As a parent, you want to give your child the best start in life. That includes choosing the safest baby products from the start. One product category you might have missed when setting up the registry is baby lotion. Even so, that oversight doesn’t mean you should skip attempting to make a safe choice now. Here are our staff tested top picks for the bets baby lotions.
Table of Contents
- What To Avoid in Baby Lotion
- Other Ways to Keep Baby’s Skin Soft
- The Best Non-Toxic Baby Lotions
- Babo Botanicals Sensitive Baby Daily Hydra Lotion
- Pipette Fragrance-Free Baby Lotion
- Attitude Baby Leaves Calendula Cream
- California Baby Super Sensitive Everyday Lotion
- Earth Mama Organic Baby Face, Nose, and Cheek Balm
- YoRo Naturals Organic Mauka Skin Soothing Cream
- CeraVe Moisturizing Baby Lotion
- Final Takeaway
Skin is our body’s largest organ. It’s a highly permeable layer that absorbs whatever it comes in contact with. This is especially concerning for newborns that haven’t had the opportunity to develop a robust immune system.
As a new Mom, I made sure to do extensive research on any product that would make its way on to my baby’s skin. Thankfully, concerned parents have more options than ever for safe skincare for babies. A whole market of non-toxic baby lotion is available today that will keep your little one’s skin soft and supple without questionable ingredients.
Here, we’ve rounded up our seven top choices for non-toxic baby lotions. But first, let’s break down what you most want to avoid.
What To Avoid in Baby Lotion
In theory, baby lotion formulas should be gentle enough for use on newborn skin. But in reality, there’s minimal regulation in the cosmetics market to ensure product safety. Not all baby lotions are created equal, meaning that some brands rely on ingredients that can potentially cause irritation. Here’s the shortlist of what you want to avoid to keep little ones safe.
Added Scents: Often listed as ‘fragrance,’ ‘aroma,’ ‘parfum,’ or ‘perfume,’ scents can irritate baby skin and should be avoided. Even “all-natural” essential oils can be too harsh for baby skin. Common symptoms include rashes, redness, dryness, and itchiness.
Synthetic Dyes: It’s well known that artificial dyes in food can lead to behavioral problems for kids, but these compounds might not be much safer in topical products. Babies are known to put everything in their mouths—especially their own hands and feet. Put an artificially-colored lotion on their little bodies, and the odds are good at least a portion of it will end up in their stomachs.
Phthalates: While many types of phthalates have been banned in baby products since 2008, these chemical plasticizers are still abundant today. See the CDC fact sheet on phthalates, here.
Sulfates: most commonly taking the form of sodium lauryl sulfate and sodium laureth sulfate, these compounds are added to cleaning products to boost foaming and remove dirt.
Unfortunately, sulfates can cause eye, skin, and respiratory irritation, especially in sensitive newborns. The most significant risk comes from concentrations higher than 2%.
Propylene Glycol: While this lotion additive helps products maintain their creamy texture, propylene glycol has a dark side. It’s a potential irritant that causes skin rashes.
Phenoxyethanol: Known for its sweet scent and anti-bacterial properties, phenoxyethanol is a mainstay ingredient in cosmetic products and is commonly found even in natural options as an alternative to parabens and other preservatives. Unfortunately, it brings its own host of problems and is considered a potential toxin if swallowed, inhaled, or absorbed through the skin. For safety, seek out baby products that use phenoxyethanol at a concentration under 1%. Better yet, avoid it altogether.
Other Ways to Keep Baby’s Skin Soft
While slathering on lotion is a successful strategy for keeping babies comfortable in their skin, there are other ways to ensure this sensitive organ maintains the moisture it needs. Pair these tips with your favorite baby lotion to ensure you’re fighting dryness and irritation from multiple angles.
Give Fewer Baths: It might seem counterintuitive, but too much time in hot water will actually dry out a newborn’s skin. Babies only need baths about three times a week, and any more than that might exacerbate skin problems like eczema.
Keep Them Hydrated: Little bodies lose moisture fast, so make sure your newborn is never at risk of dehydration. Staying on top of their fluid intake will reap many rewards, including more moisturized skin.
Use Soap Last: When it comes to bathing your baby, consider applying soap as the last step before getting out of the water. Most varieties tend to be drying, so less exposure will leave skin more hydrated in the long run.
