The 9 Best Shampoos for Kids of 2021

Keep their hair and scalp clean and healthy

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Whether your kid’s hair is short, long, curly, straight, thick, or thin, it needs to be washed to be healthy. There are a lot of different kids and tweens shampoo options out there, but how do you know which one is the best for your child? Like adults, every kid needs a shampoo that meets their unique needs based on their hair texture, scalp health, and even what activities they’re involved in.

Here are some of the best shampoos for kids.

Our Top Picks
It’s made to minimize and protect breakage and split ends, promote growth, and keep the scalp clean and clear.
Ideal for kiddos with sensitive skin, it's free of common allergens and even doubles as a body wash.
Best for Kinky Curls:
SheaMoisture Kids Shampoo at Amazon
A pick that promotes natural hair growth, it's especially ideal for little ones with kinky curls due to its sulfate-free formula.
Both a head lice repellent and a daily shampoo, it's made up of organic rosemary, citronella, tea tree oil, and geranium oil.
Perfect for kids who love to swim, it’s formulated to combat the green tones that come from pool chemicals and calcium salt.
To make bath time easier, wash your kiddo's hair in one step with this non-toxic shampoo and conditioner combo.
It’s safe for babies from birth, and it’s made with chamomile and avocado that cleans without stripping natural oils.
A solid pick for active kids, the shampoo features nettle and plant proteins that combat oil buildup and prevent hairline acne.
Formulated to hydrate, nourish, and clean all hair types, it's ideal for particularly delicate and fine hair.

Best Overall: The Mane Choice Fruit Medley Kids Hydrating Shampoo

The Mane Choice Fruit Medley Kids Hydrating Shampoo

Great for all textures, this shampoo will strengthen and detangle your child’s hair and leave it smelling wonderful thanks to the orange-infused formula. It’s made to minimize and protect breakage and split ends, promote growth, hydrate the hair, and keep the scalp clean and clear. 

Best Organic: Hello Bello Kid’s Shampoo & Body Wash

Hello Bello Kid’s Shampoo & Body Wash

Hello Bello’s watermelon shampoo is formulated to work with all hair types and is safe for even the most sensitive skin. Its ingredients include marshmallow root, coconut, and aloe extract and it’s free of common food allergens including peanuts, dairy, soy, and gluten.

The brand promises that your kid’s hair will be shiny, smooth, and healthy after using this shampoo. An extra bonus is that this delightfully sweet-smelling shampoo can double as a body wash.  

Best for Kinky Curls: SheaMoisture Mango & Carrots Kids Extra Nourishing Shampoo

SheaMoisture Mango & Carrots Kids Extra Nourishing Shampoo

Kids with natural kinky curls will benefit from this sulfate-free shampoo that will leave their hair hydrated and strong. It’s made with mango butter, carrot oil, coconut oil, and organic shea butter to moisturize, smooth, and soften brittle, dry, or damaged hair. This shampoo is also great for the scalp. 

Best Lice Treatment: Fairy Tales Rosemary Repel Lice Shampoo

Fairy Tales Rosemary Repel Lice Shampoo

No one wants to think about it, but at some point, your child may be exposed to lice. If you use this shampoo, though, your kiddo may be able to dodge the next lice outbreak.

With ingredients like organic rosemary, citronella, tea tree oil, and geranium oil help repel lice and make your child's head an unappealing landing pad. This shampoo is safe, and great, for everyday use and will leave most hair types hydrated, strong, and healthy.

Best for After Swimming: SoCozy Swim 3-in-1 Shampoo + Conditioner

SoCozy Swim 3-in-1 Shampoo + Conditioner

Chlorine, salt water, and sunlight can do a number on the hair, so if your kiddo loves to be in the water, this shampoo is for them. It’s formulated to combat the green tones that come from pool chemicals, calcium salt, chlorine build-up, and general dryness that come along with swimming. Even better, it’s a three-in-one product, so it serves as a shampoo, conditioner, and body wash. 

Best 2-in-1: Fresh Monster Toxin-free 2-in-1 Kids Shampoo & Conditioner

Fresh Monster Toxin-free 2-in-1 Kids Shampoo & Conditioner

To make bath time easier, wash your kiddo's hair in one step with this shampoo and conditioner combo. It’s free of toxic and harmful chemicals and dyes, it smells delicious, and it leaves hair shiny, soft, and clean. It’s also formulated to be gentle on the eyes and also serves as a detangler. 

Best for Babies: Mustela Gentle Baby Shampoo & Detangler

Mustela Gentle Baby Shampoo & Detangler

Babies need products that are as clean and pure as possible, and this shampoo is one of them. It’s safe for babies from birth on and it’s made with chamomile and avocado to clean their scalp without stripping it of its natural oils. The stand-out ingredient Avocado Perseose is unique to Mustela products and helps to strengthen the skin's barrier functions by beefing up their natural proteins and lipids.

