Shampoos and conditioners are generally safe for everyone. However, although they undergo testing before they hit the market, healthcare, hygiene, and cosmetic products are not tested on pregnant women for obvious reasons.
It’s doubtful your shampoo or conditioner will affect your unborn child. But if you have concerns about their safety, some products are likely to be a better pick than others. We’ll cover all the things you need to know about the best pregnancy-safe shampoos.
- Dye-, paraben-, sulfate-free
- Readily available in the market
- Includes matching conditioner
- Appealing scent
- Dermatologically tested
- Available in multiple variants
- Oatmeal is main ingredient
- Comes in various scents
- Gluten, soy, & dairy-free
- Certified organic ingredients
- Made in the USA
- No added fragrances
- Excellent for eczema
- Washes out styling products
- Gentle for daily use
- Gel-like consistency
- Controls fizz
- Lathers well
- Smooth, creamy texture
- Light fragrance
- Creamy texture
- Good lather
- Rinses well
- Lathers in hard water
- Moisturizes the scalp
- Luxurious packaging
- Certified organic
- Our Top Picks
- What Happens to Your Hair During Pregnancy?
- Does Shampoo Affect Pregnancy?
- Shampoo Ingredients to Avoid During Pregnancy
- The Best Pregnancy Safe Shampoos of 2021
- Pregnancy-safe Shampoo Comparison Chart
- Is Baby Shampoo Safe During Pregnancy?
- How to Care for Your Hair During Pregnancy
- Love The Hair You Have
What Happens to Your Hair During Pregnancy?
From about the eighth week of pregnancy onwards, changes to your hormone levels can alter your hair’s natural growth cycle. For many women, this can mean your hair grows faster, and natural hair loss slows down. That means your hair can feel much thicker (1).
The downside to this is you may discover hair growing in places you do not want it. If this happens, don’t worry. Additional hair can be plucked if it bothers you, and hair growth patterns will return to normal after giving birth.
Luxurious locks aren’t necessarily a guarantee, though, while you’re expecting. Some women find they lose more hair than usual.
If this happens, it is usually the result of a decrease in estrogen after stopping the pill. However, it can be caused by hormone imbalances, so, to be on the safe side, it’s worth mentioning to your healthcare professional.
Finally, you may experience other changes to your hair.
Curly hair may appear straighter, and straight, smooth hair can become kinky and flyaway. It may become coarser, more unruly, or drier than usual. Alternatively, you might find it is greasier or that you experience dandruff.
Does Shampoo Affect Pregnancy?
Little research has been done on whether hair care products affect pregnancy (2). Opinions differ, and while some doctors say your usual routine is fine while you are pregnant, others advise caution.
With the lack of evidence, either way, you should choose what makes you feel best and most secure. If you’re a worrier, it might be worth investing in pregnancy-safe shampoos for a few months to ease your concerns. If you’re not worried at all, you can keep using your typical shampoo.
Shampoo Ingredients to Avoid During Pregnancy
If you have already used products with any of these ingredients, don’t worry, it doesn’t mean you have caused harm to your baby. All of these ingredients are currently considered safe at the levels found in shampoos and conditioners.
We have listed them here only because although there is no direct evidence to prove them harmful, there is nothing to definitively prove them safe. Some studies have linked them to issues in animals, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they are bad for humans.
With that in mind, there are some ingredients to avoid during pregnancy if you’re intent on playing it completely safe:
- Formaldehyde: Found in some hair straightening and other personal care products, formaldehyde is believed to cause congenital disabilities and miscarriage (3).
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, also listed as SLS: SLS has been linked to congenital disabilities in animal studies. This should not be confused with Sodium Laureth Sulfate, sometimes listed as SLES, which is much milder, and considered safe (4).
- Parabens: Parabens are considered to be endocrine disruptors, which can result in lower birth weight and preterm birth (5).
- Phthalates: Phthalates have been linked to reproductive development issues in animal studies, and experts advise caution in their use during pregnancy (6).
The Best Pregnancy Safe Shampoos of 2021
We combined our existing knowledge and experience, online research, and information from the Environmental Working Group to choose 10 pregnancy-safe shampoos for a variety of hair types (7).
1. Herbal Essences BioRenew Honey and Vitamin B
This rich, creamy shampoo is listed as being extra gentle and especially good for color-treated hair. However, your hair doesn’t have to be color-treated to benefit. It leaves hair shiny, manageable, and free from build-up after several washes.
The fragrance is pleasant and not overpowering, even when you use the matching conditioner and have two “layers of smell.”
