Trying To Be Greener

Safer eco-living, one day at a time

How safe is your baby’s shampoo and soap? August 8, 2008

The Environmental Working Group has a website called Skin Deep. This site is an excellent resource for consumers in that it lists thousands of personal care products in an organized way and rates them on how safe their ingredients are.

“Skin Deep pairs ingredients in more than 25,000 products against 50 definitive toxicity and regulatory databases, making it the largest integrated data resource of its kind. Why did a small nonprofit take on such a big project? Because the FDA doesn’t require companies to test their own products for safety.”

At Skin Deep, you can find hundreds of specific items for hair, skin, eyes, nails, baby, oral care, fragrance, and makeup rated from 0-10, zero being the safest. Each item’s score is explained in detail and safer options are given.

My goal in this post was to give you some safe, inexpensive choices for baby shampoo and soap. Unfortunately, I am unable to do this. I will list common items with their score and hazardous ingredients only to bring it to your attention, especially if you use these items. However, please bear with me and continue through this post to the end for my recommendation.

It needs to be noted that although Skin Deep gives products a “moderate hazard” score, some of them contain parabens, which one study suggested may cause breast cancer due to hormone mimicking properties, fragrance, which can often mean Diethyl Phthalate or DEP, which is an endocrine disruptor that has been linked to reproductive and genital abnormalities, propylene glycol (Disodium PEG-12 Dimethicone sulfosuccinate), which the FDA says is safe for general use but can cause cancer and contains toxins that affect reproduction, and sodium laureth sulfate, which can cause skin and eye damage. PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, and PEG-150 Distearate unless vacuum stripped, are contaminated with 1,4-dioxane, which has been identified as a probable human carcinogen by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). PEG-150 Distearate and Cocamidopropyl Betaine can also cause allergic reactions. Quaternium-15 may release formaldehyde, which is a known carcinogen and can cause contact dermatitis from preservatives. Citric Acid can cause burning in the eyes. Items containing any of these are noted.

Shampoo with a score of 3 having a “moderate hazard”:

Huggies Baby Wash, Extra Sensitive, Fragrance Free – PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, Disodium PEG-12 dimethicone sulfosuccinate, PEG-150 Distearate, Quaternium-15, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Citric Acid

Shampoo with a score of 4 having a “moderate hazard”:

Johnson & Johnson Johnson’s Baby Head-to-Toe Baby Wash, Original – PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, Fragrance, PEG-150 Distearate, Quaternium-15, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Citric Acid

Johnson & Johnson Johnson’s Buddies Instant-Foam Easy Rinse Shampoo – Fragrance, Quaternium-15, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Citric Acid

Huggies Natural Care Wash – PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, Fragrance, PEG-150 Distearate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Laureth Sulfate

Johnson & Johnson Johnson’s Original Baby Shampoo – PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, Fragrance, PEG-150 Distearate, Quaternium-15, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Citric Acid

Aveeno Baby Wash & Shampoo, Tear Free – PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, Fragrance, PEG-150 Distearate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Laureth Sulfate

Aveeno Baby Wash & Shampoo – PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, Fragrance, PEG-150 Distearate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Laureth Sulfate

Shampoo with a score of 5 having a “moderate hazard”:

Huggies Baby Wash Extra Gentle – PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, Fragrance, PEG-150 Distearate, Quaternium-15, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Citric Acid

Gerber Grins and Giggles Baby Wash for hair & Body, (Lavender and Oatmeal) – PEG-80 Sorbitan Laurate, Fragrance, PEG-150 Distearate, Quaternium-15, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Citric Acid

Shampoo with a score of 6 having a “moderate hazard”:

Mustela Bebe Foam Shampoo for Newborns – Fragrance, Propylparaben, Citric Acid, Butylparaben, Methylparaben, Ethyparaben

Mustela Bebe Baby Shampoo – Fragrance, PEG-150 Distearate, Butylparaben, Methylparaben, Propylene Glycol, Magnesium Laureth Sulfate, Ethyparaben

If the item you use for your child is not listed here, take a look at the ingredients and see if any of the ones listed above are in it. Or, go to Skin Deep and see how it is rated.

As I stated, the goal of this post was to give you inexpensive baby shampoo and soap choices. I just feel that the above items are no bargain when you see what’s in them and who they’re for. Therefore, I recommend that you go to your local health food store and purchase something with a lower score from Skin Deep. In some cases, you will be getting a safer item that’s not as expensive as you may think. For example, I’ve been using California Baby Shampoo & Bodywash Tea Tree & Lavender (with a safer score of “1”) since my daughter was born almost 8 months ago. I still have about a month’s worth left after giving her a bath just about everyday because it’s concentrated. It cost me about $10.00 which means I’ll have paid a little more than $1.00 per month to use it. Safer and inexpensive – priceless.

See earlier posts of mine on safer bar soap and shampoo and conditioner.

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2 Responses to “How safe is your baby’s shampoo and soap?”

  1. Sara Says:

    Thanks for the list! I just recently discovered Skin Deep, and it is a great resource. I was unpleasantly surprised when I realized that the Burt’s Bees baby shampoo and wash that I just recently switched to (to avoid J&J) is still rated as a 3 – I missed “fragrance” when I read the ingredients. California Baby is definitely next on my list to try.

  2. heidi Says:

    Hey..just watch out california baby co. still uses carinogens such as tocopherols..vitamin E. I use poofy organics and natures paradise. some chemicals skin deep overlooks though..bec areful..like emulsifying wax..uses peg 650 and they say its a zero!!!!


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