Baby shampoo has a gentle formulation that’s perfect for the delicate scalp skin of infants and young children. Speaking of delicate, color-treated hair also requires mild shampoo with a gentle action. So, is baby shampoo good for colored hair? Let’s find out.
Generally, baby shampoo is gentle, while regular adult shampoo is typically loaded with chemicals. But is baby shampoo good for colored hair?
Unfortunately, the answer is no. Baby shampoo has a higher pH to prevent eye irritation. A higher pH is damaging to colored hair and accelerates fading.
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What Is Baby Shampoo?
Baby shampoo or pediatric shampoo is a hair cleaning product specially formulated for infants and young children (usually under the age of three).
Baby shampoo has a mild and gentle formulation to avoid irritation and prevent babies from experiencing a stinging or burning sensation should the shampoo accidentally get into the eyes.
This explains why baby shampoo is often said to have a “no-tears” formula.
Most baby shampoos on the market undergo extensive safety testing and contain ingredients approved for use on babies’ scalp and hair.
What Is The Difference Between Baby Shampoo And Regular Shampoo?
What makes baby shampoo different from regular shampoo? Here are the main differences you need to know about:
Dilution Of The Liquid
Baby shampoo is less concentrated and contains more water. That way, it’s less likely to cause eye irritation if the shampoo gets onto the baby’s face and near the eyes.
However, regular shampoo is loaded with harsher chemicals that will sting badly. Even after flushing the eyes, regular shampoo may still leave your eyes painful and irritated.
Baby shampoo has a higher pH. Keep in mind that the pH scale goes from 0 to 14, with 7 being neutral – the pH of water.
Baby shampoo has a pH closer to neutral (between 6 and 7 or higher) to prevent babies from experiencing a burning or stinging sensation.
However, the normal pH of a healthy scalp and hair in adults is somewhat acidic. So the ideal pH for regular shampoos should be between 3.6 and 5.5.
Baby shampoo uses milder surfactants called amphoteric surfactants because of the “no-tear” concept.
In contrast, regular shampoo contains sulfates with a strong foaming action to effectively strip away dirt and oil build-up.
Babies produce less sebum, so they don’t need harsh chemicals and ingredients to combat oil build-up in hair.
Adults with oily hair may need to use regular shampoo because it contains more potent cleaning agents, and it lathers better than baby shampoo.
Benefits Of Using Baby Shampoo
There are several benefits of using baby shampoo, whether it’s for infants, young children, or adults.
- It gently cleanses hair. Baby shampoo gently cleanses hair because it doesn’t contain harsh chemicals or additives. Most regular shampoos contain sulfate cleansers that strip your hair of its natural oils, leaving it dry and brittle. Conventional shampoos also contain parabens that can trigger allergic reactions or worsen dermatitis.
- Prevents product build-up. Baby shampoo won’t leave residue in your hair since it doesn’t contain silicones and other ingredients that cause shampoo build-up. Shampoo build-up from regular shampoos can lead to dry, greasy, and dull hair.
- Suitable for people with sensitivities. Overall, baby shampoo is less irritating, making it ideal for people with sensitive skin or allergies to sulfates or other harsh chemicals in regular shampoo.
Is Baby Shampoo Good For Colored Hair?
Most hair experts don’t recommend baby shampoo for colored hair because of its high pH.
In one scientific review, 100% of all baby shampoos that were analyzed had a higher pH than 5.5.
That means baby shampoo tends to be more alkaline, which isn’t good because the best pH for hair is slightly acidic (between 4.5 to 5.5).
According to the review, alkaline pH increases the friction between fibers, leading to cuticle damage and breakage.
This is especially so in color-treated hair, which has weaker strands.
The pH of baby shampoo opens up hair cuticles leading to moisture loss and allowing the color deposits to escape and fade faster.
How Often Can I Use Baby Shampoo On My Hair?
Some people insist on using baby shampoo because of its gentleness. If you’re planning on using baby shampoo, you can wash your hair every two to three days.
You may need to shampoo more than once because baby shampoo doesn’t contain strong cleansers, so it’s not as effective at removing product build-up and oils.
However, it’s best to follow up with a procedure that reduces your hair’s pH.
For instance, you can use an apple cider vinegar rinse to close hair cuticles and achieve optimum pH balance for your hair and scalp.
Alternatively, you can use a low pH, positively-charged conditioner to neutralize the static caused by high pH baby shampoo.
You can also opt for low pH or pH-balanced, sulfate-free shampoo. It’s gentler but more suitable for adults.
When you have color-treated hair, using high pH baby shampoo sparingly keeps the cuticles closed and helps retain your vibrant color and natural hair oils.
3 Best Baby Shampoos
The best baby shampoo should be safe and free of irritating chemicals and additives. It should have a gentle formula approved for use on babies’ sensitive and delicate skin.
Here are our top three popular picks for baby shampoo:
Johnson’s Baby Shampoo with Tear-Free Formula. This baby shampoo has a mild formula designed for delicate hair and skin, so it won’t irritate the eyes. It’s hypoallergenic and free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, and dyes.
Aveeno Baby Daily Moisture Gentle Body Wash & Shampoo. The formula for this product is so gentle it can be used to cleanse the skin. The shampoo is tear-free, hypoallergenic, and doesn’t contain sulfates, phenoxyethanol, phthalates, or parabens. Instead, it has a light fragrance and natural oat extract for a more soothing and nourishing effect.
Cetaphil Baby Shampoo and Body Wash. As expected, you have another tear-free formula made from skin-gentle ingredients. The 2-in-1 formula makes it suitable for use as a body wash and contains soothing calendula from the marigold flower.
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