Tear-Free Baby Shampoo vs. Soap-Based Baby Shampoo

September 25, 2018

Tear-Free Baby Shampoo vs. Soap-Based Baby Shampoo

In a world full of fillers, cheap marketing ploys, and companies just trying to make an extra buck at the expense of your health one would be justified in thinking “what else could be worse?” What could be worse is all of this at the expense of your child. It’s important as parents to not only be aware of the ingredients in your own skincare and hygiene products but those of your children as well. The implications and outcomes can be just as potentially devastating if we are not aware of we are using on a day to day basis.

In this article, we are going to explain the difference between tear-free baby shampoo and soap-based baby shampoo. While both achieve the same goal, there are some notable differences that every parent should be aware of.

Tear-free baby shampoo or “soap-free” shampoos are made with synthetic foaming cleansers that are better known as surfactants. Some of these surfactants are carcinogens, allergens and endocrine disruptors. That is unbelievable when you take a step back and digest that information for a moment. Carcinogens, allergens and endocrine disruptors? Yes, it is sadly true.

Recently lab testing was done on hundreds of products to see if they contained compounds that were not listed on their labels and many did. To the shock of many, two chemicals that have been linked to cancer formaldehyde and 1,4 dioxane, were found in dozens of leading baby shampoos and bath products. 

 Many of us are uninformed of the fact that U.S. companies are allowed to make personal care products without disclosing all the ingredients.

With all this said, one benefit of soap-free shampoo is that it instead contains non-alkaline surfactants which in turn will not hurt your baby’s eyes, however, one may ask is it worth the risk?

What we find incredible is that many shampoo companies will claim that their shampoos are derived from coconut oil, however, this can be slightly misleading to the general consumer. Let’s take a closer look. There are many steps that must take place to turn coconut oil into a surfactant, yes, a surfactant and the process can involve toxic chemicals. As you can see in this particular instance not all things are as they appear.

In contrast, soap-based shampoos like the one from Chelsey Wang are made of saponified plant oils such as coconut oil, jojoba oil or olive oil. During the process of saponification, a plant oil reacts with an alkali which does not remain in the final product. This is the way soap was originally made, long before the modern production of synthetic surfactants was introduced.

Benefits of soap-based shampoos include no health or environmental concerns; however, the downside is that with a higher pH, baby’s eyes will hurt if not protected from direct contact.

In conclusion, we hope we have equipped you with the information needed to make a better decision as to what products are best for your family and that you will feel confident when reading ingredient labels from here out. Times are constantly changing, and products are ever evolving. Arm yourself.


I Read the Labels for You. 2016. Are There Numbing Agents in Tear-Free Baby Shampoos? Last updated on November 30, 2016. https://ireadlabelsforyou.com/numbing-agent-tear-free-baby-shampoo/

TIME. 2016. Johnson & Johnson Is Just the Tip of the Toxic Iceberg. Published March 2, 2016. http://time.com/4239561/johnson-and-johnson-toxic-ingredients/

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