Analysing ingredients in Burt's Bees Mama and Baby skincare products

In this post, I’m looking at Burt’s Bees Mama and Baby skincare products. Burt’s Bees is an American brand that is probably one of the most commonly known as a ‘natural baby skincare brand’. They claim that “on average, Burt’s Bees products are 99% natural with over half of the products 100% natural.” They also pride themselves on sourcing their ingredients in a responsible way and making them sustainably. So how ‘clean’ and ‘natural’ is their baby and Mama skincare range?

This post is part of my series of blog posts where I analyse ingredients of various skincare brands aimed at babies, children and pregnant/ new Mums.  You can find more related posts down below.

The whole ethos behind my blog is that I wholeheartedly believe that it is so important that we are more mindful of what we buy and what ingredients go into our products. Check out my post Keep away from children about ingredients which should be avoided in baby and children products, and my post on how to avoid being “greenwashed” by skincare companies.

As a Mum myself, I understand that the sheer volume of products in high street shops and supermarkets can really give you a headache when choosing the best ones for our kids or for ourselves. I also know that we often rely on opinions of others as well as magazine and TV adverts so it really isn’t an easy task when there is so much choice and information around us.

Let’s have a look at each of the 11 Burt’s Bees Mama and Baby skincare products:

Analysing ingredients in Burt's Bees Mama and Baby skincare products

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

Baby Bee Buttermilk Soap (99.2g, £3.32)

Product description: “A luxurious baby soap enriched with buttermilk to gently cleanse your baby’s delicate skin just the way nature intended. Burt’s Bees Baby Buttermilk Soap leaves your little one’s skin clean, super soft and silky smooth. This 100% natural artisanal baby soap contains no phthalates, parabens, petrolatum or SLS, and is pediatrician-tested, so you can use it with confidence everyday.”

Ingredients: sodium palmate, aqua [water, eau], glycerin, sodium cocoate, sodium palm kernelate, parfum [fragrance]*, butyris lac powder [buttermilk powder, babeurre en poudre], avena sativa kernel flour, sodium chloride, sodium gluconate, CI 77891 [titanium dioxide], limonene

* natural fragrance/parfum naturel

Verdict: As far as safety of ingredients is concerned, this is a fairly good list. It does contain perfume and colouring so if baby’s skin is super sensitive, then I’d definitely use it with caution. As it’s a rinsable product, rather than lotion or oil, then the risk of irritation is reduced. However, from an ethical point of view – I’m not happy with the use of palm oil-derived ingredients but that’s obviously my personal opinion and choice.

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Baby Bee Nourishing Lotion (170g, £8.99)

Product description: “Formulated with buttermilk, shea butter and sunflower seed oil, Burt’s Bees Baby Nourishing Lotion, Original leaves baby’s skin smooth and super soft. It absorbs quickly, will not irritate delicate skin and provides scientifically proven moisturisation up to 24 hours. Plus this 98.9% natural baby lotion is pediatrician tested and contains no parabens, phthalates or petrolatum. Keep this handy tube of baby lotion on your change table for convenient baby care.”

Ingredients: aqua, glycerin, decyl cocoate, helianthus annuus seed oil, cera alba, butyrospermum parkii butter, polyglyceryl-3 stearate, glyceryl stearate citrate, cetyl alcohol, cocos nucifera oil, olea europaea fruit oil, vitis vinifera seed oil, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, butyris lac powder [babeurre en poudre], chamomilla recutita flower extract, calendula officinalis flower extract, centaurea cyanus flower extract, tilia cordata flower extract, rosmarinus officinalis leaf extract, anthemis nobilis flower extract, hypericum perforatum extract, parfum*, xanthan gum, glycine soja oil, canola oil [huile de colza], tocopherol, sucrose stearate, lactic acid, citric acid, glucose, sodium chloride, sodium stearoyl lactylate, sodium benzoate, magnesium aluminum silicate, potassium sorbate, potassium iodide, potassium thiocyanate, phenoxyethanol, glucose oxidase, lactoperoxidase, limonene

Verdict: I’m not impressed with this lotion. The ingredient list starts so well and promising (sunflower seed oil, beeswax, shea butter, olive oil, coconut oil, grape seed oil and aloe vera at the top of the formulation), but then you get phenoxyethanol which can cause irritation and eczema so I’d be in two minds about using it on my children. 

