Our top picks
Best overall: Free & Clear Hair Styling Gel
"Light, all-day hold in a hypoallergenic, non-sticky formula"
Upgrade choice: Hip Peas Styling Balm
"Perfect pomade for spikes with an all-natural botanical scent"
Best budget buy: Fresh Monster Kids Gel
"Medium hold, baby safe hair gel that won't crunch, stick, or break the bank"
Best baby hair wax: Snip-its Wacky Hair Wax
"Dramatic spiked looks with no post-wash sticky residue"
Best baby curl cream: SoCozy Curl Gel-Cream
"Budget-friendly curl cream that trades frizzy hair for perfect ringlets"
Best natural and organic baby hair gel: Little Roseberry Organic Aloe Vera Gel
"Cruelty-free, organic gel with aloe vera that can volumize fine locks"
Best for repelling lice: Fairy Tales Rosemary Repel Gel
"All-day medium-hold hair gel plus naturally lice-repellant rosemary"
In this article:
Our babies and toddlers are just as prone to unruly hair as we are — but, that doesn’t mean we can use the same hair products! Many adult hair gels have harsh chemicals that can irritate or dry out your baby’s sensitive skin.
Fortunately, there is an abundance of baby hair gels that avoid these pesky additives AND get the job done. We’ve put together a list of the best baby hair gel options, prioritizing skin safety and natural ingredients.
Take a look.
Our picks of the best baby-safe hair gels
Most babies and toddlers have rather sensitive skin, and as such, gentle formulas without fragrances, dyes, and other harsh additives are the best bet when choosing their hair products. Free & Clear Hair Styling Gel (check price on Amazon) comes dermatologist recommended for sensitive-skinned people of any age, and the lack of alcohol, dyes, fragrance, parabens, and other preservatives make it perfectly suitable for a baby.
This styling gel offers a light hold with volume and static control but doesn’t leave the baby’s hair feeling stiff or sticky. If sensitive skin or chemical sensitivities run in the family, it’s a useful product to have on hand for everyone’s benefit. It doesn’t have the fancy packaging of some of the other picks on our list, but the trade-off is a low price and a product that gets the job done.
If you’re looking to add texture, style, lift, and spikes to short hairstyles, pomade is the key to cool looks without the stickiness and crunch. Hip Peas Hair Balm (check price on Walmart) is a kid-friendly, cruelty-free pomade featuring botanicals like rosemary and lavender in place of harmful parabens and sulfates, as well as nourishing vitamins B and E.
This hypoallergenic product line is made from all-natural ingredients, is never tested on animals, and is clinically tested to be safe for your little one. There are no synthetic dyes in this medium-hold pomade, and its fragrance is completely natural.
It’s an ideal product to have on hand for taming cowlicks and adding dimension and definition to boys’ styles.
Best budget buy
Medium hold hair gel can be useful when creating more defined styles, but can also sometimes leave hair looking bogged down. Fresh Monster’s Natural Hair Gel (check price on Amazon) is a great pick for getting the extra bit of hold their style needs without making your child’s hair stiff, crunchy, or sticky.
They can keep that perfect pony in place or have sky-high spikes, and the cruelty-free, plant-based gel will prevent the dreaded helmet hair look. Fresh Monster is hypoallergenic, so it’s one of the best hair gel options for babies and toddlers with sensitive skin, plus there are no parabens, phthalates, sulfates, or toxins, so is a hair gel you can feel confident to use on your little one.
Best baby hair wax
If spikes, mohawks, and dramatic looks that stay in place all day are what you’re after, Wacky Wax (check price on Amazon) is your (and your kiddo’s!) new best friend. It’s a perfect pick whether their tresses are straight or curly, and even though it offers awesome hold, washing the product out at the end of the day is a cinch and won’t leave your child’s hair sticky.
Small amounts can be great for taming their bed head and fixing their frizz, and the wax will never make their hair feel stiff or look greasy.This product has a pleasant tropical fruit scent, but don’t worry, it’s not synthetic. The 100% cruelty-free product is made from plant-derived renewable resources and is free of allergens and irritants.
Best baby curl cream
If your little one has ringlets galore, you already know that managing curly hair can be somewhat of a bear. The right products make all the difference, and SoCozy Curl Gel-Cream (check price on Amazon) strikes the perfect balance between smoothing, hold, and softness.
The curl-friendly hair gel cream uses blue poppy to coat the hair shaft for smoothness without making it look weighed down, while pineapple extract acts as a relaxer for hair that’s coarse and dry.
