Friday, July 12, 2013

Baby Gear: Hair, bath & body supplies

I am pretty vocal about the fact that I don’t and won't ever use  Johnson  baby products, so I always get a lot of questions about which products I use instead. Our list of baby hair, bath and body products is below.

Shampoo & Body wash: During my pregnancy I started shopping for baby shampoo & body wash which is usually combined into one product.  It was no surprise to me that every store I went to had Johnson's baby junk as one of the  cheapest and most available brands. Followed  closely by Aveeno.  I considered buying Aveeno until I realized it was also made by Johnson's and is ranked just as bad! Funnily enough right after my baby was born, her pediatrician also warned me to stay clear of Johnson's and Aveeno baby products. She recommended that I start out with Cerave Hydrating Cleanser which is basically a non-soap cleanser.

 I love it because it does the job of soap but  isn’t soap! It doesn’t foam up, or have ridiculous fake colors, and fragrances. Unlike regular soap it isn’t harsh on the skin, nor does it strip the skin of moisture. Because of complications right before and during birth, my daughter had intensely dry skin, so I definitely wanted to avoid anything that would make it any drier.  When she turned about three weeks old we began using CeraVe for both her hair and body and we loved the results.  Although this product is not specifically a baby product the manufacturers have endorsed this for use on newborns and infants. They posted the below explanation on their website under their frequently asked questions section.

Prior to her birth I had also purchased a bottle of Burt’s Bees shampoo & body wash which according to the label is 98.9% natural. I had heard good things about their range of baby products but to be honest I wasn’t too impressed. 

This body wash has such a strong artificial honey fragrance it beats me why people love it. I started using it only because it was the only baby wash we had at home and I needed something stronger for her hair than the CeraVe body wash.  While CeraVe is great for the body, it doesn’t do much for her thick hair. I used the Burt's Bees wash  a few times and I genuinely tried to get used to it but I just couldn’t deal with how excessively soapy it was and the awful  honey smell so I tossed it in my pile of reject products.

I headed back to my beloved Target store and looked for something else that was natural and gentle on skin.. I decided to give California Baby shampoo & body wash a try and I loved it! They have different versions of their body wash  and I prefer the super-sensitive fragrance free shampoo and body wash. 

What I love the most about California Baby is that their products are locally made within the US from natural and organic ingredients. Best of all they actually do what they are designed to do! Unlike other brands of baby washes that use dyes, numbing agents, toxins and sulfates, California Baby products avoid those entirely.

Hair oils & Conditioner: My daughter had a lot of thick curly hair from the get go, so for us, a line up of good hair products that can soften, detangle and tame her hair is absolutely essential. As a newborn I was reluctant to put anything in her hair at all,  especially because she was constantly grabbing her hair and then putting her hands in her mouth. But as she passed the 3 month mark I realized I needed to do something. I decided to start with natural products that were edible so that I wouldn’t have to worry if she ingested small amounts of it. I started out with Extra Virgin Olive oil.

I would put a little bit of this in her hair while it was still wet to seal in the moisture.  I use this on my hair too and it really is great for thick curly chair that loses moisture fast, and it is relatively cheap compared to most hair products as you can buy this from any grocery store.
Once we had success using the extra virgin olive oil, I decided to try the goodness of natural  coconut oil. I picked up a jar of Barlean’s organic extra virgin coconut oil and also tried this in her hair.

It can also be used as a diaper rash cream, body lotion and of course you can cook with it too. I do like the effects of this on her hair but the smell gets overwhelming after a while so I prefer olive oil.

Shea butter. I can’t say enough good things about natural shea butter, it is great for hair and skin of both mommy and baby and has healing properties. Sadly it is a little hard to find authentic 100% raw & unrefined shea butter here. Raw Shea butter is imported from Africa, it comes from the Shea tree and it should be whitish or grayish in color, and have a some what crumbly texture. But most of the raw shea butter on the market here are not authentic; they are bright yellow and even leave a yellow stain on your hands...  I can't deal with the fake versions so I just avoid them altogether.

Once she was about 5.5 months old I decided to try a hair detangler and conditioner. I bought the California Baby calming hair detangler spray and their calendula hair conditioner.

 What I love about the hair conditioner is that it can be used as both a rinse-out conditioner and a leave in conditioner. This product really tames her unruly curls and makes her hair soft and manageable. I love this product so much that I use it on my hair too and it sure beats all the other natural hair products I have used by brands such as Kinky Curly, As I am, or even Carol’s Daughter.  Best hair product of the year award should go to the California Baby calendula hair conditioner.
I like their hair detangler but I don’t love it. It does an okay job, but I can get the same effect with plain water and a bit of their hair conditioner. Once  I run out  of this bottle I don’t intend to buy it again.

Body oils & lotion

Aquaphor  & Vaseline:

Due to her excessively dry skin when she was born, the pediatrician on call at the hospital advised us to use Aquaphor on her skin. Aquapor is a petroleum jelly based ointment similar to vaseline, it is easier to rub in than Vaseline and not as thick. This is because Vaseline is 100% petroleum jelly but Aquaphor only contains 41% petroleum jelly and other ingredients.  Both are good for sealing moisture in, but I doubt they actually moisturize much. We used if for the first few weeks but once her pediatrician recommended the CeraVe line of products we didn’t need this any longer.

These were recommended by our pediatrician. I much prefer the cream in the jar over the lotion in the pump bottle, because the cream in the jar is thicker and more moisturizing. To be honest I am in love CeraVe products, they are pricey but so worth it. The combination of the body wash and moisturizing cream quickly cleared up all her newborn skin issues.

I also was eager to try products by Earth Mama Angel Baby as I had heard nothing but good things about them. I tried their rash cream and C-salve, and wanted to give their baby shampoo a try but the price put me off because it’s a bit too expensive and in addition I would have to keep ordering it online. Although I did like the two products I tried from this brand, I wasn’t convinced they were worth the price,  I will be posting about that in more detail soon.

Its been really hot this summer and her pediatrician advised us to make sure to use a sunscreen if we will be out for long periods. I don’t like to use a sunscreen if I don’t have to, so I usually prefer to just carry an umbrella if we are outside in the sun, but for days out to the beach or at the pool I knew I needed something more. I initially wanted to buy the sunscreen by California baby but it cost $20 for a 2.9oz tiny tube! Why must it be so expensive?

 I decided to try the Babyganics version which is more reasonably priced and so far it seems to work just fine for us. I chose Babyganics because their products are environmentally friendly and they dont use sulfates, fragances, parabens.. etc This product also won the 2012 Cribsie Award for safest sunblock for precious skin!

The two commonly used baby products that I have never tried are baby oil and baby powder. To be honest I am not 100% certain why they are even necessary and her pediatrician advised me not to use baby powder as the dust particles are often inhaled by the baby. No one so far has been able to give me a legitimate reason why either of these two products are needed, so I just skipped these two.


  1. I love how you research the products that you use and how you committed to using mostly natural skin and hair products on your little one.