The label says 87 percent natural origin shampoo, which is a fancy way of saying 13 percent of the shampoo in the bottle has artificial origins. That’s another way to say human-made. However, having artificial ingredients does not mean you should not use a product.
The shampoo makers have submitted a detailed list of every ingredient to the Environmental Working Group, which assesses products for their impact on human health. The EWG verified this shampoo as being free from any ingredients with health concerns.
- Independently verified as safe without dye, parabens, or sulfate.
- Readily available.
- Matching conditioner.
- Not the best for greasy hair.
|Hair Type||Dry to normal|
|Fragrance||Honey, jasmine, and vanilla|
|Indications||Good for color-treated hair|
|Size||12.2 fluid ounces|
2. Attitude Hypoallergenic Quinoa & Jojoba
Choosing the best scented pregnancy-safe shampoo was especially tricky. One person’s wonderful scent is another person’s repulsive. We tried multiple pregnancy-safe shampoos and chose the one with the fragrance most people liked.
This shampoo from Attitude was popular not only for the scent itself but because the smell wasn’t overpowering. This is an essential consideration for those who become especially sensitive to smells while pregnant.
Users found they did not need an excessive amount of shampoo to work up a good lather, and it was easy to rinse out. Once dry, hair was left feeling reasonably soft when used without any conditioner and soft and shiny when used with.
Even though it is not specifically formulated for dry, frizzy tresses, users with this type of hair were especially happy with the results. They reported a reduction in frizz and an increase in manageability.
- Appealing scent.
- Dermatologically tested.
- Some users said it didn’t clean their hair enough, while others loved it.
|Hair Type||Dry to normal|
|Fragrance||Quinoa and jojoba|
|Indications||Good for brittle hair|
|Size||16 fluid ounces|
3. Aveeno Scalp Soothing Fresh Greens Blend
If you are a fan of products where the shampoo and conditioner are all in one, then Aveeno’s Soothing Fresh Greens Blend is an excellent pregnancy-safe shampoo.
Pregnant women shouldn’t consume rosemary or peppermint oils in quantity high enough to be considered medicinal. However, the rosemary you might have on food and peppermint flavor items are fine. Likewise, they do not pose a danger when used topically in this shampoo.
For those who like shampoos with ingredients that are sourced in the U.S., the oats used in these products are grown in the Mississippi River Valley.
If you’re not a fan of the smell of rosemary and mint, there are other scents, such as Aveeno Apple Cider Vinegar Blend, Aveeno Almond Oil Blend, and more.
- Also available as a single shampoo, conditioner, and as dry shampoo.
- Oatmeal is the first ingredient rather than water.
- Various scents to choose from.
- The scent is too strong for some people’s liking.
|Fragrance||Rosemary, peppermint, and cucumber|
|Indications||Good for fine hair|
|Size||12 fluid ounces|
4. Babo Botanicals Eucalyptus Remedy Shampoo
Formulated for family use and gentle enough for newborn babies, the Babo Botanicals eucalyptus remedy shampoo can also be used as a body wash and bubble bath.
The ingredients include Guar Hydroxypropyltrimonium Chloride, a water-soluble organic compound that sounds like something you want to avoid but is benign. GHC is an excellent conditioner that prevents your hair from becoming tangled, allowing it to remain silky and volumized without becoming weighed down.
The shampoo doesn’t become too foamy, and as it’s also a body wash, you can use it in the bath or shower without worrying about skin irritation. In addition, the eucalyptus in this shampoo and bubble bath acts as a relaxing and soothing addition, helping you unwind and aiding restful sleep.
The only disadvantage is that because it is mild enough for newborns, it may not be strong enough to clean your locks in one application, especially if you have thicker hair.
- Gluten, soy, and dairy-free.
- Certified organic ingredients.
- Made in the U.S.
- May be too mild.
|Fragrance||Eucalyptus, rosemary, peppermint|
|Size||15 fluid ounces|
5. Free & Clear Hair Shampoo
If you have allergies, easily irritated skin, or respiratory sensitivities to perfumes, even the mildest shampoo can trigger an adverse reaction. Somewhat surprisingly, shampoos without added fragrances are not necessarily free from other potentially harmful substances.
Fortunately, we tracked down Free & Clear shampoo and conditioner, which has everything you need to clean your hair with only the bare minimum ingredients.
It should be noted that while this shampoo is considered fragrance-free, this is because it has no ingredients added to make it smell a particular way. This does not mean it is free from any smell at all.
Some users report noticing a slight “waxy” type of smell if they hold the bottle up to their nose. However, everyone said there was no discernible aroma while using the shampoo or residual perfume after use.
- No added fragrances.
- Excellent for eczema sufferers.
