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Guide to Choosing a Pregnancy-Safe Shampoo

Aug 02, 2023 | By Maria

Guide to Choosing a Pregnancy-Safe Shampoo

Pregnancy is a transformative and beautiful time in a woman's life. Many changes come along with it, and it's a time when it is essential to prioritize health and well-being. With growing a new life inside you comes extra precautions to ensure your safety and your baby's safety.

During this time, it’s incredibly important to watch the ingredients you are putting on your body. Hair care products, especially, can contain ingredients that may not be safe for you or your baby. For example, using hair dye is not recommended as it contains harmful chemicals, and washing less frequently to avoid too much chemical contamination. It can cause birth defects, affect your health or your baby’s health, and overall cause discomfort for you. This is alarming especially when hair care products like shampoo are used regularly for hair during pregnancy.

This means that your regular shampoo must be pregnancy-safe which is non-negotiable. In this article, we will discuss choosing the best pregnancy-safe shampoos and ingredients you should watch out for.

What shampoo ingredients should be avoided during pregnancy?

What shampoo ingredients should be avoided during pregnancy?

There are a few ingredients that you should avoid that may commonly be included in a lot of commercial shampoos. There may be some in the shampoo you use before your pregnancy. If so, it's time to switch. Read the ingredient labels of your current shampoo as well as what you are planning on purchasing and using and avoid these particular ingredients:


There are several types of sulfates in shampoos. They are used as a detergent to make the product lather up and cleanse the scalp and hair thoroughly of oils and buildup. In particular, sodium lauryl sulfate should be avoided if you are pregnant. This ingredient has been linked to birth defects and prolonged exposure may lead to kidney and liver issues. To be safe, avoid all types of sulfate altogether.


Many types of parabens can be found in cosmetic products. The most common are methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, and ethylparaben. However, be on the lookout for other names and variations. This is an ingredient used to preserve the product and extend its shelf life. However, it can also cause preterm birth, underdeveloped growth, and weight loss for the mother.


Phthalates are used as a stabilizer for shampoos to give the formula a much more handleable consistency. This ingredient has no significant benefits or use in a product and can easily be replaced with a safer alternative. Avoid shampoos with phthalates if you are pregnant, as they can alter hormone levels.


Formaldehyde, while less commonly used, can still be found in a few shampoos out on the market. It is a highly effective preservative that prolongs shelf life and keeps the product fresh. However, it is also highly toxic and dangerous. Even if you are not pregnant, this chemical can cause a lot of complications and harm your health. Formaldehyde has been linked to cancer, olfactory issues, nerve damage, and much more. Especially if you are pregnant, you must take extra precautions. This is an ingredient that you want to avoid completely.


Methylisothiazolinone (MIT) is another ingredient used as a preservative in many commercial shampoos. Scientific studies show that MIT inhibited the growth of nerve cells. It's best to stay away from this ingredient to ensure healthy development for your baby.

Synthetic fragrances

It's best to avoid shampoos or products with artificial or synthetic fragrances, as this can cause skin irritation. During pregnancy, any kind of illness, be it mild or severe, can have detrimental effects on a baby's development. Skin irritation or allergic reaction to synthetic fragrances can have an impact on the baby's development and health.

Characteristics of Pregnancy-Safe Shampoos

Now that we have established what to avoid in shampoos you'll be using while you are pregnant, let’s discuss what you should be looking for. Typically, these claims will be labeled clearly in the description of the product and will also be stated in the packaging. Look for badges and certifications that have these claims.

No harmful chemicals

In the previous section, we discussed the various chemicals you should avoid while pregnant. While it is still important to check the ingredient list to make sure, a product will typically have “no harmful chemicals” stated somewhere in the packaging or product description on their official website. In the ingredient list, check individually for sulfates, parabens, phthalates, formaldehyde, and methylisothiazolinone and ensure that they are absent from the list. A sulfate-free shampoo is easy to spot nowadays because they are increasingly getting more in demand due to its benefits.

Mild and natural ingredients

Natural shampoo with organic and mild ingredients is the best choice for pregnant women. All-natural or organic ingredients claims will typically be found right on the label of the packaging because it is an important feature that many people look for in general.

Natural ingredients are much gentler and less likely to cause any allergic reactions or side effects. Look for ingredients such as coconut oil, aloe vera, organic jojoba seed oil, and argan oil. This is the most pregnancy-safe and mild option for shampoo and conditioner.

Fragrance-free or naturally derived fragrance

Pregnant women are particularly sensitive to strong fragrances, especially artificial fragrances. Typically, artificial fragrance is an irritant, and this could cause skin issues for a mother-to-be with sensitive skin.

The best shampoos and conditioners for pregnant women are fragrance-free or naturally scented. This means that it should either have no smell completely or be scented gently with natural ingredients such as fruit, flowers, essential oils, natural oils, etc.

Tips for Choosing the Right Pregnancy-Safe Shampoo

Read the ingredient list always

This may be a tedious task, but it's incredibly important for you and your baby. Always make sure that you carefully read the ingredient list on your shampoo or any product that you plan on using. There may be times when a product claims that it's free of harsh chemicals but hides these chemicals in the ingredient list. You must be vigilant with this.

Do your research

Do your research for the ingredients that you find in a product that you are interested in purchasing. Most information about a product is readily available on the official website. Do your research on each ingredient to find out if everything is safe for you and your baby.

Find a reputable brand

There are brands specifically dedicated to providing natural alternatives to commercial products like shampoo and conditioner. Find brands like this and ensure that they are certified and have many good reviews and testimonies.

Consider your scalp and hair type

Hair types and hair texture are important factors to consider when choosing what hair products to use. For example, frizzy hair and curly hair need a lot of moisture. While straight, smooth hair will often need volumizing and thickening attributes in a shampoo. An oily scalp will be in need of a clarifying shampoo more often while a dry scalp needs gentle, moisturizing ingredients. Knowing what your hair type is and what it needs is essential when it comes to maintaining hair health.

Patch test

Patch test everything. This is the best way to figure out if a product will cause any adverse reactions. Apply a small amount of product on a section of your skin to see if the ingredients are compatible with you.

Consult your doctor

It's always best to consult your doctor about what concerns you. They can further tell you what you should be looking for in a shampoo and what you should be avoiding.

Know your body

Nobody knows your body the way you do. Know what feels good, what works for you, and what doesn’t. Consider what sensitivities you may have and what your body prefers. From past experiences, learn what works best for you.

Best Shampoo for Hair Loss During Pregnancy

Best Shampoo for Hair Loss During Pregnancy

Hair loss is a common issue for many pregnant women, as well as for those who just gave birth. Opting for a pregnancy-safe shampoo for hair loss or hair thinning is a good way to combat this and stimulate hair growth.

The best pregnancy-safe shampoo for hair loss should not contain harmful chemicals but still promote hair growth. Choose a safe shampoo for pregnancy that is made with 100% natural, vegan ingredients. It is guaranteed to be very gentle on the hair while still stimulating healthy hair growth and keeping hair healthy.

Best for Mommy and Baby

The top priority during pregnancy is always what is best for mommy and baby. Growing a little one is hard enough on its own. You don't need any other factors that will prevent you from doing that. Make informed choices, and always make sure to prioritize your well-being and safety.