Selecting a shampoo for children is a lot more complicated than just grabbing a cleanser that smells like bubblegum or watermelon and has a silly character on the front. Many shampoos directed at kids on the market have artificial colors and chemical-laden scents in them to make them appealing.
This doesn’t make these shampoos healthy for your kids or the environment, however. Plus, it’s tricky to find a shampoo that your kids will actually like, but that won’t be harsh on their young tresses as well. In short, finding a kid’s shampoo is a lot harder than it looks.
As you shop for kids’ shampoo at your local department store, online, or even via a local salon, one thing you’ll notice is how many options there are! Gone are the days when children simply used bubble bath to wash their hair and bodies—now you can choose from so many different cleansers and two-in-one kid hair-washing agents that it’s intimidating to make one single selection.
So, what do you choose? First of all, know what’s important in a kid-targeted shampoo:
- Gentle cleansing agents that won’t hurt their eyes
- Non-toxic or plant-based ingredients (or both)
- Super sudsing and lather for easier cleansing
- Recognizable and pleasing scent for fresh hair
- Fun and engaging application for easy use
- No or few artificial dyes or fragrances
- Age-appropriate design and cleansing for thorough and safe cleansing
Always supervise young children when they cleanse their hair. Give their scalp a gentle scrubbing to remove excess skin and sebum (and cradle cap, for younger kids) so hair follicles can be restored and prep the scalp for healthy hair growth. And remember—less is more. Grown-ups need a quarter-sized amount of shampoo to cleanse their hair, and children need about a nickel- or dime-sized amount, comparatively.
You’ll also notice that there are shampoos for kids and shampoos for babies. While you can use baby shampoo on an older child, it’s not recommended to use kids’ shampoo on a baby. Any kids' shampoo you choose that is gentle enough can be used by adults, though, not just children, so keep yourself in mind when choosing a kids’ shampoo as well.
We’ve compiled a list of the 10 best shampoos for kids in 2023. This way, you can easily compare your favorite brands and types of shampoos and select one—or more—that fits your budget best. Consider purchasing accompanying conditioners, leave-in detanglers, and other hair care items by the brands you see here as well as cleansers. We’ve tossed a few two-on-one shampooing agents in our list as well. Here’s to happy kids with cleaner, more manageable, healthier hair!
Healthy hair habits start young, so exposing your kids to a healthy and versatile shampoo when they’re little will help them continue to make positive hair choices as they get older. And at first glance, you can clearly see that this is not your classic or typical kid’s shampoo.
You’d be right—this is a shampoo for no particular age range. So what is this shampoo doing on our list, and at the top spot as well?
We can’t deny this shampoo’s gentle and effective formula that makes it a top choice for our list. You can use this shampoo, and so can your kiddos! It’s nearly entirely composed of natural ingredients (99%, to be exact) and is vegan, cruelty-free, and super gentle on all hair types.
This shampoo comes in both a coconut apricot and a classic version, but we’ve chosen the former for our list because it smells amazing. Kids will love the natural yet fruity (can we say candy-like?) scent of this shampoo and you’ll love it because it’s got ingredients you can pronounce.
These ingredients include saw palmetto for healthy hair growth, aloe for a soothed scalp and hydrated tresses, and jojoba oil to keep a kid’s scalp free of itchiness without making it or hair oily.
If your kids are reluctant to bathe and don’t like to clean their hair, it’s wise to invest in a shampoo that can keep their tresses clean and lively longer. This shampoo is lightweight and gentle, so you can suds up your kids’ hair daily without guilt or worry.
Use this shampoo if you want your kids to have all-around healthy hair and scalps. You can use this shampoo as well (or try the classic version if fruity scents aren’t your thing) and feel great about everyone’s hair in the family. Safe for all hair types, try pairing this shampoo with its accompanying conditioner for the best results and to give your kids shinier, tangle-free tresses.
2. Evereden Kids Multi-Vitamin Shampoo & Conditioner
You give your kids a mutli-vitamin every day to help them grow strong and allow for healthy growth and maturity. Well, guess what? This shampoo does that for their hair and scalp. With a delicious fruity cool peach scent that no child—or parent!—can resist and non-toxic additives, how could we not choose this shampoo for our list?
