Below, you’ll find our top choices for shampoo for all hair types, whether you’re experiencing luscious locks or if you’re one of the 40 to 50 percent of women who experience hair loss during pregnancy. Always consult with your obstetrician before starting any products during pregnancy. Essential oils are controversial during pregnancy.Best Pregnancy Safe Shampoo: Christina Moss Hair Shampoo
Best Pregnancy Safe Shampoo and Conditioner: The Honest Co. Set
Best Shampoo for Hair Loss: Maple Holistics Tea Tree Shampoo
Best Pregnancy Safe Shampoos
Christina Moss Naturals Original Shampoo
If Christina Moss Naturals Original Shampoo is made without any harmful chemicals, including parabens, dyes, artificial fragrances, sulfates, and more. The shampoo is also hypoallergenic, vegan, and cruelty-free.
As with all products, it’s always a good sign when you recognize the ingredients. The Christina Moss Naturals shampoo contains organic aloe vera, organic coconut oil, organic olive oil, organic sunflower seed oil, organic shea butter, and more. It’s created for all hair types, especially those with sensitive skin or scalp.
Even though it may be gentle enough to use on newborns, users reported that the shampoo, with its natural foaming agent, thoroughly washed and nourished hair.
The Christina Moss Naturals brand is so confident in its product that it offers a purity and freshness guarantee for 6 months after the purchase date. If standards are unsatisfactory, the company will replace the product or give a full refund.
It does contain rosemary, which is controversial in pregnancy. It contains some ingredients which are linked to potential organ toxicities. It contains some ingredients which are potential irritants/allergens.
Everyone Hair Sulfate-Free Shampoo
The Everyone Hair Sulfate-Free Shampoo is another organic option made for all hair types.
The formula is created with only essential oils and plant extracts to nourish and moisturize scalps and gentle cleansers to clean hair. The Everyone Hair Sulfate-Free Shampoo is derived from quinoa protein and coconut extract to clean hair, while the organic aloe vera and vitamins B5 and E restore essential nutrients.
The Sulfate-Free Shampoo is for all hair types. But Everyone also offers other formulas for more targeted hair needs. Nourish is for dry or treated hair; Balance is for people with dry scalps and oily hair; Volume is for thinner hair.
It does contain sage, which is controversial in pregnancy. It contains potential irritants/allergens. Also, tea tree oil has been linked to possible pregnancy risk and endocrine disruption. It contains some ingredients which are linked to potential organ toxicities. It is rated 3 by EWG.
Klorane Ultra-Gentle Shampoo with Oat Milk
The Klorane Ultra-Gentle Shampoo with Oat Milk is safe to use for the entire family, including children ages 3 and up. This shampoo is gentle enough to use on the most sensitive scalps.
The vegan shampoo is created without sodium lauryl sulfate, parabens, and silicones. Instead, it is formulated with oat milk to gently clean and soften hair, without over-drying the scalp. Oat milk is known for its moisturizing and soothing properties.
Klorane is a French brand, and one American user noted that the Ultra-Gentle Shampoo with Oat Milk does not produce a frothy lather that most U.S. hair cleansers have. That wasn’t a complaint! The user said that the shampoo left hair feeling soft and silky.
It does contain potential allergens/irritants, such as fragrance. It contains some ingredients which are linked to potential organ toxicities. It is rated 5 by EWG.
Puracy Natural Daily Shampoo
The Puracy household and baby products are a go-to for many parents of young children for their natural formulas, and the Puracy Natural Daily Shampoo is no different.
The shampoo is made with sulfate-free coconut-based cleansers that give off a citrus and mint scent. It contains no harsh chemicals, such as parabens, formaldehyde, sodium lauryl sulfate, animal by-products, and more.
The plant-based shampoo was recently reformulated to increase moisturizing properties and the foaming lather. Puracy boasts that you can go on average three days between washes, which is music to the ears of any mom.
Puracy was created by two dads, who wanted to create products that were safe to use around their newborn daughters. The Puracy Natural Daily Shampoo was designed with the help of doctors and chemists to ensure health and safety, as well as performance.
It does contain potential allergens/irritants, such as peppermint oil. Soapbark extract is controversial in pregnancy. It is rated 2 by EWG (Environmental Work Group).
