Community Curated • Updated 03, 2019
Having a new member in the household will also require having some special stuff around the house, meant just for them. Yes, we’re talking about little babies and all the baby-sensitive products you’ll have to make sure to purchase. Babies have really sensitive skin and often require special formulas that will not be harsh and drying on their skin - and that includes baby hand soap.
Although when it comes to infants, it’s generally accepted that they can also be washed with water only in the earliest stages of their life, using a little bit of soap (the good kind!) won’t cause any harm either. Soap will help get out that extra icky stuff that may have been hanging around on your little one’s body - we all know how sneaky food leftovers can be!
But, choosing a baby soap can sometimes be a bummer though, since there’s so much stuff on the market. Picking out the right product for your little one from the sea of products in the baby market can sometimes seem like a full-time job on its own.
And so, if you’re in the process of looking for the best baby soap, you probably have some concerns over which soap would be best suited for that little one’s gentle skin. If that’s the case you can be at ease while browsing the products in our list below - we’ve taken great care to recommend only the safest baby soaps.
Want to know what to look for in baby soap? Head on over to our FAQ section, where we answer some of the questions regarding baby soaps people ask most often and address the most common concerns.
Johnson’s is definitely one of the most consistent and reliable brands out there - a lot of moms reading this have probably been bathed at some point with some of Johnson’s products. Because it’s one of the best-known names, it’s also a product with a very affordable price - coming in packs of six or four soaps for the price of one or two, that you would otherwise buy from another less known and more luxurious baby soap brand, making Johnson’s one very budget and family-friendly baby product. It’s got everything you need in a baby soap - successfully cleanses and moisturizes the skin (containing ¼ of baby lotion for the extra effect), leaving it gentle and protected without drying it. It has a light, delicate fragrance that will leave your little darling smelling nice and fresh, without being too overwhelming for their skin. Johnson’s bar soap doesn't contain any harmful chemicals (such as parabens or phthalates) or coloring agents; it’s also hypoallergenic and deemed suitable for babies with all skin types. A longtime favorite amongst moms and dads all over the world, Johnson’s baby soap is still a very present and relevant name among baby skin-care products. Present also on Amazon’s Choice list, and with lots of positive reviews and recommendations online, you definitely can’t go wrong with this all-time favorite baby soap!
Great reviews have been abundant for Dr. Bronner’s bar soap, which actually doesn't leave us very surprised, considering the blend of natural ingredients it contains. First of all, this just might be the best soap on our list when it comes to fighting baby and kids allergies. Dr. Bronner’s soap doesn’t contain any fragrance at all, making extra sure it will not affect in any way the gentle youngster’s skin. The same goes when it comes to enabling enough moisture and preventing skin dryness. In fact, this soap contains double the amount of organic olive oil, as well as significant amounts of organic hemp, jojoba, palm, and coconut oil. This multi-use soap - deemed gentle yet powerful! - is perfect for washing the whole body, head to toe - whether you want to use it solely on your baby’s face, their head and hair, or just the rest of their body, it’s up to you, because this soap will do its magic just everywhere! With its numerous certifications - from the USDA National Organic Program, as well as the one from the Vegan by Vegan Action, the Dr. Bronner soap is both super-natural! when it comes to the source of its ingredients (also ethically sourced and fair-trade), and cruelty-free! The packaging is 100% biodegradable (coming from 10% hemp-flax, and 90% consumer recycled paper from the Living Tree Paper Co.), which means that, besides your baby’s skin, this soap will soothe your environmental consciousness as well.
A 100% natural baby soap always sounds good, doesn’t it? Well, Burt’s Bees Baby Buttermilk is one such soap, with a steady following in both adult’s and baby products. This soap is super-gentle on the baby’s skin - and, it doesn’t contain any of the scary stuff with weird names, as SLS for example, or sulfate, phthalates, and petrochemicals. Instead, this Burt’s Bees Baby soap is rich with the best natural ingredients for your skin, such as oat flour and buttermilk - the first one soothes the potentially irritated skin, while the second one will make sure to soften it, leaving your baby’s skin a silk-like smooth surface. It’s safe to use for newborns and bigger babies, as well as adults with more sensitive skin, everywhere you want on the body (reviewers have noted it’s extra-soft on the face, making it a superb face-cleaning soap as well). This soap also won’t leave any annoying residue, something that a lot of other soaps usually do, making you feel like you have to rinse for ages! Tested by pediatricians and hypoallergenic, with all natural and as few as possible ingredients (in fact, the fewer ingredients in soap, the better), this soap will have your baby smelling lovely and fresh after each bath! Last, but not least, this soap comes with a great price, making it one of the simultaneously most budget-friendly and highest quality soaps on our list!
