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Best baby shampoo and body wash as recommended by parents

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.

By Laura Martin | Last updated May 16, 2022

Baby in bath and mum

Bringing your baby home for the first time is a wonderful moment, but it can be incredibly daunting too. Suddenly you have full responsibility for a tiny little person and are facing a steep learning curve as you navigate your way through new parent experiences such as nappies, feeding and a whole host of sleepless nights.

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

Once their hair gets a little longer and they start to have proper baths however, you might want to use a gentle shampoo or body wash to give them that lovely clean baby smell. When deciding which bath products to use, you’ll want to be confident that they are soft and gentle on sensitive skin, won’t cause irritation and help lock in moisture to prevent dry patches in those adorable skin creases.

With such a wide range of products to choose from, we’ve done what we do best and sought out the top bath shampoos and body washes that will leave your baby soft, clean and moisturised from head to toe. 

How we chose our recommendations 

Products loved by real parents

When it comes to keeping babies calm and happy at bath time, the Mumsnet community certainly knows their stuff. So what better place to start than by vetting their trusted reviews and recommendations? We searched the forums to get their feedback on the baby shampoos and body wash products that they have tried and tested with their babies, including gathering their thoughts on scent, quality of lather and suitability for their baby’s sensitive skin

On the flip side, we also took into account any products that Mumsnetters wouldn’t recommend - including baby shampoos or body washes that they found overpriced, overrated, that dried out their baby’s skin or caused unwelcome irritation. 

Expert opinions

When it comes to skincare and bath products for babies, we know that the views of dermatologists and paediatricians are hugely important. We want to be confident that the products we recommend are safe to use and gentle on babies' delicate skin, whilst leaving their skin feeling soft, clean and moisturised. 

We’ve made sure our recommendations were products and brands that were well-regarded, rated or recommended by skincare professionals and contain ingredients that are safe for use with babies and toddlers.

Honest consumer reviews

Finally, to bring you our definitive list of the top baby shampoos and body washes, we scrutinised authentic, in-depth customer reviews on retailer sites such as Amazon, Boots and Superdrug. By reviewing honest and impartial customer reviews, we were able to get a wide range of real-life experiences on the products that made our shortlist. Through this research, could then weigh up the pros and cons of each choice and suggest which baby shampoos were suitable for different scenarios. 

Whilst you may require a bit of trial and error to find the perfect match, 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

Aveeno Baby wash

Price: £4.50 | Buy now from Amazon

We use Aveeno Hair and Body Wash.” (Recommended by Mumsnet user Ihaveoflate)

Aveeno here too. Love the smell and it's lovely and gentle.” (Tried and tested by Mumsnet user SapphosRock

A really popular choice on the Mumsnet forums, Aveeno is a trusted brand with a solid reputation for baby skincare products, with many parents raving about them for their own use too! The Aveeno Baby Daily Care Hair and Body Wash is a great choice for babies with normal to dry skin and is even suitable to use during your baby's newborn weeks.

Made with oat extract which can help prevent water loss from the skin, Aveeno is a great all-rounder that can be used daily, gently cleansing and nourishing your baby’s delicate hair and skin from top to toe, leaving them perfectly moisturised and protected.

Dermatologically and paediatrician tested, this wash is also free from dyes and heavy scents that you may find in other shampoos and body washes, making it kinder for sensitive skin and less likely to cause irritation. Some parents report that it works well on eczema-prone skin too. 

Pros

  • Gentle on baby’s sensitive skin 
  • Contains oat extract to help moisturise and nourish 

Cons 

  • Some recent reviews mention a change in the formula

Key specs

  • Size: 300ml

2. Best budget baby shampoo and body wash: Baby Dove Sensitive Head to Toe Wash

Baby Dove Sensitive Head to Toe Wash

Price: £3.10 | Buy now from Boots

She has plain water baths or uses Dove soap which moisturises. We also use it on her hair.” (Vetted by Mumsnet user Artich0kedUp

Coming in larger bottle sizes, the Baby Dove Head to Toe Wash gives you more product for your money, making it a great budget-friendly choice for savvy shoppers. 