Nine Naturals Citrus Mint Nourishing Shampoo
One of the few brands that are specifically targeted toward pregnant women is Nine Naturals Citrus Mint Nourishing Shampoo.
It is made without sulfates, parabens, phthalates, petrochemicals, artificial preservatives, and synthetic fragrances. In fact, Nine Naturals says the citrus mint scent of its shampoo can help fight nausea and fatigue.
This particular formula is derived from organic jojoba seed oil and shea butter to increase shine and moisture. Vitamin B5 strengthens strands and prevents split ends.
The Nine Naturals Citrus Mint Nourishing Shampoo is safe for pregnancy and nursing. The gentle cleanser can be used on all hair types, including color-treated hair.
It does have some ingredients which could be irritants/allergens and make you photosensitive. It also contains soapbark, which is controversial during pregnancy.
Paul Mitchell Shampoo One
Now you can have the salon at home! The Paul Mitchell Shampoo One has been a favorite of hairstylists for decades. This formula is paraben-free and vegan, ensuring it is free of harsh chemicals.
The shampoo contains moisturizing ingredients, such as chamomile, rosemary, aloe vera, and jojoba. The wheat-derived conditioners help to improve hair texture and manageability. It is safe to use as a daily shampoo on all hair types, including color-treated locks.
The Paul Mitchell Shampoo One leaves a fresh tropical scent that is not overpowering.
It does have some ingredients which could be irritants/allergens such as fragrance. Some ingredients have been linked to a moderate risk of organ toxicity. It contains rosemary, which is controversial in pregnancy. It is rated 5 by EWG.
Whamisa Organic Seeds Shampoo for Oily Scalp
In a similar vein to the shampoo mentioned above, Whamisa also has a formula specifically for people with oily scalps. The Whamisa Organic Seeds Shampoo for Oily Scalp contains barley seed, yuzu, and apple extracts to deeply clean hair.
Whamisa products contain a naturally derived surfactant from the palm kernel that boosts hydration. The palm kernel is a safer alternative to chemical and synthetic-based surfactants that are common in store-bought shampoos.
Like the Whamisa Shampoo for Dry Scalp, the ingredients are natural and 67 percent organic. Users noted the shampoo has a fresh, light scent.
Whamisa’s organic seeds shampoo for oily scalp and dry scalp have very similar packaging. Choose carefully when purchasing.
It does have some ingredients which could be irritants/allergens, such as peppermint oil and ethanol. It also has licorice, which has been linked to fetal problems and endocrine disruption. Some ingredients are controversial during pregnancy, such as rosemary. It is EWG verified.
Pureology Hydrate Shampoo
The Pureology Hydrate Shampoo is best for medium to thick, dry, color-treated hair.
The Pureology Hydrate Shampoo is a great option if your hair is already color-treated. The formula contains jojoba, green tea, and sunflower oil to deeply hydrate dry hair. You should consult your doctor and hairstylist if you want to continue color treatments for your hair while pregnant.
Pureology formulas are free of sulfates. Sulfates can strip your hair of color and moisture. This particular shampoo has a blend of corn, coconut, and sugar to cleanse hair without drying it.
Pureology shampoos are vegan and do not contain parabens, animal by-products, and animal testing.
While this shampoo is on the more expensive side, Pureology says you only need a quarter-sized amount to produce a full, rich lather. The company estimates each bottle contains 75 washes.
It does have many ingredients which could be irritants/allergens such as fragrance and dyes. It also contains chemicals, such as propylene glycol and polyquaternium -7, which have been linked to organ toxicities by EWG. It is rated 5 by EWG.
Best Pregnancy Safe Shampoo and Conditioners
The Honest Company Shampoo and Conditioner
The Honest Company is another brand that many parents turn to for all things baby, from diapers, balms, and ointments. You can be sure that The Honest Company Shampoo and Conditioner is safe to use during pregnancy and beyond.
The Honest Company formulas are derived from natural oils and are free of harsh chemicals. The hypoallergenic shampoo is made of ingredients such as sweet almond oil, jojoba, aloe vera, and coconut oil to moisturize and soothe hair and scalp.
If pregnancy is making you particularly sensitive to smell, the sweet orange vanilla scent is pleasant without being too overwhelming.
It does have some ingredients which could be irritants/allergens and make you photosensitive.
Pure Nature Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner
The Pure Nature Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner is a great option if you style your hair often instead of opting for the signature mom bun.
The Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner Set has a UV and thermal protectant to moisturize and restore hair. This is to protect from daily exposure to chemicals, sun, pollutants, and heat from a blow dryer, straight iron, curling iron, and other heating tools. The formula is also safe for hair that has been treated with color and keratin.
The Pure Nature brand does not contain chemicals, such as sulfates, parabens, sodium chloride, gluten, or phthalates, in its products. That means they are safe for moms-to-be.
The Pure Nature Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner set is designed for all hair types. It has a delicate pH balance to deal with curly hair, oily hair, and more.
There is no online list of ingredients, so it is hard to know what it contains.
Aveeno Pure Renewal Shampoo and Conditioner Set
The Aveeno Pure Renewal Shampoo and Conditioner Set steers clear of chemicals most commonly found in shampoos.
Sulfates are a class of chemicals that manufacturers use as foaming and cleaning agents. That sudsy lather you get from most shampoos is a result of sulfate. Sulfates are effective cleansers but may strip away the oil needed for a healthy scalp.
The Aveeno Active Naturals Pure Renewal Shampoo is designed with sulfate-free technology for gentle cleansing and moisturizing. Users liked the fresh and clean scent and felt the shampoo didn’t over-strip hair.
It does contain several ingredients that are controversial in pregnancy. It contains ingredients linked to potential organ toxicity. Also, it contains potential irritants/allergens, such as fragrance. It is rated 5 and 4 by EWG.
Alba Botanica Coconut Milk Hawaiian Shampoo and Conditioner
The Alba Botanica Coconut Milk Hawaiian Shampoo and Conditioner is free of phthalates, sulfates, parabens, and formaldehyde.
This shampoo and conditioner set is best for people with dry hair. The vegan formula is derived from coconut milk to lock in moisture. It is also high in fatty acids and protein to strengthen hair follicles and reduce split ends.
Reviewers said the Alba Botanica Drink It Up Coconut Milk shampoo made their hair much softer after only a few uses.
It does contain benzyl salicylate and benzyl alcohol, which are controversial in pregnancy. It contains potential irritants/allergens, such as alcohol and fragrance. It contains some ingredients which are linked to potential organ toxicities.
Love Beauty and Planet Volume and Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner
The Love Beauty and Planet Volume and Thickening Shampoo and Conditioner are best for those with thin hair and those looking for a bit more volume.
This thickening shampoo formula is infused with coconut water, coconut oil, and mimosa flowers. Coconut oil is a wonderful ingredient that leaves hair visibly hydrated. The Love Beauty and Planet Volume Thickening Shampoo are safe for color-treated hair, as well.
The Love Beauty and Planet products are cruelty-free, paraben-free, silicone-free, dye-free, and made without phthalates.
It does have some ingredients which could be irritants/allergens such as fragrance. It also has chemicals linked to organ toxicities. It is rated 3 by EWG.
Best Pregnancy Safe Shampoos for Hair Loss
Maple Holistics Tea Tree Shampoo for Hair Loss
The Maple Holistics Tea Tree Oil Shampoo for Hair Loss is definitely worth a try if you are one of 40 to 50 percent of women who experience hair loss during pregnancy.
Hair loss typically happens a few months after delivery, but excessive shedding of hair, called telogen effluvium, can occur one to five months following pregnancy.
Maple Holistics created the Tea Tree Oil Shampoo using a nourishing blend of essential oils, including rosemary and lavender, to clean hair and scalp. The company says the oil blend helps boost circulation and stimulate hair growth for thicker-looking hair.
The Tea Tree Oil Shampoo is made without sulfates but is effective in washing away dandruff flakes, dirt, oil, and other impurities. It is safe for those with sensitive skin and color-treated hair.
It does contain rosemary, which is controversial in pregnancy. It contains potential irritants/allergens. Also, tea tree oil has been linked to possible pregnancy risk and endocrine disruption.
PURA D’OR Anti-Thinning Biotin Shampoo
While many women enjoy stronger, healthier hair and nails during pregnancy, others experience hair loss and thinning. The PURA D’OR Anti-Thinning Biotin Shampoo can help moms-to-be who fall in the latter group.
The shampoo is made with a blend of biotin, nettle extract, pumpkin seed, and black cumin seed oil to prevent hair from further damage that leads to thinning. The biotin shampoo promotes hair thickness and volume while reducing brittle strands.
