A Guide to Selecting the Best Hypoallergenic Shampoo
You’ll notice that processed foods are required to have a list of possible allergens so that people who are allergic to things such as dairy, soy, or nuts will know to be careful. But what about cosmetic products, such as shampoos? How can you be sure that shampoos don’t have any allergens in them?
In 1974, the Federal Drug Administration proposed that cosmetics manufacturers perform a series of tests before claiming that their products are “hypoallergenic”. This was disputed by cosmetics manufacturers since it was difficult to be able to ensure that a “hypoallergenic” product will always be safe for all types of allergies. They reached a compromise, where all of the ingredients must be listed, and people would decide for themselves whether they have an allergy to the product or not.
However, when you’re looking for a gentle shampoo that won’t dry out or irritate your scalp, there are certainly a lot of good candidates. And there are shampoos for children and even infants, that have to be gentle. We’ll go through some of the items in the Best Reviews Guide list of hypoallergenic shampoos. We’ll help you find the shampoo that’s just right for your hair and scalp!
What makes a shampoo hypoallergenic?
An hypoallergenic shampoo is formulated to minimize the risk of allergic reactions, particularly among those with sensitive skin. People who suffer from eczema or psoriasis can also benefit from a hypoallergenic shampoo. To achieve this, manufacturers select ingredients that have a low potential for irritation or allergenicity. Some features of hypoallergenic shampoos include:
No harsh chemicals, such as sulfates
No fragrances that may cause skin irritation.
Contains natural extracts like chamomile and aloe vera, which have soothing effects on the scalp.
What does it mean, “no-tears shampoo”?
Some say that a shampoo that is advertised as “no-tears” has really a double meaning:
“It won’t burn your child’s eyes”: In this context, it typically means that the shampoo won’t irritate your child’s eyes and make them cry if some shampoo accidentally gets inside. Some formulas are pH-balanced to have the same pH as water (not acidic, and not alkaline), to be less irritating.
“It won’t cause breakage”: Some manufacturers use the term “no-tears” to mean that the shampoo will detangle your child’s hair so that they won’t cry when combing it. Also, it will make it more resilient against split ends and breakage.
Types of Hypoallergenic Shampoos
Looking at the Best Reviews Guide’s list of hypoallergenic shampoos, we can divide them by age group:
Baby shampoos: Babies typically don’t have a lot of hair, but they have very sensitive skin. An example of a hypoallergenic shampoo for babies is the Aveeno Baby Daily Moisture Gentle Bath Wash & Shampoo. Like all Aveeno products, it contains an oat derivative. (The name “Aveeno” is derived from the scientific name for oats, Avena sativa. This baby shampoo in particular contains oat kernel extract, which soothes and moisturizes irritated skin.)
Aveeno Baby Daily Moisture Gentle Bath Wash & Shampoo
Other gentle, hypoallergenic baby shampoo products contain ingredients such as chamomile and aloe extracts. An example of such a product is The Honest Company’s 2-in-1 Cleansing Shampoo & Body Wash. It comes in a variety of delicate scents such as lavender, citrus-vanilla, and sweet almond, as well as a fragrance-free option.
Honest Company’s 2-in-1 Cleansing Shampoo & Body Wash
Shampoos for children: A child’s hair is 2-3 times thicker and 4 times longer than a baby’s hair, so they’ll need something that cleanses, conditions, and detangles their hair but is still gentle. Aveeno Kids Hydrating Shampoo & Conditioner is formulated for children ages 3-7 and is recommended by pediatricians and dermatologists as being hypoallergenic.
Aveeno Kids Hydrating Shampoo & Conditioner
Shampoos for adults: There are also shampoos for adults that use gentle natural products, and avoid any possible irritants. An example is the Attitude Super Leaves Hypoallergenic 2-in-1 Shampoo & Body Wash. It has extracts from black willow and aspen bark, as well as moringa seed extract which is rich in antioxidants and polyphenols that can help detoxify your hair and scalp.
Attitude Super Leaves Hypoallergenic 2-in-1 Shampoo & Body Wash
What reviewers say
Here are some customers’ impressions of the hypoallergenic shampoo that they bought:
Products for kids with eczema: One parent whose child suffers from eczema said that she tried The Honest Company 2-in-1 Cleansing Shampoo & Body Wash, and saw an improvement after a single bath! Other people were pleased with the lavender fragrance, as well as the thick consistency.
Products for damaged or dry hair: Some products are specifically for treating frizzy or damaged hair. For example, the Fragfre Intense Hydrating Shampoo is formulated to treat dry hair and split ends. It’s suitable for all types of hair, including color-treated hair, curly and wavy hair, straight hair, and kinky hair.
Here are some features that are worth looking for when selecting a hypoallergenic shampoo:
EWG verified: You’ll see products that have the description “EWG verified”. That stands for “Environmental Working Group”. EWG checks cosmetics and cleaning products to make sure that they don’t contain any ingredients that can cause health concerns, such as allergens or even carcinogens. You can check out their website for a complete list of products that they have approved.
Ingredients to look for: These shampoos will typically employ three different categories of ingredients:
Moisturizers: A moisturizer usually consists of oils that protect your skin and keep it from losing water and drying out. Most of these hypoallergenic shampoos will have moisturizing ingredients, such as argan oil, marula oil, and jojoba oil.
Antioxidants: It’s not uncommon that they’ll have antioxidants, such as Vitamins C and E. These will aid to repair damage to your hair and scalp due to exposure to UV light from the sun.
Hydrators: Hydrators are ingredients that attract and add water to your skin. Aloe vera extract is also very common in these shampoos since it works to hydrate your hair, skin, and scalp. It’s also recommended in cases of psoriasis.
We surveyed some of the most popular hypoallergenic shampoos available today. Most of them stress using natural ingredients. That decreases the possibility that they’ll cause irritation, or be harsh on your skin. But it doesn’t eliminate the possibility that you won’t be sensitive to one of the ingredients! These shampoos strive to contain only mild ingredients. You may have to try several out before you land on the right one for your hair type!