First-time and even seasoned parents are hesitant when choosing bath products for their babies. We all prefer to clean and moisturize our little ones in the most non-invasive way possible. While lukewarm water and soft natural washcloths make a tremendous impact on baby’s bath-time routine, there’s no ignoring the star of the show!
That’s why we’ve compiled a list of all our favorite bath products we guarantee will be ideal for your daily bathing sessions. While both gentle and non-irritating, many contain nourishing plant-based ingredients suitable for little ones with skin and scalp problems. Naturally, we aim to make a ‘splash’ by including both timeless classics along with some of the latest products.
In this article:
What products do I need to bathe my baby?
During the first few months of your baby’s life, you only need a basic two-in-one cleanser. With this, you’ll easily be able to create a gentle lather from your little one’s wispy hair follicles down to their twinkle toes.
What ingredients should I look for in a baby bath product?
The nonstop barrage of popular exotic botanical ingredients can be pretty overwhelming. Especially so for those just trying to buy a head-to-toe baby wash. We suggest you go for gentle extracts and essential oils over products with hard-to-pronounce chemicals. Baby products should have a neutral pH rating. If a cleansing agent has a fragrance, make sure it’s all-natural and won’t irritate your little one’s skin.
Related: The Best Baby Lotions Of 2021
What ingredients should I avoid?
Sometimes the list of ingredients to avoid are the longest. That’s why we’ve created a simple checklist of ingredients to dodge when shopping for baby bath products. These include:
- Chemical fragrances
- Lauryl sulfates
Heading up our list are the all-pervading parabens. You’ll be surprised at how often these chemical preservatives find their way into our skin and hair products. Next up are phthalates, a family of chemicals proven to affect reproductive organs. Er, no thanks! If possible, abstain from products that contain chemical fragrances and dyes. While these additives may make bath products seem more appealing, they’re generally unhealthy and can often cause irritation in little ones. Sodium lauryl sulfates are common cleanser additives. As a powerful surfactant, it’s likely to strip your little one’s skin and hair of essential oils and moisture.
Coping with common skin and scalp conditions
Infants and babies have particularly sensitive skin. If your child suffers from one of the following skin or scalp conditions, you should opt for more gentle baby bath products.
Many babies exhibit eczema, a dry skin condition consisting of red, irritated patches. When choosing bath products for those with eczema, opt for products with ingredients that lock in moisture for extensive periods. Additives such as calendula and oatmeal extract do an exceptional job of sealing in body moisture and oils. Also, babies with eczema needn’t be bathed daily. An every-other-day routine should suffice.
Cradle cap is an extremely common scalp ailment consisting of dry, scaly patches of skin. Experts recommend that parents use a gentle two-in-one cleanser containing salicylic acid and moisturizing oils when bathing babies with cradle cap. These gentle ingredients will help clear the unsightly patches without leaving behind any sticky residue. Brushing off plaque after cleaning is also important in treating cradle cap.
Yup, babies get it too! If you’re looking for a good cleanser for little ones with acne or whiteheads, choose a detergent that’s free from harmful chemicals. Baby acne is typically the body’s natural response to hormone changes. While a quality cleanser won’t heal the skin issue, it can prevent it deteriorating.
Our picks of the best baby bath products
We’re never quick to endorse celebrity pet projects, but the Honest Company’s founder, Jessica Alba, has made profound efforts to bring regular parents healthy and affordable baby staples. The Honest Company’s Truly Calm Lavender Shampoo (check price on Amazon) is a two-in-one baby bath product suitable for everyday bathing. Unlike run-of-the-mill drug store staples, it doesn’t contain a cocktail of potentially harmful chemical additives. The innovative formula brings together nourishing plant-based ingredients, such as aloe leaf, radish root, and calendula flower extract.
We love the boutique-like look of the packaging as well as the completely functional pump top. The bubbly lather doesn’t leave any residue behind. While we like to limit our little ones’ exposure to warm water, this incredible bath product helps us run bath time more efficiently.
What we love
- Mild, tear-free ingredients
- Soothing lavender scent
- Free from harmful additives
- Some little ones appear to be sensitive to the ingredients
If there was ever a good excuse to splurge, it would be because you were looking to protect your newborn baby’s precious epidermis. We’re confident that this organic, vegan baby shampoo/body wash can probably be found in most A-listers’ nurseries. We’re quick to admit this product doesn’t come cheap, though the well-formulated mix of organic calendula and rosemary extracts of the Original Sprout Hair and Body Babywash (check price on Amazon) is worth every penny.
Sprout’s lather is rich and cleansing, leaving behind nothing but soft skin and a garden-like fragrance. We fell in love with this remarkable bathing product when our little ones were babies and still use it to promote our school-aged children’s hair growth and scalp health.
What we love
- Organic, vegan ingredients and no unnecessary chemicals
- A refreshing rosemary scent
- Soothing tear-free formula
Best budget buy
Third on our list is the Cetaphil Baby Wash and Shampoo (check price on Amazon), a gentle calendula and aloe-infused baby wash and shampoo. This dermatologist-tested cleansing agent is free from harsh chemicals and additives, including parabens, dyes, and mineral oil. The gentle, tear-free formula won’t leave your little one with stinging eyes. Just toss a dime-sized skirt of this on a wet baby washcloth. It produces a rich, bubbly lather to cleanse your little one’s sensitive skin.
Not all parents approve of this product’s scent, although we felt that the flowery aroma left our baby smelling fresh and clean. The natural formula is a safe, affordable bathroom staple, perfectly suitable for daily use.
