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21 Best Baby Shampoos for Dry Scalp: Reviews & Buying Guide

by  Katie- Last updated on February 19, 2020
Best Baby Shampoos for Dry Scalp

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If your newborn develops a cradle cap, what will you do?

The easiest solution is to use one of the best baby shampoos for dry scalp.

Infants have delicate skin that’s prone to dryness.

They end up with baby dandruff or cradle cap.

Although it’s a common condition, it’s usually not itchy.

The flaky patches and redness will go away with a little TLC.

How to clear up cradle cap

Moisturizing baby shampoo is one of the best ways to clear up cradle cap.

Wash your little one’s hair with it every day until the flakes are gone (1).

You can also massage her scalp with a little bit of petroleum jelly or olive oil to loosen the dry skin before the bath time.

Use a washcloth or a soft brush if you like.

But be sure to remove the lubricant with shampoo to avoid worsening the problem (2).

Then, once the scalp is healthy, you can limit shampooing to twice a week.

Now, let’s look at the top baby shampoos for cradle cap.

Quick Comparison

If you don’t have time to read the complete article, here are our top picks.

21 Top Baby Shampoos for Dry Scalp (2021 Update)

1. Dr. Eddie’s Happy Cappy Medicated Baby Shampoo

Sometimes cradle cap is called seborrheic dermatitis.

It’s not caused by poor hygiene. But washing with a moisturizing shampoo can cure dry scalp.

To this end, Dr. Eddie’s medicated baby wash has pyrithione zinc in it.

This ingredient clears up dandruff for children and adults alike. It’s FDA-approved and safe to use on infants.

Pyrithione zinc gets rid of the redness, flaking, and itching.

The baby shampoo’s formula also has licorice root extract. This soothes away the redness you might see around the neck, behind the ears, or under the arms.

Use the shampoo daily for up to a week or longer, if needed. You might see improvement after only one or two washes.

To get the best results, leave the lather on the skin for a couple of minutes before rinsing thoroughly.

Then, once the skin is clear, you can prevent new outbreaks by washing once or twice a week with the shampoo.

Happily, the formula is free of artificial fragrances, dyes, alcohol, parabens, and sulfates.

2. Dr. Eddie’s Happy Cappy Daily Baby Shampoo

Dr. Eddie’s Daily Shampoo is also free of irritants like fragrances, dyes, alcohol, sulfates, and parabens.

It’s vegan and cruelty-free. Even the preservatives are plant-based.

It was a pediatrician that created this baby wash. It’s best for normal to dry, sensitive skin.

But it’s not just for infants. It’s also good for toddlers with dry scalp.

The moisturizing baby shampoo hydrates with hyaluronic acid and aloe. Plus, it respects the natural pH to prevent dryness and rashes.

Meanwhile, licorice root and oatmeal calm redness while provitamin B5 strengthens the baby’s skin.

3. Mustela Foam Shampoo for Newborns

Mustela’s baby shampoo gets rid of cradle cap flakes and scales with salicylic acid and Climbazole.

The former is an exfoliant related to willow bark and aspirin. It’s a common medication for acne.

The latter, however, is a proprietary ingredient that gets rid of the fungus that causes dandruff.

Surprisingly, this is a tear-free formula. It has 99% plant-based ingredients and free of phthalates, parabens, and phenoxyethanol.

Nevertheless, it’s not perfume-free. It contains Mustela’s signature fragrance.

4. Mustela Stelatopia Foam Baby Shampoo

The Stelatopia baby shampoo is recognized by the National Eczema Association. It treats seborrheic dermatitis.

If you’re struggling to clear up cradle cap, this is a good option.

The formula is 99% plant-based with key ingredients like Avocado Perseose and sunflower oil.

It doesn’t have phthalates, parabens, soap, or phenoxyethanol.

5. Cetaphil Baby Wash & Shampoo with Organic Calendula

Cetaphil’s baby wash, like so many other infant shampoos, is tear-free.

It doesn’t have parabens or dyes, either. On the other hand, it does have sulfates and is not fragrance-free.

Keep in mind that seeing the word “sulfate” on the bottle doesn’t mean that the product will dry out the skin.

