Most of the baby care lines out there, even the self-proclaimed natural ones, are not as natural as they claim. A quick glance at the extensive ingredient lists can reveal a whole range of chemicals and mysterious ingredients, which though not necessarily toxic per se, are definitely not natural. Babies have the most delicate of skin, and since their organs are always growing, what we put on (and, of course, IN) our babies can literally impact the building blocks of their little beings.
Though they’re obviously not the sole cause, chemicals in baby care products have been linked to asthma, hormonal imbalance (including premature puberty), skin issues like eczema, and even cancer. So even if you’re not totally on board with the green beauty industry, making sure the products you use on your baby are all-natural should be a really high priority!
I’ve tested several natural baby-care lines, and the ones below have come out on top. All of these best natural baby care products are formulated without toxic chemicals, including:
Phthalates (carcinogenic, asthma)
Synthetic Fragrance (linked to asthma, allergies, endocrine and hormone disruption)
Propylene Glycol [PEG] (allergies and asthma)
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (skin irritation, hormonal disruption)
Mineral Oil and other petroleum-derived ingredients (possible carcinogen, hormonal disruption)
Parabens (neurotoxin, endocrine disruption)
Triclosan (carcinogenic, endocrine disruption)
Lanolin (contaminated with pesticides)
Some of the product lines below are 100% all-natural, which I tend to favor, and others contain a few synthetic or chemical ingredients that are considered safe for babies and still receive the best ratings on EWG. There are definitely other brands out there, and new natural baby care products are coming out all the time, so this list is by no means exhaustive. If you’re going to try another product line, just make sure the products are free of the chemicals above, the ingredient lists are rather short, and that you recognize every ingredient listed (a great rule of thumb when selecting any product to put on or in your body!).
The Best Natural Baby Care Products
This has been the baby product line that we’ve come back to again and again for a number of reasons. It’s all-natural, mostly organic, ALL of the ingredients are recognizable, it’s great for newborns, kids, and adults, and the original line smells amazing. I will forever associate the sweet orange and vanilla scent with my cuddly little baby. Most of the products feature organic calendula, which is wonderful for healing and protecting skin, and and hydrating organic shea butter and jojoba oils. And I love that the line was formulated by a nurse and herbalist!
The Bottom Balm is a heavenly blend of organic oils and plant extracts, and is miraculous at preventing diaper rash (the only times little M has gotten it was when we didn’t apply the balm all day!). It’s also a great multi-purpose balm for dry skin, rashes and bug bites! The Baby Oil is super simple and effective, with just three ingredients (grape seed oil, jojoba oil, and calendula), so I feel really good about slathering my baby with it after baths. Since it’s unscented, I like to add some nourishing essential oils to make it even more soothing (Gentle Baby or Lavender are my faves). I like to use oil after baths since it’s the most penetrating and hydrating on moist, freshly washed skin, and then I use the Baby Lotion during the day.
The gentle Baby Body Wash & Shampoo is a castile based soap, which gets baby super clean with absolutely no residue and without overdrying. I love the foam, which is so easy to apply without getting into her eyes, and gets her hair cleaner and silkier than any other shampoo. My only complaint is that it’s not quite moisturizing enough for super dry or eczema-prone skin. The few times M has gotten a bit dry or rashy, I’ve switched to a more hydrating baby wash until her skin re-balances.
You can get a sample size pack of all their products (foaming shampoo/body wash, baby lotion, baby oil, and bottom balm) for less than $20 to try them all out, and then I recommend grabbing the biggest sizes of the Shampoo & Body Wash and Baby Lotion, which will last you FOREVER. We bought ours in September, and I don’t think we’ve even put a dent in either yet.
For dry baby skin, nothing beats Babo Botanicals. The Moisturizing Baby Shampoo and Wash is my go-to whenever M’s skin or scalp gets dry, or when she’s rashy. Formulated with oat milk, calendula, watercress, kudzu and chamomile, it’s amazing for hydrating and soothing sensitive, dry skin and scalp. The wash is very emollient, and therefore doesn’t rinse squeaky clean like castile-based products. This means more rinsing, but ultimately way more hydrated skin!
