Looking for a gentle shampoo for eczema-prone skin? Trying to dial down the shamrock tint that comes from living in the pool? Want to make bathtime tear-free? Finding the best kids’ shampoos is no easy task!
From allergies to hair breakage, grabbing the wrong shampoo bottle can be downright painful. That’s why it’s essential to do your homework and consider all of the factors.
We listened to moms talk about kids’ shampoos for every hair type under the sun. Here’s what they had to say.
- 2-in-1 shampoo body wash
- Paraben-free for sensitive skin
- Tear-free formula
- Official climate pledge friendly
- Won’t dry out curly hair
- Made with Murumuru butter
- Plant-based biodegradable ingredients
- Uniquely formula with avocado perseose
- Gentle enough for daily use
- Sulfates-free formula
- No parabens to irritate sensitive skin
- Non-comedogenic blend
- Hypoallergenic formula
- Thick & creamy formula
- Certified cruelty-free by PETA
- Vegan, cruelty-free formula
- All-natural ingredients
- Money-back guarantee
- Won't over-dry skin & hair
- Tear-, sulfate-, paraben-free formula
- Naturally derived vegan ingredients
- Made with moisturizing shea butter
- Unique formula for added curl definition
- Clarifying blend removes impurities
- Suitable even for babies
- Has biotin, niacin, & vitamin b6
- Creates fuller & thicker-looking locks
- All-in-one product saves you money
- All-natural, cruelty-free formula
- Quality products made in the US
How to Choose the Best Shampoo for Kids
Lost in the never-ending labyrinth of kids’ shampoos? We are here with your life vest! Here is everything you need to know to find the right shampoo for your little one.
Never underestimate the importance of finding the right shampoo for your little one’s hair type. Every head of hair is different, which might mean that your hair is different from your kid’s strands. If you’ve got stick-straight locks that need daily washing while your baby has moisture-hungry curls, there’s a learning curve.
To add to the confusion, kids’ shampoo reviews are always mixed. You’ll hear some moms saying that shampoo leaves their kids’ hair dry while others say it leaves strands greasy.
Ultimately, it comes down to finding the perfect match for your little one’s hair. Remember that strands are more than just dry or oily, thick or thin. There are an array of factors that come together to create each of our unique hair types.
Do your homework to find your kid’s hair texture, structure, porosity, and scalp type (1). It takes a bit of time and Googling, but it’ll make your hair care much easier.
While the right ingredients depend on your child’s hair type, there are some ingredients that dermatologists discourage (2). Here are a few to keep your eyes peeled for:
- Propylene glycol: This has a high allergy risk.
- Synthetic fragrances: Look for fragrance-free or natural aromas.
- Diethanolamine: Sometimes labeled as DEA or DEOA, this is labeled as a carcinogen by the California Environmental Protection Agency (3).
- Sulfates: Sodium lauryl sulfate and ammonium lauryl sulfate are the main cause of eye irritation.
The Real Deal On Sulfates
Sulfates get a bad rap! Yes, they make your eyes water and can dry out your locks. But, they can also be a miracle worker for greasy strands (4). Sulfates are a game-changer for oily teenage scalps and summer oil slicks, so don’t discount them completely.
When should your child move to adult shampoos? According to pediatricians, it’s only a question of whether you need tear-free shampoos (5). Once kids are washing their own hair without getting in on their face, you’re good to go with adult formulas.
While every child is different, many moms find around eight to ten years of age is the sweet spot. After age ten, many kids are ready to shower alone and have fewer issues with eczema.
If your child is still struggling with dry and irritated skin after age ten, look at product labels for sensitive skin.
When you’ve got a little one with sensitive skin, the drugstore is a minefield! From irritating shampoos to skin-stripping cleansers, proceed with caution.
Every kid has their own unique sensitivities and allergies, so you will have to expect some trial and error. That said, there are a few usual suspects to watch out for.
During the younger years when tear-free shampoos are a priority, look to sulfate-free shampoos. To prevent allergic reactions, avoid fragrances, dyes, preservatives, and anything antibacterial (6).
Generally speaking, less is more. Look to products labeled for sensitive skin. Try natural products but keep in mind that kids can be allergic to anything on planet Earth!
Lifestyle is another key consideration. Is your little one a budding Micheal Phelps? A beach bum? There are plenty of products out there to wash away chlorine and protect from the sun.
Does your kiddo deal with regular breakage? Is combing time a nightmare? From detangling to moisturizing shampoos, there’s nothing you can’t find.
Make note of issues as they come up and keep experimenting. Travel size shampoos and fellow moms are an invaluable resource here.
