Is Baby Shampoo for Adults?

When it comes to your beauty routine, sometimes you're tempted to get a little creative. Baby shampoo seems gentler than regular shampoo -- if you can use it on a baby, it would stand to reason you could use it on an adult. If you're looking to try baby shampoo, there are a few things you should know first.

Why Baby Shampoo?

Many adult shampoos contain an ingredient called sodium lauryl sulfate, which is a cleaning agent. Sulfates, however, can dry your hair, so many people look for alternatives. Baby shampoo contains amphoteric surfectants, which are also cleaning agents but are less harsh than traditional sulfates. Using baby shampoo, therefore, will clean your hair, without leaving it so dry.


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Because amphoteric surfectants are milder than sulfates, they'll be gentler on your hair, but they also may not be so effective. It's possible you'll be left either with a not-so-great clean or you'll have to lather up a few times to get ideal results. It can be done, but you may have to allow for a few more minutes when cleaning your hair.

Things to Look Out For

Some baby shampoos contain a preservative called quaternium-15, which when used releases formaldehyde, which can cause skin irritation. To be fair, there are adult shampoos which also contain harmful chemicals. When shopping for baby shampoo -- or any shampoo for that matter -- read the label. Look for ingredients that contain the letters "-eth," some of which include:

  • polyoxyethylene
  • polyethoxyethylene
  • polyoxynolethylene
  • polyethylene
  • polyethylene glycol -- which may also be labeled "PEG."

Use Extra Care When Pregnant

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Take care to watch for hazardous chemicals, especially when expecting a baby, as the products you use may also have an effect on your child. And, of course, if you have your own little bundle of joy, be sure to choose baby shampoos that will be the healthiest for them. As long as you check the label and are satisfied, baby shampoo is perfectly fine to use for you and your baby.