Albeit more expensive than other such products on the market, the Weleda Calendula Soap is still one of the best options you can find for delicate and sensitive baby skin. Nowadays, picking baby soaps can be pretty difficult - there are so many products out there, and a lot of them are just packed with harsh chemicals. You wouldn’t have to worry about this when it comes to the Weleda, however - this calendula rich soap contains only the best organic ingredients with just the right combination of essential oils. The extracts from calendula and chamomile flower provide a very fine moisturizing barrier for your baby’s skin, while at the same time managing to protect it and allowing it to stay soft and gentle. What’s more, this soap is great for both baby and mommy! We all know how the skin is still changing during and after pregnancy, and this can definitely be a great addition for the new mom’s skin care collection as well. This product is appropriate for both babies and grownups. Amazon reviewers have praised this soap as particularly soothing for extra-dry skin, recommending its use especially during the winter months, when the skin gets dry from the cold on a regular basis.
This is definitely a gentle product for the gentlest of skins! This pH-neutral, baby-sensitive and moisturizing wash is made by certified organic ingredients such as organic olive, coconut and palm oil. Only slightly cheaper than the Weleda Calendula Soap, the Nurture My Body is a similar product in terms of quality and ingredients that is also a part of Amazon’s Choice list. Nurture My Body is made with no artificial, scary chemicals, such as parabens phthalates and sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS), and no artificial fragrances, which are often the biggest culprits and contributors to skin irritation and teary eyes. This soap is also reported as one that doesn’t leave skin residues. Certified vegan and cruelty-free, the Nurture My Body soap is a great product for the animal-friendly moms out there who, at the same time, care how the products that they use affect their babies and also other beings around them. Because it doesn’t have any artificial scents, some people may find the smell of this soap as bland or sometimes even putting off, but, still, when it comes to choosing between possible irritation by fragrance and unscented soap that will not affect a sensitive skin but will not leave you smelling in any particular way, we think it’s always better to go for the second one.
This is probably the best baby soap on our list when it comes to extra-delicate skin. Another product on Amazon’s Choice list, the Sebamed Baby Cleansing Bar is still within the affordable price range and it’s definitely a worthy purchase if your little one is fighting to keep up with its sensitive skin. One of the best things about the Sebamed soap is that it has a pH balance of 5.5, which is the same pH balance that a healthy skin has. This means that soap with a balance of 5.5 will effectively protect the baby’s skin, keeping its texture nice and soft, causing no irritation or dryness whatsoever. The Sebamed soap also contains amino acids and vitamins and has chamomile extracts for additional skin benefits, as well as panthenol for better skin regeneration. It’s interesting that this soap is actually soap free - this means that the manufacturers have made extra-sure to have this product free from any harsh chemicals that might affect the pH balance of the skin - that’s why it also says alkali-free on the package. Have in mind that this also means the soap will not lather much - and although some people may find this annoying, lathering is often a product of artificial chemicals in soaps, so you might as well be better off without it. The Sebamed Cleansing Bar is also very environmentally-friendly - it’s 100% biodegradable, making this one superb product for the sensitive skin in both babies and adults.
During your baby’s first year of life, it’s recommended that you use a baby wash or hand soap - of a very mild variety and one that doesn’t lather much. Hygiene products that lather often contain synthetic foaming agents such as sodium laureth sulfate (SLS) or sodium lauryl ether sulfate (SLES), which have proven to be harmful both for the human body and the environment
Regular soaps are usually chemically stronger and harsher than baby soaps, and this has a lot to do with the fact that they’re designed to fight and dissolve the oily body odor. But, since babies’ skin and organism, in general, is still under development, and considering the fact that they don’t actually move that much, nor are they breaking up a sweat with hard exercise or getting their hands dirty, they don’t really need such products, which can cause unnecessary irritation and dryness.
Until your baby reaches the age of one, they don’t really need soaps or cleansers that much. You should use baby soap to clean their bottoms and the folds of skin around their arms and legs, areas where bacteria is more likely to accumulate and cause irritation or allergies.
This means that for babies younger than 12 months, you should use baby soaps and baby products only on parts of their body that really need them - and not everywhere. Babies younger than 12 months usually need a bath around 2-3 times a week, because frequent baths often dry out baby skin, especially in the winter time. Also, be careful not to soak them too much in a tub or soapy water, since it may cause irritation to the urethra and thus increase the risk of UTIs (this is especially important for girls).
When they start eating solid food, though, now, that’ll take some more baths and some mighty baby soap power to handle, since it’s very likely you’ll have a tad more areas to clean!
Babies often have trouble with onsets of rashes, allergies and other types of skin irritations - it’s quite common and it goes away as they grow older. But some of them really struggle with eczema (which manifests in patches of dry, red, scaly skin, especially present on the face and in the bends of the elbows and knees), as well as cradle cap (patchy, greasy, yellowish scaly and crusty skin rash that shows up on the scalp of infants), among other skin irritations. Finding the right skin care product can actually significantly relieve some of these symptoms, and sometimes even get rid of the condition entirely.
