Which Pregnancy Safe Shampoo Should I Use? My Recommendation

Which Pregnancy Safe Shampoo Should I Use? My Recommendation

It is common for women to wonder whether shampoo affects pregnancy, and the answer is yes, it does, to a certain extent. Some chemicals can make shampoo and conditioner unsafe for women when pregnant, and finding the best pregnancy-safe shampoos can be a challenging task, but that is what we will discuss here.

It is normal to want to get soft hair, and for that, many women go for a keratin treatment. However, this could lead to potential harm during pregnancy. It is advised that before any kind of hair treatment, you always tell your stylist that you are pregnant because some of the products they use could have negative effects on you and your child.

Ingredients that Make Shampoo Unsafe for Pregnant Women

Pregnant women and expectant fathers alike should be wary of quaternary ammonium compounds or quats when using common household items such as shampoo, disinfectants, and detergents. Exposure to two common quats, alkyl dimethyl benzyl ammonium chloride and didecyl dimethyl ammonium chloride, has been linked to birth defects in the brain, spine, and spinal cord of developing fetuses (Hostetler et al.). Although both males and females were affected, the study showed that even exposure to these chemicals through the father alone could have an impact. Expecting parents should avoid products that contain these chemicals, which are often listed on product labels as Quats or ADBAC/DDAC.

In regards to children’s hair care, mothers should steer clear of shampoos that have sulfates like ammonium lauryl sulfate or sodium lauryl sulfate. These ingredients are commonly used to create lather, but both ammonium lauryl sulfate and sodium lauryl sulfate can actually strip hair of its natural oils and impede healthy hair growth. Sulfate-free shampoos are a safe and effective alternative for maintaining clean hair without compromising hair health. While some popular shampoos contain sulfates, you can choose a sulfate free shampoo from the wide range available on the market. Parents can also check shampoo labels to ensure they are buying a sulfate free shampoo.

Parabens are often utilized as a preservative in many makeup and skincare products. Despite their convenience in extending the shelf life of these products, parabens are known to have toxic properties that can harm the skin and scalp. Additionally, exposure to parabens can result in hormonal imbalances, which can cause hair loss. It is advisable to use paraben-free shampoos and baby care products, such as soaps, lotions, and scrubs.

Alcohol is commonly found in hair care products, but a high concentration of alcohol in these products can lead to dry and brittle hair, which is particularly problematic for new mothers experiencing hair problems like dryness and hair loss. To prevent this, you should carefully read the ingredient labels and only purchase products where alcohol is not listed in the first four items. To further nourish your child’s hair and counteract environmental damage, consider incorporating homemade hair masks into your regular hair care routine.

Can Shampoo Affect an Unborn Child?

It is unlikely that shampoo will harm an unborn child. To be safe, though, it is always advisable to take precautions and limit exposure to any potentially dangerous chemicals. Women are encouraged to use products with natural ingredients when they are pregnant and to stay away from products that include harsh chemicals like sodium lauryl sulfate and preservatives.

Furthermore, it is not advised to use shampoos that contain phthalates, which have been connected to reproductive disorders, developmental abnormalities, and birth deformities. Additionally, certain shampoos include perfumes that should not be used while pregnant since they may irritate the skin or trigger allergic responses.

Hygiene and Cosmetics Products for Pregnant Women.

Hygiene and cosmetics products contain many harmful chemicals which are not pregnancy safe. For the health of both the moms and the unborn children, it’s critical to be aware of these toxins and their safe alternative solutions:

Unsafe Pregnancy Chemicals

Vitamin A (retinoids)

The skin, immunological system, reproductive functions, and eyes need vitamin A to function at their best. Many personal care products contain retinoids, a kind of retinol that is created by the body from vitamin A. These have grown in popularity since they may treat acne and minimize fine wrinkles. Retinoids function by accelerating the turn-over of skin cells at the epidermis and increasing collagen synthesis, which results in refreshed skin.

Retinoids are present in lesser amounts in over-the-counter medications than they are in prescription creams like Retin-A and Accutane. Although there is probably little retinoid absorption from topical treatments, greater dosages have been linked to birth abnormalities. This is why it’s advised to stay away from any retinoids throughout pregnancy.

There is evidence that the prescription retinoid isotretinoin carries a 20–35% risk for severe birth abnormalities. Approximately 30-60% of children exposed to isotretinoin in utero may develop neurocognitive conditions (Choi et al.). People who can conceive are advised to take the mentioned precautionary measures while taking isotretinoin to reduce the risk: use two types of contraception, routinely attend their checkups for pregnancy and compliance monitoring, and stop taking the meds 30 to 60 days before attempting to conceive.

Salicylic Acid

Since salicylic acid has anti-inflammatory qualities, it is frequently used as an acne treatment. However, a 2013 research found that pregnant women shouldn’t use high-dose salicylic acid treatments, like as peeling treatments and oral medicines (Bayerl, 2013). On the other hand, salicylic acid topical over-the-counter medicines with lesser doses have been identified as harmless. It’s important to be cautious when using salicylic acid products during pregnancy and to always consult with a healthcare professional for the best course of treatment.


