Here’s the truth about how these shampoos are made.
An Urban Myth
Many adults believe that for shampoo to be deemed “no tears,” there has to be a numbing agent involved.
That is false.
There is no numbing agent in baby shampoo.
Think about it: if there was, your hands would feel numb during application.
You really don’t want your baby subjected to these chemicals.
Accidental ingestion or absorption of local anesthetics through the skin (or eyes) could be dangerous.
Understanding How Baby Shampoos Are Made
There are two types of baby shampoos;
- Soap-Free: Surfactant Based
Shampoos are made by combining an acid with a base to form a salt (soap.)
For baby shampoos, plant oils (acid) such as coconut oil, olive oil or jojoba oil are used.
An alkali, such as potassium hydroxide or sodium hydroxide, is added.
It’s important to note that although alkalis are included in the product ingredients, they are not part of the final product.
The benefits of soap-based baby shampoos are that you don’t have to worry about health or environmental concerns.
The downside is that the higher pH means that your baby’s eyes can be irritated.
Soap-free based shampoos use surfactants or synthetic foaming cleansers.
On a molecular level, one end of the surfactant molecule attracts to water, and the other end repels water and attracts oil.
This allows the shampoo to spread and penetrate better and remove the layer of oil (sebum) from the hair and scalp.
It’s important to know what’s in your baby shampoo.
There are thousands of different surfactants, some that include carcinogens or allergens.
A safe surfactant are those from the glucoside family (decyl glucoside and lauryl glucoside.)
Soap-free shampoos are easier on your baby’s eyes.