Consider the Chlorine Content: Most tap water is treated with trace amounts of chlorine to prevent bacterial growth. That’s bad news for sensitive baby skin, which may find even minimal exposure to be aggravating. Ease this potential irritation by installing a bathtub filter to remove the chlorine and reduce irritation.
The Best Non-Toxic Baby Lotions
There are more options available than ever for non-toxic baby lotions. Here are our top choices to keep your little one’s skin in perfect condition.
Highlights: This lightweight daily lotion is still potent enough to treat problematic skin issues like eczema and other forms of irritation.
- EWG Rating: verified
- Best For: sensitive skin, eczema
- Full Ingredients: water, safflower seed oil, sunflower seed oil, glycerin, emulsifying wax, glyceryl stearate SE, oat kernel flour, calendula officinalis flower extract, shea butter, jojoba seed oil, tocopheryl acetate, cetyl alcohol, caprylhydroxamic acid, glyceryl caprylate, matricaria flower extract, watercress flower/leaf extract, kudzu root extract, meadowsweet flower extract, xanthan gum, sea buckthorn oil
Babo Botanicals is a B Corp company based within a women-owned facility in rural Pennsylvania. Every product it offers meets rigorous standards for a positive social and environmental impact. Babo’s lotions tend to be lightweight, with minimal lingering scent after application.
The brand’s Daily Hydra Lotion includes a variety of organic ingredients that act as natural skin softeners, including calendula, meadowsweet, chamomile, 2% colloidal oatmeal, and more. It’s formulated to be a gentle, non-greasy lotion for dry, sensitive skin. Use it on babies prone to irritation or eczema for immediate relief.
Parents love that a little of this lotion goes a long way, though some note that the creamy consistency means it takes a long time to rub in thoroughly. Some reviewers note a light oatmeal fragrance when they first apply it that’s a welcome break from the heavy floral scents in most lotions. Others found it was the only product besides steroid creams that seemed to clear up young children’s eczema.
Our founder, John, lives with his family in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. The air in the Tetons, especially in winter, is notoriously dry, and John’s family emphasizes good moisturizers and a humidifier for their one year old daughter, who has had bouts of baby eczema. While they haven’t found any one moisturizer to be a “cure-all,” the thickness of the Babo Botanicals product is a nice feature for babies who live in dry climates, or who need a little extra moisturizer. It doesn’t feel like you’re slathering on the product, as with Aquaphor, but the consistency, while still water based, feels like it holds to a baby’s skin, providing lasting moisture. Although the product is unscented, it does have a subtle, pleasant scent. We believe most of our readers would be satisfied with this product.
Highlights: Lightweight, low cost, and easy to use, Pipette’s baby lotion is a popular choice with parents as well.
- EWG Rating: verified
- Best For: newborns, sensitive skin
- Full Ingredients: water, squalane, glycerin, caprylic/capric triglyceride, cetearyl olivate, pomegranate sterols, sorbitan olivate, ceramide NP, sodium carbomer, potassium sorbate, ethylhexylglycerin, hydroxyacetophenone, phytic acid, propanediol
This back-to-basics baby lotion is non-toxic, fragrance-free, and gentle enough for daily use on brand-new skin. It’s an ideal general-purpose lotion that achieves the EWG’s highest safety rating for its gentle ingredients. Since it boasts a hypoallergenic formula, you can use it without risk of triggering as-yet-unknow allergic reactions in your little one. Thanks to its sugarcane-derived squalene, glycerin, coconut oil, and similar ingredients, the entire formula is certified vegan and cruelty-free.
While many parents love how unobtrusive Pipette lotions are to use, some find the lack of fragrance leaves it smelling slightly musty. If you prefer a subtle scent, choose from the brand’s Rose & Geranium or Vanilla & Ylang Ylang options.
This company has appeal beyond its products. Pipette stands out with its dedication to sourcing sustainable ingredients and the use of environmentally-friendly packaging. And, while it’s marketed for use on babies, customer reviews show many parents are just as happy using the cream on their own skin.
This is another organic baby lotion we tested in the clean, but dry air of the Tetons. In hotter, more humid climates, the breathability of this lotion could be ideal, but the product was a bit too runny and watery for our baby’s needs. Also, it’s harder to find this brand in an unscented formula, we used the rose + geranium blend. The scent wasn’t at all overwhelming, but the fact there is a scent at all will be a dealbreaker for some.
