I hope my story will help you to find the safest products for your children.
The Day It All Changed
It was a Saturday morning – a trip to the grocery store was in order. While dodging the swarms of shoppers, I tried to quickly fill my cart. Crossing things off the list while simultaneously entertaining my 1-year-old daughter.
I’m sure you’ve been there – it is a delicate balancing act. The kind of day you’re grateful to get to check out a meltdown for my daughter or me.
I was nearing the end of my list. Almost at the finish line!
The normal natural baby shampoo was still on the list. We’d been using Johnson & Johnson natural lavender scented shampoo for a while. I still remember the commercials. Touting the natural lavender scent to help kids to fall asleep. I wasn’t sure why or if the lavender worked but I used it. Marketing is a powerful tool.
I reached for a new bottle of Johnson & Johnson’s lavender natural baby shampoo and threw it in my cart. Off to get the milk and we were out of there.
From One Mother to Another
Another Mom shopping in the same aisle with her two little ones spoke up. She said something that caught me off guard.
“Do you know formaldehyde is in that?”
I was a little taken back. My mind raced. What? How in the world is formaldehyde in a baby shampoo? That’s the stuff they use to embalm dead people. She must have had one too many sleepless nights.
I gave her a puzzled look and said: “are you talking to me?”
She quickly replied, “your baby shampoo has formaldehyde in it, you should look it up”. She told me how she recently switched from Johnson & Johnson.
I was dazed and confused. She gave me a few options of what she uses now and was on her way.
I was left there in the aisle scratching my head. What if she was right? I wanted to protect my daughter. It was worth further investigation. That day I bought another brand of shampoo.
My Natural Baby Shampoo was unsafe
When I got home I did a quick search on formaldehyde and Johnson & Johnson baby shampoo. Guess what?? She was right!!! Articles from both the New York Times & CBS News confirmed it.
There were a few questionable ingredients (including formaldehyde) in Johnson & Johnson. Now, this was several years back. Johnson & Johnson has reformulated their recipe. Johnson & Johnson’s current shampoo does not contain formaldehyde. But it took them 2 years to do it.
I was appalled. Johnson & Johnson was a brand I trusted. Lavender Natural baby shampoo sounded safe. My trust was broken and yours should be too. Don’t blindly believe commercials and marketing gimmicks like this.
If Johnson & Johnson put formaldehyde in their “natural” baby shampoo, what else might they think is a good idea to include in their other products?
What does Natural Really mean?
What does “natural” really mean? Is it all natural ingredients? The main ingredients are natural? It’s a pretty vague term, but an ingenious marketing tactic.
According to the EPA, labels claiming “natural” could “mean anything or nothing at all”. That’s right folks! There are no regulations on what is defined as “natural” by the EPA.
Skin care products and cosmetics have pretty loose regulations about marketing claims. Skin care products are marketed as natural doesn’t mean much.
I imagine for good measure most manufacturers include at least one natural ingredient. One ingredient does not make a natural product.
You cough up a ridiculous amount of money for a small bottle of all natural baby shampoo. In hopes, it will keep your little one safe.
You might already be paying more money for natural products. Let’s learn from a few mistakes I made in the search for a natural & safe product.
Burt’s Bees Shampoo vs. Johnson & Johnson
After we stopped using Johnson & Johnson – I switched to Burt’s Bees Calming Shampoo & Wash. I thought it was a great alternative.
Several years later, I heard about the Environmental Working Group (EWG). The EWG is an amazing organization that rates the safety of almost any bathroom product. More about the EWG below.
I looked up the products I was using – turns out the Burt’s Bees Shampoo I was rated as safe as Johnson and Johnson baby wash. What!?!?!
All that extra money spent on a product I felt was superior… down the drain.
Turns out Burt’s Bees sold out back in 2008… to Clorox. Really – Clorox?!?! Baby Shampoo and bleach – not what I was picturing as I forked over big money for a bottle of baby shampoo.
I felt cheated.
You might have similar feelings.
Note – Burt’s Bees Fragrance-Free Shampoo has a very high safety rating. Point is – steer clear of fragrance!
Find Safe & Natural Shampoo
You want the best for your baby – what you pay for! If you’re up for an easy DIY – try out my simple baby shampoo recipe.There is a fast and easy way to decipher a shampoo or skin care product’s label and know what you’re paying for.
You’re a smarter consumer with the Environmental Working Group’s (EWG) Skin Deep Database.
EWG is an amazing organization which rates the safety and toxicity of ingredients. The EWG does third party testing to ensure what’s on the label is actually in the product. To ensure nothing extra was added and not listed.
All you have to do is look up a product on their website and they will give you the low down. One simple stop and you get all the answers you need.
With the EWG you can easily find the best natural baby wash for your little one. EWG lists verified products right on their site! And gives an upfront rating from 1 to 10 if the product is not verified directly with EWG.
1 is the safest rating (labeled in green); 10 is the most hazardous (labeled in red).
Plus the EWG has verified products. Those products have
- No ingredients of concern (usually highlighted in red)
- Good manufacturing practices
- Fully transparent product production
They even have a free app where you can scan each product with your smartphone and get instant ratings.
Did I mention their data and app is FREE?
What Baby Shampoo Our Family Uses
I personally switched to Babyganics Fragrance-Free Baby Wash. EWG gives it a rating of 1. I love that it comes in a fairly large bottle with a foaming dispenser.
You can also make your own baby wash as a great alternative to save more money. Check out my Natural DIY Baby shampoo recipe.
Take Action Today
- Use the EWG Skin Deep Database to look up your child’s current shampoo
- Concerned about the ingredients? Search for a replacement shampoo. Look for a replacement shampoo rating of a 1 or 2
- Buy the natural shampoo next time you’re at the store or find it online
You’re a good Mom – take these simple steps to protect your little ones today for a brighter tomorrow.