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The 8 Best Baby Hair Gels to Try This Year


After much trial, error, and research, I have compiled a list of the top eight baby hair gels to try this year. The first three products in this list are ones that I personally recommend. However, any of these products are sure to keep your little one looking ever so stylish.

Always check with your pediatrician before starting any products on your baby.

Best Baby Hair Gel for Sensitive Skin: Free & Clear Hair Styling Gel
Best Baby Hair Foam: SoCozy Sensitive Styling Foam
Best Baby Hair Mousse: California Baby Jelly Mousse
Best Baby Hair Gel for Styling: Hot Tot Styling Gel

Best Baby Hair Gels for Sensitive Skin

Free & Clear Hair Styling Gel

Free & Clear Hair Styling Gel, Fragrance and Gluten Free, For Sensitive Skin, Unscented, 7 Oz
Price$$$
Quality
Popularity

From the makers of Vanicream Skin Care, Free & Clear Hair Styling Gel is formulated especially for sensitive skin and scalp. This hair gel is free of alcohols, dyes, fragrance, masking fragrance, lanolin, parabens, formaldehyde, formaldehyde releasers, and other preservatives. This hair gel has absolutely no smell and is dermatologist recommended.

Speaking from my personal experience, my son has eczema and extremely sensitive skin. At our dermatologist’s recommendation, we have been using this hair gel on him for several years without any problems. It is hands down, the best hair gel we’ve ever tried. (And, we’ve tried A LOT!)

It does contain PEG and other ingredients, which are potential irritants/allergens and have been linked to a moderate risk of organ toxicities.  It is rated 1 by EWG (Environmental Work Group).

Hip Peas Hair Styling Balm

Hip Peas Natural Hair Styling Balm / Gel / Pomade - Light Hold
Quality
Popularity

Although technically not a gel, Hip Peas Hair Styling Balm is an excellent product for keeping your little one’s locks under control. For boys, this product holds their slicked and spiked styles in place.

For girls, it holds barrettes, ponytails, and braids in place. Hip Peas Hair Styling Balm is vegan, contains no artificial colors or fragrances, and is paraben, sulfate, petrochemical, and phthalate-free. Parents love this product because it works like a pomade and is not sticky.

I love this product for boys, and I have used it with great success. It is great for those spiky, messy styles.

It does contain several ingredients which are potential irritants/allergens.  It contains ingredients which have been linked to potential organ toxicities.

Little Roseberry Hair Gel

Hair Gel for Kids | Light Hold | Chemical Free | Made with Organic Aloe Vera and Vitamins | Safe on Babies, Toddlers, Men and Women | Always Paraben, Sulfate & Fragrance Free | Made in USA (1 Unit)

Perfect for kids of all ages, Little Roseberry Hair Gel has a base of organic aloe vera juice and contains witch hazel. It is packed with vitamins to protect your child’s delicate hair. It is 100% Toxin-free, Vegan, and cruelty-free.

If you are worried about caustic ingredients, Little Roseberry doesn’t contain toxic chemicals. Unlike some gels that build up over time or leave greasy residues, this one washes out easily and doesn’t build up in the hair over time. Parents rave about the safety and hold of this hair gel.

Only a small amount of this gel is needed to hold the hair in place. This product features an easy-to-use bottle with a locking spout, helping to avoid spillage and sticky messes. However, some parents found fault with this gel as it can make hair look dirty if too much product is used. Some also said that it wears off quickly if the child is rolling around or touching his hair.

My daughter loves to do pageants. This hair gel keeps her wild, wispy, unruly baby hairs in place without leaving a white residue on her dark brown, almost black, hair.

It does contain ingredients which are potential irritants/allergens, such as alcohol and witch hazel.  It contains ingredients which are linked to potential organ toxicities.

SoCozy Sensitive Styling Foam

SoCozy Sensitive Styling Foam For Kids Hair Natural Hold Styler, Rosemary, 6 Fl Oz
Price$$$
Quality
Popularity

SoCozy Sensitive Styling Foam goes beyond gentle and is specially formulated for kids with sensitive scalps. This baby mousse for hair is allergy tested and made without parabens, sulfates, formaldehyde, phthalates, synthetic color, propylene glycol, gluten, wheat, or nuts. Parents love this styling foam for curly hair and comb-over styles (you’ll need a baby hairbrush for that!). Because this product isn’t stiff and crunchy when it dries, most have found it unsuccessful for spiky and mohawk hairstyles.

It does contain ingredients which are potential irritants/allergens, such as fragrance.

