Fact Checked

How do I Choose the Best Kids' Shampoo?

Erin J. Hill
Erin J. Hill

The best kids’ shampoo may be different for every individual child, so figuring out which variety will work best for your kids may take some trial and error. First you should consider whether your child has any particular condition or hair type which may require special treatment. Examples include psoriasis, dandruff, or coarse hair. You should also consider things like fragrance, gentleness, and your family budget when making a decision. The age of your child should also be a factor, because infants and very small children often require special formulations.

If your child is under the age of three or four, you may wish to use a baby formulation kids’ shampoo. These are generally very mild to prevent injury if suds make their way into your child’s eyes. They are also less likely to cause skin irritation, since most kids this age have very sensitive skin.

Plastic bottles of shampoo.
Plastic bottles of shampoo.

Hypoallergenic varieties are available if your child has a particular skin condition, or if he or she has a history of allergies. Some also contain soothing ingredients to help alleviate any itching or irritation which may accompany skin issues like eczema or psoriasis. Specialized formulas for each individual condition may also be available, either by prescription or sold in pharmacies over the counter.

Some conditions, such as dandruff, require special shampoo.
Some conditions, such as dandruff, require special shampoo.

Aside from treating or preventing a skin problem, choosing the best kids’ shampoo is really a matter of personal taste. You may make your choice based on the scent, texture, or formulation of the shampoo. If you have a hard time getting your little one to sit still long enough for a thorough washing, you may want to go with a two-in-one shampoo and conditioner instead of using each item separately to cut the steps in half. On the other hand, kids who love to wash their hair may enjoy shampoos with a particular cartoon character theme or color.

Many baby shampoo brands claim to be tear-free.
Many baby shampoo brands claim to be tear-free.

You may choose a kids’ shampoo formulated for special hair types, if available. For example, if your child has dry or curly hair, you will probably need a moisturizing shampoo to tame any frizz or coarseness. Kids with fine or thin hair may need something light that won’t weigh it down during the day.

Although the importance of using organic ingredients is still being researched, there have been some studies to indicate that shampoos, conditioners, and other health and beauty items may have potentially harmful chemical additives. If this is a concern for you, there are organically made options available at most health food stores or online, and increasingly in grocery stores. These may not be as effective for moisturizing dry hair or deep conditioning, so you may need to take the time to find just the right match for your child.

Keeping these things in mind, if your family budget does not make room for special shampoos and name brands, there is nothing wrong with buying bargain kids’ shampoo. Many times the generic or store brands are made by the exact same makers and are simply distributed by a different company. Even if this is not the case, they are often just as good or better than more expensive brands, and your child will suffer no harm if you choose to use a less pricey option, save for those with severe skin conditions.

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Discussion Comments


If a child needs a dandruff shampoo, one that is made of natural ingredients will be less harsh than regular commercial brands. You can find this type of shampoo in health food stores or in the natural products isle of your favorite grocery or retail store. Many online shops that sell natural and organic products also carry this type of shampoo for kids.


Kids love any kind of product that has their favorite movie and cartoon characters. If you look in the children's grooming section of your favorite retails store, you will probably be able to find shampoo in bottles with these playful themes.

This type of shampoo makes a great gift for holidays and birthdays. It also makes kids want to have their hair shampooed, so they often look forward to bath time.

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    • Plastic bottles of shampoo.
      By: Dessie
      Plastic bottles of shampoo.
    • Some conditions, such as dandruff, require special shampoo.
      By: roblan
      Some conditions, such as dandruff, require special shampoo.
    • Many baby shampoo brands claim to be tear-free.
      By: Africa Studio
      Many baby shampoo brands claim to be tear-free.