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Our picks for the best baby shampoo balance safe ingredients with effective sudsing. Weleda, Attitude, and Tubby Todd top the list.

Many of us are becoming more aware when it comes to the chemicals and ingredients in the products that we use daily (seriously, reading labels in the cosmetics aisles now feels like spending time in a library). This is especially important when you’re looking at substances that will come into contact with your baby.

Baby skin is much more sensitive than ours, and their tiny bodies may be more susceptible to harm from chemicals. That’s why it’s important to know what products you’re using on your baby’s delicate skin.

On one hand, babies don’t stink like we do (who doesn’t love that new baby smell?!) so they don’t need to bathe as often. But diaper blowouts, spit up, and baby food messes are all inevitable and can send you running to the bathtub with your little one.

During the early newborn weeks, plain warm water is enough to clean your baby. For the first week or so, until the umbilical cord stump falls off, stick to sponge baths (no submerging your baby in water).

Around 4 to 6 weeks old, you can start using a few drops of gentle baby shampoo on their hair (if they have any) and body. You only need to use a tiny, pea-size bit — you want to leave their skin’s protective oils intact as much as possible.

As your baby gets older and grows a full head of hair, you may begin to use a little more shampoo to get their hair clean. Baby skin is thinner and dries out much faster than adult skin, so choosing a gentle, baby-friendly shampoo can help keep their skin from getting dry and itchy.

Some babies have particularly sensitive skin that may be prone to eczema and rashes. To protect their delicate skin from irritation, here are some ingredients you may want to avoid when selecting a baby shampoo:

  • parabens and phthalates,which are harsh and possibly dangerous chemicals often found in adult toiletry products and plastics
  • formaldehyde— yep, the same stuff used in science labs (yuck)
  • fragrance, which can irritate skin and is sometimes used as a broad label that includes other potentially harmful ingredients
  • dyes, which some babies are allergic to
  • sulfates, which may irritate skin and eyes
  • alcohol, which is often labeled ethanol or isopropyl alcohol, and dries out the skin

Keep shampoo out of your baby’s eyes whenever possible, as the eyes are especially sensitive. Tear-free formulas will help with this. But still, bathtime will be more pleasant if you tip your little one’s head back and rinse the shampoo away from their face.

And of course, no matter what shampoo you use, the most important step to keeping your baby safe at bathtime is to never, ever leave your little one unattended in the bathtub. Try to place everything you’ll need (shampoo, washcloth, towel, toys, diaper, etc.) within reach ahead of time so that you can stay hands-on with your baby.

There are endless baby shampoos on the market, so narrowing down what to look for can help. In addition to avoiding the harsher (and possibly unsafe) ingredients listed above, some key features to consider include:

  • tear-free, because babies are inevitably going to squirm and shampoo might get in their eyes
  • plant-based or natural ingredients, such as fruit and seed oils
  • fragrance-free

It’s essential to keep in mind that every baby is an individual, so while a shampoo or wash that’s made of natural ingredients may work fantastically for some, it may cause irritation for others. Keep in mind that some natural and plant-based ingredients can still be harmful, so don’t assume that just because a product throws these words on the label, it’s automatically good.

There’s no way to definitively say which shampoo is perfect for your baby, so there may be a little trial and error involved, though everything on our list is designed to be gentle.

Fragrance-free versus unscented

When we say fragrance-free, we’re referring to the fact that no fragrance ingredients or masking scents have been added to the product.

Something could be fragrance-free in the sense that no fragrance was added but may still be considered scented if certain ingredients (often chemicals) were added to neutralize the scent of other ingredients.

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We tested a few products ourselves, polled real-life parents, conducted extensive online research related to ingredient safety, and read reviews to select the best baby shampoos.