California Baby Jelly Mousse

California Baby Calming Jelly Mousse Hair Gel (2.9 ounce) | Styling Hair Gel for Infants and Toddlers | Calming French Lavender Pure Essential Oils and Clary Sage | Medium Hold
Price$$$$
Quality
Popularity

California Baby Jelly Mousse makes putting the hair into braids, buns, and mohawks easy and fun. This vegan hair gel is made in a 100% FDA certified organic facility and is free of harmful ingredients. The jury was out when it came to the scent of this product. Reviewers either loved it or hated it. The questionable smell aside, parents agreed this was a wonderful hair gel for babies, toddlers, and children. California Baby Jelly Mousse hair gel does not leave hair sticky or crunchy and is excellent for taming unruly curls.

It contains clary sage, which is controversial for babies and many recommend not using it.  It is rated 2 by EWG.

Original Sprout Natural Hair Gel

Original Sprout Classic Hair Gel
Price$$$
Quality
Popularity

Original Sprout Natural Hair Gel is 100% vegan and made without parabens, nanoparticles, petroleum oils, musk, propylene glycol, sulfates, gluten, soy, or dairy. This hair gel controls whispy and frizzy hair without weighing it down and making it crunchy or stiff. Parents who use natural and organic products love this hair gel. It is important to remember that chemical-free hair gels may not hold as well as chemical-laden hair products, as chemicals are what give products their stiff, all-day hold. Chemical-free hair gels tend to leave behind a softer, more natural hold. This natural baby gel works well for babies who have cradle cap, too.

It does contain ingredients which are potential irritants/allergens and some linked to organ toxicities.  It also contain some essential oils which are controversial for babies, such as rosemary, and many recommend not using it.  It is rated 1 by EWG.

Best Baby Hair Gels for Styling

Hot Tot Styling Gel

Hot Tot Styling Medium-Hold Hair Gel for Toddlers and Children, 5 Fluid Ounce
Price$$$$
Quality
Popularity

As seen on Shark Tank Season 4, Hot Tot Styling Gel is ideal for all types of baby, toddler, and children’s hair. Its natural formula provides a medium hold and a shiny finish. This hair gel is hypoallergenic, water-soluble, and free of soy, gluten, peanut, and dairy.

Having been pediatrician and dermatologist approved, this is another great option for children with sensitive skin and/or eczema. Parents love this product because it isn’t too sticky and holds hair in place throughout the day. On the other hand, some parents feel that the price is too high to offset its effectiveness.

It does contain several ingredients which are potential irritants/allergens and others that are linked to potential organ toxicities.

Ricitos De Oro Baby Styling Gel

Manzanilla Ricitos de Hair Gel| Alcohol-Free Hair Care Gel for Daily Use, Gentle Gel with Chamomile Extract; 4.0 Ounces
Price$$
Quality
Popularity

Ricitos De Oro Baby Styling Gel contains natural chamomile extract and is safe enough for daily use. This hair gel is not sticky or greasy. Parents love this product because it smells great, doesn’t leave behind any residue, and doesn’t get hard. However, some parents agree that it doesn’t hold thick hair in place, and is better suited for thin, fine hair.

It does contain ingredients which are potential irritants/allergens, such as dyes. It contains ingredients which are linked to potential organ toxicities.

Comparing Baby Hair Gels

The table below compares only the recommended products on this page. A low or high Price means it is low or high compared to the other products listed. The Popularity Score reflects how often readers click on and buy the product. The Quality Score is our assessment of the overall performance and satisfaction with the product compared to others in the table.


Guide to Selecting Hair Products for Babies and Toddlers

According to Healthgrades, your child’s skin can be irritated by a number of things including heat, bath soaps, laundry detergents, pet dander, dust mites, certain fabrics, and cigarette smoke. This includes hair gels. It is important to identify and avoid anything that might cause irritation.

OnHealth, owned and operated by WebMD, reports that most skin-care products should not be used on very young infants because of the risk of exposure to active chemicals, which may be absorbed in higher rates in the thinner, less developed skin of infants. Avoid products with dyes and fragrances, since these may result in allergic reactions. Always discuss with your pediatrician which products can be used on infants.

Ingredients

When using a hair gel on your baby, choose only those with quality ingredients that are safe to be used on children. The chemicals contained in hair gels marketed for adults can cause significant irritation to a baby’s skin and scalp.

Style

Keep in mind the type of hairstyle you want to achieve when choosing a hair gel for your child. Hair gels that are best for taming wispy curls while leaving the hair soft and manageable will, generally speaking, not do well at holding up a stiff mohawk.

Be Cautious

Before trying a new product, be sure to test a bit of it on the inside of your child’s wrist or arm. If a rash appears, or if your child’s skin feels itchy, hot, or dry, even after a few days of use with no problem, stop using the product immediately.

