I know just how hard reading ingredient lists on skin care products can be, especially for busy Mums (and Dads too!) when a) you stand in a drugstore or a supermarket, look at the small print and the long foreign-sounding names and they all merge into one long tongue-twister and b) you simply don’t have the time to do it when running errands and ticking things off your to-do list. So I have come up with a way to ease that process by analysing ingredient lists for you – and voila, this post will do just that so do read on 🙂

This is the first post of this kind so I’m really interested to hear feedback from you, whether you’re a Mum or not, whether these type of analyses (prior to testing and reviewing products) are useful and something they would like to see more of. I’d love to do these analyses not only for baby products but for any skin care products so please leave me a comment and let me know what type of products and brands you would like me to look at in the future. 

Essentially, the intention for these analyses is to compare ingredient lists for a handful of similar products so that you can have an easier life deciding which products you may want to buy. I don’t claim to be an expert on chemical compounds so the below analysis is my own take on how I would go about choosing a product for my children, based on publically available information and my research into particular skincare ingredients. For a summary of potentially harmful ingredients that should be avoided in baby products, please refer to my earlier post Keep away from children – ingredients to avoid in baby skincare products, as well as my other post My six golden rules for deciphering skincare labels and ingredient lists on how to decipher product labels.

OK, so let’s start with the following four products which are widely available on the high street (either in store or online) and which contain lavender as the key ingredient.


Key to ingredient lists:

  • Ingredients known to have positive benefits
  • Ingredients that may cause irritation (especially to sensitive skin)
  • Ingredients considered potentially harmful/ toxic


Brand: Earth Friendly Babycalming_lavender_shampoo_and_bodywash

Product: Calming Lavender Shampoo & Bodywash

Size: 250ml

Price: £4.19


Product description:

“We have worked with Mother Nature to lovingly craft this lavender baby shampoo and bodywash just for you and your baby. Lavender, with its sleepy reputation, also makes for a gentle antiseptic, especially when delicately blended with chamomile where it has been known to help soothe eczema. This nourishing baby shampoo is made from 99.2% naturally sourced ingredients & certified organic by Ecocert Greenlife. Mild enough for everyday use, it will softly calm leaving your baby felling peaceful, soft, and smelling delicious. Dermatologically approved for baby sensitive skin. Free from any nasties like SLS or parabens and no artificial fragrances or colours. 50.7% Organic.”

Ingredients (INCI):

  • Aloe Barbadensis (Aloe Vera) Leaf Juice * – extract obtained from the leaves of aloe vera; aloe vera is well-known for its caring properties and helping sooth irritation.
  • Aqua (Water)
  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine – synthetic surfactant – has a cleansing function; it has been associated with irritation and allergic contact dermatitis
  • Sodium Cocoamphoacetate – surfactant – cleansing/ foaming function
  • Disodium Lauryl Sulfosuccinate – surfactant – cleansing/ foaming function
  • Lauryl Glucoside – surfactant – cleansing function
  • Coco-Glucoside – surfactant – cleansing/ foaming function
  • Glyceryl Oleate – composed of glycerin and oleic acid, a naturally occurring fatty acid; skin conditioning and emulsifying function.
  • Sodium Chloride – inorganic salt (also called table salt), thickening function
  • Decyl Glucoside – surfactant – cleansing function
  • Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil * – a volatile oil obtained from the lavender plant, fragrance ingredient, skin-conditioning agent. Lavender has recognised antiseptic and disinfectant properties, but is best known for its relaxing properties. It can act as an allergen though!
  • Sodium Benzoate – fragrance ingredient, preservative
  • Citric Acid – alpha hydroxy acid used to adjust the acidity/ pH
  • Potassium Sorbate – naturally occurring antimicrobial compound, used as a preservative
  • Citrus Nobilis (Mandarin Orange) Oil * – fragrance ingredient
  • Anthemis Nobilis (chamomile) Flower Extract * – fragrance ingredient, skin conditioning function. Camomile is well-known for its soothing properties.
  • Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Extract * – extract of the aerial parts of lavender plant, fragrance ingredient, skin-conditioning agent.
  • Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract * – extract produced from the leaves of the rosemary plant; antimicrobial/ antioxidant function, fragrance ingredient.
  • Salvia Officinalis (Sage) Leaf Extract * – skin conditioning function. Sage has recognised antimicrobial, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties.
  • Tussilago Farfara (Coltsfoot) Leaf Extract * – skin conditioning function. Coltsfoot has soothing properties and helps to heal and reduce the inflammation of the skin.
  • Urtica Dioica (Nettle) Leaf Extract * – skin conditioning function. Nettle is known for stimulating circulation.
  • Citrus Paradisi (Grapefruit) Peel Oil – fragrance ingredient
  • Tocopherol – a class of naturally occurring chemical compounds related to Vitamin E, antioxidant and skin conditioning function, fragrance ingredient
  • Limonene – fragrance ingredient, can be an irritant