Value for Money
As any frugal grandma will tell you, you’ve got to bring the calculator shopping! To save some serious cash, look at the price per unit. $5 for a bottle of 12 oz shampoo is not the same price as $5 for an 18-oz bottle. Pay close attention.
All-in-one products can save some cash too. If your kid is blessed with those rare “normal” locks that don’t lean oily or dry, it’s a great option. This is doubly true when you can buy a big bottle that’ll last for ages.
While some moms find these all-in-one products aren’t hydrating or cleansing enough, they’re worth a shot. Even if you get an all-in-one that you’re not loving, you can always use it just as a body wash.
While we love a heady aroma, scents can cause irritation. Proceed with caution. If you love scented products, look to natural fragrances.
The Best Kids Shampoo of 2022
Here are 15 excellent kids shampoos for every type of hair.
1. Spongebob Suave Kids 2in1 Shampoo & Body Wash for Kids
Best Affordable Shampoo for Kids
How often do you find your kids’ favorite characters pushing an affordable product? At this price, it looks like Spongebob isn’t taking his cut from Suave Kids 2in1 Shampoo & Body Wash! Looking at the price per ounce, this one is a great bargain.
Forget the fillers and water-logged dollar store shampoos. A little goes a long way with this paraben- and tear-free two-in-one wonder.
While we love the peach aroma, some moms find it a bit overpowering, especially for sensitive kids.
- 2-in-1 shampoo body wash.
- Paraben-free for sensitive skin.
- Tear-free with no sodium lauryl sulfate or ammonium lauryl sulfate.
- Peach scent may be too much for some users.
|Cruelty-Free||Yes, certified cruelty-free by PETA|
|Multi-Purpose||Yes. shampoo and body wash|
2. Fairy Tales Curly-q Daily Hydrating Kids' Shampoo For Curly Hair
Best Kids' Shampoo for Curly Hair
Introduce your little prince or princess to this hydrating shampoo for curly locks. We love that it is both sulfate-free and paraben-free, the two core features of any good shampoo for curly strands.
As an added bonus, this brand has the sustainability certifications to be officially labeled as Climate Pledge Friendly. That means it won’t arrive with excess packaging and the carbon footprint will be reduced at every stage.
Most moms we heard from found this to be great for sensitive skin (though it’s always possible to have issues).
- Eco-friendly with an official Climate Pledge Friendly certification.
- Sulfate-free, won’t dry out curly hair.
- Murumuru butter for easy detangling.
- Not tear-free.
3. Mustela Baby Gentle Shampoo for Delicate Hair
Best Kids' Shampoo for Toddlers
This gentle, tear-free baby shampoo is made with the patented avocado extract. This one-of-a-kind stuff is a dream for gently cleansing. It will leave your toddlers’ hair clean without stripping natural oils.
This is a perfect shampoo for daily washing. And, let’s face it, moms, daily cleaning of toddlers is usually necessary.
Made with 93% natural ingredients, this is a gentle solution that will help your toddler grow long and strong strands.
The downside? We just wish it didn’t have fragrance, which can irritate a lot of toddlers’ delicate scalps.
- Eco-friendly, plant-based biodegradable ingredients.
- Uniquely formulated with Avocado Perseose for toddlers’ growing hair.
- Gentle enough for daily use.
- Fragrance may irritate sensitive users.
4. TEENOLOGY Shampoo for Teens
Best Shampoo for Tweens
As kids get older, their oil production can go into hyperdrive. Not only does this mean greasy strands, but often hairline breakouts as well. The best way to fight this is with the right shampoo.
Specially formulated for teens and tweens, this shampoo is free from sulfates, parabens, and pore-clogging oils.
Whether your tween is dealing with acne yet or not, this is a smart way to keep oil at bay. While some moms found it didn’t help with acne, the majority saw some difference.
- Sulfates-free formula prevents dry, frizzy strands and irritated skin.
- No parabens to irritate sensitive skin.
- Non-comedogenic blend that won’t cause breakouts.
- Won’t clear up existing acne.
- Doesn’t work for all skin types.
5. Fresh Monster Toxin-Free Hypoallergenic 2-in-1 Kids' Shampoo & Conditioner
Best Hypoallergenic Kids' Shampoo
Free from sulfates, parabens, phthalates, dyes, toxins, synthetic fragrances, gluten, and soy, this BPA-free shampoo is an all-natural wonder.
Certified cruelty-free by PETA, this no-tear formula is an easy pick for kids with sensitive skin. While we are loving everything about the ingredients, a few moms had mixed reviews. Like most two-in-ones, it’s less conditioning than standard conditioner and less purifying than standard shampoo.
