On using baby products : are they really that gentle ?

I´m not just talking about baby stuff for babies, but also baby stuff for adults. Many girls like to use baby shampoo for their hair, or their mineral makeup brushes.

Is baby shampoo what you think of when asked about the gentlest way to wash the hair ? After all, a shampoo that is meant for a newborn's tender chicken-fluff hair must be the gentlest thing on earth, right ?

Not necessarily. In fact, many baby products aren't very different from the normal stuff, except of course for the words "tender and gentle" and the smiling infant on the label. Other products may be gentler, but may will fall behind in comparison with organic and natural cosmetic products for adults.
There do exist baby products that are very gentle and fine to use, both on babies and on sensitive adult skin.

SO, how can you tell which is which ?

The short way:
Buy baby products from certified natural or organic companies, the chances are much higher that they ares gentle and not harmful.
Germany has the "oeko test" labels on mainstream products that certify that a product is free from harmful chemicals. Many other countries have equivalent certificates.

The long way:
Ignore the smiling baby on the label, and read the ingredient list.

This is how you go about it:
  • Watch out for added perfumes.
Perfumes can irritate skin, so they should be avoided by anyone with sensitive skin, rosaceae, and of course by infants. If a product does not say "free from added perfumes", stay away from it. If you want a delicate fragrance, you can add pure lavender essential oil; since it's exceptionally gentle.

  • Baby shampoos may not be the gentlest thing on earth
Ever hear of cradle cap ? It's a kind of baby dandruff, and many shampoos are formulated to remove it, so they are not exactly the gentlest thing on earth.
Update#: read this fantastic post from Paraben-free princess on Johnsons&Johnsons baby shampoo.

  • Avoid parabens
Anything that ends with -paraben is a potentially harmful preservative.

  • Beware of SLS
Most baby shampoo doesn't have it anymore, but you may never be certain untill you check the label. SLS is one of the most common irritating chemicals in cosmetics. Read my post on SLS here.

  • If it says "Mineral oil", put it away
Mineral oil is a common ingredient in baby oils, creams, and even bathing productc. The word “mineral” makes it sound like something natural, but in fact it is a crude oil derived from petroleum. Instead, look for plant-derived oils, such as almond oil, wheat germ oil or olive oil.
Read more on mineral oil here.

  • Baby powder: avoid talc like hellfire
Talc is chemically identical to asbestos, and causes cancer. Look for cornstarch based products.

  • Choose cruelty-free products !
If you need to know why, go here.

More info:

PS the gentlest thing for brushes might be Castille soap.

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