Highlights: Lightweight and intended for daily use, Attitude’s baby cream is gentle enough for newborns but moisturizing enough for older kids as well.
- EWG Rating: Verified
- Best For: hypoallergenic skin
- Full Ingredients: water, dicaprylyl ether, caprylic / capric triglyceride, coco-caprylate/caprate, cetearyl olivate, glycerin, tapioca starch, sorbitan olivate, shea butter, isoamyl laurate, stearyl alcohol, glyceryl stearate, levulinic acid, p-anisic acid, sodium levulinate, citric acid, xanthan gum, calendula officinalis flower extract, blueberry leaf extract, chamomilla flower extract, moringa oleifera seed extract, maltodextrin, linalyl acetate (herbal), vanillin
Attitude’s baby lotions may contain a lot of ingredients, many of which are synthetic. Still, the overall formula earns EWG’s highest safety rating for its gentle formula that works for all ages. The best-selling calendula cream includes potent ingredients like blueberry leaf, shea butter, and moringa seeds to soothe young skin.
As a brand, Attitude’s products are PETA-approved as vegan and cruelty-free, and has achieved Parent Tested, Parent Approved (PTPA) certification. Shoppers can choose between two subtle scents: almond milk and pear nectar. Both formulations are hypoallergenic, cruelty-free, and made in Canada.
The cream itself is a relatively thin consistency, which makes it easy to apply to squirmy skin and gets absorbed without leaving a greasy finish. Parents love how soft their little ones feel after application and consider this versatile lotion well worth the cost. Just be aware that dry skin can suck it in fast, so you may go through each container faster than you expect.
Highlights: If your little one reacts to almost everything you put on them, consider California Baby’s ultra-lightweight yet still moisturizing lotion that’s formulated for daily use.
- EWG Rating: 1
- Best For: dry, sensitive skin
- Full Ingredients: water, calendula extract in vegetable glycerin, glyceryl stearate, cetearyl alcohol, glyceryl caprylate, caprylic/capric triglyceride, cetyl alcohol, canola oil, safflower seed oil polyglceryl-4 esters, levulinic acid, basil leaf extract, anise seed extract, evening primrose oil, rosemary leaf extract, phytic acid (rice origin), xanthan gum USP, aloe vera leaf juice, yucca root extract.
A favorite brand for natural-minded parents everywhere, California Baby lotion is well worth considering, despite the higher price per ounce. The Super Sensitive Daily Lotion boasts a 100% vegan formula and is safe enough to use from birth. Even so, customer reviews show that adults are just as likely to apply the non-greasy formula to their own skin, especially if they are prone to breakouts and allergic reactions. It’s even got a bit of a cult following as an aftershave lotion.
This brand, developed by a mom, remains family owned and operated in Los Angeles, California. Every product is blended and manufactured within California Baby’s FDA-registered facility. The brand also operates a 100-acre certified-organic farm in Santa Barbara for growing calendula and other key ingredients.
The everyday lotion boasts a slightly thinner consistency, which makes it fast-absorbing and less likely to leave a greasy residue. It’s a versatile lotion that works for hands, fingers, faces, and anywhere else that’s prone to dryness. Use it after bath time or diaper changes to reduce irritation at times when babies are transitioning their outfits.
All California Baby lotions are free of gluten, soy, oats, dairy, and nuts (with the exception of coconut) to reduce the risk of irritation. Just note that California Baby products use minimal preservatives, so they might not have as long of a shelf life as you’ve come to expect from personal care products.
Highlights: Despite the high price per ounce, this potent cream adds moisture where your little one needs it most for immediate relief.
- EWG Rating: Verified
- Best for: drooling chins, drippy noses, other forms of skin irritation
- Full Ingredients: organic sunflower seed oil, organic beeswax, organic coconut oil, organic shea butter, organic calendula flower extract
Babies are little snot and drool machines, and all that moisture on sensitive faces can lead to chapped cheeks, lips, and noses—especially in the winter. Earth Mama Organic offers the solution with this specialty cream designed to restore the skin where it needs it most. The brand was founded in 2002 by a nurse and herbalist and works to incorporate generations of traditional plant wisdom with today’s best evidence-based research for its certified organic formulations of baby products.