Split ends are made less visible thanks to white willow bark extract, which bonds and seals damage to cuticles to create a smoother appearance. This budget-friendly product is also free of parabens, sulfates, and allergens like gluten, wheat, and nuts, so we rate it among the best baby hair creams for natural curls.
Best natural and organic baby hair gel
If your little one’s hair doesn’t require a high hold gel, your best bet is a pick that offers comfortable, lightweight hold without sacrificing volume.
Created by a cosmetologist seeking chemical-free products with organic ingredients for her kids, Little Roseberry Hair Gel (check price on Amazon) is great at smoothing frizz and flyaways, without making baby’s hair look or feel stiff. When applied before blow-drying, it can also help to offer some extra volume to limp or thin, fine hair.
This vegan hair gel is made from gentle, organic aloe vera juice which can reduce hair loss, and witch hazel, which promotes a healthy scalp. Little Roseberry also skips the pesky parabens and sulfates that can be harmful to the skin and eyes of babies and toddlers, leaving the gel 100% toxin and cruelty-free.
Best for repelling lice
There’s nothing nice about lice — the bloodsucking parasites are easily transmitted, especially between kids in classroom environments, and getting rid of them can be super stressful. Your little one may have a fighting chance of dodging the next outbreak with Fairy Tales Rosemary Repel Styling Gel (check price on Walmart).
This product is designed to offer light hold and conditioning while also using powerful natural oils like rosemary, lavender, tea tree, citronella, geranium, and peppermint which help repel lice.
The inclusion of moisturizing jojoba, soothing camomile, and aloe make it equally effective as a styling product for simple looks without parabens or sulfates. It’s also one of the best hair gel picks for kids with severe allergies, while gluten, soy, dairy, and nut-free!
It may not look as fancy as some of the other picks on our list, but the trade-off is a low price and a product that gets the job done, making the Free & Clear Hair Styling Gel (check price on Amazon) the No.1 baby hair gel on our list.
This product offers light hold, volume, and static control, but doesn’t leave hair feeling stiff or sticky. If sensitive skin or chemical sensitivities run in the family, it’s a great hair gel for the whole household.
We also highly recommend Fairy Tales Rosemary Repel Hair Gel (check price on Amazon), which offers a light, lasting hold and peace of mind for the nursery school years, thanks to Rosemary’s natural lice-repellant properties, and Fresh Monster Kids Hair Gel (check price on Amazon), which won’t leave hair crunchy or your wallet empty.
And finally, for parents in search of an all natural baby hair gel, the Little Roseberry Organic Hair Gel (check price on Amazon) wins the day, offering a light, non-sticky hold made with scalp-soothing organic aloe vera juice.
How we chose these baby hair styling products
Our team is made up of real parents with real kids. Life experience has taught us that infant hair gel needs to be utterly safe, preferably affordable, and not too gloopy.
Let’s face it, your baby’s head spends most of its time rubbing against you, your couch, the dog, or its siblings. Any hair pomade that you use to style hair should be light and wipe off easily.
With basic common sense in mind, our parent reviewers set off to do some serious research. Several surprisingly enjoyable hours later, we happily present our selection of safe, natural baby hair gels.
What to look for in infant or baby hair gel
Babies have super-sensitive skin that’s still developing; it’s thin, absorbs chemicals easily, and can be prone to irritation, even from natural products. This means it’s especially important to avoid harsh chemicals, dyes, or perfumes that may cause rashes and discomfort to your little one.
With this in mind, we suggest you don’t share your own products with baby, but use only infant hair gel. Adult products tend to be harsher, and even natural hair gel made for adults can be too strong for your baby or toddler’s skin. We will cover this in greater depth in FAQ.
This advice applies across the board, not just for babies! Hair types can vary significantly, and knowing your child’s, (and your own) can help you make more informed product choices.
The type of product you use, whether hair gel, pomade, wax, cream, or spray, influences how hair performs. Using the wrong product for your child’s (or your own) hair type can be, at best, ineffective, and, at worst, unsightly.
If your child has hair that’s curly and frizzy, a light hair gel or cream can help keep curls springy and full, while preventing an unkempt appearance. Pomades and waxes are great for taming and defining short styles, but wax and high-hold hair gel are best for wild styles like spikes and mohawks.