Price guide

  • $ = under $10
  • $$ = $10–$15
  • $$$ = over $15

Best overall baby shampoo

Weleda 2-in-1 Gentle Shampoo + Body Wash

  • Price: $
  • Paraben-free: yes
  • Fragrance-free: contains some fragrance from natural essential oils, but no chemical fragrances
  • Key ingredients: calendula, sweet almond oil, sesame seed oil, and chamomile

This gentle and moisturizing shampoo and body wash combo has a creamy texture and features calendula extract as the main ingredient. Calendula (also known as marigold flower) is a source of flavonoids, which are thought to protect the skin from oxidative stress.

Weleda keeps the ingredient list pretty minimal, and each ingredient is aimed at moisturizing, gently cleansing, and keeping your baby’s natural skin barrier intact. The company is committed to clean, ethically sourced ingredients.

Their products are NATRUE certified, which ensures ingredients are 100% natural, naturally derived, and nature identical. Further, Weleda products are UEBT certified, which means those natural ingredients are sourced ethically.

Every parent we talked with loved the creamy texture of this wash, as well as the light fresh scent. Parents of babies with sensitive skin had positive results as well.

While the bottle is smaller than many competitors, the clean ingredients that offer an effective lather and clean push it right to the top of our list.


  • This shampoo is a relatively affordable and easy-to-find baby shampoo and body wash.
  • It has a light calendula scent.
  • The reputable brand is committed to clean ingredients and renewable sourcing.
  • This product gets great reviews from parents.


  • It’s smaller than the average bottle, so you may run out of it more quickly.
  • It’s not the best choice if your baby has nut/seed allergies or is at high risk for food allergies.
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Best natural baby shampoo

Attitude 2-in-1 Baby Shampoo & Body Wash, Unscented

  • Price: $$
  • Paraben-free: yes
  • Fragrance-free: yes
  • Key ingredients: blueberry leaf, moringa seed extract, glycerin

The Canadian-based company Attitude is all about good ingredients, and their Baby Leaves shampoo and wash is at the top of the list when it comes to ingredient safety and gentleness. Almost all of the company’s products are EWG verified.

This shampoo contains blueberry leaf and moringa seed, which are natural and likely to be gentle on baby skin (though every baby is different, so always watch for signs of irritation).

This product is truly fragrance-free, so whether you have a baby with extra sensitive skin or just want to make sure you’re using natural ingredients, this may be a great choice for gentle cleansing.


  • The ingredients are considered generally safe and natural.
  • It’s fragrance-free, which is good for sensitive skin and means no hidden ingredients
  • It’s vegan, cruelty-free, and produced in an environmentally conscious way.


  • It doesn’t feature a moisturizing formula.
  • A few parents say it causes eye irritation, even though it’s a tear-free formula.
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Best 2-in-1 baby shampoo and body wash

Tubby Todd Hair & Body Wash

  • Price: $$$
  • Paraben-free: yes
  • Fragrance-free: yes
  • Key ingredients: extracts of honeysuckle, lavender, rosemary, avocado, grapefruit, echinacea, kelp, cucumber, and mango

While many baby shampoos also double as body wash, it can be tricky to find a product that’s gentle and moisturizing enough for baby skin while also effective at cleaning spaghetti sauce-y hair, all without leaving a residue. That’s why we (and many other parents) love the Hair & Body Wash from Tubby Todd.

Tubby Todd’s wash comes in a pump bottle, available in a smaller 8.5-ounce size or a value 25-ounce size.

Committed to clean, gentle ingredients, the fragrance-free version of this shampoo gets rave reviews. It manages to lather and really clean, without irritating sensitive skin. The ingredient list reads like a fruit salad, and many of their plant-based ingredients are organic.

Of course, all of those natural ingredients mean this is one of the pricier options on our list, but the company has a “worry-free guarantee” that assures it will make it right if you don’t absolutely love their product. Tubby Todd’s products are made in the United States, and are guaranteed cruelty-free.