This shampoo is hypoallergenic, non-toxic, works as a detangler, and is formulated to hydrate and protect dry scalps. 

Best for Big Kids: Fairy Tales TBH Kids Shampoo

Fairy Tales TBH Kids Shampoo

Bigger kids are more active, so they need a shampoo that will work a little harder to cleanse their hair and scalps of dirt and sweat. This shampoo is made for just that with ingredients like nettle, meadowsweet, and plant proteins that combat oil buildup.

Their hair will feel smooth and soft and the shampoo can even help prevent acne breakouts along the hairline. It’s also free of toxic and harmful ingredients, works as a shampoo and conditioner in one, and smells delightful. 

Best Tear-Free: Johnson's Baby Ultra-Hydrating Tear-Free Kids’ Shampoo

Johnson's Ultra-hydrating shampoo

This shampoo is hypoallergenic, free of toxic and harmful chemicals, and is as gentle as water on the eyes. It’s also formulated to hydrate, nourish, strengthen, and clean all hair types, but particularly delicate and fine hair. While it is a moisturizing shampoo, the manufacturer recommends also using the hydrating conditioner for optimal results. 

Final Verdict

The best product for your child depends a lot on their hair texture and needs. That being said, The Mane Choice Fruit Medley Kids Hydrating Shampoo (view on Walmart) is a great choice across the board because it strengthens and detangles, cleans the scalp as well as the hair, smells great, and leaves the hair shiny and healthy. 

What to Look for in a Shampoo for Kids

Ingredients

Make sure you read the ingredients label to ensure you’re not exposing your child to any harmful chemicals. Opt for brands that use natural ingredients and be mindful of allergies or sensitivities to fragrances. 

You also want to ensure the ingredients in your child’s shampoo will clean their hair efficiently of any odor or buildup. Some shampoos contain more than a dozen ingredients, and while you may not have time to look them all up, you do want to ensure what you’re putting onto your child’s body is safe and effective.

Purpose

Before purchasing shampoo for your child, consider what the shampoo is needed for. While most shampoos are aimed at cleaning hair and keeping it healthy, there are also other shampoos that treat lice removal or cradle cap

Check the label of the shampoo you’re picking out to determine what its purpose is. If you’re needing a lice treatment shampoo, look for shampoos that specifically target lice prevention and treatment, like Fairy Tales Rosemary Repel Lice Shampoo (view at Amazon). Determining a purpose will help your child’s scalp stay healthy because you’re then able to pick out a shampoo for their exact needs.

Hair Texture

It’s no secret that all hair types and textures are not the same, so finding the right shampoo for your child’s hair is key. There are four main hair types: curly, straight, wavy, and coils, with those then breaking down into fine, medium, or thick hair. Some kids are in between types and textures while others are simply one category. 

For example, if your child has curly hair, you will want a shampoo specifically designed for curly hair. These will contain ingredients that keep your child’s curls healthy and intact.

FAQs

Do kids need a designated shampoo? 

Kids don’t necessarily need a designated shampoo, but there are many benefits to them having their own. With adult shampoos, some contain many ingredients that may not be safe for a child’s hair, so it’s important to check for ingredients first. 

You also want to think about how shampoo for kids is designed tear-free, meaning if it gets in their eyes, it won’t cause any pain or tears. Adult shampoos may burn if it enters their eyes, so your best bet is to purchase kids shampoo if possible. 

When should I start washing my child's hair with child-specific shampoo?

When you have a newborn, many parents and caregivers use baby wash as shampoo. This typically stays the same until they enter their toddler years and possibly pre-school since baby wash is usually great for all skin types. 

After about a year old, a child’s skin becomes less irritable and you’re bathing them more often, so that’s a great time to transition. It really depends on your child and how much hair they have. If they have a lot of hair, consider transitioning to a kid’s shampoo to ensure their hair is getting the nutrients it needs.

Why Trust Verywell Family?

Ashley Ziegler is a full-time parenting writer, mom to a 1 and a 4-year-old, and she has personal experience in researching kid’s shampoos and trying different brands out on her two daughters (both with very different hair textures). Key considerations she focused on when selecting these products include personal experience, ingredients, and user reviews.  

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3 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Shea butter for hair: raw, hair growth, and natural hair. Healthline.

  2. Writer S. Lice prevention info. Family & Childcare Resources of Northeast Wisconsin.

  3. Avocado perseose: mustela’s natural & patented hero ingredient. Mustela USA.