*Ingredients from organic farming

MY VIEW AND RATING: ★★☆

This is a really good, albeit long, ingredient list, with many wonderful natural (and 50% organic) ingredients, however the Cocamidopropyl Betaine does feature quite high up there too. Nevertheless, I really love that aloe vera features first on the list, meaning there is a high percentage of it and that there is no undisclosed list of ‘parfum’ with hidden ingredients. I would definitely try this shower wash and shampoo on my older son who has mild eczema to see how he reacts to it. I’m giving it two stars as I think you can get better and shorter ingredient lists.



Brand: Mum and Me10141017

Product: Baby Sleep Tight Bath

Size: 500ml

Price: £3.09


 Product description:

“The mild cleansing bubbles are kind to little eyes, whilst the added moisturisers help care for your baby’s delicate skin. Our Sleep Tight Baby Bath contains a blend of Lavender and Camomile, with a unique calming fragrance, to help relax your baby for a restful night’s sleep. Hypo-allergenic. Paediatrician approved. Kind to eyes.”

Ingredients (INCI):

  • Aqua (water)
  • Sodium Laureth Sulfate – surfactant – cleansing and emulsifying function; a well-known irritant.
  • Glycerin – may be of animal or vegetable origin as it is found in every fat; humectant (i.e. a substance used to reduce the loss of moisture), skin conditioning function as it is softening and smoothing on the skin.
  • Sodium Chloride – inorganic salt (also called table salt), thickening function
  • Cocamide DEA – chemically-modified form of coconut oil, used as a foaming agent; it is a possible human carcinogen.
  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine – synthetic surfactant – has a cleansing function; it has been associated with irritation and allergic contact dermatitis
  • Phenoxyethanol – a preservative; it has been linked to allergic reactions whereas infant oral exposure to phenoxyethanol is also said to acutely affect nervous system function
  • Parfum – an undisclosed mixture of various fragrance chemicals and ingredients; can cause irritation.
  • Sodium Cocoamphoacetate – surfactant – cleansing/ foaming function
  • Disodium Cocoamphodiacetate – synthetic surfactant produced on the basis of fatty acids derived from coconut oil, has a skin cleansing and foaming function
  • Sodium Gluconate – chelating (i.e. bonding) function
  • Citric Acid – alpha hydroxy acid used to adjust the acidity/ pH
  • Methylisothiazolinone – widely-used preservative; has been associated with allergic reactions whilst some studies also link it to lung toxicity and possible neurotoxicity.
  • Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract – extract from the camomile flowers; fragrance ingredient, skin-conditioning function. Camomile is well-known for its soothing properties.
  • Mentha Spicata (Spearmint) Flower/ Leaf/ Stem Extract – extract from the mint plant; fragrance ingredient.
  • Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Extract – extract of the aerial parts of lavender plant, fragrance ingredient, skin-conditioning agent. Lavender has recognised antiseptic and disinfectant properties, but is best known for its relaxing properties. It can act as an allergen though!
  • Sodium Benzoate – fragrance ingredient, preservative; can cause irritation.
  • Potassium Sorbate – naturally occurring antimicrobial compound, used as a preservative
  • Sorbic Acid – fragrance ingredient/ preservative, can act as an allergen.