Whether your little one’s locks are fine, thick, textured, curly, straight, short, or long, it’s best to use hair gels and other products that perform well with their hair type and length. Light styling creams offer very little hold to thick hair, and pomade can make longer hair looked weighed down, so pick a product that works well with what they have.
Applying a thin dab of any new hair gels, waxes, or pomades onto your baby or toddler’s inner arm is the surest way to determine if their skin will react to the product. If it doesn’t react within 24 hours, you’re good to go — however, if the area becomes warm, swells, or flushes, your child is reacting to the ingredients, and the product shouldn’t be used.
Once you’re sure the product is compatible with your kiddo, it comes down to following the manufacturer’s instructions. It’s always best to start with clean hair and a small amount of product, as this will deliver the most desirable end result, regardless of what product you’re using.
Why can’t I share hair products with my baby?
Even if your child’s hair type is the same as yours, sharing products is never a good idea.
This is because products designed for adults are often rather harsh, and may use synthetic fragrances, chemicals, and drying alcohol, rather than natural ingredients that protect the skin. While most mature skin may handle these ingredients, your baby’s sensitive, developing skin and delicate hair probably won’t, and may become dry, irritated, or inflamed.
Even if you use all-natural hair gel or other styling products that include essential oils and organic ingredients, you shouldn’t share them with young children.
This is because only certain essential oils are safe for babies and toddlers, and naturally-fragranced hair gel for kids (and other baby-safe hair products) must be significantly more diluted than their adult counterparts.
What’s the best way to use hair gel on my baby or toddler?
Before you begin using a new hair product on your little one’s hair, it’s important to make sure they’re not sensitive to its ingredients. Even natural products have the potential to cause a reaction on a young child’s sensitive skin, and an allergy pre-test can save you from a disaster down the road.
In order to achieve the best-looking results, start with a clean head of hair and a small amount of product — it’s easy to add more, but you can’t take it out, so best to be cautious! If you don’t fancy yourself as a hair stylist, simple video tutorials with easy-to-replicate kids hair looks can help you create a cute look that stays in place all day.
Most hair gels and products are more effective and easier to apply to damp hair, as dry hair tends to get clumpy and make product distribution difficult. If not styling their hair straight after a bath or shower, a simple spray bottle of water can be used to dampen it before applying styling gel.
What are some of the most common natural ingredients in baby hair gel, and what do they do?
- Aloe Vera. Derived from the succulent plant of the same name, aloe vera has long been used as a folk remedy for soothing and moisturizing the skin. Some studies have demonstrated that it may be helpful in treating seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff, both relatively common in young children.
- Witch Hazel. A toner derived from the bark and leaves of the woody plant Hamamelis virginiana, witch hazel is frequently used in skin care routines because of its cleansing and anti-inflammatory properties. In hair products, it can reduce skin irritation and help to alleviate baby’s scalp sensitivity.
- Chamomile. This little white flower boils down to a tea that many use to calm their nerves. It’s also often found in natural skin care products thanks to its capacity to relieve skin irritation, fade discoloration and soothe breakouts.
- Jojoba. Acting as a natural emollient, jojoba is a plant-derived oil which acts as a dandruff remedy by soothing a dry scalp. It’s also packed with vitamins and minerals which offer nourishment to hair.
I’d rather not use products, how can I tame their natural curls safely?
If your little one has natural curls that are hard to tame, and you’d rather skip hair gels altogether, try these tips for helping to keep their locks in line.
- Ditch split ends. If your child has had a hair growth spurt and is in need of a trim, split ends can make curls look less than their best. A haircut can help to refine their style a little.
- Cut out the daily shampoos. A wash in the tub is part of their daily routine for a good reason, but there’s really no need to shampoo their hair every day. Just like adult hair, it can be stripped of natural oils by over-washing, leaving their hair frizzy, dry, and prone to flyaways.
- Treat their hair gently. Curly hair can see significant benefits from being styled with a gentle hand. Start by gently wringing their hair rather than wrapping and rubbing hair in a terry cloth towel. Wringing their hair, shaping their curls loosely and giving it a final wrap dry in a microfiber towel can help to prevent breakage. Never use brushes, which distort and damage curls — instead, opt for a wide-toothed comb or your own fingers. Finally, don’t use heat styling tools on their hair if you can help it.
- If they’re old enough, pick the right pillowcase. If your toddler is in a big kid bed, a satin pillowcase doesn’t just feel soft, it reduces friction between your child’s hair and the fabric. It’s also less likely to sap natural oils the way cotton and more absorbent fabrics do.