Sulfates are surfactants that create the lather that washes away oil and impurities. If the rest of the formula is moisturizing, it’s likely to balance out the drying effect.

The main benefit of this baby shampoo is organic calendula. It comes from the marigold plant. It’s an anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory for the skin.

6. CeraVe Baby Shampoo & Wash

CeraVe’s baby wash won’t cause tears, and it’s mild enough for newborns with eczema.

In fact, it has the National Eczema Association’s Seal of Acceptance because it respects sensitive skin.

The shampoo is free of parabens, sulfates, and artificial fragrances, which puts it a step ahead of the product above.

Next, it features three essential ceramides to strengthen the skin’s natural barrier against moisture loss and infection.

Finally, it has niacinamide to calm irritation and hyaluronic acid to attract plenty of moisture.

7. Aquaphor Baby Shampoo and Wash

Aquaphor’s baby shampoo is recommended by some pediatricians. It cleanses without stripping moisture.

At the same time, pro-vitamin B5 fortifies the dry scalp and hair while chamomile soothes irritation.

Moreover, there are no preservatives or artificial fragrances in this tear-free product.

8. Eucerin Baby Shampoo & Wash

Eucerin’s baby shampoo avoids fragrances, dyes, alcohols, and soap.

Instead, it has shea butter and pro-vitamin B5.

Shea butter is a plant-based skin conditioner that doesn’t clog pores.

Then, pro-vitamin B5, also known as panthenol, keeps the skin and hair smooth and healthy.

9. Baby Dove Tear-Free Shampoo, Rich Moisture

The Baby Dove Rich Moisture Shampoo is pH-neutral.

Why does it matter if you use a pH-balanced product?

It’s because newborns tend to have an average pH of 7 on their skin, which is neutral. If the pH swings to a higher value, the skin is prone to eczema and other disorders (3).

Baby body washes with neutral or slightly acidic pH are safer for babies. They don’t make the skin more alkaline and cause dryness.

Besides that essential feature, this baby shampoo is moisturizing and lightly scented.

It won’t cause tears, and it will leave your baby’s hair silky soft.

10. Aveeno Baby Gentle Wash & Baby Shampoo

Aveeno’s baby shampoo contains colloidal oatmeal to alleviate dry skin.

It’s tear-free and doesn’t have soap or parabens.

It has a fragrance that the company declares is hypoallergenic. But if your infant has extra-sensitive skin, perhaps it’s best to try a fragrance-free product instead.

11. Puracy Natural Baby Shampoo & Body Wash

The Bump presented Puracy with an award in 2018 for this baby shampoo.

It’s a new and improved formula with plenty of lather and lots of moisturizers.

Furthermore, the ingredients are rated as safe by the EWG.

Of course, there are only natural preservatives and no sulfates or artificial fragrances in it.

The soft scent comes from pink grapefruit oil and botanical extracts.

If you’re on the lookout for a natural, biodegradable, non-toxic shampoo and body wash for your little one, this is a smart choice. It comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee.

12. Johnson’s Ultra-Hydrating Tear-Free Kids’ Shampoo

But what about the all-time classic, Johnson’s tear-free baby shampoo?

It turns out there are multiple versions, so you need to be picky.

My first choice would be the Ultra-Hydrating Shampoo. It hydrates the dry scalp and hair, and it’s fortified with protein and pro-vitamin B5.

Plus, it’s been reformulated to avoid parabens, phthalates, dyes, and sulfates.

And it’s been tested by ophthalmologists and pediatricians.

13. Johnson’s Tear Free Baby Shampoo

Alternatively, if your baby doesn’t have a lot of flaking, this mild baby shampoo might be all you need.

Like the one above, it’s free of sulfates, dyes, phthalates, and parabens.

There’s also a calming, lavender-scented version from the same company. It might be wise to hold off on that one until the dry scalp is healed.

14. Shea Moisture Baby Shampoo & Wash

Shea butter is a popular moisturizer because it’s rich in vitamins and fatty acids. It’s healing to the skin.

Next, chamomile calms irritation. And argan oil is packed with Vitamin E to promote a smooth, soft scalp.

Parents that have tried this shampoo say it has a mild herbal scent. They’ve appreciated how it clears up the cradle cap.

That’s no surprise as it’s free of sulfates and very hydrating.

