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7 Best Shampoos for Kids 2024

These tear-free shampoos for kids will get them excited to hop in the bath.

By Courtney Leiva
7 Best Shampoos for Kids 2024

Photo: iStock Photo

Straight hair, waves, curls and coils all deserve the best, most hydrating care from day one. We looked at products for fit for every hair type, texture,and budget and narrowed down hundreds of bestsellers to a few top-reviewed favorites. From well-known name brands to hidden gems, here are the seven best shampoos for kids that'll keep locks clean and tangle-free.

Pair them with the best hair detanglers for kids and you'll be all set for a tear-free styling.

What to look for in the best shampoo for kids

No two shampoos are the same. To help you find the perfect match for your child's hair, Susie Geda, master stylist and co-owner of BIBO Salon, recommends keeping the following tips in mind.

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  • Choose shampoos made specifically for children.  Sure, you might have found the perfect hair care routine for yourself, but for kids, it's important to use shampoos that are designed with their unique needs in mind, says Geda. "Always opt for shampoos specifically designed for children," she tells Today's Parent. "These shampoos tend to be milder and less irritating to their sensitive scalps and skin."
  • Look for tear-free formulas. This consideration is especially important as Geda states that some shampoos may contain ingredients that can cause burning and redness in the eyes. To protect your child's eyes, look for shampoos labeled as tear-free or ophthalmologist-tested. The best baby shampoos typically fit the bill.
  • Pay attention to ingredients. Whether clarifying tea tree oil or moisturizing shea butter—shampoos are packed with ingredients of all kinds. However, Geda recommends avoiding shampoos that contain harsh chemicals, sulfates, parabens, and artificial fragrances. These ingredients can damage hair. "Select shampoos with natural and organic ingredients as they are gentler and have less harmful short and long-term effects on your hair and scalp," she explains.
  • Select products that address hair care concerns. Find the best shampoos for kids by selecting products based on individual hair concerns, like hair type and texture or scalp health, adds Geda. "If your little one has tangles, kids' cradle cap or dandruff, you should consider products that specifically address those issues."

Best shampoo kids 2024:

Best overall

Aveeno Kids 2-in-1 Hydrating Shampoo & Conditioner

aveeno 2-in-1 hydrating shampoo and conditioner, Best Shampoo for Kids Merchant

If you're in search of a shampoo that is gentle on your child's hair and scalp, look no further than Aveeno's two-in-one shampoo. It's hypoallergenic, hydrating, and safe for all hair types and textures to use. Offering a rich lather, this shampoo is fun and easy to use for babies, toddlers and older kids alike. The grip-friendly bottle sits nicely next to baby bathtubs, too.

And because it's ultra-gentle (it is made without phthalates, sulfates, dyes and phenoxyethanol) with gentle oat extract, you may even fall in love with this pick for your own hair. Choose from three available sizes and a bundle option that includes a detangler.

"The blend of natural ingredients leaves my toddler hair feeling clean, soft and incredibly nourished," shares five-star verified Amazon reviewer, Gouhar Bains. "It doesn't strip away essential oils."

Pros

  • Shampoo and conditioner in one formula
  • Hypoallergenic and hydrating
  • Suitable for all hair types and textures
  • Can be used by kids of all ages, and technically can be used as both a shampoo and body wash
  • Available in three sizes and an option that includes a detangler

Cons

  • Although this shampoo is gentle and hypoallergenic, some user reviews suggest that those with curly hair should stick with curl-safe shampoos

Best budget

L'Oreal Kids 2-in-1 Extra Gentle Shampoo & Conditioner

L'Oreal Kids Gentle 2-in-1 shampoo and conditioner, Best Shampoo for Kids Merchant
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Don't be fooled by the adorable bottle or affordable price of this L'Oreal shampoo. It may seem gentle, but it's a total tangle-fighting machine. This kids' shampoo combines a clarifying shampoo and a gentle conditioner in one formula, quickly removing buildup and oil without drying out the hair.

We love that this shampoo is ophthalmologically tested, so it is tear-free and won't irritate sensitive eyes or cause redness. And if you're looking for a shampoo that can eliminate chlorine and salt water from your hair while leaving it soft and easy to comb, this is an excellent choice.

Pros:

  • Clarifying shampoo and gentle conditioner in one formula
  • Removes buildup and oil from hair without drying out hair
  • Ophthalmologically tested,  so it won't sting or cause red eyes
  • Under $5 pricing
  • Removes harmful chlorine and/or salt water from hair

Cons:

  • Some user reviews warn that some of the ingredients in this shampoo may be too irritating for extremely sensitive skin

Best for curly hair

Johnson's Curl-Defining, Frizz Control Tear-Free Kids' Shampoo

Johnson's Curl Defining Kids Shampoo, Best Shampoo for Kids Merchant

Curly hair and totally care? Then this shampoo from Johnson's is what you need to make bathtime a lot easier. No matter the length or type of curls your child has, this shampoo is specially designed to hydrate and honor curls, waves and coils. It effectively detangles, enhances the natural curl shapes and leaves the hair soft and tangle-free from root to tip.

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We love that this kids' shampoo formula is free from parabens, phthalates, sulfates and dyes. It's also hypoallergenic, making it safe for sensitive skin. And the icing on the cake? The formula is also gentle on the eyes and doesn't cause redness or stinging.

