In-depth reviews guided by a Pediatrician

Best Baby Shampoo

By Molly Bradac ⋅ Senior Review Editor
Tuesday October 27, 2020
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Are you looking for baby shampoo? After scouring the market, we purchased and tested the top 8 baby shampoo available in 2020. To determine the best, we compare each product side-by-side with the competition. We examined each one for ease of use for parents, along with eco-health and fragrance, too. Let our recommendations help you find a product that will meet your needs.

1

Overall Best Shampoo


Honest Truly Calming Lavender Shampoo and Wash


Editors' Choice Award
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$8.99
(10% off)
at Amazon
See It

Quantity: 10 fl. oz. | Fragrance-Free: No, but the option is available
Effective, and smells nice
Pump dispenser easy to use
Label transparency
Price versus quantity

The Honest Truly Calming Lavender Shampoo and Wash may be an excellent addition to your little one's hair care routine. The formula uses milder and gentler surfactants (cleansers) that are coconut and sugar-based to remove oil and dirt, along with aloe vera, flower and leaf extracts (calendula and chamomile), plus skin conditioning ingredients, such as glycerin and caprylyl glycol. Here's what's not in this bottle: SLS, SLES, parabens, dyes, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, and formaldehyde donors. The bottle sports a pump dispenser, which we prefer to use, and the lavender scent is lovely. The shampoo nicely lathers and effectively cleans hair. We applaud The Honest Co.'s standards and label transparency as they list all ingredients, avoiding the term "fragrance" - a word that allows companies to hide or disguise ingredients. Also, Honest Co. does not use animal testing or animal by-products.

The shampoo's price versus quantity may be a factor to consider, but we think the shampoo's quality is worth the cost. We recommend this product to families who value label transparency and appreciate the shampoo and wash combo.

If you like this baby shampoo, but prefer a fragrance-free version for a newborn or a child with sensitive skin, check out Honest Purely Sensitive Shampoo and Wash.

The Honest Co. is the only company in our review that stands behind label transparency and does not use the term "fragrance" to disguise ingredients.
The Honest Co. is the only company in our review that stands behind label transparency and does not use the term "fragrance" to disguise ingredients.

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

2

Best for Eco-health


Babo Botanicals Sensitive Baby Shampoo & Wash


Editors' Choice Award
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$15.99
(20% off)
at Amazon
See It

Quantity: 16 fl. oz. | Fragrance-Free: Yes
EWG verified ingredients
Effectively cleans hair
Pump dispenser easy to pump one-handed
Price

Gently clean baby's hair and feel good about the product you are using with Babo Botanicals Sensitive Baby Shampoo & Wash. It is EWG verified, meaning it uses no ingredients of concern. We believe this plant-based formula effectively washes hair yet gentle on baby's delicate skin. It uses a few key ingredients, like oat protein to help protect and moisturize, organic calendula to soothe and nourish the scalp and skin, along with coconut, shea, and cocoa butter to moisturize skin. We appreciate that this shampoo is fragrance-free, great for those who are chemically sensitive, plus it is free of gluten, soy, dairy, sulfates, parabens, and phthalates.

The product's price point is a factor to consider. However, if you want to steer clear of fragrance and harsh chemicals, we think it is worth the splurge. We recommend it for babies and children.

Babo Botanicals Sensitive Baby Shampoo & Wash is an excellent choice for families who seek a shampoo with baby-safe ingredients  plus one that is free of fragrance.
Babo Botanicals Sensitive Baby Shampoo & Wash is an excellent choice for families who seek a shampoo with baby-safe ingredients, plus one that is free of fragrance.

3

Best Bang for the Buck


Johnson's Baby Shampoo


Best Value Award
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$6.49
(7% off)
at Amazon
See It

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

Featuring its trademark scent and pale honey hue, the Johnson's Baby Shampoo is nostalgic and a go-to brand for decades. This shampoo gets the job done, leaving hair clean and fresh, plus it nicely lathers and is easy to rinse. Also, it contains no parabens, phthalates, sulfates, or dyes.