If not during pregnancy, keep this anti-thinning shampoo in mind when you are in the throes of postpartum hair loss.
PURA D’OR is vegan and cruelty-free.
There is no complete list of ingredients online, so it is hard to tell everything that is in it. From the ingredients they do list, rosemary is controversial in pregnancy and nettle has been linked to premature contractions.
Comparing the Best Pregnancy Safe Shampoos
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.
How We Selected Pregnancy Safe Shampoo
Prior to getting pregnant, I had no idea my doctor would recommend using clean products – from body lotion to shampoo – to protect the growth and development of baby. While research and studies on the effects of the most common products on moms-to-be are limited, what better time than pregnancy is there to err on the side of safety.
As a general rule of thumb, we searched for products that are mostly free of harsh chemicals and fragrances. Pregnancy can cause extra sensitivity to your skin and sense of smell. The next nine months can also change the texture of your hair.
The products vary, but most of them are derived from all-natural and/or plant-based ingredients. They also do not contain many of the harsh chemicals that are found in most store-bought shampoos.
The majority of products are also not geared toward pregnant women. We are categorizing them as “pregnancy safe” because the formulas don’t include many of the ingredients that could be harmful to you and your growing baby, such as parabens and retinoids. But some do contain controversial ingredients.
FAQs – Pregnancy Safe Shampoo
Do I really need to switch to a pregnancy-safe shampoo?
This depends on who you talk to. Many pregnant women continue using their regular shampoo and conditioner and go on to have healthy pregnancies and babies. However, many moms-to-be use the nine months to avoid chemicals wherever they can for peace of mind and to be extra safe.
The research on the possible harmful effects of shampoos containing sulfate and other chemicals is not straightforward or clear.
For example, experimental animal studies showed risks of teratogenicity due to some chemicals found in hair products. Those chemicals include phenylenediamine, aminophenols, and ethanolamine, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information. Teratogen is an agent that can harm the development of the embryo or fetus.
However, the NCBI said human studies revealed that exposure to chemicals found in hair dyes and other hair products resulted in very limited skin absorption by the mother unless there were burns or abscesses on the scalp. Researchers concluded that these chemicals were unlikely to reach the placenta in any great amount to disrupt the unborn fetus. However, no studies were conducted on pregnant women to confirm this.
Why do most pregnant women change shampoos when expecting?
Perhaps a more pressing reason to switch to an all-natural, “pregnancy safe” shampoo is to tend to a mom-to-be’s changing skin. Pregnancy can heighten sensitivities and shampoos containing chemicals can cause irritation to the scalp. On the flip side, pregnancy and increased hormones can also create more oil.
The shampoos listed above address needs, such as dry and oily scalps, without including chemicals that could cause irritation or other harm.
Most shampoos also contain a strong fragrance that can be off-putting when you’re expecting. The ones included on our pregnancy-safe shampoo list are either fragrance-free or contain a light, mild scent.
If you are using a prescription shampoo for dandruff or other condition, speak to your doctor because some medicated shampoos can’t be used during pregnancy.
What’s the deal with sulfates? Are they dangerous?
As discussed, a common ingredient in most store-bought shampoos is sulfate, namely sodium lauryl sulfate.
Sodium lauryl sulfate is a cleaning agent found in household cleaning products, cosmetics, and more. That foaming lather you get when you mix a product with water is the result of sodium lauryl sulfate. It does a good job of cleaning and removing dirt and oil, which is why it’s a favored ingredient in shampoos.
However, sodium lauryl sulfate may sometimes be too effective and strip away the necessary oils and moisture we need for a healthy scalp. That’s why those with sensitive skin and scalp may find sulfate shampoos irritating and over-drying. And because many women experience sensitive skin during pregnancy, it may be a good option to choose a sulfate-free formula.
Sodium lauryl sulfate may also strip the dye from color-treated hair more quickly, so that’s something to keep in mind if your hair is chemically treated.
But rest assured, the National Center for Biotechnology Information says household products containing sodium lauryl sulfate if properly formulated, do not pose a danger to human health and safety. The NCBI also said the claim that sodium lauryl sulfate causes cancer is false and misleading, adding there is no scientific evidence to support it.
What other ingredients found in shampoos should I avoid?