MY VIEW AND RATING: ☆☆☆

What can I say? Two potentially harmful ingredients and lots of irritants, and yet the product is marketed as ‘kind’ and ‘mild’. Hmmm… The two ingredients with most benefits to your skin (camomile and lavender) represent less than 1% of the total product, as they are listed after ‘parfum’. Whilst it’s not always about quantity (especially when it comes to ingredients such as lavender or camomile which, despite being natural, can act as allergens), in this case I’d prefer to see them featured higher on the list. Overall, no stars awarded as I wouldn’t use this on my children and whilst I understand this is a much more affordable product than some other natural and organic ones, I’d much rather bathe my children in water alone. 



Brand: Tiddley Pom284982011_0_640x640

Product: Organic Baby Wash

Size: 200ml

Price: £9.99


Product decription:

“Our Organic Baby Wash is the perfect treat for your baby’s skin at bath time. It soothes and cleans with an infusion of English Lavender and Chamomile oils. Ideal for delicate newborn baby skin. Our Organic Baby Bath Wash contains a drop of a bespoke therapeutic blend of essential oils created especially for use in baby products. Herbal extract of Aloe Vera, a fresh and soothing active ingredient for sensitive skin, Chamomile Flower extract to help reduce irritated skin conditions, Xanthan Gum for its emollient nourishing properties and Lavender Oil renowned for its calming and healing properties. All cleansing agents are mild and vegetable derived leaving the skin incredibly soft and clean.”

Ingredients (INCI):

  • Aqua (water)
  • Decyl Glucoside – surfactant – cleansing function, emulsion stabilizer
  • Lauryl Betaine – skin conditioning, cleansing and foaming functions
  • Xanthan Gum – sugar based, natural thickener for emulsions and cleansing systems; binding function
  • Aloe barbadensis Leaf (Aloe Vera) Juice Powder – powder obtained from dried leaves of aloe vera; skin conditioning function. Aloe vera is well-known for its caring properties and helping sooth irritation.
  • Lavandula angustifolia (Lavender) Flower Oil – a volatile oil obtained from the lavender plant, fragrance ingredient, skin-conditioning function. Lavender has recognised antiseptic and disinfectant properties, but is best known for its relaxing properties. It can act as an allergen though!
  • Anthemis nobilis Flower (Chamomile) Flower Oil – a volatile oil distilled from dried flower heads of the chamomile; skin conditioning function, fragrance ingredient. Camomile is well-known for its soothing properties.
  • Phenoxyethanol – a preservative; it has been linked to allergic reactions
  • Citric Acid – alpha hydroxy acid used to adjust the acidity/ pH
  • Benzoic Acid – preservative, pH adjuster; can be an allergen.
  • Dehydroacetic Acid – preservative.
  • Linalool – fragrance ingredient; can be an allergen.

MY VIEW AND RATING: ★☆☆

Here we have a good and simple list of ingredients, unfortunately spoilt (for me anyway) by that very suspicious ingredient phenoxyethanol – such a shame!! If it wasn’t a baby product, I would probably turn a blind eye but regardless of what some companies say about phenoxyethanol’s natural origins, it is still an ingredient that I believe should be avoided with infants.



Brand: Sophie the Giraffe10174994

Product: Baby Hair & Body Wash

Size: 200ml

Price: £9.99


Product description:

“Mild and gentle composition. Nurturing texture. Forms a rich yet subtle foam. The selection of safe organic ingredients pampers your child’s skin, scalp and hair. White Tea protects the skin during washing – it provides antioxidant protection to the skin and hair. Lavender Water and Oat Milk provide gentle cleansing of even sensitive and allergy-prone skin. Cotton moisturizes and conditions, as well as helping untangle knots. Cleansing ingredients are obtained from plant sources, i.e. coconut (odourless). 99.4% of the total ingredients are from natural origin. 5% of the total ingredients are from Organic Farming”

