In Depth Baby Product Reviews Led by a Pediatrician

The 3 Best Baby Shampoos

We put baby shampoo from Johnson's, Honest, Aquaphor, Weleda, and others to the test to find the best
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Best Baby Shampoo
Credit: Abriah Wofford
By Molly Bradac ⋅ Senior Review Editor
Wednesday May 10, 2023

Are you searching for baby shampoo? Our review ranks this year's top 8 baby shampoos. After scouring the market, we purchased the most popular top contenders for our hands-on testing. An excellent shampoo should come in an easy-to-use container for parents and leave your baby's hair clean with less concerning ingredients and little to no fragrance. Our extensive testing utilizes these metrics, ultimately influencing our ranking process and providing insider details to make an informed decision.

When it's time for bathtime, you'll want the best baby bathtub, a set of top-ranked baby washcloths, and our favorite baby towel to make the process roll smoothly. If your little one is older, you might also want to check out the best bath toys review too! Don't forget the best baby lotion or a top-ranked baby oil.

Editor's Note: We updated this shampoo review on May 10, 2023, with a review of products and pricing.


Best Overall Baby Shampoo

Babo Botanicals Sensitive Baby Shampoo & Wash

Quantity: 16 fl. oz. | Fragrance-Free: Yes
EWG verified ingredients
Effectively cleans hair
Pump dispenser
Hard to find in stores

The Babo Botanicals Sensitive Baby Shampoo & Wash outshines most competition between its eco-healthy formula and easy-to-pump bottle. It's a great everyday option and one you might consider if your child is chemically sensitive or you would like to decrease the potential of skin irritations. With this option, you don't have to worry about added fragrance and dyes. It is EWG verified, meaning it uses no ingredients of concern, according to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), a non-profit corporation committed to healthier living. This shampoo is free of gluten, soy, dairy, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, and petroleum. The plant-based formula nourishes hair with oat protein to help protect dry skin, organic calendula to soothe and nourish your baby's scalp and skin, and coconut, shea, and cocoa butter to moisturize skin.

If you prefer to buy products in person or wait until the last minute to pick up baby shampoo, this option may not be for you. It is unavailable in most retail stores, so you'll need to plan ahead to order it online or keep some on hand. Also, it is costly compared to the competition. However, if you want to avoid fragrance, harsh chemicals, and known irritants, we believe this option is worth the investment.

best overall baby shampoo
We consider the Babo Botanicals Sensitive Baby Shampoo & Wash an excellent choice as it's fragrance-free, uses baby-safe ingredients, and comes in an easy-to-pump bottle.
Credit: Abriah Wofford


Best Bang for the Buck

Honest Truly Calming Lavender Shampoo and Wash

Quantity: 10 fl. oz. | Fragrance-Free: No, but the option is available
Effectively cleans and smells nice
Pump dispenser
Label transparency
Easy to find in stores
Price versus quantity

The Honest Truly Calming Lavender Shampoo and Wash may be an excellent addition to your baby's hair care routine. This shampoo and body wash duo nicely lathers and leaves hair soft and squeaky clean, even on the dirtiest days. The lavender scent is lovely, not overpowering like some contenders, and we like the bottle's pump dispenser. According to the Honest Co. website, the formula uses naturally derived ingredients, and it is free from: SLS, SLES, parabens, dyes, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, and formaldehyde donors. We applaud the manufacturer's standards and label transparency, listing all ingredients and avoiding "fragrance" - a word that lets companies hide or disguise ingredients. Plus, they do not use animal testing or by-products, and we've noticed an increased availability in retail stores.

The shampoo's price versus quantity might be a concern depending on your budget, but we feel the shampoo's quality is worth the additional cost. We recommend this product to families who value label transparency and appreciate a shampoo and wash combo. If you like this baby shampoo but long for a fragrance-free variation, check out Honest Purely Sensitive Shampoo and Wash.

baby shampoo - best bang for the buck
The Honest Co. is budget-friendly, comes in an easy-to-use bottle, and offers ingredient transparency, all factors we appreciate.
Credit: Abriah Wofford


Best for Decreasing Landfill Contribution

Puracy Citrus Grove Baby Shampoo and Body Wash

Quantity: 16 fl. oz. | Fragrance-Free: No
Pump dispenser
Easy lather
No animal testing
No fragrance-free option

The Puracy Citrus Grove Baby Shampoo and Body Wash is sweetly scented and capable of cleaning your baby from head to toe. Puracy is a small brand that prides itself on crafting products developed by doctors, and its website states this option uses a clinical-grade blend of cleansers, humectants, and essential oils. It also provides a list of ingredients you won't find inside, like Cocamidopropyl betaine, sulfates, triclosan, formaldehyde, parabens, phosphates, SLS, SLES, ethanolamines like MEA, DEA, and TEA, petroleum-based ingredients, animal by-products, chlorine, dyes, perfumes, and caustics - uffda, that's a long list! Plus, Puracy promises to be cruelty-free! Refill pouches are available, and we appreciate that this saves plastic, water, and energy. This effort to reduce landfill contribution is something we appreciate.