15. Alaffia – Everyday Shea Baby Shampoo

Alaffia was founded in 2003 by a man from West Africa and a woman from Washington state. Profits go towards empowerment projects to battle poverty in Togo, Africa.

The ingredients are 100% certified Fair Trade. There are no artificial fragrances, sulfates, or parabens in the bottle. What’s more, the shampoo is biodegradable and vegan.

While all those details are important, you might want to know how well the shampoo works for babies.

For one, parents appreciate the natural lavender and lemon scent. It’s calming for them and their infant.

Next, the body wash is mild enough for daily use as it hydrates the skin and hair.

Lastly, neem leaf and lemon balm reduce inflammation and itchiness.

16. Babyology – 100% Edible Ingredients – Baby Shampoo & Body Wash

It was only a matter of time until someone came up with edible baby shampoo. After all, how many times have you said that something smelled good enough to eat?

While I wouldn’t recommend eating this product, it’s both interesting and effective.

The tasty aroma comes from natural ingredients like rose water, oat, and coconut oil. There are no added perfumes, phthalates, dyes, or parabens.

It cleanses and hydrates the baby’s skin and hair to leave it silken.

In addition, the fact that the ingredients are safe to eat is good news. Newborn skin absorbs about half of what goes on it.

17. Elizabeth Parker Naturals Cradle Cap Baby Shampoo

Have you ever noticed how often you see water as the first ingredient in baby shampoo?

This product lists organic aloe gel first. It doesn’t even have water in it.

The company explains that water would cheapen and weaken the shampoo.

The gentle formula won’t cause tears, but it will clear up the cradle cap and treats psoriasis.

It’s pH-balanced at 5.5 to protect the skin from dryness. It also prevents brittle and tangled hair.

Some of the highlights include Manuka honey and cehami to treat inflammation.

18. Babo Botanicals Moisturizing 2-in-1 Baby Shampoo & Wash

Take note that Babo Botanicals recommends keeping this shampoo out of the baby’s eyes. They don’t label it as “tear-free.”

But it has colloidal oatmeal and calendula to treat scaly skin and eczema.

Also, there are no sulfates, gluten, soy, almonds, peanuts, or walnuts in it.

19. BareBaby Organics Organic Baby Shampoo

Here’s another baby shampoo without water in it. It starts with a base of organic aloe juice, then adds other organic extracts like cucumber, ginger, parsley, kiwi, and more.

Although it sounds like you’ll be bathing your child with a smoothie, this is a very good thing. Each ingredient is non-toxic, according to the EWG Skin Deep Database.

To be sure, the shampoo meets Whole Foods Premium Body Care Standards.

It’s full of essential vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and enzymes to heal and fortify the skin and hair.

20. MADE OF Foaming Organic Baby Wash and Shampoo

Here is a baby shampoo that the EWG rates as safe. It’s also an NSF Organic Certified.

It turns out that the formula is 77% organic and 23% natural. Besides that, it’s free of nuts, soy, phthalates, parabens, sulfates, and artificial fragrances.

When you look at the label, you can figure out how this baby shampoo will clear up a dry scalp. It has glycerin to attract moisture.

Then, while calendula and comfrey soothe irritation, jojoba and sunflower oil condition the skin.

21. Himalaya Gentle Baby Shampoo

Your baby’s hair and scalp need protein to stay healthy. This baby shampoo meets that need with chickpeas.

It also has a hibiscus to soften the hair and condition the skin. At the same time, rice extract makes those little curls grow strong and long.

It’s a no-tears formula that’s free of sulfates, parabens, silicone, and phthalates.

Conclusion

It may take a few washes, but these moisturizing baby shampoos will heal cradle cap.

They lather away the flakes and scales and moisturize the dry scalp.

If you found a baby wash here that helped your child, please tell us about it in the comments below.

Sources:

1. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/cradle-cap/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20350400 accessed February 18, 2020

2. https://www.webmd.com/parenting/baby/baths-hair-and-nails#2-3 published December 17, 2018, accessed February 18, 2020

3. https://www.medicaljournals.se/acta/content/html/10.2340/00015555-1531 by Saba M. Ali and Gil Yosipovitch, published January 16, 2013, accessed February 18, 2020

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