It’s hard to resist the promise some baby shampoos offer of “no more tears.” I mean who wants their happy, splashing sweetheart to transform into a thrashing, screeching child when it comes time to wash their hair?
Detergent, known as surfactant, is the ingredient used in shampoos to do the dirty work, that is to get rid of the dirt in hair. In no-tears formulations, the nature of surfactants is modified to reduce eye and skin irritation. In my experience, some of these shampoos have eliminated tears, some others resulted in less tears. And, as is the case with most personal care products, these shampoos, whether they’re marketed to kids or not, contain several hazardous ingredients that we all would be better off avoiding. Here are a few:
DMDM Hydantoin: A chemical known to be toxic to the immune system, with strong evidence of being a skin toxicant as well.
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS): This harsh, degreasing detergent commonly found in shampoos, soaps, and even toothpaste, is a skin and eye irritant.
Fragrance: Personal care products can be found in kid-enticing fragrances such as bubble gum and razzleberry. These synthetic fragrances are petrochemical loaded concoctions, which can wreak havoc with repeated exposure. (For great info on fragrance check out this Care2 article.
Ceteareth and PEG compounds: Petrochemicals that may contain cancer-causing impurities.
Use a shampoo that is free from the aforementioned hazardous ingredients such as:
A secondary tip: A third of the tears and screams come from water in the eyes, with or without irritating shampoo. Add fun to hair washing by letting your kids wear goggles. Since employing this idea, my kids now semi-look-forward to having their hair washed.
Terri Hall-Jackson lives in the Hudson Valley with her husband and two young children. In addition to writing, Terri works with public television and radio stations/networks in the area of new media, and leads workshops on authentic and empowered living.