Best Baby Shampoo
The Babo Botanicals Sensitive Baby Shampoo & Wash outshines most of the 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, plus 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 your kid's hair with beneficial ingredients, like oat protein to help protect dry skin, organic calendula to soothe and nourish your baby's scalp and skin, along with 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 is unavailable in most retail stores, so you'll likely need to order it online. Of course, kids can go a few days without clean hair, so it's not a big deal-breaker, but it is a factor to consider. Also, it is costly compared to others. However, if you want to avoid fragrance and harsh chemicals, we think this product is worth the investment.
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 they state what's not in the bottle: SLS, SLES, parabens, dyes, phthalates, synthetic fragrances, and formaldehyde donors. We applaud the manufacturer's standards and label transparency, listing all ingredients and avoiding the term "fragrance" - a word that allows companies to hide or disguise ingredients. Plus, they do not use animal testing or animal by-products, and we've noticed an increased availability in retail stores.
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 a shampoo and wash combo. If you like this baby shampoo, but prefer a fragrance-free version, check out Honest Purely Sensitive Shampoo and Wash.
Sweetly scented and ready to clean your baby from head to toe is the Puracy Citrus Grove Baby Shampoo and Body Wash. Puracy is a small brand that prides itself on crafting products developed by doctors, and its website states this product uses a clinical-grade blend of cleansers, humectants, and essential oils. It also provides a long list of ingredients that this product avoids: 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! Puracy promises to be cruelty-free, and, as always, this is a statement we value. 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. Also, we think 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.
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 cost per quantity is not ideal, and the product may not last as long as 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.
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, 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.
We are unsure if this shampoo is phthalate-free because the product's packaging lacks clarity of 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.
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 it is accepted by the National Eczema Association.
In our opinion, 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.
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 it does have little to no scent. Also, the foamy mousse is airy, easy to lather, as well as 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 with your pediatrician regarding your baby's cradle cap and the use and frequency of this product as treatment.
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 it 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%, 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 their changes and positive efforts, we still think Johnson's struggles to keep up with the competition.
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 15 years of experience. We purchased each product in our review, completed hands-on testing and side-by-side comparisons to evaluate performance.
Analysis and Test Results
Our testing involved tons of washing, lathering, and rinsing with multiple testers to understand which products left hair squeaky clean and fresh and which ones 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 all 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 be sure to 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
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. 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 take into account 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 the 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 would like to minimize your baby's exposure to chemicals, we highly suggest choosing a company that discloses ingredients and values.
The FDA doesn't require the disclosure of fragrance ingredients, and the term "fragrance" can hide hundreds or more chemicals, natural or not. Plus, logically speaking, fragrance, regardless of whether it is "natural" or "essential oils," can increase the chance of skin irritations. In our opinion, babies do not need any scent and 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. 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.
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
Honest, objective reviews. Led by a Pediatrician.
BabyGearLab was founded by a Pediatrician Mom with a mission to provide a reliable, independent, source of information to new parents. Our experts have tested thousands of baby and kids products to share key performance, health, and safety findings. We spend tens of thousands of dollars crash testing car seats to inform our ratings. And, we combine our review work with gobs of expert parenting advice. To assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing by people who care.Learn More