When should kids start using shampoo?
Nowadays, you can begin washing their hair at an early age.
There are many gentle combination shampoos and body washes for babies.
They don’t cause tears, and they’re made to moisturize delicate skin.
To be safe, I’d hold off on the adult shampoo for a few years.
You might also want to know if kids can use hair conditioner.
Of course, they can. Again, there are many conditioners made for children.
You’ll find the best shampoos and conditioners for kids in the reviews below.
How to wash a toddler’s hair without trauma
Parents soon discover how challenging it is to wash a toddler’s hair (1).
They don’t like getting their faces wet.
Sometimes, they’re afraid of the water.
Other times, they don’t like getting it into their eyes and ears.
To keep bath time from being stressful, try these tips:
- Pour a small amount of shampoo into your hand, not on to the child’s head.
- Start the lather there before you massage it into the scalp.
- Even if the shampoo is tear-free, give your child goggles, a visor, or washcloth to protect their eyes if they’re frightened.
- For rinsing, leaning back can cause him to lose his balance or feel stressed. Water may run into his ears. Instead, have him lean forward.
- Swimmer’s earplugs keep the water out, too.
- If your child is very young, use a wet washcloth to wipe the shampoo out of the hair instead of putting her under the faucet or rinsing by pouring water on her head (2).
- It might also be nice to let your kid wash a doll’s hair at the same time.
In any case, the trick is to stay relaxed. Set the example the bath time is a good time to relax and have fun.
Now let’s look at the shampoos and conditioners that both you and your kids will love.
Top Shampoos & Conditioners for Kids
Dr. Eddie’s Happy Cappy Daily Shampoo
Dr. Eddie makes two types of shampoo for kids.
This one is the mild version for daily baths.
The pleasant scent comes from natural ingredients like licorice root and aloe.
In fact, 95% of the formula is plant-based, even the preservative. It’s also vegan.
Plus, the low pH protects the skin and hair against dryness.
Everyone Soap For Every Kid 3 in 1 Shampoo & Body Wash
The Everyone Soap has a misleading name.
Even though it foams up a lot, it doesn’t actually contain soap.
The cleanser is coconut-based. It doesn’t strip moisture or the natural oil from the skin and hair.
It will lather away dried-on food and dirt, though.
Choose from a variety of scents that are all-natural.
I like this product a lot because the EWG (Environmental Working Group) rates it as safe. It doesn’t have harsh ingredients like parabens, artificial dyes, fragrances, or even gluten.
Johnson’s Clean & Fresh Tear-Free Children’s Shampoo & Body Wash
The new and improved classic baby shampoo is great for toddlers, too.
It’s reformulated to avoid sulfates, parabens, dyes, and phthalates.
Moreover, it has a fresh scent that deodorizes your child’s body throughout the day.
The only downside is that children with thick or curly hair will probably need conditioner afterward.
The Honest Company Perfectly Gentle Body Wash and Shampoo
Choose from unscented, sweet orange and vanilla, or lavender and sweet almond fragrances.
All are tear-free and don’t contain sulfates or parabens.
I’ve been amused by how many parents say they end up buying this product for themselves as well as their children!
SoCozy 3 in 1 Shampoo + Conditioner + Body Wash
SoCozy’s shampoo is a salon formula for children.
It has nutrients to make hair grow strong and long.
For example, it has silk amino acids and soy protein to make each individual strand shiny.
There are also panthenol and keratin plus fruit extracts. The fruit extracts keep the scalp healthy and hydrated.
Happily, although there is an artificial fragrance, there are no sulfates or parabens in the bottle.
SoCozy Detangler + Leave-In Conditioner
Three-in-one products are handy when you’re in a hurry, but sometimes you need a little extra conditioner for those tangles.
This leave-in spray prevents tugs and tears.
It smells like tutti-frutti and works like a dream.
Fresh Monster 2-in-1 Kids Shampoo & Body Wash
Choose from Ocean Splash or Watermelon fragrances. Either way, the scent comes from natural ingredients.
These cruelty-free products avoid the typical toxins found in adult bath products. They don’t have sulfates, phthalates, dyes, or parabens. Also, the packaging is free of BPA.
Fresh Monster follows standards set by Whole Foods and the EWG.
The pump top bottle is easy for adults and kids to use, and locks into place for travel.
SheaMoisture Mango & Carrot KIDS, Extra-Nourishing, Shampoo and Conditioner
Here’s a shampoo and conditioner set designed for kids.
It’s extra hydrating for curls and coils.
Carrot oil and mango butter repair damage and promote hair growth.
Certified organic shea butter keeps the hair sleek and soft.
Meanwhile, coconut oil smooths the cuticle and prevents tangles.
Doesn’t that sound like something you’d like to use for yourself?
Suave Kids 3 in 1 Shampoo Conditioner Bodywash
Suave made their shampoo/conditioner mild enough to use daily.
They asked dermatologists and ophthalmologists to test it. As a result, it doesn’t cause rashes or sting the eyes.
The copious amounts of lather make bathing fun and easy. It smells good, too.
This is a good choice for when your kids are old enough to start bathing themselves.
Surprisingly, the conditioning ingredients leave hair soft and tangle-free.
Dial Kids Body + Hair Wash
Save the Dial shampoo/body wash for older children.
It’s not supposed to cause tears, and it’s pH-balanced, but it’s harsher than some I’ve seen.
To illustrate, it has sodium laureth sulfate, a surfactant usually reserved for adult formulas.
It also has an artificial fragrance and PEGs, both of which are no-nos for sensitive skin.
On the bright side, you can choose from orange, apple, or bubble berry.
L’Oreal Kids Extra Gentle 2-in-1 Shampoo, Strawberry Smoothie
Although it’s not made for infants, it’s probably okay for toddlers and young children.