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Baby Bee Nourishing Baby Oil (118ml, £7.96)

Product description: “Gently soften and soothe your baby’s skin with Burt’s Bees Baby Nourishing Baby Oil. This 100% natural baby oil has the alluring scent of apricots and is rich in nutrients and antioxidants from apricot and grape seed oils to keep your baby’s skin soft and supple. Also, it contains no synthetic fragrances, so your baby smells fresh and sweet using only natural ingredients. Add baby oil to bath or apply directly on baby’s skin. Pamper baby’s precious skin as well as yours. It is pediatrician tested and contains no phthalates, parabens or petrolatum.”

Ingredients: prunus armeniaca kernel oil, vitis vinifera seed oil, triticum vulgare germ oil, parfum*, helianthus annuus seed oil, canola oil [huile de colza], rosmarinus o cinalis leaf extract, tocopherol, glycine soja oil, CI 75130, limonene

* natural fragrance/parfum naturel

Verdict: Apart from the ‘parfum’ (which – while naturally derived, presumably from essential oils – can still cause irritation to sensitive skin), this is a good list. The main oils here (apricot kernel, grapeseed, wheat germ and rapeseed) all have really positive benefits to the skin so you can be sure they will leave your baby’s skin amazingly soft and nourished. 

Baby Bee Bubble Bath (350ml, £9.99)

Product description: “Nurture and moisturise baby’s skin with Burt’s Bees Baby Bubble Bath. The coconut oil, sunflower oil and soy proteins gently cleanse baby naturally without irritation or drying. This 99.8% natural formula is tear free and mild on baby’s skin. Just pour 3 to 4 capfuls of baby bubble bath to warm running bath water and cleanse baby with the naturally foaming suds. It is pediatrician tested and contains no phthalates, parabens, petrolatum, or SLS.”

Ingredients: aqua, decyl glucoside, coco-betaine, lauryl glucoside, sucrose laurate, glycerin, parfum*, betaine, sodium cocoyl hydrolyzed soy protein, coco-glucoside, glyceryl oleate, sodium chloride, xanthan gum, glucose, citric acid, potassium iodide, potassium thiocyanate, tocopherol, glucose oxidase, lactoperoxidase, hydrogenated palm glycerides citrate, lecithin, ascorbyl palmitate, limonene

*natural fragrance/parfum naturel

Verdict: This is an ok formulation. The sunflower and coconut oils mentioned in the description don’t appear in their ‘raw’ form (instead certain compounds have been extracted from them, e.g. coco-glucoside) and the perfume features quite high on the list. Perfume can cause irritation so I’d use it with caution on little ones, if at all.

Baby Bee Shampoo & Body Wash (235ml, £7.99)

Product description: “A tear free formula to naturally clean your baby’s sensitive skin and hair. Burt’s Bees Baby Shampoo & Wash is scientifically shown to be gentle enough for everyday use. This naturally foaming, non irritating baby shampoo and wash is made with 98.9% natural, plant based formula containing soy proteins to leave your baby clean and smooth. Plus it is pediatrician tested and contains no phthalates, parabens, petrolatum or SLS.”

Ingredients: aqua, decyl glucoside, coco-betaine, lauryl glucoside, sucrose laurate, glycerin, parfum*, betaine, sodium cocoyl hydrolyzed soy protein, coco-glucoside, xanthan gum, glucose, glyceryl oleate, sodium chloride, citric acid, potassium iodide, potassium thiocyanate, tocopherol, glucose oxidase, lactoperoxidase, hydrogenated palm glycerides citrate, lecithin, ascorbyl palmitate, limonene

Verdict: If you look closely, this is pretty much identical formulation to the bubble bath one, therefore same thoughts from me.

Baby Bee Diaper Ointment (85g, £8.99)

Product description: “Our 100% Natural Diaper Rash Ointment has protecting properties to treat and prevent diaper rash. It’s 100% natural with 40% zinc oxide, the maximum strength needed to seal out moisture that can irritate your baby’s bottom. This diaper rash ointment nourishes and reconditions skin naturally with shea butter, lavender oil and jojoba seed oil while creating an emollient layer to absorb wetness leaving baby’s skin soft, dry, and smooth. Pediatrician-tested and safe for your baby’s delicate skin. This ointment is formulated with no parabens, phthalates, petrolatum or SLS and is not tested on animals.”

