blend of plant-based ingredients and is formulated for sensitive skin.
This two-in-one shampoo and body wash is made with a blend of coconut oil, jojoba protein, and quinoa extract. It's made without SLS, sulfates, parabens, synthetic fragrances, formaldehyde donors, MEA, DEA, or TEA. And it's tear-free.
Jessica Alba’s Honest Company has pretty much cornered the market on what it positions as skin care for conscious parents. This shampoo and body wash lives up to the hype, by being gentle enough for baby skin and not being overloaded with chemicals.
This baby shampoo, made in Canada, contains chamomile, lavender and aloe, while being made without SLS, DEA, silicon, dyes, petroleum, phthalates, and parabens.
This two-in-one baby cleanser is non-drying, rinses clean, and contains ample botanicals, such as chamomile. Live Clean is made from 97 percent plant-based ingredients. It’s also tear-free.
We like this baby shampoo because it has a very little citrus scent. But most importantly, it's meant for all skin types.
Puracy is made without any harsh chemicals, including triclosan, formaldehyde, salicylates, parabens, phosphates, perfumes, or dyes. It has no chemical eye-numbing agents, so yes, it’s technically tear-free, but there’s also a slight chance it can irritate baby eyes.
This product works for anyone with sensitive skin, including babies and adults. It cleans nicely, without ever being harsh.
One Fatherly editor started bathing her son with this magical potion when he was an infant, and still uses it, eight years later. It’s free of parabens, phthalates and phenoxyethanol. And it’s 90 percent plant-based, with ingredients including vitamin B5 and avocado perseose. It’s got a very light, fresh scent and cleans without stripping delicate baby skin.
This classic herb-and-oil mix was reintroduced to the masses with a handy pump bottle and new design. What hasn't changed is what's inside. The gentle liquid shampoo is triclosan-, phthalate-, paraben-, and sulfate-free.
It’s available in unfragranced and naturally fragranced lavender and sweet orange scents. It’s main ingredient is castile oil, the same stuff that’s made Dr. Brommer’s Magic Soaps a go-to brand since the 1940s. Sadly, it lacks the thousands of words you’ll find on the side of a bottle of Brommer’s, but since your kid can’t read yet anyways it’s not that big of a deal.
Just a sponge and water—and no soap—usually does the trick for newborns. But this extra-gentle formula from Babo Botanticals is the perfect entry point when your kid is ready to dive into the suds.
It’s full of natural moisturizers and extracts. Organic aloe varbadensis leaf juice has natural antiseptics that kill mold, bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Coconut oil is a natural hydrator that moisturizes skin well. The shea butter has “anti-inflamatory, emollient, and humectant properties” (translation: it’s great for skin). There’s also some colloidal oatmeal in this lightly scented wash. And if your kid does well with it, there’s a line of matching products, including diaper cream and healing ointment.
This foaming shampoo-body wash combo is made of ingredients that are 77 percent organic and 23 percent natural. Some quick arithmetic tells us that means there's no room for anything artificial.
It’s also free of GMO, soy, nuts, phthalate, parabens, and sulfates, and it’s certified vegan and biobased. A quick perusal of the ingredient list shows plenty of oils and extracts and natural cleansers. Plus, there’s a cute as hell whale on the bottle.
This formula is great for all skin types, but it’s extra luscious for babies who struggle with dry skin. The fatty acids and vitamins in shea butter give this wash and shampoo a luxurious feel.
The argan oil has lots of vitamin E, an antioxidant that has skin protectant properties. There’s also aloe vera juice, frankincense oil, coconut oil, rose extract, and lavender oil — rich ingredients that produce a thick lather. Throw on a nice, unscented lotion if you use this stuff because it smells great even without artificial fragrances, and you don’t want to overscent your kid with additional smells.
This shampoo uses a secret ingredient — pro-vitamin B5 — that is readily absorbed by the skin and easily penetrates the lower layers.
When used regularly for at least four weeks it acts as an anti-inflammatory that relieves systemic itching and naturally creates a protective barrier of moisture on the hair shaft, adding protection and shine to your baby’s hair. There’s some additional goodness outside of the bottle, too. For every unit of Unscented Shampoo sold, Baja Baby provides one day of educational support to a disadvantaged child through Save the Children India. Your kid won’t be the only one who appreciates it.
One of the most-reviewed baby shampoos on Amazon, this Aveeno Gentle Wash and Shampoo carries an impressive 4.5 stars. As a more mainstream brand, it's also less expensive than many of its competitors at just $9 for a hefty 18-ounce bottle.
There are no parabens, dyes, steroids, or phthalates to be found, but you will find an oat kernel extract that can soothe irritation and moisturize and vegetable-derived glycerin that helps skin stay hydrated. It’s also part of a large line of other baby products that, if your kid likes and reacts well to the wash and shampoo, are probably safe bets as well.
With a few satisfying pumps, you'll have a thick, soft instant foam in your hand, ready to be lathered onto your kid.
It’s non-allergenic and tearfree for bath time without worries. The seed oil blend, which includes tomato, sunflower, cranberry, black cumin, and red raspberry, sounds like a great salad dressing. But in this case, it’s a gentle, moisture-preserving blend that works well on your baby’s hair and skin.
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