Best baby shampoo and body wash for 2021

16 March 2021

baby in bath

When it comes to your newborn's delicate skin, only the best will do. So to make life a little easier, we’ve delved into the enormous range of products on the market to help you find the best shampoo and body wash for your baby.

Bringing your baby home for the first time is a wonderful moment, but it can be daunting too. Suddenly you’re in charge of a tiny little person and facing a steep learning curve as you navigate your way through new experiences like nappies, feeding and sleepless nights.

However, when it comes to bathing, a top-and-tail wash with nothing more than warm water and a flannel is enough to keep a newborn clean for the first few weeks, and you don’t need to wash their hair at first.

But once their hair gets a little longer and they start to have proper baths, you might want to use a gentle shampoo or body wash to give them that lovely clean baby smell.

With such an huge range of products to choose from, we’ve done what we do best. Here's our pick of the best shampoos and body washes for your baby or toddler.

1. Best overall baby shampoo and body wash: Aveeno Baby Daily Care Hair and Body Wash

1. Best overall baby shampoo and body wash: Aveeno Baby Daily Care Hair and Body Wash

Best for babies with normal to dry skin, this hair and body wash with oat extract from Aveeno gently cleanses and nourishes your baby’s delicate hair and skin from top to toe, leaving her perfectly moisturised and protected.

It’s a great all-rounder that can be used daily and won’t leave skin dry. Some parents report that it works well on eczema-prone skin too.

2. Best budget baby shampoo and body wash: Simple Baby All-in-One Body Wash

2. Best budget baby shampoo and body wash: Simple Baby All-in-One Body Wash

You don’t need to spend the earth to find a pure and gentle product for washing your baby.

Known for using natural ingredients, Simple have come up with this all-in-one body wash for babies that contains no artificial perfume or colours, instead relying on their special blend of natural plant oils including chamomile and lavender as well as glycerin and pro-vitamin B5 to help cleanse, moisturise and soothe a baby's delicate, sensitive skin.

Simply apply a small amount onto your baby’s skin and hair by hand or flannel and massage gently into a lather.

3. Best fragrance-free baby shampoo and body wash: Green People Organic Babies Shampoo and Body Wash

3. Best fragrance-free baby shampoo and body wash: Green People Organic Babies Shampoo and Body Wash

Parents swear by this scent-free shampoo and bubble bath for babies and children with sensitive skin.

Gentle and non-irritating for daily use, it can be trusted to protect young, delicate skin from dryness and irritation. It can even be used on children with skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis to great effect.

Yes, it’s on the pricey side, but a little goes a long way so a bottle will last longer than most.

4. Best baby shampoo for newborns: Burt's Bees Baby Bee Tear-Free Shampoo and Body Wash

4. Best baby shampoo for newborns: Burt's Bees Baby Bee Tear-Free Shampoo and Body Wash

A firm favourite with Mumsnetters, Burt’s Bees Baby Bee Shampoo and Body Wash is scientifically proven to be gentle enough for everyday use.

Made with a 98.9% natural, plant-based formula containing soy proteins, this naturally foaming, non-irritating baby shampoo and wash is tear-free and safe for even a newborn baby’s sensitive skin.

Plus it’s paediatrician-tested and contains no phthalates, parabens, petrolatum or SLS. We love the fresh, light, apricot scent that leaves baby's skin soft, clean and smelling delicious.

5. Best baby shampoo for eczema: Child’s Farm Hair and Body Wash

5. Best baby shampoo for eczema: Child’s Farm Hair and Body Wash

From multi-award-winning British brand Child’s Farm comes a new fruity fragranced hair and body wash with argan oil which is suitable for even the most sensitive skin.

Use it all over your baby’s body and hair to leave their delicate skin moisturised and smooth. Excellent for little ones with sensitive and eczema-prone skin, this inclusive range is also suitable for use on all hair and skin types.

We like the wonderful fruity aroma of blackberry and organic apple extract which makes cleaning off dirt a fragrant joy!

6. Best organic baby shampoo and body wash: Earth Friendly Baby Calming Lavender Shampoo and Body Wash

6. Best organic baby shampoo and body wash: Earth Friendly Baby Calming Lavender Shampoo and Body Wash

Enriched with organic botanicals, this lovely all-in-one cleanser from Earth Friendly Baby has been specially created to gently cleanse baby’s delicate hair and skin without leaving behind residue.

Thanks to the soothing power of the organical lavender, this all-in-one body wash is perfect for a bedtime wash. What’s more, it’s free from artificial colouring, synthetic fragrances, parabens and SLS, and contains only organic ingredients certified by Ecocert Greenlife.

7. Best baby shampoo for sensitive skin: Mustela Gentle Cleansing Gel

7. Best baby shampoo for sensitive skin: Mustela Gentle Cleansing Gel

Mustela aren’t a well-known skincare brand in the UK, but French company Mustela have been specialising in making the best products for babies and children with sensitive skin for over 70 years.