Although we loved many things about this product, we were disappointed that the label lists "natural fragrance," and we wish Puracy would include the ingredients behind this term. We also think some natural ingredients could be potential irritants to some with sensitive skin, so a spot test might be smart. A fragrance-free version would be an excellent addition to the baby shampoo market. But, if you don't mind a mild citrus-scented option, this could be one to consider.

baby shampoo - best for decreasing landfill contribution
We prefer fragrance-free options, but the Puracy Baby Shampoo and Body Wash has a light citrus scent, whereas some contenders in our lineup have potent aromas.
Credit: Abriah Wofford


Shampoo with Calendula

Weleda Baby 2-in-1 Shampoo and Body Wash

Quantity: 6.8 fl. oz. | Fragrance-Free: No
Subtle scent
Nice lather
No animal testing
No pump dispenser
Smaller bottle

The Weleda Baby 2-in-1 Shampoo and Body Wash will clean your little one's hair and leave it fluffy. It has a soft calendula scent. The formula includes ingredients like an extract of fair-trade calendula for soothing properties and sweet almond oil to moisturize. It is free from synthetic preservatives, fragrances, colorants, or raw materials derived from mineral oils. This product has a creamy consistency, and we believe it lathers adequately, rinses quickly, and leaves hair effectively clean. Also, Weleda does not perform animal testing.

One drawback is that this product does not offer a pump dispenser but a flip-top. Also, the cost per quantity is not ideal, and the product may not last as long as the large-sized options in our lineup. We suggest this product to those who appreciate a calendula scent, plus don't mind the flip-top or the smaller bottle size.

baby shampoo - the weleda 2-in-1 shampoo and body wash has a soft and not...
The Weleda 2-in-1 Shampoo and Body Wash has a soft and not overpowering calendula scent.
Credit: Abriah Wofford


Good for Dry Skin

Aquaphor Baby Wash and Shampoo

Quantity: 25.4 fl. oz. | Fragrance-Free: Yes
Pump dispenser
Large quantity
No animal testing
Lacks phthalate-free info

The Aquaphor Baby Wash and Shampoo may be a good fit for babies with dry, sensitive, or eczema-prone skin. This fragrance-free option uses a formula enriched with chamomile essence and provitamin B5 to soothe skin, plus it is free of preservatives, parabens, and dyes. The product has a slimy consistency that produces some suds and a light lather. Also, the bottle is effortless to pump, which we consider easier to use during bathtime. Information regarding animal testing is challenging to find on the manufacturer's website; however, a customer relations member provided a statement confirming that Beiersdorf Inc. does not conduct animal testing with any of its skincare products. Considering the quantity for the price, we believe this option is reasonably affordable.

We are unsure if this shampoo is phthalate-free because the product's packaging lacks clarity on this detail. After searching on the manufacturer's website, we still did not locate the answer, and we think this factor alone may deter some folks, especially those who appreciate label transparency. Before using this product, we suggest discussing skin conditions and possible triggers with your pediatrician. Once you get the green light, we think it could be an option for families with sensitive or eczema-prone babies.

baby shampoo - the aquaphor baby wash and shampoo might be an option for babies...
The Aquaphor Baby Wash and Shampoo might be an option for babies with sensitive skin.
Credit: Abriah Wofford


Option for Eczema Skin

CeraVe Baby Wash and Shampoo

Quantity: 8 fl. oz. | Fragrance-Free: Yes
Pump dispenser
Left hair oily
Minimum lather
Small quantity

The CeraVe Baby Wash and Shampoo is tear-free and comes in a slender, easy-to-pump bottle with a locking feature. It is free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and dyes. This product might be an option for babies with sensitive or eczema-prone skin, as the National Eczema Association accepts it.