- It is pH-balanced, so it works on all hair types.
- Not a tearless shampoo.
|Hair Type||All hair types|
|Size||12 fluid ounces|
6. Aromatica Cyprus Deep Cleansing Shampoo
Aromatica produces a wide range of hair care products free from sulfates, phthalates, and silicone. They are also vegan, cruelty-free, and the Cyprus formula makes our list because it can deep clean without astringent chemicals.
The alpha-pinene and camphene provide a pleasant, stimulating feel on the scalp that makes your head feel like it has been cleaned. This is especially popular among users with oily hair and those who worked in environments that leave them feeling oily or grubby.
The use of pine, French Cyprus, and eucalyptus give the shampoo an aroma best described as foresty. Users agree there is not a discernible, single scent, just an overall smell of the woods.
In some parts of the world, spending time in the forest is considered a therapeutic practice that medical professionals sometimes prescribe to promote destressing. If you can’t make it to a forest to unwind and reconnect with yourself and nature, Aromatica Cyprus might stimulate some of those feelings.
- Excellent at removing styling products.
- Gentle enough for daily use.
- Gel-like consistency.
- Has a strong, zingy feel that’s not for everyone.
|Hair Type||Oily to normal|
|Indications||Good for oily hair|
|Size||13.53 fluid ounces|
7. Herbal Essences Sulfate-Free Shampoo & Conditioner
Frizz control shampoos for curly and unruly hair are easy to find. What’s not so easy is finding an effective one without a slew of potentially harmful ingredients. But this is it.
I am used to creamy looking frizz control shampoos, so I was skeptical when I saw the clear liquid on my hands. However, I was in for a pleasant surprise. Once you have lathered up your hair, the shampoo takes on a creamy feel, without the heaviness of some other options.
A tiny amount in the palm of your hand is enough to work up a good lather on a head full of long, thick hair. This decent sized bottle lasted for weeks, even with daily use.
And speaking of daily use, even when washing my hair every morning, Herbal Essences left me with soft, frizz-free, manageable tresses, which is almost unheard of with other products.
- Lathers well.
- Small amount needed.
- Excellent value.
- Distinct scent.
|Indications||Good for frizzy, curly, and unruly hair|
|Size||20.2 fluid ounces|
8. Burt's Bees Pomegranate Seed Oil Shampoo
While we spent a lot of time researching the best pregnancy-safe shampoos, with help from the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep website, their verification program is dependent on product manufacturers providing detailed information about ingredients that may not be included on product labels.
Burt’s Bees have not taken this step, so the “fragrance” details on the label cannot be independently assessed. Consequently, this shampoo doesn’t qualify as “verified.” However, we found no ingredients of concern for use during pregnancy.
The shampoo itself has mixed reviews. Users seem to love it or hate it, with very little middle ground. They all agreed that the shampoo lathered well, the scent was light and pleasant, and that the shampoo texture was pleasing.
However, one group adored how the shampoos made their hair look and feel, while others felt it left their hair feeling flat, with residue build-up after extended use.
We think it is worth giving this one a try.
- Light fragrance.
- Creamy texture.
- Good lather.
- Users either love it or hate it.
- Can build up in hair.
|Indications||Good for lackluster hair|
|Size||10 fluid ounces|
9. BIGGREEN 23 Natural Daily Shampoo
If you need to wash your hair every day because of oil, build-up, or simply because you prefer to wash your hair daily, finding a shampoo that doesn’t dry your hair or scalp too much is essential.
Natural Daily Shampoo from BIGGREEN is specially formulated to keep hair clean and your scalp well moisturized, which is a pretty smart trick, especially when it comes to oily hair.
Users appreciated that the shampoo lathered up well, even for those who live in hard water areas. Following a good lather, it was easy to rinse, so there was no need to spend too long with the water running on that sensitive skin on your head.
The one problem that some people encountered was that they felt a lot of shampoo was needed to get that good lather. Whether this is an issue seems to depend on the shampoo you were using before switching to BIGGREEN.
- Rinses well.
- Lathers in hard water.
- Moisturizes the scalp.
- Too gentle for some.
- Too strong for others.
|Hair Type||Normal to oily|
|Indications||Good for sensitive scalp|
|Size||10.1 fluid ounces|
10. CLEVOS Natura Foresta
Clevos Natura Foresta Eucalyptus has a bright, zingy scent that falls just short of being medicinal. You can work up a decent foam with one squirt of the dispenser, but for longer hair, you might need a second wash.
This was our favorite pregnancy-safe shampoo for dandruff and dry, flaky skin on the scalp. It cleared things up quickly, but this was a double-edged sword. Users with oily hair had to switch this shampoo in and out of their routine as its scalp moisturizing properties were too much for their naturally oily heads.
