Does Baby Shampoo Have Sulfates?

WrittenbyLuat Duong
Last updated

When it comes to choosing the right shampoo for your little one, safety and gentleness are paramount. Baby shampoos are specifically formulated to be tear-free, mild, and suitable for a baby's delicate skin and hair. One of the key considerations for many parents is understanding the ingredients in baby shampoos, particularly the presence or absence of sulfates, which have been a subject of debate in recent years.

Does baby shampoo have sulfates?

The answer is that many, but not all, baby shampoos contain sulfates. Sulfates, such as sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES), are commonly used surfactants in shampoos that create a rich, foaming lather. While some manufacturers have opted to remove sulfates from their baby shampoo formulations, others continue to include them, as they are considered safe for use in products intended for babies and children when used as directed.

Baby Shampoos with Sulfates

Some popular baby shampoo brands that contain sulfates in their formulations include:

  • Johnson's Baby Shampoo: This classic baby shampoo contains sodium laureth sulfate as one of its key ingredients.
  • Aveeno Baby Wash & Shampoo: This gentle, tear-free formula includes sodium laureth sulfate as a cleansing agent.
  • Burt's Bees Baby Shampoo & Wash: While this brand is known for using natural ingredients, their baby shampoo contains sodium lauryl sulfate.

Sulfate-Free Baby Shampoos

On the other hand, there are also many baby shampoo brands that have chosen to formulate their products without sulfates, catering to parents who prefer to avoid these ingredients. Some popular sulfate-free baby shampoo options include:

  • Puracy Natural Baby Shampoo: This plant-based, hypoallergenic shampoo is free from sulfates, parabens, and other harsh ingredients.
  • Cetaphil Baby Shampoo: This gentle, tear-free formula is designed for sensitive skin and is free from sulfates, parabens, and dyes.
  • Earth Mama Calming Lavender Baby Shampoo & Body Wash: This natural, plant-based product is free from sulfates, synthetic fragrances, and other potentially harmful ingredients.
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The Debate Around Sulfates in Baby Shampoos

While sulfates are generally considered safe for use in baby products when used as directed, there are concerns raised by some parents and healthcare professionals regarding their potential to cause skin irritation, dryness, and other adverse effects, particularly for babies with sensitive skin or eczema.

Proponents of sulfate-free baby shampoos argue that these gentle formulations are less likely to strip the skin and hair of natural oils, potentially reducing the risk of irritation and maintaining the delicate pH balance of a baby's skin and scalp.

However, it's important to note that the presence of sulfates in baby shampoos is regulated by governing bodies, and these ingredients are deemed safe for use in rinse-off products like shampoos when used as directed and rinsed off properly.

Choosing the Right Baby Shampoo

When selecting a baby shampoo, it's essential to consider your child's individual needs and preferences. Here are some tips to help you make an informed choice:

  1. Check the ingredient list: Look for sulfate-free formulas if you prefer to avoid these ingredients, or opt for a trusted brand that includes sulfates if you're comfortable with their use.
  2. Consider skin sensitivities: If your baby has sensitive skin, eczema, or other skin conditions, a sulfate-free shampoo may be a better option to minimize potential irritation.
  3. Look for gentle, tear-free formulas: Regardless of the presence of sulfates, choose a shampoo that is specifically designed for babies and is tear-free to prevent discomfort during bath time.
  4. Prioritize natural and organic ingredients: Many parents prefer baby shampoos with natural, plant-based ingredients and minimal synthetic additives.
  5. Consult with your pediatrician: If you have specific concerns or questions about the safety or suitability of a particular baby shampoo, consult with your pediatrician for guidance.


In summary, while some baby shampoos contain sulfates like sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate, there are also many sulfate-free options available in the market. The decision to choose a sulfate-containing or sulfate-free baby shampoo ultimately comes down to personal preference, your baby's individual needs, and any specific skin sensitivities or concerns.

It's important to carefully read ingredient lists, consider trusted brand recommendations, and consult with healthcare professionals if needed. By making an informed choice and following proper usage instructions, you can ensure a gentle, safe, and enjoyable bath time experience for your little one.

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Aims to cleanse gently while helping to reduce excess oil and balance scalp
Hair Strength Shampoo | For Men
Hair Strength Shampoo | For Men
Aims to cleanse gently while helping to reduce excess oil and balance scalp

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Luat Duong

Luat Duong is a Copenhagen-based writer and content strategist specializing in hair loss and health. His work has been featured in MyHealthGuide, The Right Hairstyles, and Woman's Era. He is a graduate of Vaasa University. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.