The Miracle Moisturizing Cream is loaded with healing ingredients like colloidal oatmeal, calendula, coconut oil, cocoa butter, and chamomile, and comes in the loveliest rich, emollient consistency. M gets dry patches around her mouth and nose, and this is what I whip out when she needs serious hydration.
I also love the 3-in-1 Moisturizing Sensitive Baby Wipes, which are perfect for cleaning and hydrating baby’s face and body while traveling or out and about! I use it for myself as well post-workout, or as a makeup remover ; )
In fact, I can see a lot of the Babo Botanicals products entering into our rotation for the whole family! We both love to use the Swim and Sport Shampoo and Wash after our weekly swim class or trips to the beach. The formulation is similar to the Moisturizing Wash, but features cucumber and aloe to soothe skin and purify hair, and a corn-based chelator that neutralizes chlorine, which is so important for babies and little kids! We use it right after getting out of the pool, so I can feel confidant that little M isn’t exposed to chlorine a minute longer than necessary, and it really does completely remove all residue! When we use any other wash after the pool, I find that she still smells like chlorine throughout the day, but with the Swim and Sport Wash, she just smells like heavenly cucumber ; )
And though we haven’t needed it yet, I imagine someday we’ll be grateful to have a natural lice solution like Babo’s Essential Lice Prevention Set!
When little M was just a few months old, she developed eczema on her face. It was the saddest thing to see our beautiful little girl all red and blotchy, with dry itchy skin. I eliminated gluten and dairy from my diet for the first several months of breastfeeding, which helped a bit, but she would still get the occasional flare-up. Now that she’s eating foods, we know that strawberries and tomatoes are her biggest triggers, but when when the occasional mysterious eczema flare-up occurs, there’s nothing I trust more than California Baby.
Their Eczema Shampoo and Bodywash is gluten-free, and features a high potency colloidal oatmeal, calendula and aloe in a clean, sustainable formula with many organic ingredients. It protects and restores skin’s natural barriers, and actually leaves skin more hydrated than before bathing, which is pretty rare for a soap. When combined with the California Baby Eczema Cream, those dry red patches disappear into thin air, often by the next morning!
This means I never have to use steroid creams or any of those gross mineral oil formulas on my baby’s sensitive skin, which makes me a happy mama.
California Baby has a gazillion different formulations for babies and kids, with blends for cranky, sick, sleepy, sensitive or frazzled littles. They even have aromatherapy spritzers! I’m really excited to explore the rest of their products and see what other whimsical things they come up with!
BEST DIAPER RASH CREAM: JK NATURALS
I have a whole system that we use on the infrequent occasion that diaper rash appears (more on that here), but I’ve recently fallen in love with the Diaper Cream from JK Naturals. It’s WAAAAY cleaner that all the other creams out there, with just a handful of all-natural and mostly organic ingredients, and it works better than all my previous favorite brands. When I see even a bit of redness coming on, I use the Earth Mama Bottom Balm, and follow up with just a touch of this diaper cream, and boom! Like magic, any trace of irritation is gone by morning. We haven’t had a full fledged case of diaper rash since we started using this miraculous cream. They also make lovely Organic Baby Soap that is the purest, cleanest soap for baby’s skin that I’ve ever found. Since it has a natural oil base, I wouldn’t recommend using it on hair.
As with all home and beauty products, the absolute cleanest option is going DIY. If you are a diehard organic beauty, some organic coconut oil and essential oils go a long way!
Natasha Uspensky is a mama, holistic nutritionist, wellness expert, and founder of The Organic Beauty Blog. She believes in a holistic approach to wellness; that true health and happiness come from achieving a sense of balance in all areas of life — from food, movement and environment, to relationships, community and career. Through her private practice, writing, and online programs, she works with women all over the world to heal their health, and start living the lives they crave, in a body they love. She is the founder of NU Health & Wellness, and has been featured in Marie Claire, Redbook, Livestrong, All-Parenting, Giada Weekly, and Mind Body Green. Check out her Gorgeous Mama programs, designed especially for moms in any stage of their motherhood journey, to create a strong, healthy body, and a joyful, balanced lifestyle!