Until a few years ago, the choices for baby shampoo and baby body wash were pretty limited. But with so many options these days—Scented! Unscented! Organic! Tear Free!—it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Don’t worry. Instead of leaving you to splash about in search of the perfect bath products, we’ve come up with an easy-to-handle list of our favorites to point you in the right direction. Whether you’re looking for the best baby shampoo, baby body wash or baby soap, you’re sure to find exactly what you need to keep your little one squeaky clean.
Best Baby Shampoo
Adult shampoos are specially formulated for cleaning hair, but many baby shampoos do double duty as a combination shampoo and body wash. That may save you a few pennies, but it may not save you tears: To prevent bath time crying tantrums from soapy eyes, the best baby shampoo is one that says “tear-free” on the label.
Best overall baby shampoo
Here’s the buzz: Burt’s Bees Baby Shampoo & Wash is a gentle, tear-free baby shampoo that can also be used as a baby body wash. It comes in three different scent options: original, lavender and fragrance free, and is available at most large drugstores—a major plus when you realize you’re all out just as you’re getting your little honey ready for tub time.
Buy It: Burt’s Bees Baby Bee shampoo and wash, $7, Target.com)
Best-smelling baby shampoo
Truth: The Honest Co. Baby Shampoo + Body Wash in sweet orange vanilla smells just like a Creamsicle, but the mild scent won’t leave your little one reeking like an ice cream shop after the bath. And that’s just one reason it made our best baby shampoo list: It’s also free of additives like sulfates and parabens and won’t irritate baby’s eyes. A conditioner in the same scent is also available for older kids with longer hair that’s prone to tangles.
Buy It: The Honest Co. baby shampoo and body wash in Sweet Orange Vanilla, $9, Target.com
Best shampoo for baby cradle cap
If you’re seeing those telltale dry, scaly pink patches on baby’s head—aka cradle cap—you’ll want to try Mustela Foam Shampoo for Newborns. The super-gentle foaming shampoo is specifically formulated to clean baby’s hair while also preventing the condition. It contains beta hydroxy acid (BHA) and salicylic acid to exfoliate the patches, and Climbazole, an antifungal agent, works to prevent recurring bouts. The best baby shampoo for treating cradle cap, it’s also hypoallergenic and specially formulated to minimize the risk of allergic reactions.
Buy It: Mustela foam shampoo for newborns, $13, Target.com
Best shampoo for baby dandruff
California Baby offers a wide range of bath and hair products, and their Tea Tree & Lavender Shampoo & Body Wash is our pick for the best baby shampoo for treating baby dandruff. The tea tree oil soothes scratchy scalps, while the lavender essential oil has a calming effect. Win, win! Another reason you can feel good about using it on baby: The wash is allergy-tested and free of triggers like gluten, soy, oats, dairy and nuts.
Buy It: California Baby tea tree and lavender shampoo and body wash, $10, Target.com
Best natural baby shampoo
This doctor-developed formula—a Best of Baby award winner for best baby skincare line—uses coconut cleansers and nourishing vegetable moisturizers to hydrate and balance baby's sensitive skin. It's hypoallergenic, tear-free, toxin-free, all-vegan and fully biodegradable, making it environmentally friendly to boot. And you can forget about finding any sulfates, formaldehyde, parabens, phosphates, chlorine, dyes or caustics in this gentle-as-can-be shampoo and body wash.
Buy It: Puracy Natural Baby Shampoo & Body Wash, $14, Puracy.com
Best organic baby shampoo
The OG organic all-in-one soap, Dr. Bronner’s mops the floor with its competition. The Baby Unscented Pure-Castile Liquid Soap has 18 different uses, from cleaning dishes to laundering clothes, but we like it best for baby. Because it has double the olive oil than its original formulation, it’s perfect for keeping baby’s sensitive skin and scalp moisturized and protected. And did we mention the ingredients are organic, certified fair trade and biodegradable? It’s the best baby shampoo in its category, but there is one hitch: It’s not tear-free, so you’ll need to protect your little one’s eyes before rinsing.
Buy It: Dr. Bronner’s baby unscented pure-castile liquid soap, $16, Target.com
Best Baby Wash
There’s nothing better than a clean baby who’s fresh from a bath, and there are plenty of great baby wash options for tub time. Whether you’re partial to all-in-one formulations or something just for the skin, here are the best picks for keeping baby clean, soft and smelling sweet.
Best baby wash for eczema
Cetaphil is a classic cleanser you may have used on your own face, so you know it’s gotta be good for baby: Extra gentle and incredibly hydrating, Cetaphil Baby Eczema Calming Wash can be used on babies as young as 3 months who have dry, eczema-prone skin. Besides receiving a four-star rating from the National Eczema Association, it’s also hypoallergenic. What more could you want in a wash?