Many of the ingredients included in these products are controversial or have limited or no data/research on use for babies.  Some ingredients have been linked to health problems.  Many products have not been evaluated by the FDA.  Since no studies have been conducted with these products on babies there is no absolute certainty that these are 100% safe.  Always consult with your pediatrician before starting any products on your baby.

Since the FDA does not regulate cosmetic products, the Environmental Work Group (EWG) has created a database of products.  It offers information on the most popular products and ingredients, such as whether the product is an irritant/allergen or linked to organ/reproductive toxicities.  It rates products from 1 to 10, with 1 being the least toxic.  It is best to stick to products that rate EWG verified, 1 or 2.

FAQs about Baby Hair Care Products

I am uncomfortable with using hair care products on my baby. Is there anything else I can do to tame frizzy curls?

Although the products listed above may be safe to use on your baby, you may be apprehensive to give them a try, or you may need a hair remedy ASAP. I ran into this problem with a former foster child when we welcomed an African-American baby into our home. He was the sweetest, cutest little boy with a head full of unruly, fuzzy curls. At the time, I was completely out of hair gel approved for baby use. I found that I could tame his mane with a little bit of baby lotion. After rubbing a pea-sized amount of baby lotion into my hands, I twisted each curl around my finger. This softened and moisturized his hair, leaving behind a beautiful head full of little curls.

You can use the best baby lotions to help achieve a more tame look if hair gel isn’t working or you feel baby is too young.

Which is the best shampoo for baby?

Baby’s wash and shampoo should be hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, and non-drying. Baby skin is thinner and more susceptible to dryness and eczema.

A few of the very top-rated favorites that meet these conditions are:

  • Alaffia Everyday Shea Bubble Bath Unscented
  • Earth Mama Simply Non-Scents Baby Wash Gentle Castile Soap
  • Mustela Gentle Cleansing Fragrance Free, for cradle cap
  • Babo’s Botanicals Sensitive Skin Baby Fragrance Free Shampoo and Wash

Is coconut oil good for baby hair?

Coconut oil is recommended as a treatment for cradle cap in babies. We recommend the below steps when using coconut oil:

  1. Apply the oil to the baby’s scalp and allow it to stay for 10 to 30 minutes
  2. After that time, gently comb and brush to remove flakes from hair
  3. Wash all oil out of baby’s hair

Most sources recommend that you leave the oil in the child’s hair for no longer than 30 minutes.

Is hair gel safe for my baby?

If you find a hair gel that has a clean ingredient list, then it is likely okay.

Be careful of scary product labels full of sketchy chemicals. Baby’s skin absorbs these chemicals, and there’s always the chance it could run down their face or get from their hair to their hand to their mouth.

Is Johnson’s baby oil good for baby hair?

Johnson’s baby oil can be as a treatment for cradle cap in babies. Use it similarly to the coconut oil method mentioned above.  This product does, however, contains fragrance and mineral oil, which are potential irritants.  Mineral oil can also clog pores.

How can I get my baby’s hair to grow?

Some sources assert that you can’t. Still, there are many products that claim to assist in hair growth, and many people seem to believe that something can be done. Common remedies are gentle combing or brushing (if there’s hair), massaging the scalp in order to stimulate circulation, application of specific oils, gelatin, or aloe vera (any of which also involves massage), and good nutrition.

Remember, hair is not a top priority; and the best remedy is regular, generous application of love and positivity and diligent care. The hair will come.

Can you use hair products on babies?

This is a subjective decision. Some parents do not use even baby hair products on their babies. They do not feel the products are needed and don’t want to expose their children needlessly to the chemicals they contain.

Some use only the baby or dermatologist-recommended products.

Others, when the child is just a little older and has a head full of hair, choose to use even adult hair products.

How should I use hair gel on my child?

Use on damp hair, dry hair, or lightly dried hair. Squeeze a small amount of gel onto your palms or fingertips, then rub your hands together so that you can apply an even amount, avoiding clumps. For damp hair, start at the roots and work gel throughout the hair. If desired, blow dry hair to style.

For dry hair, start at the roots and work gel throughout the hair, lifting to style.

Final Recommendation

As a mom of two and a former foster parent, I have styled countless heads of baby and toddler hair in a wide variety of ways. The best baby hair gel bar none is the Free & Clear Hair Styling Gel simply because it works better than the many others I’ve tried and comes recommended by a dermatologist.

With several to choose from, you can’t go wrong with any of the excellent hair gels featured in this article.


Medically Reviewed by

Dr. Jennifer T. Trent, MD FAAD is an acclaimed dermatologist with over 50 articles published in peer-reviewed journals. She is also an author of numerous medical texts addressing surgery and wound care as well as dermatologic diseases and therapy.