The fancy looking bottle looks nice in the bathroom and has a handy pump dispenser, which is great for the shower. However, every now and then, the pump would stick, meaning you had to unscrew the top, wiggle it about a bit, screw the top back on and test the pumping action.
This wasn’t the end of the world but was a point against this shampoo, especially as it is at the less affordable end of the pricing spectrum.
- Luxurious packaging.
- Certified organic.
- No matching conditioners.
- Temperamental pump bottle.
|Hair Type||Sensitive, dry, normal|
|Indications||Good for dandruff|
|Size||17.92 fluid ounces|
|Product||Best||Hair Type||Fragrance||Good For||Size||EWG Verified?|
|Herbal Essences BioRenew||Value For Money||Dry to normal||Honey, jasmine, & vanilla||Color-treated hair||12.2 oz||Yes|
|Attitude Hypoallergenic Shampoo||Scented||Dry to normal||Quinoa & jojoba||Brittle hair||16 oz||Yes|
|Aveeno Scalp Fresh Greens Blend||Shampoo & Conditioner||All||Rosemary, peppermint, & cucumber||Fine hair||12 oz||No|
|Babo Botanicals Eucalyptus||Shampoo & Bodywash||Any||Eucalyptus, rosemary, peppermint||Gentle cleanse||15 oz||Yes|
|Free & Clear Hair Shampoo||Fragrance-Free||All hair types||None||Sensitive Skin||12 oz||No|
|Aromatica Cyprus Deep Cleansing||Natural||Oily to normal||Woodsy||Oily hair||13.53 oz||Yes|
|Herbal Essences Shampoo||Curly Hair||Dry||Aloe||Frizzy, curly, & unruly hair||20.2 oz||Yes|
|Burt’s Bees Pomegranate Seed Oil||Budget Pick||All||Pomegranate||Lackluster hair||10 oz||No|
|BIGGREEN Natural Daily Shampoo||Daily Use||Normal to oily||Citrus||Sensitive scalp||10.1 oz||No|
|CLEVOS Natura Foresta||Dandruff||Sensitive, dry, normal||Eucalyptus||Dandruff||17.92 oz||Yes|
Is Baby Shampoo Safe During Pregnancy?
Baby shampoos can contain the same ingredients as regular brands. Therefore, they are no better or no worse for you than any other shampoo. Also, because baby shampoos have milder cleansers, you may have to wash and rinse multiple times to get your hair clean.
How to Care for Your Hair During Pregnancy
Most of the things on this list are good for you and your baby in general. As a bonus, they may also help your hair.
Avoid Chemical Treatments
Consider giving the hair dye, straightening, or perming a pass, especially during the first trimester. This will minimize your exposure to chemicals.
Fresh fruit and vegetables, nuts, seeds, and protein-rich foods will do your locks a world of good. Staying well hydrated won’t hurt either.
Be Aware Of Changes
Once a week or so, take a few minutes to pay attention to the look and feel of your hair and scalp. This provides an early warning for changes such as increasing oil levels or a flaky scalp and will allow you to adjust your hair care routine accordingly.
Shampoo And Condition
Unless you have exceptionally oily hair, use shampoo and conditioner at every wash. Even if your tresses are a greasy mess, an oily hair conditioner can help.
Trim Don’t Chop
Keeping the ends of your hair trimmed will improve your hair’s overall appearance. However, avoid any significant changes to your style, especially if you have experienced substantial changes to your hair’s texture or thickness.
Avoid Tight Hairstyles
Tight buns, ponytails, cornrows, and other hairstyles that pull the hair firmly back from the scalp should be avoided. Those styles can cause breakage.
Don’t Brush When Wet
Brushing your hair when it is wet can cause stretching and damage. You should avoid doing this at any time.
Massage With Oil
A gentle scalp massage with oil can promote follicle health and keep the skin of your scalp soft and supple.
However, some essential oils should be avoided during pregnancy, so always check that the product you use does not contain potentially harmful varieties.
Stress can have all kinds of adverse effects, and your hair is not immune. Take the time to relax whenever you can.
Love The Hair You Have
Whether you are pregnant or not, it is important to embrace what’s sprouting from your head and love the hair you have.
Doing this during pregnancy doesn’t have to be hard. Look after yourself, eat well, respond to changes, avoid unnecessary chemicals, and do your best to relax. These are things we should do but often forget to, unless we have a baby onboard.
If you are not usually inclined to take care of yourself, use your pregnancy as a motivator, and develop new self-care habits. Your hair, and the rest of you, will thank you.