Ingredients: zinc oxide, prunus amygdalus dulcis oil, cera alba, lanolin, ricinus communis seed oil, simmondsia chinensis seed oil, butyrospermum parkii butter, glyceryl rosinate, olea europaea fruit oil, hydrogenated castor oil, olea europaea oil unsaponifiables, anthemis nobilis flower oil, lavandula angustifolia flower, lavandula hybrida oil, calendula o cinalis flower extract, rosmarinus o cinalis leaf extract, tocopherol, glycine soja oil, canola oil, limonene, linalool, geraniol

Verdict: This is a really lovely formulation! Sweet almond oil, beeswax, lanolin, castor oil, sunflower oil, shea butter, olive oil, chamomile flower oil, lavender flower oil, calendula flower extract – all of these have so many positive benefits for the skin so I’d be really happy to use this ointment on my children. As it contains fragrance ingredients, I’d do a patch test first.

Baby Bee Multi-Purpose Ointment (210g, £8.99)

Product description: “The smooth rich texture of Burt’s Bees Baby Multipurpose Ointment forms a barrier against dryness leaving you with one soft happy baby. This multipurpose, non-irritating, petroleum free multipurpose ointment is pediatrician tested to be gentle and safe for everyday use. Apply ointment to baby’s face and body to moisturise and smooth baby’s skin. To calm your little one’s sensitive diaper area, cleanse baby’s diaper area and apply ointment liberally. This jar of 100% natural baby ointment contains no phthalates, parabens, petrolatum or SLS.”

Ingredients: Ricinus communis (castor) seed oil, cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, cera alba (beeswax, cire d’abeille), hydrogenated castor oil, parfum (natural fragrance), butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter, calophyllum inophyllum seed oil, glycine soja (soybean) oil, prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) oil, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) butter, tocopherol, citral, citronellol, coumarin, farnesol, geraniol, limonene, linalool.

Verdict: Overall, the ingredients list is quite good. Castor oil, coconut oil and beeswax (all of which have skin-nourishing properties) are listed right at the top meaning there’s a substantial amount of them, however I’m disappointed to see perfume in the fifth place. Even though it’s meant to be derived from natural sources, it can still cause irritation, especially to sensitive and already irritated nappy area so I’d use it with caution. Also, not all skin types tolerate coconut oil (my younger son’s doesn’t!) so while it’s natural and safe, it’s not for everyone. 

Baby Bee Daily Cream to Powder (113g, £9.99)

Product description: “Burt’s Bees Baby Daily Cream to Powder goes on smooth as cream and dries quickly to a soft powdery finish. This 2-in-1 diaper cream and baby powder is designed to help absorb wetness and helps leave baby’s skin soft, dry and smooth. Baby care is made easy with this all in one diaper cream and talc-free baby powder. Plus it’s 99% natural, pediatrician-tested and no phthalates, parabens or petrolatum. Apply cream liberally as often as needed. Nurture baby’s skin naturally with Baby Bee from Burt’s Bees.”

Ingredients: zea mays starch, aqua, decyl cocoate, coco-caprylate, tricaprylin, cetearyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, ricinus communis seed oil, polyglyceryl-4 caprate, glycerin, caprylic/capric triglyceride, theobroma grandiflorum seed butter, parfum*, butyrospermum parkii butter, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, cera alba, cetearyl glucoside, citric acid, cocos nucifera oil, glycine soja oil, hydrogenated castor oil, sucrose laurate, tocopherol, potassium sorbate, sodium benzoate, phenoxyethanol, amyl cinnamol, citronellol, coumarin, linalool, benzyl salicylate

* natural fragrance/parfum naturel

Verdict: To be honest, I don’t really see any point in this product. Is it a natural version of talc? The ingredient list is sooooooo long AND it contains dreaded phenoxyethanol which can cause irritation. You could easily use corn or potato starch/ flour to achieve same results but without the price tag and unnecessary ingredients!