Ingredients (INCI):

  • Aqua (water)
  • Sodium Coco-sulfate – a sodium salt obtained from coconut alcohol; cleansing and emulsifying function
  • Organic Lavander Floral water* – obtained by steam distillation of lavender flowers. Lavender has recognised antiseptic and disinfectant properties, but is best known for its relaxing properties. It can act as an allergen though!
  • Cocamidopropyl Betaine – synthetic surfactant – has a cleansing function; it has been associated with irritation and allergic contact dermatitis
  • Coco glucoside – synthetic surfactant produced by chemical reaction between glucose and coconut oil-derived ingredients.
  • Glyceryl Oleate – composed of glycerin and oleic acid, a naturally occurring fatty acid; skin conditioning and emulsifying function.
  • Sodium Cocoamphoacetate – surfactant – cleansing/ foaming function
  • Sodium Chloride – inorganic salt (also called table salt), thickening function
  • Organic Oat Kernel Milk* – skin conditioning function. Oats have amazing anti-inflammatory and soothing properties, and are perfect for eczema sufferers.
  • Organic White Tea Leaf Extract* – skin conditioning function. White tea has antioxidant properties, helping in quick repair and recovery of damaged skin.
  • Glycerin – may be of animal or vegetable origin as it is found in every fat; humectant (i.e. a substance used to reduce the loss of moisture), skin conditioning function as it is softening and smoothing on the skin.
  • Cotton Extract – skin conditioning function. Extract from cotton flowers and seeds is said to help to sooth and protect the skin barrier function and may have mild antimicrobial properties.
  • Natural Aroma** – an undisclosed mixture of various fragrance chemicals and ingredients, can cause irritation.
  • Benzyl alcohol – naturally occurring and synthetic ingredient used as a solvent and preservative; has been associated with contact allergy.
  • Citric Acid – alpha hydroxy acid used to adjust the acidity/ pH
  • Potassium Sorbate – naturally occurring antimicrobial compound, used as a preservative
  • Sodium Benzoate – fragrance ingredient, preservative
  • Xanthan Gum – binding function
  • Ingredients from Organic Farming

** Natural essential oils

MY VIEW AND RATING: ★★☆

This is a good list and I’m especially intrigued by the use of oat kernel milk and cotton extract which have very beneficial properties – I have definitely not come across cotton in skin care products before though. The reason why I’m not giving this wash three stars is because of the ‘natural aroma’ which can contain a lot of highly allergenic ingredients. If the aroma is natural, why not list the essential oils? It feels a bit odd that they didn’t do it.




 OVERALL COMPARISON AND VERDICT:

Overall, both Earth friendly baby and Sophie the Giraffe body washes came up high but I’d go with EFB as my favourite from this selection as it is half the price for a slightly bigger bottle.

analysis-baby-bath-products

 

You Baby Me Mummy
ethannevelyn.com

6 comments on “Analysing ingredients in… baby bath products”

  1. Great post, I will definitely read up more on it. Mu son had really bad eczema as a baby so I stick to a couple of tried and tested bath lotions that I know won’t irritate his skin but it’s such a minefield! #TheListLinky

    • Hi Lauren, thanks so much for your feedback, I’m glad you found this post useful. You’re right – it’s such a minefield and so tricky to make the right choices. My son’s had eczema for 5 years too and sometimes even the most natural products irritate his skin (recently, even pure coconut oil!). xx #TheListLinky

    • HI Kimberly, thanks for commenting 🙂 I’m so pleased you found this post useful – I have a few more, including one on which ingredients to avoid in skincare products, in case you are interested. I used to use Simple products too as they’re marketed to make you believe they’re suitable for sensitive or eczema-prone skin, but they do contain SLS and a few other ingredients that may cause irritation. I’m not saying go and throw it away as your little ones seem to be ok with the bubbles. It’s good to be aware of what each ingredient can do to your skin though so that we can make conscious decisions. xx #TheListLinky

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