While testing, we noticed that the scent is stronger, a factor to consider if you are scent-sensitive. We recommend this product to families who are looking for shampoo on a budget and don't mind a slightly more potent fragrance.

The Johnson's Baby Shampoo will effectively clean hair and offers quantity on a budget.
The Johnson's Baby Shampoo will effectively clean hair and offers quantity on a budget.

4

Good for Dry Skin


Aquaphor Baby Wash and Shampoo


Top Pick Award
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$8.77
(27% off)
at Amazon
See It

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

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

Unfortunately, we feel the bottle lacks clear information regarding if it is phthalate-free, and the manufacturer's website lacks this information, too. Before using a product for eczema, discuss with your pediatrician regarding the skin condition and possible triggers. We recommend this option for families with sensitive or eczema-prone babies.

The Aquaphor Baby Wash and Shampoo is a runner-up to being one of the largest in our review  and we appreciate the pump dispenser  making it easier for parents to use.
The Aquaphor Baby Wash and Shampoo is a runner-up to being one of the largest in our review, and we appreciate the pump dispenser, making it easier for parents to use.

5

Best Natural Option


Puracy Citrus Grove Baby Shampoo and Body Wash


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$12.99
at Amazon
See It

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

The formula uses food-grade, plant, and mineral-based ingredients, including coconut and sea salt. It is free of cocamidopropyl betaine (a cleaning chemical and potential skin allergen), sulfates, triclosan, formaldehyde, parabens, phosphates, SLS, SLES, ethanolamines like MEA, DEA, and TEA, petroleum-based ingredients, animal by-products, chlorine, dyes, perfumes or caustics. It uses mild and gentle surfactants (cleansers) that lift and remove dirt and oil, which boost foam, and some offer conditioning properties. Plus, it uses vegetable moisturizers to hydrate and soothe the skin. Also, we appreciate Puracy's promise to be cruelty-free.

We wish Puracy would expand and include the ingredients for the term "natural fragrance," and we think a fragrance-free version would be an excellent addition to the baby shampoo market. We recommend this Puracy product to families seeking a shampoo with a mild fragrance and those looking for a more natural option.

The Puracy Citrus Grove Baby Shampoo and Body Wash has a light scent and the shampoo is easy to lather and rinse.
The Puracy Citrus Grove Baby Shampoo and Body Wash has a light scent and the shampoo is easy to lather and rinse.

6

Shampoo with Calendula


Weleda Baby 2-in-1 Shampoo and Body Wash


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$10.49
(13% off)
at Amazon
See It

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 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 price for a smaller quantity is not ideal, and the product may not last as long as others that offer more quantity. We recommend this product to those who appreciate a calendula scent, plus don't mind the flip-top or the smaller bottle size.

The Weleda 2-in-1 Shampoo and Body Wash has a soft and not overpowering calendula scent.
The Weleda 2-in-1 Shampoo and Body Wash has a soft and not overpowering calendula scent.

7

Option for Eczema Skin


CeraVe Baby Wash and Shampoo


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$9.99
at Amazon
See It

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 slim, easy to pump bottle with a locking feature. It is free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and dyes. This product may be best for those with sensitive and eczema-prone skin as it is accepted by the National Eczema Association.

In our opinion, this product leaves hair oily, regardless of thoroughly washing and rinsing. Also, the product does not lather like others in our review, which can result in adding more shampoo in hopes of reaching extra lather and wasting product. Of course, this doesn't help the oily residue issue, either. Often, people are conditioned to expect a certain level of lathering from shampoo, and depending on the formula and chemicals, a product may not lather. Also, another factor to consider is its size, which is on the smaller end, versus price. We recommend discussing eczema with your pediatrician and the use of this option, but it may not be the best everyday shampoo.

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.
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.

