Pregnancy brings with it a lot of uncharted territory, not the least of which is not all the checking you need to do for your personal care products, and that includes making your shampoos safe for pregnancy. Yes, in addition to learning everything you need to know to become a parent, you also need to become a cosmetic chemist and figure out what beauty products you can and can’t use…at least that’s how it is.
Included in this list: Pregnancy safe shampoos. If you’ve read this article, you’ve probably read that you can’t use harsh active ingredients like retinol or salicylic acid while pregnant (here’s a full list of skincare ingredients to avoid while pregnant). pregnancy), but you may not have realized that there are common ingredients in shampoos that you should also avoid during pregnancy.
So why do your shampoo ingredients matter if they should only be on your hair? Well, unfortunately, your scalp can absorb ingredients just like the rest of the skin on your face and body. “Shampoos come into contact with a large area of the body and are inhaled during washing, so it’s especially important to use ‘pregnancy-safe’ products,” says Blair Murphy-Rose, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City. “And because there’s good evidence to suggest we can absorb some of the products we use on our skin and hair into our bloodstream, it’s wise to avoid questionable ingredients.”
How to choose a safe shampoo for pregnancy
While Dr. Murphy-Rose herself admits there are no clear guidelines on what defines something as “pregnancy safe,” she does have a list of ingredients she recommends his patients to avoid during pregnancy. “In general, it’s wise to avoid questionable ingredients like parabens, phthalates, PEGs, sulfates, and formaldehyde releasers,” says Dr. Murphy-Rose.
Another surprising ingredient that is safer to avoid during pregnancy are essential oils. “Essential oils and their composition/inclusion in products are not regulated by the FDA and they do not have labeling standards,” says Lindsey Zubritsky, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Pittsburgh. “Several essential oils can affect your baby during the early stages of development and should therefore be avoided.”
Of particular concern, several of the dermatologists shared that rosemary essential oil (commonly found in shampoos for thinning hair) has been linked to uterine contractions. That said, not all essential oils are bad, so if you have a shampoo that uses essential oils that you’d rather not get rid of, just take it to your doctor before continuing to use it.
Okay, now that you know what to avoid to make a shampoo safe for pregnancy, here are some dermatologist-approved options for you to choose from.
The 15 Best Pregnancy Safe Shampoos
Ideal for sensitive skin
Best Pregnancy Safe Shampoo for Sensitive Skin
Vanicream Free & Clear Shampoo — $10.00
No matter what you’re sensitive to, this shampoo won’t (or at least very, very unlikely) irritate your skin. The totally stripped-down formula is fragrance-free, dye-free, gluten-free, paraben-free and more. “This choice is suitable for all hair types and especially for people with sensitive skin or fragrance intolerance,” says Tiffany Clay, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in Atlanta.
Best Pregnancy Safe Shampoo for Curly Hair
SheaMoisture Manuka Honey & Mafura Oil Intensive Moisturizing Shampoo – $9.00
Sulfates are what create the suds and suds in most shampoos, but they’ve also been known to strip away moisture strands. So when you choose a sulfate-free shampoo to use during pregnancy, you’re also doing dry hair a favor. Along with being sulfate-free, this one also includes shea butter and manuka honey to lock in rich moisture. Dr. Clay says it’s her go-to for curly hair that needs more moisture.
Best pregnancy safe shampoo for oily hair
Giovanni 50:50 Moisturizing-Clarifying Balanced Shampoo — $8.00
“This shampoo is vegan and free of ingredients like parabens, phthalates, PEGs, and sulfates,” says Dr. Murphy-Rose. “I personally used it during my pregnancy and had a great experience with it. I also like that it doesn’t have an overpowering smell like many products, which is especially important during pregnancy! It cleans the hair in depth without drying it out and (with a good conditioner) leaving it silky and healthy.