We not only appreciate that this is both a shampoo and conditioning agent in one (less time fighting kids to wash and condition their tresses), we appreciate the effective yet gentle cleansing ingredients in this shampoo. It focuses on Vitamins B3, B5, C, and E, as well as amino acids and omegas, to thoroughly cleanse hair without stripping it of its natural oils. This keeps the scalp’s pH at a comfortable level and prevents irritation and sensitivity.
Plant-based, this shampoo lacks tons of ingredients we don’t like, such as sulfates, parabens, chemical dyes and colors, and chemical sunscreens. For this reason, this shampoo is great for kids ages four and up. But we’re not going to blame you if you want to get any teens or adults in your family using this powerhouse shampoo/conditioner combo.
As a bonus, this shampoo is also available in two other equally intriguing scents: melon juice and fresh pomelo. So if you want to really switch things up and keep your kids excited about bath time, invest in all the fun scents.
Use this shampoo for your kids if they hate taking baths and/or they have sensitive skin and you want to cleanse and soften their tresses with an all-in-one agent. Plus, it’s great for kids with all hair types, from fine and thin hair to long and coarse tresses, and everything in between.
3. Attitude Natural Care Little Leaves Science Shampoo & Body Wash
Kids will love this shampoo and body wash combination because of its fun packaging and yummy scents, and parents will love it because it’s plant-based, hypoallergenic, multi-use, and effective. Enjoy this shampoo and body cleanser in a variety of scents, including vanilla and pear, blueberry, watermelon and coco, and mango.
Did we mention that this shampoo is vegan and tested by dermatologists? It’s also economically friendly in that it uses eco-aware packaging and is free of parabens, sulfate, benzyl alcohol, and chemical fragrances.
But what we love most about this shampoo and body cleanser is how it works: using blueberry leaf and moringa seed extract to make this shampoo laden with antioxidants, this is a hypoallergenic, protective, and powerful shampoo even the most sensitive skin can enjoy. This plant-based shampoo and body wash combination uses gentle minerals and natural scents to cleanse the body and leave the hair and skin smelling fresh and sweet. It’s also safe and ideal for all hair types.
This shampoo will effectively clean both the hair and body without drying delicate skin out, making this a clear winner in our book. We love the variety of scents your kids can choose from and the fun and cheeky packaging.
Use this shampoo for your kids if anyone in the family suffers from eczema, psoriasis, or other skin conditions. It’s safe for those conditions, without denying your kids a fun bath time experience due to having to use a boring or unscented shampoo. As a bonus, your kids can sud their whole bodies up for an all-around successful clean in one bottle. Efficient!
4. Dabble & Dollop Tangerine 3-in-1
For the kids who hate to take a bath but love to just play in the water, here’s a shampoo you can’t pass up. It’s a three-in-one solution to the boring bath tub experience and allows your kids to have their bubbles, body wash, and shampoo all in one bottle. No more having several bottles of kid solutions hanging around the tub—all you need is this adorably designed pump cleanser that even the adults can appreciate when they want a bubble bath!
What do we love about this bubble bath? We love that it’s a thick gel that comes from a pump dispenser, making it easier for kids to get their bodies and hair sudsed up without getting too much product or squeezing it all into the bath. A few quick squirts turn a regular bath into a bubble experience so kids can play and get cleaned at the same time. Hooray!
That’s not all we like, however. We love that this bubbly concoction smells like a delicious juicy orange-y tangerine and is dermatologist and ophthalmologist-tested to be a tear-free formula. This is super important for making bath time comfortable and fun.
This cleanser is also pH balanced for a healthy scalp and hair that is clean but not stripped of its natural oils. Vegan, gluten- and dairy-free, and also free of harsh chemicals, this cleanser and bubble bath is a more natural approach to body and hair care and is geared at kids in particular.
Use this shampoo for your family if your kids are reluctant to wash their hair at all, and you don’t want to invest in bubble bath, body wash, and shampoo.
There are several scents to consider from this brand, so if orange isn’t your thing, maybe melon, strawberry, or another fun color are! Everyone in the family can have their own scented bubble bath combo for the win, and it’s safe for all hair types. Use this shampoo as an alternative to other shampoos your family users or as your main go-to for your kids’ hair.