8

Limited Use for Cradle Cap


Mustela Baby Foam Shampoo for Cradle Cap


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$13.00
at Amazon
See It

Quantity: 5.07 fl. oz. | Fragrance-Free: Yes
Pump dispenser
Foam
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 Shampooing Mousse 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 we believe it does not have much of a 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 the tolerance and effectiveness of products without testing on animals.

The bottle is on the small size, and this is a factor worth considering for the price. Before using this product, discuss with your pediatrician regarding your baby's cradle cap and the use and frequency of this product as treatment.

The Mustela Shampooing Mousse for Cradle Cap comes in a smaller size bottle  which may not last as long. However  we don't see this product being a primary shampoo.
The Mustela Shampooing Mousse for Cradle Cap comes in a smaller size bottle, which may not last as long. However, we don't see this product being a primary shampoo.

Tip: The FDA doesn't require the disclosure of fragrance ingredients. Therefore, the term "fragrance" can hide hundreds or more chemicals, natural or not. Each company varies in label transparency, so we suggest reading labels and selecting a fragrance-free product to avoid this issue.

Each product in our review experienced hands-on testing and side-by-side comparison.
Each product in our review experienced hands-on testing and side-by-side comparison.

Why You Should Trust Us


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 14 years of experience. We purchased each product in our review, 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 dispenser  which we prefer over flip-tops.
A flip-top product will most likely require two-hands.

Analysis and Test Results


Tons of lathering and washing went into our review as each baby shampoo was used with little testers to gain a sense of which products leave hair clean and fresh with no skin irritation, and which ones did not.

Easy to Use


Monitoring your little one in the bath while reaching for baby shampoo can be a juggling act, so this metric is all about ease of use for parents and caregivers. We appreciate 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 while keeping the other hand on the baby. However, the Weleda Baby 2-in-1 Shampoo and Body Wash has a flip-top rather than a pump dispenser and may require two hands to dispense and isn't ideal as your little one will be on their own while you get a handful of soap.

Although not a deal-breaker  we suggest selecting a top that is easy to pump with one hand for added convenience.
Although not a deal-breaker, we suggest selecting a top that is easy to pump with one hand for added convenience.

Eco-Health


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, along with 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 every day 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. The Babo Botanicals Sensitive Baby Shampoo & Wash is EWG verified, meaning it avoids ingredients of concern. Although, keep in mind, this resource can be helpful as a guide, but it is not comprehensive, or the "end all be all" as some ingredients lack sufficient data.

Phthalates are a group of chemicals that can absorb through the skin, and some evidence shows that these chemicals can cause developmental and reproductive system abnormalities among children. Therefore, we appreciate a manufacturer that goes the extra mile to provide transparency for consumers regarding standards and values, ingredients, as well as if it is cruelty-free. The Honest Co., which makes the Honest Truly Calming Lavender Shampoo and Wash have an "Honest Standard," which outlines 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 lacks information regarding whether it is free of phthalates, and the Aquaphor website does not provide much detail. If you prefer to minimize your baby's exposure, we highly suggest choosing a company that discloses ingredients and values.

Shampoos that are fragrance-free do not contain artificial perfumes or chemicals.
Shampoos that are fragrance-free do not contain artificial perfumes or chemicals.

Fragrance


Some may argue that babies do not need any scent, and we agree. Fragrance, regardless if "natural" or "essential oils" can increase the chance of skin irritations. Also, there's not enough evidence to show that they hold any skincare benefits. 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. If you appreciate a soft scent, then there are options in this review for you, too, 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 stronger smell, and we suggest selecting a different product if you are sensitive to scent.

Be mindful of marketing terms that may not hold weight and merit.
Be mindful of marketing terms that may not hold weight and merit.

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.

The market is overflowing with options. We are confident our review will help guide you to a product that meets your needs.
The market is overflowing with options. We are confident our review will help guide you to a product that meets your needs.

Conclusion


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 in 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