Consider the brand’s Face, Nose, and Cheek Balm as an organic alternative to petroleum jelly that locks moisture into the skin for natural healing. It’s made from calendula and coconut oil, and is entirely free of synthetic chemicals, parabens, and fragrance agents. This makes it safe to use in sensitive areas, even around chapped baby lips. Just note that the most sensitive users might react to some of its natural oils, including sunflower oil.
Parents love that a tiny bit of the balm goes a long way. You’ll notice your little one’s skin improving after a few days, even hours of use. A common strategy is to apply it at night so that the thick cream can absorb into the skin as little ones sleep. Some even use it on their own hands in winter to keep them moisturized without leaving a greasy residue.
Highlights: You’ll pay a premium for YoRo’s Soothing Cream, but with it comes premium ingredients, including anti-inflammatory manuka honey.
- EWG Rating: 1
- Best for: eczema, psoriasis, diaper rash, sunburns, cuts/scrapes
- Full Ingredients: Active 16+ New Zealand manuka honey, manuka oil extract, organic Olive Oil, Grape Seed Oil, Organic Beeswax, and Filtered Water.
This heavy-duty conditioning balm repairs damaged skin—fast. It differs from the other products on this list in that it’s not targeted toward babies. Instead, this versatile cream will work for addressing extreme irritation, such as eczema, scrapes, and, yes, inflamed diaper rashes. The gentle formula is ideal for sensitive skin and leaves a soft, buttery texture that soothes everything from diaper rashes to adult acne.
The primary ingredient is 16+ New Zealand manuka honey, which contains 1000 times more methylglyoxal than regular forms of honey. And despite honey’s reputation as a sticky treat, this cream boasts a non-greasy formula that’s easily absorbed into the skin.
YoRo’s cream contains just six ingredients (all completely natural) and earns the EWG’s highest safety rating. You won’t even find preservatives within the formula—the Manuka honey extends its shelf life naturally.
Though pricey, the thick cream requires you to use only a tiny amount of product at a time, ensuring it will last far longer than similarly-sized lotions. Start with a pea-sized application or smaller, and apply more cream if you need it after it’s absorbed.
One word of warning—this cream contains beeswax, which might have trace amounts of pollen present. This can cause irritation for adults and children with allergies.
Highlights: Low cost and effective, CeraVe’s baby lotion works well for regular skin but might irritate those with extra sensitivities.
- EWG Rating: 3
- Best For: general moisture
- Full Ingredients: water, cetearyl alcohol, caprylic/capric triglyceride, cetyl alcohol, phenoxyethanol, niacinamide, dimethicone, allantoin, potassium phosphate, ceramide NP, ceramide AP, ceramide EOP, carbomer, zinc citrate, behentrimonium methosulfate, sodium lauroyl lactylate, sodium PCA, arginine Pca, sodium hyaluronate, cholesterol, dipotassium phosphate, disodium EDTA, tocopheryl acetate, tocopherol, lauric acid, phytosphingosine, xanthan gum, polyglyceryl-3 diisostearate, polysorbate 60, ethylhexylglycerin
As a brand known for its quality ingredients and low-cost pricing, CeraVe’s baby lotion doesn’t disappoint. It’s light enough for use over the whole body and is free of fragrance agents, parabens, dyes, phthalates, and other compounds known to lead to irritation.
Despite its lightweight formulation, this lotion contains ceramides and hyaluronic acid, both of which help the skin retain moisture naturally. The goal is to help build and reinforce your baby’s natural skin barrier to keep as much moisture locked in as possible.
Though this lotion is a general-purpose product, it’s earned the Seal of Acceptance from the National Eczema Association for use by those with extra skin sensitivities.
It’s a simple detail, but reviews show that parents love the pump dispenser included with this lotion bottle. This feature makes it possible to get a pre-portioned amount of lotion with just one hand, making it easier to contain a squirming child as you apply it.
Just note that the fast-absorbing formula might not be quite potent enough for those dealing with severely dry skin, meaning you might end up applying more than expected to achieve the level of moisture you’re looking for.
Newborn skin needs a little extra attention to stay in perfect condition. Using your daily lotion on your infant may be a mistake that leads to irritation and uncomfortable skin conditions.
Reduce this risk by using skincare products designed for babies, and by testing each new lotion on a small area before applying it more broadly. Apply a small dab of lotion to one limb and monitor the area for several hours.
If you see signs of a flare up, refrain from using it. Even natural ingredients like essential oils can cause irritation on extra sensitive skin, so it pays to be cautious on the first few applications.