In our experience, this product leaves hair oily, regardless of an increased effort to thoroughly wash and rinse. It also does not lather like others in our review, resulting in parents adding more shampoo to reach extra lather, which wastes the product, and its quantity is less than others. Of course, this doesn't help the oily residue issue, either. People are often conditioned to expect a certain level of suds when lathering from shampoo, and depending on the formula ingredients, a product may not lather. We recommend discussing eczema and this product with your pediatrician before first use, but it might be an option if your baby has sensitive skin.

baby shampoo - the cerave baby wash and shampoo comes in a slim and small bottle...
The CeraVe Baby Wash and Shampoo comes in a slim and small bottle and works for eczema-prone skin, but, in our opinion, leaves hair oily.
Credit: Abriah Wofford


Limited Use for Cradle Cap

Mustela Baby Foam Shampoo for Cradle Cap

Quantity: 5.07 fl. oz. | Fragrance-Free: Yes
Pump dispenser
No animal testing
Smaller bottle

A common skin condition among babies is cradle cap. Although it may clear up on its own, a product like Mustela Baby Foam Shampoo for Cradle Cap may help the process. The formula is tear-free, biodegradable, and free of parabens, phthalates, and Phenoxyethanol. It uses avocado polyphenols, which offer skin conditioning properties to help soften the scalp to maintain hair health. The bottle does not say "fragrance-free," but it does have little to no scent. Also, the foamy mousse is airy and easy to lather and rinse. According to Mustela's website, the company has developed a unique testing model to test products' tolerance and effectiveness without testing on animals.

The bottle is small, but a little goes a long way, yet it is a factor worth considering, given its price. Before using this product, discuss your baby's cradle cap with your pediatrician and the use and frequency of this product as treatment.

baby shampoo - the mustela shampooing mousse for cradle cap comes in a smaller...
The Mustela Shampooing Mousse for Cradle Cap comes in a smaller bottle, which may not last as long. However, we don't see this product being a primary shampoo.
Credit: Abriah Wofford


Potential Classic Choice

Johnson's Baby Shampoo

Quantity: 27 fl. oz. | Fragrance-Free: No
Pump dispenser
Nice lather
Strong scent

Featuring its trademark scent and pale honey hue is the Johnson's Baby Shampoo. This nostalgic contender has been a go-to brand for decades and might be one you remember. This shampoo is formulated without parabens, phthalates, sulfates, or dyes and gets the job done, leaving hair shiny, fresh, and clean. We appreciate Johnson's efforts to provide transparency and reduce its ingredient list (by 50%, as mentioned on Johnson's website). In our opinion, this option appears to be less problematic than it has been, and we give kudos for their efforts.

If your little one is scent-sensitive, you should skip this option as it has a potent scent. Also, although we appreciate all of the changes and positive efforts, we still think Johnson's struggles to keep up with the competition.

baby shampoo - we prefer other options in our lineup over johnson's baby shampoo...
We prefer other options in our lineup over Johnson's Baby Shampoo, but we give kudos to Johnson's for reducing its ingredient list and being more transparent.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Tip: Although products often claim to be tear-free or equivalent, we believe this is a relative phrase and suggest avoiding eye contact as some babies could find the ingredients of any shampoo irritating.

baby shampoo - each product in our review experienced hands-on testing and...
Each product in our review experienced hands-on testing and side-by-side comparison.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Why You Should Trust Us

We chose baby shampoos with sensitive skin and eyes in mind. With an eye for those products that avoid potential irritants, both man-made and natural, we selected some top-quality options and some tried-and-true favorites we are sure you will recognize. For each shampoo, we considered the ingredients, quality, scent, and more to determine our award winners and top-ranking choices.

BabyGearLab has been testing hundreds of baby products over the years. Leading this review is Molly Bradac, Senior Review Editor and professional nanny with over 15 years of experience. We purchased each product in our review and completed hands-on testing and side-by-side comparisons to evaluate performance.

The Mustela Shampooing Mousse for Cradle Cap has an easy to use pump...
The Mustela Shampooing Mousse for Cradle Cap has an easy to use pump dispenser, which we prefer over flip-tops.
A flip-top product will likely require two hands to operate versus a...
A flip-top product will likely require two hands to operate versus a bottle with a pump top.

Analysis and Test Results

Our testing involved washing, lathering, and rinsing with multiple testers to understand which products left hair squeaky clean and fresh and which did not.