Consult with your pediatrician for more information on how to choose the best baby hand soap for babies with hypersensitive skin.
Babies with eczema are often very sensitive to baby washes and baby soap ingredients, and if they’re too loaded with synthetic chemicals and fragrances, it can worsen their condition and cause additional itches and irritation spots.
For babies with hypersensitive skin look for products that don’t contain many ingredients in general, are certified organic and naturally derived, and don’t contain any fragrances. It’s recommended that you go for soaps that target specific conditions, like for example baby hand soaps for eczema, for cradle cap and similar conditions.
In the next two sections, you can read which ingredients you should look out for in baby hand soaps.
Always search for soaps that have fewer ingredients in the ingredients list, contain as fewer harmful chemicals as possible, are non-toxic (both to the baby and the environment), and are gentle on the skin. There are also some types of regular soaps that are mild and that can do the job of baby soap.
These are the main points you should pay most attention to:
Avoid soaps that lather - as we mentioned above, soaps and body washes that lather often contain additional synthetic chemicals that make them foam well. Although foaming may seem like a good strategy for more economical use of the product, in the long run, it’s not really that good of an idea, especially when it comes to health concerns.
Avoid soaps with fragrance/perfume - fragrance or perfume is something a lot of manufacturing companies use as an umbrella term for other shady ingredients that they include in their products since they’re not legally obliged to disclose what kind of ingredients they actually are. Fragrance can often cause irritation on gentle, baby skin, and it can cause some discomfort(and you may not find out, since they can’t verbalize it yet!). Soaps with fragrance can also cause more exacerbating reactions on babies with skin conditions such as eczema or cradle cap.
Look for hypoallergenic labels - chances are higher that baby soaps with the hypoallergenic label will have a milder formula suitable for babies with super-sensitive skin, or ones that have extra-dry skin and eczema.
When purchasing a baby soap, it’s always a good idea to go over the ingredient list in more detail, just so you can double check some of the front page labels. Check out the next section for more details on baby soaps and unwanted ingredients.
Lots of baby hand soaps contain unwanted chemicals in their formulas. Some of these chemicals are downright carcinogenic or deemed as neurotoxins, some of them are less dangerous but can cause skin irritations or allergic reactions, and some are just very environmentally unfriendly. These are the ones you should pay most attention to and steer clear from:
Alcohol - sometimes used as an anti-bacterial ingredient, alcohol can actually irritate your baby’s skin and cause dryness
Propylene Glycol - this is a synthetic chemical designed to keep the skin moisturized (it attracts and absorbs water). But, it can be really problematic for babies that often have outbreaks of skin allergies and issues with eczema.
Parabens - you can find these everywhere - soaps, shampoos, body washes, and moisturizers, and baby products are not the exception, unfortunately. But we say a big no-no to parabens since they’re considered as neurotoxins. Just make sure to keep away from anything that has ‘paraben’ in the ingredients list, as well as benzoic acid and propyl ester.
Phthalates - a similar compound to the paraben, this one is used as a preservative in a lot of skin care and body care products.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS) - we mentioned this one in another question above. A compound that’s often used as a foaming agent in shampoos and body washes. If you want products that lather, search for ones that contain natural and organic foaming agents.
Fragrance/perfume - we also mentioned this one above - the cover term that legally allows manufacturers not to disclose the grey zone chemicals they put in their products. These are, in fact, a lot of the time synthetic chemicals derived from coal and petroleum.
Triclosan - environmentally unfriendly and carcinogenic, can be found where there’s an ‘antibacterial’ label on the product.
1,4-dioxane and ethylated surfactants - by-products that emerge when ethylene oxide, (also very harmful) is added to other chemicals in order to make them less harsh. It’s recommended that you should avoid products with ingredients that include the letters ‘eth’ in the ingredient list, which is an indicator of 1,4-dioxane. Keep away from: polyethylene, polyethylene glycol, sodium laureth sulfate, ceteareth, oleth, oxynol, -xynol, and PEG.
Instead, look for more natural or certified organic ingredients like:
Hopefully, we’ve provided you with just enough info to make the best baby hand soap decision - and we hope we’ve saved you some time too. You can get started with the products above - all of them good examples of how a quality, gentle baby soap should look like.
Skin care for babies is a very important issue and it shouldn’t be taken for granted. Ingredients and their combination is what matters most in baby care products, and this is something one should always be mindful of, which means you shouldn’t be afraid of doing a little research on the chemicals that are present in your baby’s washes.
And even though baby skin is, in general, more sensitive than adult skin, it still varies from baby to baby and a product that might work perfectly on one type of baby skin, might just be bad for another one.
That’s why it’s always a good idea to try out a couple of baby hand soaps and see which one your baby is most fond of.