SafeMama’s Safer Baby Skin Care Cheat Sheet

By Kristie Turck •  Published 03/15/10 •  7 min read

Last updated on June 28th, 2022 at 08:30 pm

Welcome to the Safer Baby Skin Care Cheat Sheet! As I’ve grown and learned, I have become more aware of other ingredients, aside from parabens and phthalates, we hope to avoid. We also realize that there are different trains of thought (how many chemicals you’ll tolerate) and budgets to consider so we decided to simplify this list and split it up. For more detailed information on why we avoid certain ingredients please check our glossary. Below is a listing of brands we recommend. (Last updated February 27, 2016)

BEST CHOICES: SafeMama’s Top Picks

The following brands are, according to the latest ingredient information, mostly chemical free (or as close to chemical free as possible). They also rate well in the EWG Skin Deep Cosmetics database and are responsible companies. These are listed in alphabetical order for each rating group and not in a preferential manner. [Key: Brand Name, (Skin Deep rating range for baby items only, if available – Skin Deep ratings start at 0 being the best and goes up to 9 being the most hazardous)]



These are also really GREAT Choices: All baby care items are FREE of Parabens, Phthalates, PEG’s, Propylene Glycol, Phenoxyethanol, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Benzoate, Dimethicone, SLS and a bevy of other chemicals I won’t bother listing. Brands exhibit a very respectable ingredients list. (Note: In some brands cases they carry several products that are chemical free however have one or two items that were not.) I personally use many items from brands in this section. 


Brands are Paraben, Phthalate, Propylene Glycol, PEG Free though had one or more products containing cocamidopropyl betaine, dimethicone, sodium benzoate, and/or phenoxyethanol. Some of these brands had traces of just one questionable ingredient and others had several, or contained more chemically processed ingredients than I was comfortable with. These are still far better choices than most mainstream baby products and would recommend them. You will need to investigate the products yourself and make a judgment call.

Gluten Free Brands

These brands are gluten free according to their informational materials, for those needing to avoid gluten in their skin care. (Not comprehensive)

Basic Skin Care Tips:

Read labels carefully. Beware of the basics -paraben, fragrance, PEG’s, and propylene glycol. Use our list as a guide.

Shopping at a “natural” store doesn’t mean everything is paraben and phthalate free. Read labels, know how to decipher the ingredients by reading our glossary and don’t be fooled by the word “natural” or “organic” on the label. These words are not regulated the way food is… just because it says natural/organic doesn’t always mean it is.

Be wary of the term “fragrance”. Synthetic fragrances are a phthalate culprit so if you can, try to use products with organic or natural essential oils only if you are unsure. Unscented products can also contain phthalates by using a fragrance masking agent.

Use less products. This seems like a no-brainer but many people use way more than they need. Babies are born with the most perfect skin (usually) and it will never again be as perfect as it is when they’re babies.  Their skin is also sensitive and susceptible.  They don’t need to be slathered in lotions and powders. A little warm water and a washcloth is all they really need. When kids get older and grimier (like mine) a little soap and warm water does the trick and you can spot treat any dry skin problems or rashes.

Make Your Own: Some Castille Soap and water goes a long way!

Note: We support all the brands listed above regardless of what rating they have received.  We also realize everyone has their own standard of “greenness” and feel that there is a product to suit the needs of every child.  Experiment and mix and match until you find which brands work best for you, your family and your budget.  If there is a brand you think is missing from this list, please contact me and let me know and I would be happy to review it for inclusion.

Notice: Please do not redistribute this list anywhere without our prior written consent. If you would like to share this information with your readers, please use the handy little button we created for doing just that and link back here. I  spent time away from my kids, pouring over ingredients lists, digging in the Skin Deep Database and learning about chemicals and processes. Please help me make that worth my time and energy by not copy/pasting my work on other websites, communities, forums or blogs without permission. Thank you!

When my son was first born, I probably got sixty bottles of different types of Johnson’s Baby Wash. They had one for every day, one for calming, one for colds. It seemed like they had just about everything I needed. Not having any idea what a paraben or a phthalate was, it was my staple. Once I started doing research (you would think that I would have done this prior to having my baby, but then again, you wouldn’t think they would make a baby shampoo that was laden with chemicals. Fool me once…), I was horrified to learn that I was using something harmful on my son’s delicate skin. I stopped using it immediately and sought other alternatives. I will admit though, I became so used to the smell of the Johnson’s calming baby wash, that I kept a bottle, just for the tactile memory. Every now and then, I’ll give it a little sniff, and it transforms me back to those early days of his newborn baby head. Since then, I’ve done A LOT of research on baby shampoo, and have tried many brands. When my daughter was born, I even brought my own body wash to the hospital and refused to let them use what they had on hand (most likely Johnson’s). Between Kathy and I, I’m pretty confident that we’ve tried just about every brand that’s out there. We’ve pored over ingredients and compared lathering capabilities. And here’s what we’ve come up with.