5. Aveda Cherry Almond Softening Shampoo
We’re at the halfway point and this is only the second shampoo we’ve seen in our list that isn’t specifically geared toward children. That’s perfectly fine, though. This is a shampoo the whole family can love for silkier and smoother strands that are perfectly soft. Its natural floral scent is absolutely charming, and we love how this gentle shampoo is effective enough to be enjoyed by adults and children alike.
It’s 97% natural, vegan, and free of both silicone and gluten, making this shampoo a guilt-free choice for your bathroom. Cherry blossom additives align with sweet almond oil to create a hair cleanser that strengthens hair and restores its sheen and shine. Tonka bean, orange essences, and ylang-ylang make this shampoo floral sweet so the entire family will enjoy it.
If your kids have hair that has been wrecked by the summer sun or swimming in a pool all day, or if your kids simply have long and fine tresses that are difficult to manage, this is a shampoo worth considering. It’s gentle enough to cleanse the hair from its natural odors and oils without stripping it entirely or leaving it greasy.
Use this shampoo if your kids have long hair that is normal to fine in style, and you want to manage their tresses better. If your kids have frequent tangles or limp and tired hair, this is a great shampoo to invest in. As a bonus, it’s great for the entire family, so feel free to sud up as well. This shampoo is good for all hair types, including color-treated hair.
6. Dr. Eddie’s Happy Cappy Medicated Shampoo
When you have a child who suffers from dandruff, cradle cap (even toddlers and older kids can still have this baby-related scalp condition), or seborrheic dermatitis, it’s very difficult to find a shampoo that will improve the issue without being super harsh on their scalp as a result. Created by a pediatrician who wanted to give parents a safe and gentle way to treat common scalp conditions, this shampoo delivers serious results—within two weeks—in the most gentle way.
Free of fragrances and dyes and using the most natural ingredients for treating an angry and red scalp, this shampoo can transform your child’s scalp and take away the itchiness and flaking you’ve been battling. Healing licorice root works to soothe the scalp and ease the redness, while pyrithione zinc helps to tackle the yeast and buildup on the scalp that creates the cradle cap in the first place.
Compare this shampoo to other cradle cap solutions you’ve tried and see how gentle and effective this formula is by comparison. It’s a natural approach to the hair woes your children have, and it can be used as often as needed to tackle dandruff and other scalp issues.
You can even use this shampoo for quick relief when your own scalp is irritated and dry. As a bonus, it’s safe for babies. Use this shampoo if you want to heal any kid's scalp issues in a safe and natural way with a dermatologist-approved formula that works.
It’s safe to use this shampoo in conjunction with other shampoo products in the home so long as the other shampoos you use on your children are also safe and gentle. Discontinue the use of other shampoos if they cause irritation or a recurrence of what this shampoo is eliminating. This shampoo is safe for all hair types.
7. Hello Bello Premium Baby Shampoo & Wash
This product may claim that it’s a premium baby shampoo and body wash, but it’s not limited to infants and babies. Anyone in the family can take advantage of this gentle pump formula that cleanses tresses and the body safely and effectively.
We like the scent of this shampoo, which is a decadent and soft lavender, both calming and relaxing to breathe in. There are no artificial fragrances or parabens, among other additives, to make this a gentle and efficient shampoo that is safe to use on even the youngest baby's skin. If lavender isn’t your favorite scent, then consider one of the many other scents this shampoo comes in, including birthday bash (hint: it smells like fresh vanilla bean).
We also like that this shampoo is among the more affordable options on our list. That means it’s both good for the skin and hair and good for the wallet, which is why this cleanser has been added to our list of the 10 best shampoos for kids in 2023.
How does such a gentle shampoo effectively clean the hair and body? Aloe and jojoba, both present in our number one shampoo, are also found in this cleaner, along with calendula and cucumber essences. All these ingredients working together allow you to keep your kids squeaky clean and smelling amazing without leaving their skin dry or their hair oily.
Use this shampoo if you have a family that varies in age ranges, from babies to adults. Anyone in the house can use this gentle cleanser as many times as needed. This means that, if you wish, you can wash your baby from their tiny head to their wiggly toes as often as they need a diaper change. This shampoo and body wash works for all hair types and can be a daily cleanser.