As a little perk, we’re loving that all-natural coconut scent! You can also grab it in a summery watermelon scent.
- Paraben-free, phthalate-free, sulfate-free, and dye-free hypoallergenic blend.
- Thick and creamy formula, a little goes a long way.
- Certified cruelty-free by PETA.
- Combo not conditioning enough for dry hair.
- May leave oily hair feeling greasy.
6. Baja Baby Shampoo and Body Wash Lavender
Best Scented Kids' Shampoo
An all-natural shampoo with a gorgeous scent? Sign us up! This sulfate-free, phthalate-free shampoo has a gorgeous yet subtle lavender aroma that turns bathtime into aromatherapy.
This vegan shampoo and body wash all-in-one is made with superfood raw ingredients for natural hydration. The addition of organic cold-pressed hemp seed oil leaves most hair types of feeling lush and soft.
Thanks to the simple recipe, some moms had great luck using this on their eczema-prone babies.
The mom-friendly satisfaction guaranteed policy for the brand ensures that you love it or get your hard-earned cashback.
- Vegan, cruelty-free formula.
- All-natural ingredients work for different hair types.
- Trustworthy product with money-back guarantee.
- Only one scent option available.
7. The Honest Company Perfectly Gentle Sweet Orange Vanilla Shampoo + Body Wash
Best Natural Kids' Shampoo
This all-in-one baby shampoo is made from plant-derived ingredients with no harsh chemicals. That rules out dyes, phthalates, parabens, synthetic fragrances, formaldehyde, or SLS/SLES.
All-natural but definitely not boring, we love that this comes in delicious natural aromas. From sweet orange vanilla to dreamy lavender to sweet almond, you’re spoiled for choice. The moms we heard from were especially loving the orange creamsicle dupe (aka sweet orange vanilla).
Prefer an unscented option? You can grab a fragrance-free wash too!
For some moms, however, The Honest Company’s two-in-one is a bit too watery.
- Thick and creamy without over-drying skin and hair.
- Tear-free, sulfate-free, paraben-free formula.
- Naturally derived vegan ingredients.
- Too watery.
8. Sheamoisture Extra-Nourishing Shampoo for Kids Mango Carrot with Shea Butter
Safest Kids' Shampoo
Treating the locks of some of the most beautiful moms on the planet, Shea Moisture is a cult favorite. We were thrilled to discover they have a kids-friendly pick and it does not disappoint.
Perfect for detangled fine and delicate strands, this is ideal for kids with fragile hair. The sulfate-free blend conditions with shea butter and coconut for an all-natural glow.
With no silicones, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, mineral oil, or petrolatum, this eco-friendly pick is ideal for sensitive skin types.
Note, however, that this is best for fine hair. Other hair types might be weighed down by it.
- Made with moisturizing shea butter.
- Unique carrot, mango, and citrus formula for added curl definition.
- Clarifying blend removes impurities from hair.
- Scent may be too strong for some.
9. J Organic Solutions Shampoo & Conditioner Set
Best Kids' Shampoo for Hair Growth
From babies age 3 months and over, this shampoo will nourish and strengthen fragile locks from root to tip. The organic ingredient blend uses a combination of biotin, niacin, and vitamin B to fortify weak strands.
This sulfate-free kids’ shampoo has moisturizing aloe vera, shine-enhancing argan oil, and volumizing wheat protein adds volume.
While many moms loved the coconut scent, a few found it to be pretty powerful. Proceed with caution if you’re scent-sensitive.
- Suitable even for babies.
- Biotin, niacin, and vitamin B6 for enhanced growth.
- Creates fuller and thicker-looking locks for most hair types.
- Might leave thick hair types with oily strands.
10. Gentle and Natural Everyone 3-in-1 Soap for Every Kid
Best Versatile Kids' Shampoo
Made with essential oils and plant-based ingredients, this three-in-one soap is all your little one will need at bathtime. This gentle blend works as a bubble bath, shower, gel, and shampoo. It’s gluten-free, GMO-free, cruelty-free, dye-free, synthetic fragrance-free, and paraben-free.
Not only is it a smart and eco-friendly all-in-one pick, but it is also made in the United States.
We love the option to get natural aromas like the gorgeous Lavender Lullaby, Orange Squeeze, and Tropical Twist.
- All-in-one product saves you money.
- All-natural, plant-based cruelty-free formula.
- High quality product made in the U.S.
