Last Updated on May 1, 2023
There are at least three reasons why you need to learn about the best baby hair oil.
The first is that oil can help clear up cradle cap.
Then, the second is that natural plant oil conditions the baby’s hair and skin.
And the third reason is that you can style your child’s unruly hair with a little oil.
All of these points bring us to more questions. For example, which oil is good for a baby’s head?
Or, is coconut oil good for a child’s hair?
Moreover, are there any oils that you should avoid putting on an infant’s skin?
Let’s satisfy your curiosity with some information from the experts.
Before we address which oils are suitable for a baby, let’s talk about which ones to avoid.
There are only two to worry about. They are sunflower and olive oil (2).
We know this because of a study done on 115 newborns for 28 days. The researchers wanted to understand how these oils, or the lack thereof, affected the development of healthy skin.
One group of babies received no oil. The other two groups were treated with either sunflower or olive oil twice a day.
Sadly, the infants who were massaged with oil had delayed the development of their natural skin barrier against dryness and infection. This could potentially lead to eczema.
Even though their skin was soft and well-conditioned and appearance, it was not developing typically or in a healthy way.
So, scratch sunflower and olive oil off your list of candidates for the best baby hair oil. Let’s review other options below.
You may be aware that the brand Mustela includes avocado extract in their baby skincare products (2).
That’s because avocado is overflowing with vitamins and essential fatty acids that promote skin healing.
Coconut oil is another natural favorite to moisturize the skin. It’s naturally anti-bacterial. Plus, after it absorbs, it’s not greasy.
Some parents might recommend castor oil as anecdotal evidence says that it promotes hair growth.
Even pure mineral oil, like the classic baby oil, has benefits for a baby’s skin. It seals in moisture and can help remove flakes from cradle cap (3).
If your goal is to get rid of cradle cap, apply a light layer of mineral oil to your baby’s head before bed. Then, in the morning, use a soft brush or fine-tooth comb to gently brush away the flakes. After that, shampoo the hair as usual.
Finally, baby hair oil is excellent for managing kinky and coily textured hair like that of African-American children. (4)
It aids in detangling and styling.
Now, let’s see the reviews of the best oils and conditioners for your baby’s hair.
Burt’s Bees blends natural plant oils with Vitamin E to create this unique moisturizer for the skin and hair.
It contains apricot kernel, grape seed, wheat germ, sunflower seed canola, and soybean oil. There are a natural fragrance and a bit of rosemary extract, too.
Aha, you saw the problem, didn’t you?
As much as this product appeals, it contains sunflower seed oil. And sunflower oil was proven to delay the development of healthy skin in infants.
Even though it’s 100% natural baby oil, and free of harsh chemicals, I’d hesitate to use it on my child.
If you’re set on trying it, discuss it with your pediatrician first.
Shea Moisture also offers a natural baby oil that’s paraben-free and packed with botanical extracts.
Sadly, the very first ingredient is sunflower seed oil.
Check with your doctor before using it, or wait until your child is older.
Instead of using a pre-made blend, stick to the basics. Apply pure coconut oil to your baby’s hair, and the problem is solved.
You won’t have to worry that there are unwanted ingredients in the bottle.
NOW is one of my favorite brands when it comes to plant oils. It’s not just the reasonable price. It’s because they are a family-owned business that follows FDA regulations. They perform extensive testing to ensure the quality and purity of their products.
This coconut oil is colorless and odorless. It absorbs quickly and doesn’t clog pores.
Besides using it as a moisturizer for the skin and hair, it’s also a suitable carrier for essential oils.
It comes packaged in a clear bottle that has a UV light protectant to prevent spoilage.
My second preference after coconut oil would be grape seed oil. It’s ideal for treating sensitive skin.
Once the grapeseed oil sinks in, it leaves the skin and hair silken. That’s because it’s packed with vitamins and fatty acids like oleic, linoleic, myristic, lauric, palmitic, and stearic.
What does that even mean, anyway?
In other words, it has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory effects. It may also fight cancer (5).
Therefore, it’s no surprise that grapeseed oil is used in many skincare and cosmetic products. It’s also an excellent hair conditioner.
As I mentioned earlier, I prefer the NOW Solutions brand because they’re picky about quality. They have an A-rating for their Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP).
You’ve heard of shea butter. Did you know that you can also get it as a fractionated oil? It’s expeller-pressed from the seeds of the karité tree in Africa.
It contains oleic and stearic essential fatty acids that nourish the hair and scalp.
Luckily, as rich as it is, it’s not greasy.
Even better, it provides an outstanding defense for the skin against extreme cold and heat.
NOW packages it in a clear bottle with UV light protection.
Next on the list is sweet almond oil. If you’ve ever had a massage, the therapist might have used it on you.
It comes from pressed almonds and has no strong scent or color.
It’s yet another non-comedogenic plant oil that softens the skin. It’s less frequently used on the hair.
Jojoba oil frequently appears in lotions, serums, hair conditioners, and more. It’s similar to the skin’s own sebum, or oil.
Since cradle cap is seborrheic dermatitis, jojoba oil is an excellent baby hair oil.
Try this on your child’s scalp. You can also use it to prevent chapped lips and treat rashes.
The manufacturer makes it in the USA with plant extracts from non-GMO sources. It’s expeller-pressed and bottled in amber glass to protect it from degradation.
NOW obtains avocado oil from certified organic ripe avocados. They are pressed with an expeller, and therefore are free of hexane. (Hexane is a chemical sometimes used to extract plant oils.)