According to Dove, did you know a baby’s skin can lose moisture up to five times faster than our own? This means that babies' skin can often become red, dry and sensitive, particularly when the seasons change and you move from warm to cool temperatures. 

Baby Dove Head to Toe Wash is made with 100% skin-natural nutrients, identical to those naturally found in skin, helping to retain moisture whilst leaving your baby soft and clean.

Fragrance-free to prevent irritation to sensitive skin, Baby Dove creates a thick and creamy lather to help wash your baby’s entire body and hair. Its tear-free formula helps make bath time less stressful for parents too.

Pros

  • Dermatologically tested and paediatrician approved
  • Fragrance-free
  • Great value

Cons

  • Some reviewers found the pump a little tricky to use

 Key specs

  • Size: 400ml

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

Green People baby wash

Price: £7.87 | Buy now from Amazon

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.

Made from natural and organic ingredients including aloe vera, chamomile oil and yucca, 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.

Pros

  • Made from 85% natural ingredients
  • Suitable for babies with skin conditions such as eczema 

Cons 

  • Costly 

Key specs

  • Size: 150ml 

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

Burts Bees baby wash

Price: £8 | Buy now from Amazon

We use Burt's Bees Baby Hair and Body Wash. It smells gorgeous! We used just water for DD1, but DD2 has a great mood of hair that gets greasy after a few days (god help her when she has adult hormones!) and we've settled on this as it is natural, smells great, and doesn't irritate.” (Rated by Mumsnet user Spaneroo

Burt's Bees Baby is amazing. It's meant that I've never experienced any skincare issues with my kids. The shampoo and oils are nourishing and take care of their skin from newborn right up until they want the more fun fruity-smelling stuff!” (Brand tried and tested by Mumsnet user feefe)

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 also love the fresh, light, apricot scent that leaves baby's skin soft, clean and smelling delicious.

Pros

  • Natural, plant-based formulation 
  • Subtle scent
  • Suitable for sensitive skin 

Cons 

  • Pricey

Key specs

  • Size: 250ml

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

Child’s Farm Hair and Body Wash

Price: £5.60 | Buy now from Amazon

My daughter has fine hair and we use Child's Farm shampoo and conditioner without any greasiness. I forgot to use the conditioner one day and the baby's hair was really fluffy the next day!” (Recommended by Mumsnet user Beetie1)

“I use Childs Farm too, it's lovely stuff.” (Brand vetted by Mumsnet user jonsnowsbum)

From a 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.

It can be used on newborns and beyond to leave your child's delicate skin moisturised and smooth. Excellent for little ones with eczema-prone skin too, this inclusive range is 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!

Pros

  • Fruity fragrance 
  • A little goes a long way 
  • Dermatologist and paediatrician approved

Cons 

  • Some users have reported a recent change in the formula 

Key specs

  • Size: 500ml

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

Earth Friendly Baby Wash

Price: £4.19 | Buy now from Amazon

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

Thanks to the soothing power of the organic lavender, this all-in-one option 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.

Pros

Cons 

  • The bottle doesn’t have a pump 

Key specs

  • Size: 250ml

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

Mustela baby wash

Price: £9.10 | Buy now from Amazon

The brand may not be widely known in the UK, but French skincare company Mustela has 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, made from organically farmed avocado, is a huge hit with parents and can even be used on newborns.

Pros

  • Tear-free formula 
  • Suitable for sensitive skin 

Cons 

  • Costly

Key specs

  • Size: 500ml

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

BaBe shampoo

Price: £7.62 | Buy now from Amazon

​​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, paraben-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.

Paediatric approved and dermatologically tested, it's free from nasties such as alcohol, parabens and dyes too. 

Pros

  • A gentle solution for cradle cap
  • Leaves babies' hair soft and shiny
  • Tear-free formula 

Cons 

  • Small bottle size for cost
  • Some reviewers reported quite a strong scent

Key specs

  • Size: 200ml 

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

Peekaboo curl shampoo

Price: £12.98 | Buy now from Amazon

If your child is lucky enough to have a head full of curly hair, you may find that regular baby shampoos can leave their hair frizzy, tangled or unmanageable. 

