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Unless a baby has a medical condition that requires scalp treatments, there is no medical reason to use shampoo. However, many people prefer to shampoo their babies’ hair because it helps the hair look, feel, and smell clean.
The American Academy of Dermatology recommend using shampoo once or twice a week on babies who have hair.
Shampoo can help loosen spit-up, food, oils, and anything else that gets into the baby’s hair. However, because it removes oil, it can also cause the hair to dry out. The right baby shampoo is gentle enough to use regularly, and will not dry out the skin or hair.
Every baby is different, and no shampoo will work well for everyone. These tips can help caregivers choose the right shampoo:
- Consider fragrance-free products. They may be less irritating.
- Search for shampoos that are phthalate-free.
- Consider a sulfate-free shampoo, which may be less drying.
- Choose a tear-free shampoo, which is less likely to irritate the baby’s eyes.
Caregivers whose babies have very dry or very curly hair may opt to co-wash instead of using shampoo. Co-washing involves conditioning the hair to loosen dirt and oil, then moisturizing it. If the hair responds well to this treatment, there is no need to use shampoo.
Please note that the writer of this article has not tried these products. All information presented is purely research-based.
Mustela Foam Shampoo for Newborns
Mustela’s foam shampoo is dermatologist tested and has a mild formula.
Tear-free, with no parabens, phthalates, or harmful additives, it contains 99% natural ingredients.
Mustela also moisturizes and conditions the scalp to prevent cradle cap.
Puracy Natural Baby Shampoo
Puracy’s natural shampoo is a great all-purpose choice for people who prefer organic products with very few ingredients.
Hypoallergenic and free of irritants, Puracy’s formula is tear-free and moisture-rich.
When choosing the right shampoo for a baby with sensitive skin, it is important to determine why and when the skin is sensitive. Does the baby have a specific allergy? Do drying shampoos irritate their skin? Consider keeping a journal of reactions to help with choosing the right formula.
CeraVe Baby Wash and Shampoo
Containing three essential ceramides, it adds moisture to the scalp. This can help fight cradle cap and correct the dryness some other shampoos may cause.
The dual formula is safe for the skin and the hair.
Baby Dove Sensitive Skin Care Baby Wash
This product is a dual formula that people can use on both the baby’s skin and hair.
Rich in moisture, this fragrance-free formula is ideal for babies with eczema and very dry skin.
The tear-free formula will not sting eyes, and the prebiotic moisturizer helps promote healthy skin and hair bacteria.
Shampoo will not cause a baby to grow hair or make the hair grow faster. The hair growth cycle is complex and has links with hormonal and genetic factors. Babies’ hair may grow, fall out, then grow again during the first year of life.
Shampoo can, however, keep the hair healthy so that it grows long and strong.
Nature’s Baby Organics shampoo and body wash
Nature’s Baby Organics shampoo is moisturizing and tear-free, promoting longer and healthier hair.
Free of sulfates and parabens, it will not dry sensitive hair or skin. It contains aloe, calendula, chamomile, and other plant-based ingredients.
SheaMoisture Coconut Oil Baby Wash and Shampoo
According to the company website, this shampoo and wash duo moisturizes dry hair and is suitable for delicate skin.
It contains murumuru butter, which promotes strength and hair growth.
It can be difficult to manage fine hair because it tends to accumulate oily build-up. This can make it look limp or unhealthy. Yet harsh shampoos can damage fine hair, especially if it is curly. These options strike the right balance.
California Baby Shampoo and Bodywash
California Baby’s tear-free formula does not contain sulfates and other harsh ingredients.
According to the company, the light lavender scent is soothing at bedtime, and the hypoallergenic formula is free of common irritants and allergens.
Burt’s Bees Baby Shampoo & Wash
This product has a low-detergent formula that cleans fine hair without stripping it of natural oils.
The company claim that this product contains 98.9% natural ingredients and is free of fragrance, phthalates, parabens, and other ingredients that may irritate.
Curly hair retains less moisture than straight hair, and heavy shampoos can leave the hair looking dry and frizzy–especially if parents or caregivers do not use a conditioner. To get the most out of curly hair shampoos, use them with a conditioner.
When babies have kinky or curly hair, which is the texture that many Black babies have, parents or caregivers should use a product specifically for their hair.
As I Am Born Curly Aloe Shampoo and Wash
Designed for curly hair and sensitive scalps, Born Curly cleanses the hair without stripping vital oils.
With aloe and other skin-friendly ingredients, it will not irritate the hair or eyes.
Dr. Eddie’s Happy Cappy Medicated Shampoo and Body Wash
This product moisturizes the scalp to reduce dryness, flakes, scaling, and dandruff. It contains pyrithione zinc, a safe ingredient for treating many minor scalp conditions.
According to the company, the product is tear-, alcohol-, parabens-, and fragrance-free and will not irritate delicate skin.
To get the most out of this shampoo, use it with a cradle cap balm that moisturizes the scalp, then use a cradle cap brush to gentle remove flakes.
The right baby shampoo depends on a baby’s needs and a caregiver’s goals for the hair. Try experimenting with different varieties, using each for a week or two to compare results.
If a baby has sensitive skin or allergies, consult a doctor.