What we love
- Made with calming organic calendula
- Dermatologist-tested to ensure that it is safe for infant skin
- Tear-free hypoallergenic formula
- Strong fragrance
Best all-natural cleaner
Puracy (check price on Amazon) is one of our absolute favorite all-natural baby cleansers. The combination of nourishing Himalayan sea salt, refreshing citrus, and fruit and vegetable-derived moisturizers ensure that your little one’s skin will feel soft and hydrated when bath time’s over. We love that this gentle organic formula is suitable for all skin conditions.
The vegan recipe is 100% free from harsh additives. Unlike other natural bath soaps, the Puracy produces a fluffy white foam and washes off clean, leaving behind nothing but a faint citrusy scent. The coconut glycinate surfactant is naturally tear-free. Why not start your little one off with healthy, chemical-free bathing sessions?
What we love
- Plant-based vegan ingredients paired with nourishing sea salt
- Softens and hydrates your little one’s skin
- Suitable for babies with eczema and cradle cap
Eucerin (check price on Amazon) is an incredibly gentle 2-in-1 formula for cleansing baby’s skin and hair. We first stumbled upon this wonderful soap while visiting our little ones’ pediatrician. Eurcerin Baby Wash is frequently recommended by dermatologists..
Its mixture of natural oils and all-natural shea butter helps to soften your baby’s skin without leaving it dry or brittle. There are no cheap fillers, such as dye or alcohol. As our favorite unscented bath product, we can also assure you that this product is 100% fragrance-free.
At a glance
- Recommended by dermatologists and pediatricians
- Enriched with Pro-Vitamin B5 and natural shea butter
- Tear-free, hypoallergenic, and fragrance-free formula
Best for dry skin
Aveeno (check price on Amazon) was one of the first commercial soap manufacturers to use oat kernel extract in their bath products. This soothing, natural ingredient is just what your little one needs. You might recognize the vertical beige stripes, amber oat grains, and baby-blue cap on this product. After all, it’s been a pediatrician-recommended brand for well over 60 years. You can also rest easy knowing that this liquid formula does not contain harmful parabens or phthalates. After a quick cleanse and rinse, your little one’s skin will be soft and refreshed.
What we love
- Contains all-natural hydrating oat extract
- Produces a rich soapy lather that removes dirt from your little one’s skin
- A quality two-in-one product
- Some skin types become dry after being washed with this soap
Our seventh pick
There’s something truly magical about the scent and feel of the age-old classic Johnson’s Tear-Free Baby Shampoo (check price on Amazon). This is probably the same soap your mom and dad used to bathe you during your first years! After all, the formula has barely been tweaked in 125 years! Despite our affinity for new baby bath products, we continue to personally keep this classic yellow bottle in stock.
In keeping with its long-standing reputation, you won’t find any parabens, phthalates, sulfates, or dyes on the ingredient list. You can be sure your little ones will exit the bath smelling fresh and looking as beautiful as ever. And in case you were wondering, yes, adults can use it, too!
What we love
- Your quintessential “No More Tears” product
- Hypoallergenic formula is suitable for kiddos with extra-sensitive skin
- No parabens, phthalates, or dyes
- This product has a light scent
Best gift set
Do you have an upcoming baby shower? Are you hardcore nesting? If so, Aveeno’s four-piece Baby Bathtime Solutions Gift Set (check price on Bed Bath & Beyond) will help you transform your bathroom into a spa fit for newborn royalty. This collection of bath products contains an 8-ounce bottle of Aveeno’s revered Baby Wash & Shampoo, an 8-ounce bottle of Aveeno Baby Calming Comfort Bath, an 8-ounce tube of Aveeno Baby Daily Moisture Lotion, and a 12-ounce bottle of Aveeno Stress Relief Body Wash.
All products come packaged in an adorable color-coordinate wicker basket. With this lovely bundle, you’re sure to have the cleanest and most organized baby on the block. Bear in mind that some of these products are scented. The soothing fragrance profiles offer subtle hints of lavender, chamomile, and ylang-ylang.
What we love
- A four-piece bath product kit that makes an excellent gift
- Contains scented and unscented products
- Uses all-natural plant-based ingredients to clean and moisturize your little one
- Some of the scents
Best organic baby bath
We’re head-over-heels for this sun-clad bottle of French lavender-scented baby wash. The California Baby Calming Shampoo & Body Wash (check price on Walmart) provides a tear-free head-to-toe bathing experience without introducing babies to harmful chemicals. The pump-topped bottle will free up your hands to support your little one’s head and neck. If your child suffers from allergies or skin sensitivities, you can rest easy when using this parent-vetted bath product.
At first, we were concerned about the size of the bottle, which holds just 19 ounces of cleaner, but a small dab is all that’s needed to wash your baby’s hair and body.
What we love
- Lovely French lavender and sage scents
- Suitable for newborns
- Free from harsh chemicals
- Pump malfunctions are a possibility
Best for sensitive skin
When it comes to skin sensitivities, parents can never be too careful, so we’re not afraid to declare that Baby Dove’s Top to Toe Wash (check price on Walmart) is a hypoallergenic bath time hero. This bottle also comes with a pump, meaning no choking-hazard caps and unattended babies during evening cleaning routines. It leaves baby’s skin and hair feeling soft. The chemical-free formula nourishes and seals in moisture, leaving behind a fresh, yet mild, scent.
What we love
- Pediatrician-, and dermatologist-tested
- No dyes, parabens, or phthalates
- Two-in-one formula cleans hair and skin equally well
- Some pump malfunctions
- Strong smell
And the winner is…
Baby bath time is one of the most magical and short-lived tasks you’ll experience during your little one’s formative years. It’s also when children are most likely to develop skin and scalp issues. As such, you need to bathe them with gentle and effective products. Our top award goes to the Honest Company’s Truly Calm Lavender Shampoo (check price on Amazon). We love this company’s commitment to creating safe, plant-based bath products. It’s also a pleasure when our baby goes from smelling like a dirty diaper to delicate French lavender.