Parents in the know swear by their huge range of natural lotions and body washes specifically designed for little ones who suffer from a wide range of sensitivities. This soothing cleansing gel is a huge hit and can even be used on newborns.

8. Best baby shampoo for cradle cap: Babé Laboratorios Pediatric Cradle Cap Shampoo

8. Best baby shampoo for cradle cap: Babé Laboratorios Pediatric Cradle Cap Shampoo

Cradle cap is a common and harmless skin condition that causes greasy, flaky crusts on a baby's scalp. It usually clears up on its own in a few months, but there are a few things you can try to help the condition in the meantime.

This mild, fragrance-free shampoo from Babé Laboratorios progressively treats the causes of cradle cap while also helping to eliminate the symptoms. Parents report that it’s particularly useful if your baby has longer hair, meaning other creams or treatments are difficult to administer.

9. Best baby shampoo for curly hair: Curls It’s a Curl Peek-a-Boo Tearless Baby Shampoo

9. Best baby shampoo for curly hair: Curls It’s a Curl Peek-a-Boo Tearless Baby Shampoo

If your child is lucky enough to have curly hair, then you might find that normal baby shampoos leave their hair frizzy and unmanageable.

For bouncy, shiny curls, look no further than this tearless baby shampoo from the famous Bedhead by Tigi brand, specially formulated for an infant’s delicate skin.

Its delicious aroma derives entirely from naturally occurring botanicals including lavender, chamomile and coconut, and parents swear by the tear-free formula.

10. Best baby shampoo for afro hair: Cantu Care for Kids Tear-Free Shampoo

10. Best baby shampoo for afro hair: Cantu Care for Kids Tear-Free Shampoo

Cantu are experts at making the best haircare products for all types of curls, waves, coils and afro hair.

If your baby has been born with a full head of lusciously textured locks, then this fantastic shampoo can help to keep them in beautiful shape.

Its gentle tear-free formula cleanses and promotes healthy hair growth thanks to its perfect blend of pure shea butter, aromatic coconut oil and honey, all formulated without any harsh ingredients.

How often should you bathe a baby?

You don't need to bathe your baby every day. When they are very small, you may prefer to just wash their face, neck, hands and bottom carefully instead (often called ‘topping and tailing’), particularly if your baby suffers from dry skin.

However, once they are a few weeks old, you may want to give them a complete wash three times a week. But if they really enjoy bath time, there's no reason why you shouldn't bathe them as much as you like.

You can start using unperfumed baby body wash from about four weeks and babies with longer hair may need a drop of mild baby shampoo too.

Can I use baby shampoo daily?

The sebaceous glands on a baby’s scalp are not as active as they are in children and adults so, unless your baby has a problem with cradle cap or is especially sweaty, you don’t need to wash their hair with shampoo every day.

Even if you bathe your baby every day, you can just rinse their head with water on some days and only shampoo when you find your baby’s hair needs freshening up.

If you do choose to shampoo your baby’s hair more frequently, it’s important to use a shampoo that has been specifically formulated for use on babies so that it’s less irritating to their delicate skin and less prone to produce a stinging or burning sensation if it gets into their eyes.

Does baby shampoo contain less chemicals?

Most shampoos use lauryl sulfates to clean the hair. While sulfates are very good detergents, they can dry your hair out and irritate your eyes.

Baby shampoos use milder surfactants (known as amphoteric surfactants) that clean without causing eye irritation. Amphoteric surfactants don't foam up as well as sulfates and they're not as good at removing oil and product build-up, but this usually isn't a problem for babies.

How to choose the best baby shampoo and body wash

All major manufacturers conduct extensive safety testing, and must only use ingredients in their baby products that are approved for use in baby formulations, so you’re highly unlikely to buy a baby shampoo or body wash that’s unsafe for use.

Most products will indicate on their packaging if their product is suitable for use on newborns. If you choose to use a baby shampoo or body wash on a newborn, it’s best to use a fragrance-free and tear-free product to reduce the risk of irritating your baby’s skin and eyes.

Once they’re older, you may choose to use a scented shampoo. In which case, look for a product containing natural and organic ingredients. If your baby has particularly sensitive skin, or suffers from allergies or conditions such as eczema or cradle cap, then there are specific hypoallergenic and unscented shampoos and body washes that will suit your baby.

Which baby shampoo is best?

We believe that, for a baby with normal skin, the best baby shampoo is the Aveeno Baby Daily Care Hair and Body Wash. It’s a great all-rounder that can be used daily and won’t irritate your baby’s skin or leave it looking dry.

How we chose our recommendations

Because we know that there’s nothing like a real recommendation from a real parent, we first headed to the Mumsnet forums to find out which baby shampoos discerning Mumsnet users had bought for their children.

We then did some research across the wider web, looking at which baby shampoos had won accolades or been featured in ‘best buy’ lists across websites and print media, and what customers reviews said about them.

Having collated all that information, we picked the baby shampoos we thought would make the best buys in several interest categories.

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