Shampoo is shampoo, right? Wrong. Find out what toxic chemicals you need to avoid
While bath time can be all things calming, refreshing and fun, the sad reality is that many of the mainstream products available for babies and kids are full of potentially harmful chemicals. In this article, we look at the chemicals to avoid in baby & kids bath products and share our favorite non-toxic picks.
When you’re a parent, discovering that a product contains some not-so-nice chemicals is particularly worrisome because babies have much thinner skin than adults (to accommodate all that growing!) which makes it easier for chemicals to be absorbed into their bloodstream, while toddlers tend to put a lot of things in their mouths…(like a sudsy rubber ducky!)
The frustrating thing is that many of these mainstream brands make it look like they’re safe by using words like, ‘tear-free,’ ‘hypoallergenic’ and ‘natural’ on their labels.
To help you fight the green-washing and learn how to shop safer and smarter for your baby & kids bath time products, we’ll go over:
- Chemicals to avoid in baby and kids bath time products
- The best non-toxic baby and kids personal care brands
Scroll down to learn more!
Chemicals to avoid in baby and kids bath time products
At The Tot, we never use or recommend anything that hasn’t passed The Tot Safety Test. This means we dive deep into third-party testing, examine ingredients list and ask in-depth questions about a product’s composition to ensure free of the chemicals we avoid.
When it comes to bath products and skincare, we avoid the following chemicals:
- Parabens: Often used as a skincare preservative, these are known hormone disrupters, carcinogens, and skin irritants. When reading an ingredients list, make sure there isn’t anything with ‘paraben’ on the end such as methylparaben, ethlyparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, isobutylparaben, or isopropylparaben. But beware: sometimes a company will shorten the word to just methyl, ethyl or propyl!
- SLS, SLES + ALS: These sulfates are commonly found in shampoos and soaps as foaming agents. They can heavily irritate the skin and cause your body to overcompensate by creating an excessive amount of oil. Look out for and avoid sodium lauryl sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate and ammonium laurel sulfate.
- Petrochemicals: The problem with petrochemicals is that they can be contaminated with 1,4 dioxane, which is a volatile organic compound known to cause cancer, irritation and damage to your central nervous system. These include ingredients like parfum, fragrance, parafin wax, butyl alcohol, butylparaben, butylene glycol, mineral oil, toluene, benzene, polyethylene glycol (PEG) as well as ethanolamine and dietanolamine.
- Phthalates: Phthalates are used as a plasticizer and are found in nail polish, hair spray, perfumes, lotions, soaps, shampoos and more. As known endocrine disruptors associated with liver and kidney lesions and increasing your risk of certain cancers, they may exacerbate asthma and allergies in children. You will find this on an ingredients list as diethylphthalate (DEP), dibutylphthalates (DBP), diethylhexylphthalate (DEHP) or dimethylphthalate (DMP).
- Synthetic Fragrance: Often found in cosmetics, skincare, air fresheners, cleaning supplies, nail polish, paints, and playdough, synthetic fragrances can contain dozens of chemicals that often do not need to be disclosed. Some of the most common chemicals found in man-made fragrances include phthalates, which are endocrine disruptors, and benzene derivatives, aldehydes, and toluene, which are known carcinogens.
- Synthetic Dyes + Colorants: Many synthetic dyes and colorants can contain heavy metals that cause skin irritation and organ toxicity. Be sure to avoid FD&C (Food, Drugs and Cosmetics) and D&C (Drugs & Cosmetics) dyes and pigments such as Yellow No 5 and No 6, Red No 3, Blue No 1 and No 2, as well as Green No 3 and S.
- GMOs: Commonly found in skincare, cosmetics, food and clothing, the consumption of GMOs has been linked to allergies, asthma, intestinal damage, and inflammation, the use of them topically is also of concern. Chemicals that are absorbed through the skin make their way into the bloodstream, which means you potentially share the same risks.
The best non-toxic baby and kids personal care brands
Even though harmful chemicals in skincare seems to be the norm, the good news is: plenty of brands are working hard to create non-toxic personal care products!
A few of our favorite non-toxic baby and kids personal care brands are:
Below, we will share why we love these brands as well as our favorite baby and kid-friendly bath time products picks for each!
One of the first brands on the market to be MADE SAFE® certified, Pleni Natural products are free of harmful toxins, known carcinogens, pesticides, and endocrine disruptors. Founded by a former esthetician and skincare educator with over 18 years experience, Pleni Naturals believes that what we put both into and on to our bodies go hand in hand, which is why our littlest family members should have frequent exposure to the vitamins, antioxidants, and essential fatty acids that organic fruits and veggies have to offer.
Hair & Body Wash / Body Oil / Barrier Balm
Ranging from $16.99 to $30.99
8 oz / 16 oz
Gryph & Ivyrose
Founded by Rachel Finger, Karolina Kurkova, and Orion Nevel, Gryph & Ivyrose uses the expertise of a herbalist, acupuncturist and pediatrician to create their amazing line of made in the USA non-toxic skincare and bath products. Free from harmful phthalates, sulphates, parabens, and other toxic chemicals, the brand also focuses on establishing sustainable and effective wellness regimens for children.
All cruelty-free, their herbal blends support the skin and scalp’s biome to make hair naturally silky and manageable and skin baby soft! Their products are also pH Balanced to guard against common skin irritations and are gentle enough for all ages & skin types.
One of the first pioneers of non-toxic skincare products for pregnant women and babies is Erbaviva. For over 20 years, they’ve used hypoallergenic, sustainable, and natural ingredients that are certified organic to create body washes, lotions, balms, sunscreen and even bug spray!
Gentle on delicate skin and tough on playground dirt, they’re a true tried and trusted favorite.
- USDA Certified Organic
- Soil Association Cosmos Organic
- Certified Demeter Biodynamic Farming
- Certified B Corporation
Body Wash / Lotion / Lip & Cheek Balm