Is Johnson’s Baby Shampoo Safe? Is It Good For Adults Too?

Johnson's baby shampoo

When you have a little one around, you do not want to spare any effort to give her the best. One of the elemental things that kick you off through deliberation from day one is her shampoo. If you are contemplating Johnson’s baby shampoo, let’s help you through it.

Johnson’s baby shampoo ingredients

According to the company, its baby shampoo is ‘as mild as pure water’. That sounds impressive! So, what goes into it?

IngredientFunctionality & Safety
WaterMakes up the majority of the shampoo
Acts as a carrier and blends other ingredients
Helps to dilute harsh ingredients and reduces irritation on the skin
Cocamidopropyl BetaineEmulsifier, antistatic agent to increase foaming
Impurities developed during processing can cause skin sensitization and slight irritation
Possible environmental toxin
Sodium Cocoyl IsethionateSurfactant to produce lather and clean dirt
Lightly scented
Acts as moisturizer
Can cause an allergic reaction
Toxic to waterways
Lauryl GlucosideHelps in removing dirt and oil
PEG-80 Sorbitan LaurateSurfactant, and foam booster
Can damage hair 
GlycerinKeeps hair hydrated and conditioned
Prevents breakage
Completely safe – has an A rating from the Environmental Working Group
Citric AcidUsed to lower pH levels
Improves the appearance of hair
Can whiten hair by reducing melanin – the hair color pigment
Can dry the scalp, and cause skin and eye irritation
Sodium BenzoateUsed as preservative
Antibacterial and antifungal agents
Can cause allergies, and is potentially carcinogenic
PEG-150 DistearateThickening agent
Can be contaminated during the manufacturing process – making it a potential carcinogen
Sodium Methyl Cocoyl TaurateFoaming agent, and moisturizer
FragranceCan remove natural oils from hair, and damage it
Can cause respiratory issues and asthma
Thickening, and antistatic agent
Disodium EDTAChelating agent

Of these, water, glycerin, Cocamidopropyl betaine, citric acid, sodium cocoyl isethionate, lauryl glucoside, and sodium methyl cocoyl taurate are naturally derived.

Johnson’s baby shampoo does not contain parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and dyes. However, the presence of fragrance and chemicals like Sodium Benzoate would mean that this is not a completely safe product for babies.

The product is available in bottles of 50 milliliters, 100 milliliters, 200 milliliters, and 500 milliliters. The shampoo is transparent. The company advises you to be careful that your baby does not swallow it accidentally.

What chemicals are in Johnson’s baby shampoo?

Your baby is exposed to chemicals right from the time she is in her mother’s womb. Research has shown that young children have the highest exposure to chemicals in the household. So, what are the chemicals in Johnson’s baby shampoo?

So, which of these chemicals is present in Johnson’s baby shampoo? Let’s have a look..


According to the company’s product ingredient disclosure, only its Shiny Drops Shampoo variant contains oil – which is argania spinosa kernel oil. The oil lubricates the hair and nourishes hair follicles but can dry the hair over a period of time. It can also cause skin rashes. Meanwhile, few ingredients in other variants may be derived from coconut oil.


Johnson’s baby shampoo does not contain alcohol. It does not appear in the ingredients list and the company’s response to customer queries confirms that the baby shampoo is alcohol-free.


Johnson’s baby shampoo does not have sulfates. Although the chemical may help in getting rid of dirt and oil, it can cause sensitization, scalp irritation, hair loss, fading of hair color, and cancer risk.


The fragrance is indeed present in Johnson’s baby shampoo. However, the exact ingredients that make it up are not disclosed by the company. We are not sure if they are plant-based or synthetic.

The manufacturers claim that their fragrance ingredients follow the global standards of the International Fragrance Association besides other regulations and guidance. Depending on the composition of fragrance in the shampoo, it could cause skin sensitization, rash, allergy, respiratory problems, and cancer risk.


Johnson’s baby shampoo is free of silicone. The chemical is harmful to the hair – it causes the hair to become dry and dull.

Sodium lauryl sulfate

The shampoo contains many compounds of sodium, but not sodium lauryl sulfate. The compound helps in lathering and cleaning dirt – but is an irritant and toxic to sea life.


Johnson’s baby shampoo is said to be free of formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is a chemical used as a preservative to prevent microbial growth in shampoo and other cosmetic products. It is a carcinogen and can trigger skin allergies like dermatitis, itching, red rash, and blisters.

In 2014, the New York Times carried a statement by the company that its shampoo ‘no longer’ contained formaldehyde – which gives way to a suspicion that the product did have the chemical earlier.