- Might not be cleansing enough for fine hair types.
|Fragrance||No artificial fragrance (only natural)|
11. BELLA B Bee Gone Cradle Cap Baby Shampoo
Best Kids' Shampoo for Cradle Cap
With pharmaceutical-grade, all-natural tea tree oil, this organic baby shampoo for cradle cap packs a punch. The hypoallergenic and paraben-free formula is suitable for even ultra-sensitive skin. We love the natural mix-up of aloe vera, shea butter, organic flour, oatmeal, and amino acids.
If your baby already has skin issues, proceed with caution. While all-natural products are great, they’re not one-size-fits-all. Your little one can react badly even to organic natural products, so be sure to patch test.
- Foaming formula for easy full coverage.
- Hypoallergenic, paraben-free to soothe raw skin.
- Pharmaceutical-grade tea tree oil for reliable results.
- Some babies may react badly to tree tree oil.
12. SoCozy Swim 3-in-1 Shampoo + Conditioner + Body Wash For Kids Hair
Best Post-Swim Kids' Shampoo
Thanks to the activated charcoal, this shampoo prevents chlorine and saltwater damage. The addition of jojoba oil and coffee seed extract work to smooth and soften your hair.
We love that this do-it-all blend banishes the green tint and leaves hair feeling clean. Like most all-in-one products, however, it won’t leave your kid’s hair as conditioned.
The brand recommends following up with leave-in conditions and, for most hair types, that is essential. As much as we love the conditions and shampoo blend for convenience, you’ll still need that extra bottle of conditioner.
- Rich lather removes green tint in a single wash.
- Activated charcoal prevents chlorine and saltwater damage.
- Most users still need an extra conditioner.
|Fragrance||Yes, citrus and vanilla|
13. Johnson's Ultra-Hydrating Tear-Free Kids' Shampoo with Pro-Vitamin B5
Best Moisturizing Kids' Shampoo
To nourish and strengthen your kid’s delicate locks, this hypoallergenic shampoo is a top pick. This kid-friendly shampoo is formulated with protein and pro-vitamin B5 to treat kids’ fragile developing hair.
For a tear-free ophthalmologist- and pediatrician-tested product that won’t damage fine hair, this is a winner.
While we love this for fine hair, it might not suit coarser hair. Since it uses protein to thicken and alcohol to de-grease, it can be too drying for certain hair types.
- Pro-vitamin B5 strengthens delicate hair.
- Hypoallergenic pro-vitamin B5 for gentle conditioning.
- Ophthalmologist-tested tear-free formula.
- Alcohol may be too drying for coarser hair.
14. Dr. Eddie’s Happy Cappy Medicated Shampoo for Children
Best Anti-Dandruff Kids' Shampoo
Whether it’s dandruff or cradle cap, this stuff will do the job. We love that it’s made with pyrithione zinc, the holy grail of seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff treatments. This pick has worked with countless moms and might just be what your little one needs.
It’s worth mentioning that this has the same active ingredient that you’ll find in other less expensive dandruff shampoos. To reduce redness, however, it also has Licorice Root Extract and is fragrance-free for sensitive kids’ scalps.
While this is more expensive than popular adult dandruff shampoos, it’s also a different product. This brand was the first over-the-counter dandruff shampoo approved for kids and is more gentle.
- Contains pyrithione zinc, a potent anti-dandruff ingredient.
- Fragrance-free to reduce allergic reactions.
- Licorice root extract to reduce redness.
- Some moms saw skin irritation and a burning sensation.
|Multi-Purpose||Can use on body dermatitis|
15. Nix Ultra Allin Super Lice Shampoo
Best Anti-Lice Kids' Shampoo
While there is a flurry of anti-lice kids’ shampoos out there, we were on the mission to find a tried-and-true pick. Sure, there’s a time and place for lice “repellent shampoos” but we want a killer. No mercy here!
You probably remember your own mom going through your hair with Nix treatment and a comb. Today, it’s still the gold standard. The Nix Ultra Allin Super Lice Shampoo is even better than the original mix because you don’t need to do two steps.
But remember that it’s not a quick process! While this shampoo kills lice and eggs, you might have lice in your home too. Treat your furniture and home to prevent instant reinfection.
- One-step lice treatment.
- Kills eggs, doesn’t just repel.
- No parabens, safe for kids.
- Temporary effect, requires follow up with lice repellent.
|Dermatologist-Tested||Most pediatricians recommended|
Takeaway Tips from the Salon
Finding the best kids’ shampoos is all about selecting the right pick for your child’s unique hair type. Pay attention for a few days to carefully assess your needs. Look at the moisture level, ease of combing, and sensitivities.
Keep in mind that your kiddie has locks all their own. What works for you or your niece might not be the right pick for your little one. Pay close attention to those unique issues.
Once you’ve found the option that works for your little Rapunzel, stick to it!