Ease of Use

Keeping a hand on your little one while reaching for baby shampoo can be a juggling act, so this metric is about ease of use for parents and caregivers. We appreciate and prefer products with pump dispensers, like the Honest Truly Calming Lavender Shampoo and Wash and Aquaphor Baby Wash and Shampoo because dispensing shampoo can be achievable with one hand and distribute an adequate amount for washing. However, any pump can break if dropped, so put them on a flat, firm surface. Products without pumps typically have flip-top lids, like the Weleda Baby 2-in-1 Shampoo and Body Wash. This cap option might require two hands to dispense, which isn't ideal if you have a squirmy little one, and older kids might squeeze out too much shampoo unless supervised. We consider these minor factors to combine and influence a product's overall ease of use.

Related: Baby Bath Time

baby shampoo - although not a deal-breaker, we suggest selecting a top that is easy...
Although not a deal-breaker, we suggest selecting a top that is easy to pump with one hand for added convenience.
Credit: Abriah Wofford


While we can't say what may or may not irritate your baby's skin, as every baby is different, we can make an educated guess by researching ingredients and doing hands-on testing. There is plenty of evidence regarding toxins lurking in baby shampoo, and we encourage parents to learn about ingredients and avoid harsh chemicals whenever possible. Children are exposed to chemicals daily through products, and continuous exposure can easily overwork their system. Resources like the Environmental Working Group break down what is in a product, plus rate ingredients and products on a 1-10 scale (10 being the worst) based on potential hazards and health concerns. Although this resource can be helpful as a guide, it is not comprehensive or the "end all be all," as some ingredients lack sufficient data. But, we do consider a product's score when evaluating and comparing the competition.

We also appreciate a manufacturer that goes the extra mile to provide transparency for consumers regarding standards and values, ingredients, and whether it is cruelty-free. Among the competition, we believe the Babo Botanicals Sensitive Baby Shampoo & Wash is a top-notch eco-healthy option. It is fragrance-free and EWG-verified, meaning it avoids ingredients of concern. We also appreciate Honest Co.'s efforts, the company that produces the Honest Truly Calming Lavender Shampoo and Wash, as they have an "Honest Standard." This page outlines its guiding principles and values regarding how it approaches and creates safe yet effective products for families. Also, we think this information is easy to access and read.

On the contrary, the Aquaphor Baby Wash and Shampoo bottle doesn't mention whether or not this product is free of phthalates, nor does the manufacturer's website. Knowing that phthalates (a group of chemicals) can absorb through the skin, and some evidence shows that these chemicals can cause developmental and reproductive system abnormalities among children, we greatly appreciate labels that list free of's, so we can worry less about ingredients. If you feel the same and want to minimize your baby's exposure to chemicals, we highly suggest choosing a company that discloses ingredients and values.

baby shampoo - shampoos that are fragrance-free do not contain artificial perfumes...
Shampoos that are fragrance-free do not contain artificial perfumes or chemicals.
Credit: Abriah Wofford


The FDA doesn't require the disclosure of fragrance ingredients; the term "fragrance" can hide hundreds or more chemicals, natural or not. Plus, logically speaking, fragrance, regardless of whether it is "natural" or "essential oil," can increase the chance of skin irritations. Babies do not need any scent, so we suggest reading labels and selecting fragrance-free products to avoid this issue.

In our lineup, fragrance-free products include Babo Botanicals Sensitive Baby Shampoo & Wash and Aquaphor Baby Wash and Shampoo, which are a good fit for those who are scent-sensitive. There are options in this review for you if you appreciate a soft scent, including the Weleda Baby 2-in-1 Shampoo and Body Wash and Honest Truly Calming Lavender Shampoo and Wash. However, we believe the Johnson's Baby Shampoo has a more pungent smell, and we suggest selecting a different product if you are sensitive to scent.

baby shampoo - be mindful of marketing terms that may not hold weight and merit.
Be mindful of marketing terms that may not hold weight and merit.
Credit: Abriah Wofford

Tip: Marketing terms like "Dermatologist Tested" and "Hypoallergenic" can be misleading to consumers as any ingredient, especially those like "fragrance" and "essential oils," can cause irritations. Also, these terms have no agreed-upon definition in the industry, which means the claim could mean one thing to one company and something far different to another, and they don't need to tell you how they define them. Plus, skin intolerances can develop over time. So, marketing terms don't always have merit and should be taken with a grain of salt.

baby shampoo - the market is overflowing with options. we are confident our review...
The market is overflowing with options. We are confident our review will help guide you to a product that meets your needs.
Credit: Abriah Wofford


Navigating the world of baby shampoos can be tricky with so many options on the market. Fortunately, we've done the research and washed multiple testers' hair ourselves to experience and provide you with the information you need to help your shampoo decision-making. We are confident there is a baby shampoo here that will meet your needs, and you'll be bathing your little one in no time.

Molly Bradac