Far more concerning than sulfates are phthalates and their potential effects on children and adults. Phthalates are chemicals that are mainly used in plastics. They are found in hundreds of household items, from toys and food packaging to hair sprays and shampoos.
People are exposed to phthalates mainly when they apply makeup and eat contaminated food. That can happen when heating food in plastic containers that contain phthalates. The NCBI says women have a five-fold greater exposure to phthalates when compared to men of the same age.
Animal studies have found that phthalates are harmful to the growth and development of fetuses. In male animals, phthalates affected testicular development. In female animals, phthalates have been associated with uterine abnormalities and an ovarian toxic defect.
Unfortunately, the NCBI said there are only a few studies on phthalate exposure with reproductive abnormalities in humans, so it is difficult to understand the scope of the problem.
Another ingredient to be wary of is parabens. Parabens are a class of widely used preservatives found in cosmetics and beauty care products. Manufacturers use them because they are affordable and they extend the shelf life of products.
Pregnant women should be wary of makeup, skin lotions, shampoos, and other products that contain parabens. Certain parabens could cause developmental issues in fetuses. Exposure to your skin could increase the potential for the chemicals to absorb and reach your unborn baby.
Some studies have found that pregnant mothers with high paraben levels had a greater chance of preterm birth. Other research indicated that baby boys born to women exposed to parabens had higher levels of estrogen and were more likely to undergo reproductive system challenges.
For peace of mind, it’s best to avoid phthalates and parabens even when not pregnant.
What happens to hair during pregnancy?
Many women experience their best hair days during pregnancy. Why? In short, you can thank the pesky hormone surges. At least they bring about a good side effect for a change!
Hair normally undergoes three phases: active growth, resting, and shedding. During these phases, people typically shed 100 hairs every day. During pregnancy, however, increased estrogen hormones shift hair cycles, skipping the shedding cycle. This is the main reason why pregnant women enjoy longer and thicker hair. That is, of course, until the postpartum hair loss hits around 4 months after giving birth.
Some women also explained that their hair became more or less curly during and after pregnancy. The reason behind why that happens has stumped doctors!
While healthier, stronger hair may be the norm, it’s not uncommon for women to experience hair loss during pregnancy. The American Pregnancy Association says somewhere between 40 to 50 percent of women experience excessive shedding of hair, called telogen effluvium. This typically happens between months one and five following pregnancy.
What can I do to combat hair loss or thinning when pregnant?
Telogen effluvium is temporary, albeit annoying. The American Pregnancy Association recommends the following tips for healthier hair and to reduce hair loss during and after pregnancy:
- Eat a healthy diet. Fruits and vegetables contain antioxidants that may provide protection to hair follicles and encourage hair growth.
- Take your prenatal vitamins daily.
- Use shampoos and conditioners that contain biotin and silica. Both are ingredients that improve hair strength, shine, and thickness.
- Don’t brush hair when it’s wet since strands are more fragile. Avoid fine-tooth combs.
- When applying heat like blow dryers or curling irons, use the cool setting.
- Supplement your diet with the following nutrients but consult your doctor first:
- Vitamin B complex
- Biotin (Possibly safe; orally and appropriately)
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin E (Likely safe if the amount does not exceed the recommended dietary allowance; possibly safe if it does)
- Zinc (most likely safe when used orally and appropriately; likely unsafe when used orally in high doses)
Many of the ingredients included in these products are controversial, should not be used in the first trimester of pregnancy, or have limited or no data/research on use during pregnancy. Some ingredients have been linked to other non-pregnancy-related health problems. Many products have not been evaluated by the FDA. Since no studies have been conducted with these products on pregnant women there is no absolute certainty that these are 100% safe. Always consult with your obstetrician before starting any products while you are pregnant, nursing, or planning on becoming pregnant.
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.
It is difficult to identify our top pick and recommend just one pregnancy-safe shampoo to use when you are growing baby because everyone’s hair needs are different, regardless of whether you are expecting. We are confident that this list includes some options for all hair types, including those experiencing scalp sensitivity, hair loss, scent aversions, and more. There is not a clear-cut “yes” or “no” answer as to whether you should be using a different shampoo when pregnant. It is a personal decision – one that you should discuss with your doctor.
We hope you found the contents of this article helpful in identifying ingredients to be wary of and honest in what researchers do and don’t know about the use of chemicals during pregnancy.