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Do babies need shampoo?

Do babies need shampoo

If you look in a supermarket or baby shop, you will see a huge range of baby toiletries. Are they really necessary? Do babies need shampoo? Can you manage without soap? Does not using baby bubble bath matter?

Do babies need shampoo

Avoiding soap

Television adverts, magazines and even our own childhood might make us think that we have to use soaps and lotions on our babies. But is this true? Baby bath and powder might smell lovely, but it can’t really beat the natural smell of a newborn baby. Babies don’t usually get dirty, or at least not enough to need washing with soap. After all they aren’t doing manual work. They tend not to play in dirt or sand until older. The only mess that they come into contact comes from their nappies or if they spit up their feed. Water on its own is usually more than enough to deal with this. Soap and other toiletries can actually damage delicate skin. Many children who suffer with eczema and other skin complaints find that the condition is made worse by using soaps and other similar products. There isn’t actually any need to use them.

Do babies need shampoo and soap?

When it comes to keeping your baby clean, usually water is more than enough to do the job. Unlike adults, babies don’t suffer from body odour, and generally, they only need a bit of water to keep them clean and fresh. Soft baby hair doesn’t tend to get greasy. Even when they are a bit older and getting bits of breakfast in their hair, it can usually be washed away without any problems, just using water. Even if your baby suffers from cradle cap, then shampoo isn’t necessary and might make the problem worse. A soft oil or moisturiser works far better and won’t damage delicate skin.

Until shampoo is used on a baby, their hair does not need it. Hair adjusts to being washed by shampoo, it strips away natural oils. The more that you use shampoo, the more that you need it to clean your hair. If you do not use shampoo at all on babies, then their hair does not need it and does not appear lank or greasy. I found that as I didn’t use shampoo on my children when they were tiny, as they grew older they still don’t need shampoo. At the age of ten, my oldest boy still doesn’t use shampoo. This may change when he’s a teenager and hormones kick in, but until then, there’s just no need.


Many babies suffer from eczema or other skin conditions. Using scented, or even delicate unscented soaps and toiletries can irritate the skin. Avoiding eczema or dry skin entirely might not be possible, but cutting down on the number of soaps and bubble baths that you use, should help to stop irritating it. For parents who are looking to be as natural as possible, then it makes sense to cut out unnecessary chemicals when caring for their baby. It is all too easy to think that because everyone else uses baby shampoo and soap, then we should too. There is no need for it though and it certainly won’t harm your baby to just use water.

Do babies need shampoo, soap, bubble bath and other toiletries? No, I don’t think that they do. It’s another little change that can also help the environment. I’d love to hear what you use to wash your baby and your thoughts on being shampoo free. Please comment below or on our Facebook page.

17 thoughts on “Do babies need shampoo?”

  1. I noticed my baby hair is different from when she wa ago Inter. But she goes swimming in the pool. Is it necessary to wash her hair then?

  2. If I already have been using soap twice a week, how do you recommend I transition to not using soap or shampoo on my baby? Is it too late if they are past six months and we have been doing it?

  3. When I am taking care of my baby, I am never sure whether I should buy mild baby shampoo or not. After reading this article, I have more clarity on the subject. So, thank you very much for providing this vital information to me. I enjoyed your presentation and look forward to hearing from you again.

  4. We have been washing our wee onenwith only water 2 times a week. He is now 3 months old and has some cradle cap. I tried putting coconut oil on his scalp an hour before his bath but it was hard to get out with just water. Do you have any recommendations around natural approaches to cradle cap? I know it will clear up eventually but as he was born with a full head of hair which is now falling out where the cradle cap is I wonder if I should be doing more?

  5. I have a 3 month old. I bath her every other day with just water. I put coconut oil on her after changes. Her skin is healthy and so I was wondering if there was any reason to change- reading this is making me think not!

  6. we did not bath our baby for the first 10 days, just washed her bum with warm water daily. she never had nappy rash before. do you think there is some sort of protective layer that we are washing away by giving them baths too early in their lives? anyway could be genetic too…. but I do feel it is right when you say baby skin does not need products.

  7. I am looking into this as I can’t see why just using water isn’t the best thing for young skin. I agree with you and its great to hear an example of children raised this way. Any thoughts on lotions for diaper rash? I guess I am thinking alone the lines of diaper rash prevention. There are a natural products with less harmful ingredients, would you say these are still unneccessary?

    1. I have tended to find that when it comes to nappy rash, the best thing for it is fresh air. Sometimes you need lotion and that natural ones work well. Corn flour can also help as can bathing with chamomile tea. I think that products for a baby are generally unnecessary unless there is a problem that you are dealing with. Natural ones are a better choice if you do choose to use them though.

      1. I’ll try it! I don’t use soap myself – dermatologist recommendation. And just use an all natural deodorant.

        Kelly, What kind of natural lotion do you use?

    2. One of the nurses recommended applying a bit of mineral oil after every diaper change. At 1 year, no rashes as of yet. We also go by the no soap for baths so far.

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