The pure oil might look a little cloudy or have tiny particles in it, but that’s no cause for worry. It’s a side effect of its unprocessed, natural origin.
Avocado oil is a marvelously rich conditioner for the skin. It prevents moisture loss without leaving a greasy residue.
You may have heard that castor oil encourages hair growth.
I couldn’t find any scientific studies that supported that conclusion, but it’s a common belief. Women apply it to their eyelashes and eyebrows to grow them healthy and long.
It follows that castor oil might help your baby’s hair grow more quickly.
At the least, it’s a natural moisturizer found in many lotions and hair care products.
What is mineral oil, and why might you want to put it on your baby’s hair?
It’s distilled from petroleum (7). That alone might put you off until you realize there are different grades.
The kind found in baby lotion is purified and odorless. It’s generally not a problem for health unless you count the fact that it can clog pores.
The version here is sold as a skin moisturizer and as a laxative. Yes, you can take a little mineral oil internally. If you’ve ever eaten Swedish Fish, you’ve already done just that.
Use it to treat your baby’s cradle cap as it will soften the flakes for removal.
Here’s another version of mineral oil that you’ll recognize.
It’s only for use on the skin and hair as it has a light fragrance added to it.
Plus, it’s been tested by dermatologists to be safe for babies. Moms and dads sometimes use it on their skin, too.
I’ve mentioned that you can use oil on a baby’s hair to clear up cradle cap. Here’s the tool you to gently remove the flakes of dead skin and sebum.
One side features a soft rubber-bristle brush. The other is a fine-toothed comb.
The grip makes it straightforward to control, and it fits onto an adult’s hand.
Massage oil into the scalp, then wait at least 10 minutes for it to absorb. Use the brush to loosen the flakes, then comb them out of the hair.
Not every parent is keen to put oil on their newborn’s hair. If that describes you, here’s an alternative you will like.
It’s a tear-free baby hair conditioner made from plants. There are no harsh chemicals, no added fragrance, no parabens, and no petroleum. Furthermore, there are no nuts, else, gluten, or soy that could trigger allergies.
The vegan formula is based on aloe, cabbage wax, and calendula. It moisturizes the scalp and hair to leave it soft and tangle-free.
Also important, it’s made by an American business that follows FDA standards.
Here’s another no-tears hair conditioner for your baby. It’s a spray that you can apply to damp hair after shampooing or whenever you need to freshen up your child’s appearance.
This leave-in conditioner adds shine without weighing down the hair with residue.
It makes it super easy to brush out tangles. It also prevents frizziness.
There’s only one con. It contains sunflower seed extract. But it’s been clinically tested by dermatologists and pediatricians to be safe for sensitive skin.
As such, it’s free of formaldehyde donors, essential oils, GMOs, dyes, phthalates, and parabens.
Whole Foods has approved this baby hair conditioner, and so has the Environmental Working Group (EWG).
It’s vegan, cruelty-free, and doesn’t contain gluten or toxic chemicals. What’s more, it won’t cause tears.
If you don’t love it, they offer a full refund.
All that sounds good, but why bother with a conditioner for your baby’s hair?
It’s because it doesn’t just moisturize the hair. It also protects the skin.
Even better, it contains natural oils that cleanse the scalp and hair in between shampooings.
Plus, it can detangle matted toddler hair.
Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company makes at least two different baby hair conditioners. The one I’ve chosen is perfect for bedtime as it has a soothing fragrance.
There’s another version that smells like orange and vanilla.
Both are based on organic plant oils, jojoba protein, and shea butter. This one also has aloe, chamomile, and calendula to soothe dry, sensitive skin.
Obviously, it’s free of artificial fragrances, parabens, dyes, and silicone.
The natural ingredients leave little locks silky soft and help define curls.
I hope the reviews today opened your eyes to a smart, new idea. Baby hair oil is beneficial for your little one’s scalp and tresses.
It may help treat and prevent cradle cap, too.
Also, natural plant oils offer nutritional benefits for the skin.
If you decided to try oil on your baby’s hair and you find it beneficial, please come back and tell us about your experience.
1. https://www.parents.com/baby/all-about-babies/why-you-shouldnt-put-olive-or-sunflower-oil-on-babys-skin/ by Hollee Actman Becker, accessed May 14, 2020
2. https://www.mustelausa.com/avocado-oil-for-skin accessed May 14, 2020
3. https://www.mdedge.com/familymedicine/article/62596/pediatrics/whats-best-treatment-cradle-cap What’s the best treatment for cradle cap? Published J Fam Pract. 2007 March;56(3):232-233, by Ryan C. Sheffield, MD Paul Crawford, MD Sarah Towner Wright, MLS, accessed May 14, 2020
4. https://www.babycenter.com/0_african-american-babies-hair-care_10330036.bc by Veronica Byrd | medically reviewed by Dawn Rosenberg, M.D., pediatrician, published March 9, 2020, accessed May 14, 2020
5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4988453/ Grape Seed Oil Compounds: Biological and Chemical Actions for Health, published in Nutr Metab Insights. 2016; 9: 59–64. 2016 Aug 16. , by Juliano Garavaglia, Melissa M. Markoski, Aline Oliveira, and Aline Marcadenti, accessed May 14, 2020
6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5796020/ Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils, published in Int J Mol Sci. 2018 Jan; 19(1): 70, 2017 Dec 27, by Tzu-Kai Lin, Lily Zhong, and Juan Luis Santiago
7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mineral_oil accessed May 14, 2020
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