  • It’s effective as a shampoo and a body wash.
  • It has gentle, plant-based ingredients.
  • It features an easy-to-use dispenser.
  • It’s certified dairy-free, gluten-free, cruelty-free, and hypoallergenic.


  • This shampoo and body wash has a higher price.
  • It may not be suitable if your baby has certain food allergies (such as avocado or mango).
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Most environmentally conscious baby shampoo

Pipette Baby Shampoo + Wash

  • Price: $$$
  • Paraben-free: yes
  • Fragrance free: yes
  • Key ingredients: squalane, glycolipids, glycerin

While many baby shampoos do in fact double as a body wash, we love this particular shampoo-body wash combo from Pipette because it covers all the bases when it comes to super gentle, clean ingredients.

We chose this as the most environmentally conscious option due to the company’s commitment to sustainability and ethical ingredient sourcing. Most of their products are EWG verified, they don’t test on animals, they use carbon-neutral shipping and recyclable packing, and find renewable sources for their ingredients.

Some parents said they actually wished it had more of a scent (although there are scented options, such as Rose Geranium and Vanilla & Ylang Ylang). Others felt it was a little pricey for the amount you get.

Otherwise, it gets rave reviews (especially from parents of babies with skin concerns, such as eczema or atopic dermatitis).


  • It’s environmentally friendly.
  • It’s fragrance-free.
  • It’s highly rated by parents of babies with sensitive skin.


  • It’s a bit pricier per ounce than some of the other options on this list.
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Best baby shampoo for dry scalp

CeraVe Baby Wash & Shampoo

  • Price: $
  • Paraben-free: yes
  • Fragrance-free: yes
  • Key ingredients: ceramides, vitamin E, hyaluronic acid, niacinamde

This gentle baby shampoo from dermatologist-developed CeraVe has the National Eczema Association’s seal of approval. It doesn’t have any of the yucky stuff (parabens, sulfates, and fragrances), and includes a blend of vitamins and ceramides that help protect your baby’s skin barrier instead of drying it out.

This shampoo gets great reviews from a lot of parents, and especially those whose babies have extra dry scalps or skin. This is also a more budget-friendly option that still has clean, science-backed ingredients.


  • CeraVe is a well respected brand that was developed by dermatologists.
  • It contains moisture-protecting ingredients that are good for babies with dry skin.
  • It has the National Eczema Association’s seal of approval.


  • It comes only in an 8-oz. bottle.
  • It’s not tear-free.
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Cantu Care for Kids Tear-Free Nourishing Shampoo

  • Price: $
  • Paraben-free: yes
  • Fragrance-free: no
  • Key ingredients: shea butter, coconut oil, aloe vera

Whether your little one is just starting to get wavy locks, or already has a full head of curls or coils, this tear-free shampoo from Cantu Care for Kids is a great option for naturally straight or textured hair. Parents give it great reviews for enhanced curl definition and overall hair softness.

Infused with shea butter, honey, and coconut oil, it’s highly moisturizing for thirsty hair. It’s also free of parabens, sulfates, and mineral oils. The only potential downsides of this shampoo for those with sensitive skin are the presence of fragrance, and an ingredient called methylisothiazolinone that can be irritating to sensitive skin.


  • It’s designed with ingredients that benefit curly or textured hair.
  • It’s free of sulfates and parabens.
  • This shampoo is one of the most affordable options on our list.
  • It has a pleasant smell.


  • It may be irritating for sensitive scalps.
  • It contains fragrance.
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Best baby shampoo for cradle cap

Mustela Foam Shampoo for Newborns

  • Price: $$
  • Paraben-free: yes
  • Fragrance-free: yes
  • Key ingredients: sunflower seed oil, avocado fruit extract, citric acid

If you’ve been wondering what those crusty yellow scales on your precious babe’s head are, it could be cradle cap. This very common newborn skin complaint won’t harm your baby, but it is unpleasant to look at and can be oily and itchy.