Best pregnancy safe shampoo for dry hair
Klorane Organic Cupuaçu Butter Shampoo — $20.00
“Formulated with cold-pressed organic cupuaçu butter sustainably sourced from the Amazon rainforest, this plant-based formula is rich in omega fatty acids and highly hydrating,” says Hadley King, MD, board-certified dermatologist in New York City. “This shampoo is safe and incredibly hydrating to help repair damaged, dry hair. It’s plant-based and packed with moisturizing nutrients,” says Dr. Zubritsky.
Ideal for irritated scalps
Best Pregnancy Safe Shampoo for Irritated Scalp
Ideal for thinning hair
Best Pregnancy Safe Shampoo for Thinning Hair
Vegamour Gro Shampoo — $48.00
“This is a vegan shampoo that offers plant-based ingredients to nourish the hair and has an exclusive vegan keratin that has a dual purpose of creating volume in the hair while keeping the hair smooth,” says Hill. .
Ideal for the whole family
Best pregnancy safe shampoo for the whole family
Best Pregnancy Safe Shampoo for Fine Hair
Necessary The Shampoo — $25.00
Like the perfect white t-shirt of shampoos, this formula goes back to basics for a stripped down formula that just does the job (cleans your hair really well). No sulfates, no silicones, no PEGs, no fragrance, and it has the National Eczema Association’s “Seal of Acceptance” so it shouldn’t cause any skin irritations either. *chef’s kiss*
Ideal for eczema-prone skin
Best Pregnancy Safe Shampoo for Eczema Prone Skin
Best Pregnancy Safe Clarifying Shampoo
Odele Clarifying Shampoo — $12.00
Whether you’re battling oily roots, like to load up on styling products, or just like to extend the time between washes (who doesn’t?), this shampoo is ideal for giving your locks a fresh start. The clarifying formula removes product buildup, dirt and oil, as well as pollutants, hard water deposits and chlorine, all without the use of sulfates, parabens, phthalates or synthetic fragrances.
Ideal for colored hair
Best safe shampoo for pregnancy
Innersense Color Awakening Hair Bath — $28.00
Trying to find a pregnancy-safe shampoo that won’t dull your colored hair can be tricky, but this formula does it all. The main problem that comes from coloring your hair is the lack of moisture and shine, which many shampoos are also known to deplete. This shampoo does the opposite, thanks to a blend of coconut, shea butter, and honey that locks in moisture while pumpkin seed oil keeps your color vibrant and shiny.
Best plant-based shampoo
Best Safe Herbal Shampoo For Pregnancy
Rahua Moisturizing Shampoo — $36.00
Everyone’s skin and hair react differently to pregnancy, but for many women it tends to feel drier than usual. If so, this super rich shampoo will be your hair’s best friend. Amazonian-derived Rahua oil is the signature ingredient, but it also uses morete oil (an Amazonian fruit), aloe, and quinoa protein for hydration, strength, and protection against UVA rays.
Best shampoo and shower gel combo
Best pregnancy safe shampoo and body wash
The Honest Company Purely Sensitive Shampoo + Body Wash – $10.00
Another baby shampoo and shower gel hybrid for the win! This twin formula is super gentle, as it is free of phthalates, parabens, dyes, SLS/SLES, formaldehyde donors and synthetic fragrances, but also cares for your hair and skin with oil almond, jojoba, aloe vera and coconut. oil.
Best eco-friendly shampoo
Best Pregnancy Safe Shampoo Bar
Odacite 552M Soap Free Shampoo Bar – $29.00
For an eco-friendly option, remove the bottle and use a shampoo bar. This pregnancy-safe formula comes in a solid form and will give you between 50-75 washes (about 2-3 bottles) depending on your hair type and length.
Ideal for the treatment and prevention of dandruff
Best Pregnancy Safe Dandruff Shampoo
Philip Kingsley Flaky Scalp Cleansing Shampoo – $40.00
Although dandruff shampoos are generally safe to use during pregnancy, some contain salicylic acid, which should be avoided during pregnancy. This one uses a coconut-based surfactant (cocamidopropyl betaine) to create lather for deep cleansing that isn’t harsh on your already irritated scalp skin, along with antimicrobial piroctone olamine to cleanse and ward off dandruff-causing bacteria.
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