Mama Bee Nourishing Body Oil (115ml, £10.99)

Product description: “Keep your skin supple and soft with our 100% natural Mama Bee Body Oil. This lightweight, all natural body oil is made with sweet almond and lemon oils and vitamin E to condition skin throughout your pregnancy. It has no phthalates, petrolatum or parabens, so you can use this body oil with peace of mind. Pamper yourself with Mama Bee during your nine month stretch.”

Ingredients: Prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) oil, citrus medica limonum (lemon) peel oil, triticum vulgare (wheat) germ oil, tocopherol, rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) leaf extract, glycine soja (soybean) oil, canola oil (huile de colza), limonene, citral, geraniol, linalool

Verdict: This a good ingredient list. Almond oil is well tolerated by most skins and is highly moisturising, wheat germ oil contains high dosage of vitamin E which helps with skin elasticity while canola oil contains Omega 3, 6 and 9 (essential fatty acids). Soybean oil does come with a word of caution though – there’s still some incomplete research about whether it disrupts our hormonal system so I personally aim to avoid it. 

Mama Bee Leg & Foot Cream (100ml, £12.99)

Product description: “Feel lighter on your feet with our refreshing Mama Bee Leg and Foot Crème. This rich creamy formula is made with refreshing peppermint oil and rosemary extract, to soothe and condition skin. Treat your legs and feet to the cooling effects of this 100% natural treatment. It contains no phthalates, parabens, petrolatum, or SLS so you can use this foot cream with peace of mind.” 

Ingredients: aqua, helianthus annuus seed oil, glycerin, cocos nucifera oil, cera alba, mentha piperita oil, stearic acid, hamamelis virginiana water, menthol, sodium bicarbonate, melaleuca alternifolia leaf oil, petroselinum crispum leaf oil, triticum vulgare germ oil, citrus aurantium dulcis peel wax, rosmarinus officinalis leaf extract, tocopherol, sucrose stearate, glucose, xanthan gum, canola oil (huile de colza), sodium borate, sodium chloride, alcohol, glucose oxidase, lactoperoxidase, potassium iodide, potassium thiocyanate, limonene, linalool

Verdict: This is an ok list. Sunflower seed oil, glycerin, coconut oil, beeswax, calendula oil all have beneficial properties. Although fragrance is derived from essential oils, it could irritate if your skin is sensitive. The same goes for borax (‘sodium borate).

Mama Bee Belly Butter (180g, £9.99)

Product description: “A richly blended belly butter to gently and safely moisturise and nourish mama’s stretching skin. Our Mama Bee Belly Butter with Shea Butter and Vitamin E conditions your growing belly with cocoa, shea and jojoba butters. This 99% natural, fragrance free formula can keep your skin smooth and supple as your belly stretches throughout pregnancy and even after baby arrives. Our Mama Bee Belly Butter contains no phthalates, parabens, petrolatum, or SLS, and it won’t irritate your skin so you can use this balm with peace of mind. “

Ingredients: aqua (water, eau), helianthus annuus (sunflower) seed oil, glycerin, cocos nucifera (coconut) oil, cetyl alcohol, prunus amygdalus dulcis (sweet almond) oil, sucrose stearate, butyrospermum parkii (shea) butter, glyceryl laurate, glycine soja (soybean) oil, lactic acid, magnesium aluminum silicate, simmondsia chinensis (jojoba) butter, sodium stearoyl lactylate, sucrose polystearate, theobroma cacao (cocoa) seed butter, tocopherol, xanthan gum, phenoxyethanol

Verdict: The list starts off really well – sunflower oil, coconut oil, almond oil, shea butter, jojoba butter and cocoa seed butter but then at the end we have phenoxyethanol, a preservative which I personally prefer to avoid since it can causes irritation.

Overall verdict:

From the Baby range, the nourishing oil, multi-purpose ointment and nappy cream are my top products. Whereas from the Mama range, the body oil as well as the leg and foot cream have won my vote due to their ingredients. I’m very disappointed to see phenoxyethanol in a few products and overall surprised that most of the products contain ‘parfum’ which can contain tens, if not hundreds, of fragrance ingredients.

Have you tried any of Burt’s Bees mama and baby skincare products mentioned in this post? How have you found them?

Disclaimer: Please note that I have taken ingredient lists directly from Burt’s Bees website. This post contains purely my opinions, is for information purposes only and does not constitute professional or medical advice. You are advised to do your own research before you start or stop using a particular skincare product.