Using a cradle cap brush (you can buy one online), plus a medicated shampoo, can easily help restore your baby’s silky smooth scalp. This foaming shampoo from Mustela is soap-free and formulated with mostly plant-based ingredients. It also gets great comments from parents.

It does have a tiny bit of salicylic acid in it (an exfoliant commonly found in adult acne treatment products), which helps clear off the scaly skin.

Some parents say that this irritated their baby’s scalp, so watch for redness or rashes. You should also carefully avoid getting this product in your baby’s eyes, despite the fact that the formula claims to be tear-free. Salicylic acid can be irritating to delicate eye tissue.


  • It has a targeted formula for cradle cap.
  • It contains mostly plant-based ingredients.


  • It’s recommended to leave the shampoo on for 1-2 minutes before rinsing, which may be tricky if you’re bathing a squirmy or fussy baby.
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Best baby shampoo that adults can use too

Baby Dove Tip to Toe Wash

  • Price: $
  • Paraben-free: yes
  • Fragrance-free: no
  • Key ingredients: glycerin, water, stearic acid

This shampoo and body wash from Baby Dove is designed to be gentle and rich, and is a favorite among parents. It’s moisturizing, budget-friendly, and free of parabens and phthalates. This formula does have fragrance, but there’s a fragrance-free version available as well.

According to reviews, a number of adults actually prefer to use baby shampoo for themselves as well, as it’s gentler on hair and free of many chemicals that are found in adult products. If you have dry hair or a dry scalp, you may have good results using this moisturizing baby shampoo yourself.


  • It has a lower price.
  • This shampoo is sweet smelling.
  • It features a moisturizing, creamy formula.
  • Adults find this shampoo to be gentle and effective on them as wel..


  • Some parents felt the fragrance was too strong.
  • The creamy formula can be harder to rinse.
  • It may not be suitable for babies with allergies to plant-based ingredients.
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Best soothing baby shampoo

Babo Botanicals Calming Shampoo, Bubble Bath & Wash

  • Price: $$$
  • Paraben-free: yes
  • Fragrance-free: no
  • Key ingredients: meadowsweet, coconut oil, argan oil, lavender

Babo Botanicals is a company known for their commitment to ingredient purity and safety. This sweet-smelling shampoo contains many skin-loving ingredients, such as shea butter and coconut oil.

It also contains natural lavender flower oil, which has been shown to have some calming properties that may help babies sleep better (sign us up!).

Parents rave about this shampoo for its versatility, gentleness on sensitive skin, and of course the pleasant smell. Plus, it also doubles as a bubble bath, which is sure to be a big hit with baby. If you have a baby who’s sensitive to fragrance, there’s a fragrance-free version that we love as well.


  • It contains moisturizing ingredients.
  • You can use this product as a shampoo, body wash, and bubble bath.
  • It’s scented with lavender oil, which may help calm or soothe babies before bedtime.


  • Some babies with allergies or sensitive skin may react to plant-based ingredients, including lavender.
  • It’s more expensive than some of the other options on our list.
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Best on-the-go baby shampoo

Mustela No-Rinse Cleansing Water

  • Price: $$$
  • Paraben-free: yes
  • Fragrance-free: no
  • Key ingredients: meadowsweet, coconut oil, argan oil, lavender

This no-rinse micellar water cleanser from Mustela is a fan favorite. The ingredients are everything you want (think: lots of plant-based goodness), and none of the stuff you don’t.

Many parents actually use it as a skin treatment for baby acne, for cleaning up their baby after meals, or with regular diaper changes to ensure no residual poo smell.

Worth noting: A few parents say the fragrance is too strong, and rashes or worsening of baby acne, so you could try a spot test for a few days to see how your baby’s skin reacts.


  • No rinsing needed.
  • It has a convenient pump dispenser.
  • It may help clear baby acne for some infants.
  • Adults writing reviews have also found it’s an effective cleanser.