L’Oreal says their shampoo prevents tangles and knots.
For extra softness, they make a stand-alone conditioner and leave-in conditioner.
It’s tear-free and rinses without leaving residue.
But there is a dark side. The formula has sodium laureth sulfate, parabens, and artificial fragrance, and PEGs.
If your child is prone to eczema, I’d try a different product.
Aussie Kids 3-in-1 Shampoo, Conditioner & Body Wash
The Aussie shampoo doesn’t have silicone or parabens in it, but it does have an artificial fragrance and sodium laureth sulfate.
Like it says on the bottle, it’s for kids, not babies.
Some parents are thrilled with how convenient it is for their children to use.
Thinkbaby Shampoo & Body Wash
If you’re tired of chemicals and harsh ingredients, protect your child with a shampoo that’s certified safe.
Thinkbaby’s shampoo/body wash meets the Whole Foods Premium Care standards.
It’s also listed on the EWG Skin Deep database as non-toxic.
It cleanses well and leaves the hair and skin soft without the need for sulfates, parabens, and phthalates. Even the packaging is BPA-free.
Use it for newborns, toddlers, and young children alike.
Thinkbaby Shampoo & Body Wash, Chlorine Remover
If your child started swimming, you know how gunky and green their hair can get.
Fix the problem with this chlorine remover swimmer shampoo.
It gets the chemicals and minerals off their skin and hair. That way, they don’t end up with pool rashes or chlorine odor.
TRISWIM KIDS Chlorine Removal Swimmer Body Wash
The children’s version of TRISWIM’s swimmers’ shampoo smells like citrus.
It gets the chlorine, bromine, minerals, and salt off the skin and hair.
Then, it moisturizes with watercress, aloe, and chamomile.
As a result, kids don’t end up with prickly rash or straw-like strands.
Cantu Care for Kids Tear-Free Nourishing Shampoo
If your little one has coily, wavy, or curly hair, get them the Cantu Care Shampoo.
It’s made with coconut oil, honey, and shea butter.
These ingredients nourish curls and waves to keep them glossy and vibrant.
It’s also tear-free.
Cantu Care for Kids Nourishing Conditioner
Follow up with the conditioner for complete curl care. It’s essential for textured hair.
The only downside is that the bottles look similar, which means the kids might confuse which product they use first.
Original Sprout Sulphate-Free Classic Shampoo
I’d say that the best shampoo for toddlers with thin hair is made by Original Sprout.
The company was started by a master hairstylist. She created this safe and effective product for her own child.
It’s a natural shampoo with organic conditioners to nourish the scalp and hair.
There are no hormone disruptors or allergens.
Original Sprout Deep Conditioner
The conditioner fixes frizz and flyaways and prevents tangles.
Like the shampoo, it’s vegan, gluten-free, and non-toxic.
TotLogic Kids Shampoo & Conditioner Set
The pleasing fragrance of the shampoo and conditioner comes from essential oils.
They have a blend of botanical extracts and antioxidants to keep the scalp and hair healthy.
Furthermore, they are plant-based.
The shampoo cleanses impurities with a natural lather that doesn’t strip moisture from the scalp
Then, the conditioner smooths each strand to prevent knots.
Both products are made in the USA and backed by a money-back guarantee. Neither one has parabens, phthalates, artificial dyes or fragrances, DEA, or dioxane 1-4.
Just for Me Hair Milk Set
I’m still a little frustrated with kid’s shampoos and conditioners that come in matching bottles. It’s hard for young children to tell them apart when they start trying to bathe themselves.
Other than that complaint, these products get good reviews. They have an appealing scent.
What’s more, just a little bit goes a long way.
Paul Mitchell Baby Don’t Cry Shampoo
If you’ve used Paul Mitchell products and love them, now your children can, too.
This tear-free shampoo has a neutral pH to prevent dehydrating the hair or scalp.
While chamomile and cornflower calm itchy skin, emollients leave each strand gleaming.
Happily, the formula is vegan and free of parabens and gluten.
Dr. Eddie’s Happy Cappy Medicated Shampoo
If your little one has dandruff, try this medicated shampoo for kids.
It clears up cradle cap on infants and eliminates flaking and itching for toddlers.
The key ingredient is pyrithione zinc. It’s FDA-approved to treat dandruff for adults and children.
But there’s also licorice root. This essential component relieves redness and irritation on the scalp, behind the ears, and the rest of the body.
Yes, this isn’t just the shampoo – it’s also a body wash.
You’ll probably only need to use it two or three times a week to solve the problem.
It’s made in the USA and free of alcohol and parabens.
Sulfur8 Kids Medicated Anti-Dandruff Shampoo
Here’s another solution for kids with itchy, flaky scalps. It’s best for ages two to twelve.
It has pyrithione zinc in a mild 1% concentration. This is a proven remedy for seborrheic dermatitis.
I checked the ingredients of this American-made product, and I was impressed.
Instead of the harsher sulfates, it has less aggressive surfactants. That’s important when the scalp is already irritated.
And although there are an artificial fragrance and dye, they are the last two ingredients on the label.
When it’s time to wash your child’s hair, you have a lot of options.
There are many shampoos and conditioners made for kids.
They come in a variety of colors and fragrances to meet practically every preference.
You can find products that control odor, pamper curls, and prevent tears.
Most importantly, they cleanse and moisturize developing bodies and hair.
Stick to a child’s shampoo to avoid harsh ingredients.
Both of you will be happier and healthier as a result.
1. https://www.whattoexpect.com/wom/toddler/15-strategies-to-conquer-your-next-toddler-hair-wash.aspx published June 28, 2013, accessed February 20, 2020
2. https://www.berkeleyparentsnetwork.org/advice/toddler/hairwashing accessed February 20, 2020