Meanwhile, a random test conducted in April 2019 on two batches of Johnson’s baby shampoo in Rajasthan, India, had detected traces of formaldehyde. Following this, stocks of the shampoo were ordered to be removed from the market. The company did not accept the verdict – nevertheless, a retest done in June 2019 stated that the shampoo does not contain formaldehyde.


Johnson’s baby shampoo does not contain parabens. This chemical is usually used in shampoo products as a preservative, anti-fungal, and anti-bacterial agent. However, it gets easily absorbed through the skin – resulting in scalp dryness, hair loss, skin irritation, hair color fading, and other allergies.

Is Johnson’s baby shampoo really tear-free?

The company claims that its baby shampoo is mild for the sensitive eyes of your baby. The formulation of its No More Tears variant is not very different from the other variants. Further, there are few reports of the shampoo causing tearing.

Chemical ingredients like Cocamidopropyl betaine, citric acid, polyquaternium-10, and fragrance chemicals are known to cause eye irritation that may result in tearing. Therefore, it is dicey to conclude if Johnson’s baby shampoo is tear-free.

Is Johnson’s baby shampoo safe to use?

Johnson’s baby shampoo is free of parabens, sulfates, phthalates, and dyes. It is also touted to be pH balanced and hypoallergenic. Some of its ingredients are naturally derived – which means even if derived from a healthy coconut, it undergoes laborious processing that could transform its virtue. Furthermore, there are synthetic ingredients too in the composition of the shampoo – the company claims that sometimes synthetic components could be better than natural ones.

Of the ingredients in the shampoo, Cocamidopropyl betaine, sodium cocoyl isethionate, PEG-80 sorbitan laurate, citric acid, sodium benzoate, and PEG-150 distearate have the potential to cause skin irritation, allergies, or hair dryness. As discussed before, a couple of them are potential carcinogens. Fragrance ingredients are known to cause allergies and are a cancer risk.

Meanwhile, it is known that Johnson’s company has been in and out of controversies across the world. It has faced several bans for its shampoo and other products. Its image was tarnished for many years at the beginning of the 21st century over reports and reviews that its products are highly cancerous – most of them related to the talc though.

The company has been fighting these allegations by trying to improve its products. According to its website, the company has relinquished its old formulations. Its new formulations are developed through stringent standards and a five-level safety process. The company has also reduced the number of ingredients as new-age parents prefer fewer ingredients. A step forward towards enhancement and customer safety is appreciable.

The safety of Johnson’s shampoo also depends on your baby’s skin type, her adaptability to the environment, and her immune system. Recent reviews of the product on social media reveal mixed responses. While some give it a big thumbs up, some say it is not so tear-free after all – or that their babies have experienced some rash after the shower.

To know if this product suits your baby, do a patch test. The product may turn in or against your baby’s favor as her skin and immune responses develop with age. Be sure to rinse the baby’s hair well after shampooing to ensure there is no residue – and make sure that the shampoo is not splashed into her eyes. This taken care of, Johnson’s baby shampoo could be a safe product for your baby. At the same time, for much safer bathing for your baby, choose a chemical-free, plant-based, and organic product.

Is Johnson’s baby shampoo safe for newborns?

The company claims that the baby shampoo is its mildest formula that is safe even for newborns. However, the formulation contains many synthetic ingredients besides naturally derived ingredients that undergo extensive processing. Since you are yet to understand your newborn’s skin type, allergies, immune system, and moods – it is best to wait for a couple of months before you start using Johnson’s baby shampoo.

Is Johnson’s baby shampoo safe for your eyes?

Components such as Cocamidopropyl betaine, citric acid, fragrance chemicals, and polyquaternium-10 may cause inflammation and irritation to your baby’s eyelids upon accidental contact. As babies do not blink too often, eye contact with the shampoo could be more probable – so ensure proper rinsing of the eyes during every bath.

Meanwhile, it is not a good idea to clean your or your baby’s eyes with shampoo. Shampoos are not meant for cleansing the eyes. Such practice can cause disruption of the pH balance of your eyelids and result in complications as the shampoo is made of many synthetic ingredients.

Is Johnson’s baby shampoo safe for adults?

You may not be too grown up to use Johnson’s baby shampoo for mild and gentle cleaning. The shampoo is free of harsh chemicals. However, if you are looking for a shampoo to remove the oil and dirt off your mane, then the baby shampoo will not work for you. Also, if you have damaged hair, or if your hair and scalp need special attention – do consult your physician before grabbing the baby shampoo. The synthetic and fragrance chemicals in Johnson’s baby shampoo may not suit you.

Is Johnson’s baby shampoo good for color-treated hair?