  • It’s more expensive per ounce than other options.
  • Some parents find the fragrance too strong.
  • It worsened some babies’ rashes and baby acne, according to some reviews.
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Best budget-friendly baby shampoo

Johnson’s Baby Shampoo

  • Price: $
  • Paraben-free: yes
  • Fragrance-free: no
  • Key ingredients: glycerin, citric acid

Because many of the products on our list are highly rated for ingredient quality and safety, they can also be a bit pricey. If you are looking for a great, classic baby shampoo that does the job, smells great, and has generally safe ingredients, it may be hard to beat Johnson & Johnson’s updated tear-free baby shampoo.

While the company received a lot of public attention a few years ago for unsafe ingredients in their baby shampoo, they have since revamped their formula to get rid of parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and dyes.

The shampoo does still contain fragrance, and may not be the best choice if you have a baby with super sensitive skin. But it has a classic, sweet baby smell. At around $6 for a huge bottle, the price is impossible to beat.


  • It’s one of the most affordable options on the list.
  • It’s reformulated without harmful ingredients.
  • It has a tear-free formula.


  • It contains fragrance.
  • A few users said the bottle lid broke easily.
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Best baby shampoo for eczema

Noodle & Boo Eczema Care – Newborn 2-in-1 Wash

  • Price: $$$
  • Paraben-free: yes
  • Fragrance-free: yes
  • Key ingredients: vitamin B (panthenol), vitamin E

Parents of babies with eczema know the frustration of trying product after product — or elimination diet after elimination diet — in an effort to clear up their little one’s red, itchy skin.

Noodle & Boo is a company based in the United States that was founded by a mom who knew these woes, as her babies had very sensitive, eczema-prone skin.

Certain soaps, fragrances, and other ingredients can worsen skin irritation for eczema-prone babies, and the company’s focus is making products that work for kids with sensitive skin.

Ingredients for their products are chosen based on historical data, and certified organic when possible, according to the company. But, the research and high quality ingredients come at a price, making this one of the most expensive options on our list.


  • This product is free of harsh ingredients, harmful chemicals, and fragrances.
  • It has a 100% money-back guarantee.
  • It’s designed to be nonirritating for eczema-prone babies.


  • It has a higher price compared with other products on this list.
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Best baby shampoo for sensitive skin

Vanicream Free & Clear Shampoo

  • Price: $$
  • Paraben free: yes
  • Fragrance free: yes
  • Key ingredients: vitamin B (panthenol)

If you have a baby with super sensitive skin, Vanicream’s Free & Clear shampoo could be a great choice. The wash is a soap-free shampoo with minimal ingredients that comes recommended by pediatricians and dermatologists.

This shampoo doesn’t have fragrances, masking fragrances, dyes, parabens, lanolins, preservatives, formaldehyde, or formaldehyde releasers. The soap also doesn’t contain sodium laureth sulfate, or SLES, a milder and less irritating form of sodium lauryl sulfate.

Vanicream’s shampoo is specifically designed with sensitive scalps in mind and should allow you to clean the oil, grime, food, and more from your baby’s hair without irritating their sensitive skin. Plus, you may be able to get samples of Vanicream products from your pediatrician to see how they work for your baby.

It’s one of few products that’s truly fragrance-free and has no scent.


  • Vanicream has a huge “free of” list that makes this shampoo suitable for sensitive skin.
  • It’s pediatrician and dermatologist recommended.
  • It’s scent-free.
  • Free samples may be available from your pediatrician.


  • It may still irritate some babies’ skin, particularly those with severe eczema.
  • It doesn’t have a “fresh clean baby” scent.
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Best moisturizing baby shampoo

Aveeno Baby Daily Moisture Gentle Body Wash & Shampoo

  • Price: $
  • Paraben free: yes
  • Fragrance free: no
  • Key ingredients: oat kernel extract, glycerin

This gentle body wash and shampoo from Aveeno is a great choice if your baby is prone to dry skin, or you live in a dry climate. Aveeno’s key ingredient is natural oat extract, which helps the skin retain moisture. Oatmeal is known to help soothe the itching and dryness caused by eczema, so this could be a good option if your baby has eczema.