Pros:

  • Contains shea butter that moisturizes and defines curls
  • Suitable for curly hair
  • Gentle on the eyes and does not cause stinging or redness
  • Free of parabens, phthalates, sulfates and dyes
  • Gentle, foamy lather
  • An excellent baby shampoo option for curly little ones ages six months and older
  • An excellent overall value on a per-ounce basis

Cons:

  • Unlike other products on our list, this one is just a shampoo and not a two-in-one formula

Best for chlorine

Fairy Tales Swim Shampoo

Fairy Tales sun and swim lifeguard shampoo, Best Shampoo for Kids Merchant

Summer is all about swim, sun, and fun, but when chlorine jumps into the mix, it can rain on your hair's parade. If you need a fast fix for dry and brittle strands after a dip in the pool, reach for this clarifying shampoo when you need to show chlorine who's boss. It's just as important as their toddler water shoes!

Gluten, soy, dairy, nut and toxin-free, this shampoo cleanses, detangles and moisturizes the hair with ease. It's enriched with orange blossom and grapefruit oils and aloe vera ingredients to clarify and soften hair, while pineapple fruit extract leaves hair smelling like paradise.

What makes this shampoo great is its ability to remove chlorine-induced green color from light hair in just one wash, saving you the hassle of scrubbing and scrubbing until hair is back to its normal shade. It's also tear-free and comes in two sizes, so you can order a two-pack if your kids end up liking it.

Pros:

  • Removes chlorine-induced green color from blonde and light hair colors
  • Gluten, soy, dairy and nut free
  • Available in two sizes
  • Detangles and moisturizes hair
  • Contains pineapple extract, aloe vera, orange blossom,and grapefruit oils
  • Kids will love the bright scent
  • Ideal for packing in vacation bags and summer camp trunks

Cons:

  • While this shampoo is effective at removing chlorine from hair, we suggest using a moisturizing conditioner after to improve hydration and softness

Best luxury

SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Kids Set

sheamoisture 2-in-1 kids curl and shine shampoo, Best Shampoo for Kids Merchant
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This set from SheaMoisture is the perfect way to pamper your child's hair and give it TLC it deserves. In this set, you get a full-size shampoo and conditioner duo that removes dirt and impurities without stripping natural oils. There is also a curl-defining buttercream product that smooths and soothes dry hair while adding volume.

While every product in this set is packed with moisturizing extracts of slippery elm, hibiscus flower and nourishing marshmallow, it's free of silicones, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, mineral oil and petroleum jelly. That means you don't have to worry about fillers your hair doesn't need.

"Other, lighter formula detanglers and shampoos worked okay on my kiddo's hair until she turned five or so," writes a five-star verified Amazon reviewer. "Then her hair became thicker and drier and those products just didn't cut it anymore. Her hair was like straw and got into knots so easily, combing her hair was a daily battle."

She continues, "In desperation, I turned to the internet and found this set. I'm so glad I did. The shampoo indeed has no lathering effect, but once you get used to that, it's fantastic. I've been using all three products for a few weeks now and they have made a dramatic difference. My kid's hair is soft and combable again, and she has curls instead of knots."

Pros:

  • Includes rich, hydrating ingredients
  • No fillers
  • Suitable for curls, waves, dry hair and overworked tangles
  • Free of silicone, sulfates, parabens, phthalates, mineral oil and petrolatum
  • Cruelty-free
  • Loved by adults as well

Cons:

  • While it offers a trio of products, this set is the most expensive item on our list

Best for blondes

Ineta Chamomile Shampoo

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ineta chamomile shampoo for kids, Best Shampoo for Kids Merchant

This shampoo is perfect for blonde hair that needs a pick-me-up. It contains chamomile, which is a natural ingredient that lightens and brightens blonde hair while giving the shampoo a pleasant scent. Despite its lightening abilities, however, this shampoo is effective enough to deeply cleanse the hair and scalp, which is essential for maintaining healthy hair.

Because this shampoo is alcohol, silicone, paraben and ammonia-free, you don't have to worry about it having any harmful effects on your hair and scalp. Note, however, that this shampoo is clarifying. This means it's tough on oil but can be drying, so you'll want to use a hydrating conditioner afterward. It's also ideal for athletic children prone to lots of buildup and sweat.

Pros:

  • Chamomile subtly lightens and brightens blonde hair over time and prolonged use
  • Deeply cleanses hair and scalp
  • Ideal for active and athletic kids hair
  • Alcohol, silicone, paraben and ammonia-free
  • Rich foam lather
  • Plant-based and chemical-free
  • Great for teen and adult use, too

Cons:

  • This shampoo is tough on oil and buildup but can be a bit drying

Best Walmart

Maple Holistics Honeydew Kids Dry Scalp Care Formula Dandruff Shampoo

honeydew kids clarifying dandruff shampoo, Best Shampoo for Kids Merchant

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If your child is struggling with dandruff and flaking, this Walmart shampoo can help you regain control. It is sulfate and tear-free, cleanses and clarifies with antimicrobial tea tree oil and moisturizes with vitamin E and argan oil. Being free of sulfates means it's a winning choice for parents with hair color, too.

It targets impurities fast, a quality that makes it a reviewer favorite. It currently has a 4.9-star rating with hundreds of five-star ratings praising its gentle formula and that kids of all ages can use it. The modest pricing (around $10) makes it a viable competitor for even the best adult formulas.

Pros:

  • Cleanses and clarifies with antimicrobial tea tree oil
  • Adds moisture with vitamin E and argan oil
  • Sulfate and tear-free
  • Modest pricing
  • Fun packaging that makes kids want to wash their hair

Cons:

  • More expensive than other Walmart picks, but hyper-focused and worth every penny

This article contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.

This article was originally published on Aug 14, 2023

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