The product is free of chemicals such as sulfates, parabens, petrochemicals, formaldehyde, and sodium chloride that can fade the hue of your hair. However, Cocamidopropyl betaine, citric acid, and fragrance chemicals could deter your goals. You can consult your hairdresser regarding these chemicals.

Is Johnson’s baby shampoo safe for dogs and cats?

Johnson’s baby shampoo is a mild formulation for babies. This does not make it a good product to wash your dog or cat’s hair – although dogs, cats, and babies are all cute and walk on all fours!

Here is what you need to know –

  • Cocamidopropyl betaine is not safe for your pet if it penetrates the skin.
  • Sodium cocoyl isethionate is an ingredient that should not be in your dog or cat’s shampoo. The chemical can cause skin irritation.
  • PEG-80 sorbitan laurate can cause allergies in your pets.
  • Citric acid is extremely toxic for dog and cat skin.
  • Sodium benzoate could be a low-tolerant chemical for cats. In combination with citric acid, the chemical can be highly toxic for both dogs and cats.
  • Sodium methyl cocoyl taurate may cause skin irritation.
  • Disodium EDTA is not good for dog or cat skin. Accidental ingestion could also be toxic.
  • Fragrance chemicals can be highly dangerous for your dog or cat’s skin and respiratory system. Not just the chemicals, even the odor could alter their moods and behavior.

Further, if there is a residue of the shampoo on your dog or cat’s skin – the inculpable pet could bring upon itself some digestive or liver problem through its habit of repeatedly licking itself.

Meanwhile, a puppy is not the same as a baby. The harshness of the chemicals thus far discussed applies to a puppy too. A puppy requires much gentler care and fewer chemicals.

Therefore, to clean the hair and skin of dogs, cats, and other pets use pet-specific formulations.

Is Johnson’s baby shampoo good for hair?

Your baby may have different allergies, skin types, and hair types. Let’s analyze if Johnson’s baby shampoo suits her.


Johnson’s baby shampoo does not treat dandruff. Salicylic acid, coal tar, and zinc compounds are common ingredients in hair care for dandruff. These components are absent in Johnson’s baby shampoo.


There are no harsh chemicals in Johnson’s baby shampoo, and this makes it safe for a baby or an adult with eczema. However, there are no reports that the product can alleviate symptoms of eczema.

Cradle cap

Washing your baby’s hair every day with a mild shampoo is a good cure for cradle cap. As Johnson’s baby shampoo is free of harsh chemicals and contains humectants, emollients, and moisturizing agents, it could be good for cradle cap.

Thinning hair

This is a problem that most of us encounter and strive to fix. If your hair is thinning due to the accumulation of dirt or harsh chemicals in your shampoo – yes, Johnson’s baby shampoo could be your solution. If your baby is facing thinning of her hair, you can evaluate her immune system, environmental factors, and nutrition levels. There are no reports if Johnson’s baby shampoo will help you resolve your baby’s thinning hair.

Curly hair

Johnson’s Curl Defining shampoo with shea butter could be what you are seeking for your baby’s coiled tresses. According to the company, the formulation smoothens the curls and gives them an exquisite bounce. It is gentle and safe for the curly strands of an adult too.

Dry hair

Johnson’s baby shampoo has several moisturizing agents that can treat dry hair. It offers good results for both babies and adults. However, avoid the Shiny Drops Shampoo variant as the oil in it can dry the hair.

Keratin hair

Keratin hair requires a shampoo that is free of harsh chemicals, alcohol, and salt – hence, Johnson’s baby shampoo is what you need.

Oily hair

The formulation in Johnson’s baby shampoo helps water and oil to mix and wash off. At the same time, there are no harsh sulfates that will strip the hair of moisture. While this works for a baby, the product is not a go-to solution for an adult with oily hair and scalp.

Hair fall/hair growth

Johnson’s baby shampoo is not known to stimulate hair growth – neither is it known to cause hair fall. It is more of a hair cleanser that keeps dirt off your hair – which in itself can spark hair growth.

Is Johnson’s baby shampoo hypoallergenic?

The shampoo is free of harsh chemicals. As per the company’s claim, it is hypoallergenic – it advises you to get your baby’s hair wet before the application of shampoo. However, there have been few reports of shampoo causing skin irritation.

Is Johnson’s baby shampoo cruelty-free?

Johnson’s baby shampoo is cruelty-free. The company carries out animal testing only where required by the law and regulations.

Is Johnson’s baby shampoo gluten-free?

There is no gluten in Johnson’s baby shampoo formulation. None of the ingredients are derived from wheat, barley, or rye.


Anand Srinivasan
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