This shampoo is gentle and affordable, and often recommended by pediatricians for babies with dry or scaly skin.

Although this shampoo is only lightly scented, it’s worth noting that some babies are sensitive to even small amounts of fragrance. Some parents say that it leaves a bit of a residue or texture in the hair if not rinsed very thoroughly.

If your baby has a sensitivity or allergy to oats, this product won’t have a soothing effect, but may cause a skin reaction.


  • It contains oat extract, which may moisturize skin and soothe itching.
  • It’s free of many harmful ingredients.
  • It’s designed for sensitive skin.


  • It may leave residue in hair if it’s not rinsed thoroughly enough.
  • The bottle is a bit hard to squeeze, according to some parents.
  • It’s not recommended for babies with an oat allergy or sensitivity.
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What does tear-free baby shampoo mean?

Just like babies have more delicate skin than adults do, their little eyes are very delicate as well.

While it might be surprising, babies don’t have as much tear production as adults. This makes it harder to clear irritants from their eyes, and many chemicals, fragrances, and substances used in cosmetic products are very irritating to the eyes.

A tear-free baby shampoo uses more gentle cleansing ingredients that, theoretically, shouldn’t cause as much redness and stinging if it comes in contact with the eyes.

You should still try to tip your baby’s head back when rinsing to get as little shampoo as possible in their eyes, but it will happen. Tear-free shampoos can help cause less eye irritation than other options that may have harsher ingredients.

If any shampoo gets in your baby’s eyes — even if it’s a tear-free formula — you should rinse immediately with lukewarm water to avoid irritation.

How long does baby shampoo last?

How long shampoos last will mainly depend on the size of the bottle. You only need a pea-size amount of shampoo for a very young or bald baby. Plus, you don’t need to bathe young infants daily — overbathing can dry their skin out and strip it of important natural oils.

Having said that, a bottle of baby shampoo could last for several months or more. As your baby gets older and moves into toddlerhood, you may need to use more shampoo and bathe them more frequently, so bottles may not last quite as long at that point.

As far as the actual product expiring, most baby shampoos have a shelf life of a couple years. However, for products with naturally derived ingredients, which have grown in popularity and availability, this window could be different.

If you have a specific bottle you’re worried about, it’s worth checking for an expiration date on the bottle itself.

When to switch from baby shampoo to kid shampoo?

Technically, your child could use baby shampoo all the way to adulthood if they’d like.

However, as your child gets older and their hair gets thicker and more oily (and definitely when they start going through puberty), you may want to switch to a kids or adults shampoo, depending on their age. Kids shampoos should still be pretty gentle, but may also have some more ingredients to clean oil and help get hair cleaner.

Usually, you’ll want to make the switch once your child can wash their own hair without getting shampoo in their eyes. This will depend on your child, but sometime around 8 to 10 years old is a good estimate. Of course, you can also ask your pediatrician for guidance.

What do I do if the baby swallowed shampoo?

You should keep cosmetics and any other chemical-containing products locked or out of children’s reach. If your child somehow manages to swallow some shampoo — which can happen during bathtime as babies love to chew on their washcloths — Poison Control says it’s unlikely to cause harm.

If they swallow a significant amount, they may experience vomiting or diarrhea. If your child swallows what you think is a large amount of shampoo, or is having persistent gastrointestinal symptoms, call Poison Control (1-800-222-1222) or your pediatrician immediately for further guidance.

Bathtime can be a sweet bonding experience for you and your baby — watching them discover their toes and splash in the water is just plain fun.

While babies don’t need as many baths as adults, you can keep them clean and sweet smelling with a safe, gentle baby shampoo made just for them. And then you get to enjoy those baby-scented cuddles!