For bouncy, shiny curls, look no further than this no-tears baby shampoo from the famous Bedhead by Tigi brand, which has been 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. 

Pros

  • Helps prevent frizz or ‘bed head’ 
  • Appealing scent 

Cons 

  • Some reporting drying effects 
  • Costly 

Key specs

  • Size: 250ml

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

Cantu baby shampoo

Price: £6.94 | Buy now from Amazon

“Cantu is nice and I use mine on my son's thick hair sometimes.” (Brand tried and tested by Mumsnet user PickAChew)

Cantu are experts at making the best hair care 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.

Pros

  • Helps nourish and cleanse curls
  • No-tear formula 

Cons 

  • Coconut scent may not appeal to everyone 

Key specs

  • Size: 250ml

11. Best natural baby shampoo and body wash: Weleda Calendula Baby Shampoo and Body Wash

Weleda Calendula Baby Shampoo and Body Wash

Price: £5.50 | Buy now from Amazon

Burt's Bees and Weleda, really good! We use the body wash/shampoo and also the diaper cream from both brands.” (Vetted by Mumsnet user SnowWhite)

Weleda Baby is nice but is expensive.” (Reviewed by Mumsnet user GreenGoblin0)

If you’re looking for completely natural baby shampoos and body washes that are vegan-friendly, Weleda has over 80 years of experience in creating plant-based products that are kind and gentle for delicate or sensitive skin. 

Whilst it works out slightly more expensive than some on a cost per bottle size basis, this paediatrician approved body wash is made from 100% natural calendula which is mild on the eyes whilst it gently cleanses your baby's skin and hair. 

Pros

  • Vegan-friendly 
  • 100% natural ingredients 

Cons 

  • Costly on a cost per wash basis when full price

Key specs

  • Size: 200ml 

12. Best on the go baby soap: Mustela No-Rinse Cleansing Water

Mustela No-Rinse Cleansing Water

Price: £9.95 | Buy now from Amazon

Mustela No Rinse Cleansing Water is a great option for travel or for quickly cleaning and freshening up your baby's skin when out and about, away from home or in between their regular baths. 

Made with 98% plant-based ingredients, this “wash” is made from micellar water which gently dissolves dirt on the skin. Unlike other baby body washes, this product has no rinsing required, meaning you can keep your dribbly baby’s chest and neck clean, moisturised and soft even when away from a source of water. 

Some reviewers found the No Rinse Cleansing Water helped ease and reduce baby acne too. 

Pros

  • On the go cleaning solution 
  • No rinsing required 
  • May help soothe baby acne 

Cons 

  • Some reviewers preferred the previous scent 

Key specs

  • Size: 500ml

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 use 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.

Choosing the best baby shampoo 

To choose the best shampoo for your baby, you may first want to consider any skin allergies or conditions your baby has such as eczema or cradle cap. Non-fragranced or lightly scented shampoos are the least likely to cause irritation, so read the ingredients carefully. 

For babies with fine wisps or tufts of hair, a top to toe hair and body wash is usually sufficient for both body and hair. However if your child is blessed with a full head of hair, you may prefer to use a separate shampoo.  If their hair is particularly coarse, thick, afro or curly, you may find a more specialised baby shampoo can be more effective at preventing unwelcome knotting, tangles or frizz.  

Choosing the best baby wash 

A good quality baby body wash will be soft and gentle on skin, free from strong fragrances or dyes and made with PH neutral ingredients to ensure bath time remains ‘tear-free’  if it makes contact with your baby’s eyes. 

Look out for products that are suitable for sensitive skin and are dermatologically or paediatrician approved, and consider any specific skincare needs your baby may have. 

Not all body washes are suitable from birth, so you may want to stick to water only initially, before incorporating a lightly scented body wash after those early newborn days. 

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.

For on the go cleaning, particularly for dribbly teethers who end up sticky, red and sore under their neck or on their chest, we love the no-rinse formula of the Mustela Body Wash - which can be used wherever and whenever you want to give you baby’s skin a refresh.

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