8. Everyone 3-in-1 Kids Soap
Here’s another all-in-one soap that we just had to include in our list. This shampoo, bubble bath, and body cleansing soap comes in a multitude of fun scents, including berry blast, tropical coconut twist, and orange squeeze. Simply choose the scent your kids love most and let them enjoy taking a bath and getting clean at once.
What will you love about this bubbly concoction? Its application, for starters, and the simple way this sudsing formula is constructed. You can trust your kids will get clean without being exposed to chemicals and ingredients they don’t need on their tender skin. This is a great cleanser even for kids who have sensitive or dry skin.
We’ve chosen this three-in-one cleanser because it’s easy to use and is also free of parabens and also cruelty-free. We also love that it uses useful ingredients to protect skin and hair and make bath time a safe and engaging experience.
White tea extracts and B vitamins, along with chamomile, aloe vera, and calendula, work together to make for a unique formula. It will make a bubble bath an actual cleaning experience—not just a whole lot of giggling!
Use this shampoo and cleanser if you have kids who are stubborn bath takers and you want a cleansing formula that works even if they don’t like to suds up their hair and bodies. Even if your kids just like to play in the bubbly water, they’ll get nice and clean, and will smell nice as well.
This is safe for all hair types and is gentle on the skin, so everyone in the family should be able to use it, even the grown-ups!
9. Kroger Soapy Safari 3-in-1 Wash
For parents on a budget and with not a lot of time to bathe the kiddos, we didn’t forget about you! Here’s yet another three-in-one wash, only this one is a little different than the others we’ve had on our list. This shampoo is a shampoo, conditioner, and body wash all in one.
Don’t let its cheaper price fool you, either. Even though you can get this three-in-one wash in a local grocery store, it’s effective in cleaning your kids’ hair and bodies and can be used as a primary cleanser or in between using another type of cleanser.
The colorfully detailed labeling makes this shampoo combo lots of fun, and the cleanser is free of parabens. The scented formula lathers up for a fun experience for kids and smells of candy and other sweets. Consider these fun scents in your three-in-one shampoo, conditioner, and cleanser: watermelon, kiwi melon, and grape.
If your kids like to take baths but don’t like to actually wash and condition their hair, this can be a great and cost-effective solution for you to try. It’s nice and gentle on sensitive skin and also free of gluten for those who have allergies. Use this product as intended or even add it to a simple bath for its bubbles; either way, you use it your kids will get nice and clean.
Use this shampoo cleanser for the whole family if you want hair care and children’s hygiene products for bathing on a budget. You can use this as a regular cleanser for your kids or you can alternate between this product and another of your choosing.
10. SoCozy 3-in-1 Shampoo
We love the concept of a three-in-one shampoo, body wash, and conditioning agent so much for kids that we’ve added yet another of these products to our list. This one is designed around making kids’ hair manageable and soft as well as making sure that their bodies get moisturized and nourished as well.
Even kids suffer from dry hair and tired, damaged skin. A body wash that can cleanse and hydrate the skin as well as keep hair clean and stress-free is a win in our books and a huge reason why this product has made our list. Plus, this shampoo combination doesn’t have synthetic colors, parabens, or sulfates, among other additives kids don’t need.
What this cleanser does have, however, is what we like most. Kiwi extracts, keratin, and Vitamin B5 work together to not only cleanse the hair and body but also to add back lost moisture at the same time. Overall, it works to clean in a gentle way so kids (and parents) can feel great about how they look and feel.
Use this shampoo, conditioner, and body wash if you have younger kids who struggle with itchy and dry skin and tangled hair. Use also for older kids just discovering hygiene who want a cool and fun cleansing agent to use. This can be used on all hair types and all skin types as well, although some kids may need more than one application of the cleanser if they have thicker tresses.
What makes all these top kids’ shampoos great is that each of them is gentle enough to be used on most children. Plus, all of them are designed to be used with their accompanying conditioning agents, if applicable. If you’d like, mix and match the cleansers you choose for your family based on your budget, the ages of your children, and the specific hygienic needs of your family.
The goal of any kids’ shampoo should be to cleanse hair and body in as gentle a way as possible. With so many options worth considering, it’s hard to narrow the options to just one single solution. Luckily, you don’t have to find one on your own, due to this handy list. With the right hair and skin care, your kids can thrive with each bath time experience!