Buy It: Cetaphil baby eczema calming wash, $16, Target.com
Best baby wash for newborns
Whether it’s your newborn’s first bath or her fiftieth, Aveeno Baby Wash and Shampoo is ideal for tender skin. The baby wash works up a nice lather, which is a mega-plus, since the no-tears formula can be used on both body and hair. It’s soap- and paraben-free as well as hypoallergenic, but the baby wash does have a slight fragrance—nothing strong, just a mild, clean scent—so it might not be the best choice if baby is ultra-sensitive to smells.
Buy It: Aveeno baby wash and shampoo, $9, Target.com
Best baby wash for sensitive skin
Made from sustainably harvested soap bark, California Baby Super Sensitive Shampoo & Body Wash is designed just for babies (or parents) whose skin is typically irritated by baby washes with scents. The fragrance-free wash cleans without drying and contains organic calendula and aloe vera to further soothe and moisturize, making it perfect for little ones with eczema.
Buy It: California Baby super sensitive shampoo and body wash, $8, Target.com
Best baby wash for baby acne
This ain’t your average baby wash! Mustela No-Rinse Cleansing Water can be used for quick clean-ups on the go, and, as the name implies, no rinsing is necessary. Just apply to baby’s skin with a soft cloth and pat dry. But we really like it because the micellar water—that’s water with cleansing molecules—gently cleans skin without stripping it of its natural oils, making it ideal for treating baby acne, which is often exacerbated by traditional baby soaps. Formulated with mostly plant-based ingredients, Mustela Cleansing Water also contains aloe vera leaf extract to soften and soothe.
Buy It: Mustela no-rinse cleansing micellar water, $14, Target.com
Best natural baby wash
Original Sprout Hair & Body Babywash is an all-in-one wash that’s 100 percent vegan and free of all the bad stuff (mineral oil, colors, dyes, parabens, etc.). Created by a professional hairstylist after she became a mom, Original Sprout baby wash is easy on skin, leaving it supple without a greasy residue. The moisturizing botanicals help relieve eczema and cradle cap, and, unlike most washes, the formula contains no lavender, tea tree, clove or musk scents. But here’s the best part: What It does contain is rosemary oil, which is a natural lice repellent!
Buy It: Original Sprout Hair & Body Babywash, $20 for 12 ounces, OriginalSprout.com
Best-smelling baby wash
The Babyganics product line is an all-around favorite, but the Night Time Shampoo + Body Wash is a standout. Here’s why: The calming orange blossom scent helps wired little ones settle down. Seriously! Made with a blend of seed oils—including tomato, sunflower, black cumin and red raspberry—Babyganics Night Time Shampoo + Body Wash cleans, moisturizes and promises to help baby sleep like, well, a baby. So you will too!
Buy It: Babyganics night time shampoo and body wash, $28 for set of 3, Target.com
Best organic baby wash
This is a bare-bones baby wash—even the packaging is pretty basic—but if you’re passionate about using only organic products on your little one, Lafe’s Baby Foaming Baby Shampoo & Wash is for you. As promised in the name, Lafe’s provides a nice foam, and it’s unscented, with just a clean, castile-soap smell. Free of dyes, colors and preservatives, the 100 percent organic wash is rich with a super-hydrating combo of sunflower seed, coconut, olive and palm oils.
Buy It: Lafe’s baby foaming shampoo and wash, $11, Lafes.com
Best Baby Soap
Let’s be honest: Sometimes you just want to scrub your little one down with a good ol’ bar of soap. Before you reach for the Irish Spring, try one of these best baby soap bars that are specifically designed with sensitive little bodies in mind.
Best overall baby soap
Shea Baby Raw Shea Bar Soap is made of 100 percent pure unrefined shea butter, meaning it’s loaded with vitamins A, E and F, and the best baby soap for little ones with sensitive skin, eczema or diaper rash. Butt Shea Baby doesn’t just benefit your child: A portion of the profits helps provide education and medical care to kids and moms in West Africa. Now that’s a purchase you can feel really good about.
Buy It: Shea Baby Raw Shea Bar Soap, $4, GNC.com
Best baby soap for older kids
Want to encourage your child to learn to wash himself? Johnson’s Kids E-Z Grip Sudzing Bar is the best baby soap for teaching bath time independence. It comes with a nonslip cleansing pouch, so it’s easier for kids to hold while scrubbing. When wet, the pouch lathers up to gently wash skin, and the pouch rinses and dries quickly once the bath is over. Kids will love the Watermelon Explosion scent, and moms will love having a break from scrubbing during tub time.
Buy It: Johnson’s Kids E-Z Grip Sudzing bar, $6, Johnsonsbaby.com
Best natural baby soap
Erbaviva Baby Soap is handcrafted with pure milk, honey and a blend of nutrient-rich essential oils. This incredibly mild soap creates a thick lather that’s not drying, and lavender oil provides a lovely nontoxic smell. Erbaviva Baby Soap is certified organic, sulfate- and paraben-free, and comes packaged in an adorable fabric bag, which makes it the best baby soap to include as an add-on gift for a baby shower.
Buy It: Erbaviva baby soap, $18, Erbaviva.com
Updated June 2018