An over-the-counter skin-lightening medication called hydroquinone is used to lessen pregnancy-related chloasma and melasma, as well as other disorders that might cause hyperpigmentation. Because of the body’s ability to take in a sizable amount of substances even when applied to the skin, it is advised to restrict exposure throughout pregnancy, even if there is no conclusive evidence linking hydroquinone to serious birth malformations or side effects.

Phthalates are chemicals that disrupt the endocrine system and are mostly found in makeup and skincare products. Cosmetics are one of the top sources of phthalate exposure, with the most common phthalate being diethyl phthalate (DEP). Phthalates from plastic wrapping can also seep into personal care items, heightening the risk of exposure.


Formaldehyde, which was formerly widely used in cosmetic goods as a preservative and antibacterial, is no longer used due to its hazardous effects. The CDC has declared it as a carcinogen that can increase the likelihood of fertility problems and stillbirth (CDC, 2019). Unfortunately, other formaldehyde-releasing substances are still often found in makeup and may have a comparable harmful effect.


In the case of sunscreens, oxybenzone, and its derivatives are widely used as ultraviolet (UV) filters. While these filters are good at shielding the skin from UV radiation, they can be harmful to human health as well as the environment. The ecology of fish, food chains, and water supplies across the world may be negatively impacted by these substances. The fact that oxybenzone is an endocrine disruptor, a substance that can mess with hormones and damage both the mother and the fetus permanently, is one of the main issues with taking it.

Hirschsprung disease, a birth defect that damages the large intestine, irreversible alterations in the mammary glands, and breastfeeding, as well as long-term fetal harm, have all been associated with oxybenzone exposure.

In conclusion, while formaldehyde is no longer used in beauty products, there are other harmful chemicals that are still commonly used. Luckily, there are pregnancy safe alternatives you can use too:

Alternatives safe for pregnancy


Acne and hyperpigmentation are two common skin concerns for expectant mothers. While retinoid-based products are not recommended during pregnancy, there are alternative solutions available. Commonly used in over-the-counter cosmetic products, glycolic acid is thought to be safe in low doses and can help lessen fine wrinkles, improve skin, and lessen hyperpigmentation. Together with topical benzoyl peroxide and salicylic acid, the ACOG recommends glycolic acid, azelaic acid, as well as topical benzoyl peroxide as recommended treatments for acne throughout pregnancy (ACOG, 2022). For expectant mothers who suffer from acne and hyperpigmentation, these alternative solutions can provide a safer, more effective way to achieve clear, radiant skin.

Dehydrated and Dry Skin

Pregnancy puts a significant strain on a woman’s body. If the baby requires more fluid, it will extract it from the mother, resulting in dry skin caused by both dehydration and hormonal changes. Use lotions with hyaluronic acid, coconut oil, peptides, glycerin, and drink enough water to keep your skin hydrated. Stretch marks can also be a common issue during pregnancy, but applying moisturizers regularly on areas prone to stretch marks can help the skin stretch naturally as the baby grows.


The appearance of mature skin and wrinkles can be improved by using topical antioxidants such as vitamin C. These powerful ingredients work to protect the skin from damage and preserve collagen, promoting a healthier and more vibrant complexion. Other effective topical antioxidants include vitamin E, tea tree oil, and green tea. However, it is important to note that oral resveratrol supplements should not be used during pregnancy, and it is recommended to consult with a doctor before trying any new supplements. This way, you can ensure that your skincare routine is both safe and effective.

Sun Protection

Shielding oneself from the sun’s damaging effects is essential for avoiding wrinkles and skin problems. When pregnant, it’s necessary to choose a safe and effective sunscreen. The safety of chemical sunscreens, such as oxybenzone, is still in question, so it’s best to opt for mineral-based sunscreens that work by reflecting UV rays as they contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide as their actives. Additionally, a wide-brimmed hat can provide additional protection and make a stylish statement. By following these suggestions, you will have well-protected and healthy skin during pregnancy and beyond.


When it comes to using personal care products and cosmetics during pregnancy, it’s important to prioritize good health. Maintaining a balanced diet, engaging in regular exercise, and staying hydrated are crucial for skin and overall well-being.

When selecting products, carefully check the ingredient list and avoid ones containing retinoids, hydroquinone, disruptive endocrine compounds, synthetic fragrances, and heavy metals. While natural and organic products may seem like a good option, they may not have been tested for safety during pregnancy.

It’s also important to be aware that toxic chemicals are present in many daily items, but typically at low levels that don’t pose a health risk. However, be cautious of unregulated products that may contain high levels of toxic chemicals, and always inform beauty professionals of your pregnancy.

What Brands Are Safe During Pregnancy?

Amid the vast selection of beauty products available, there are a select few companies that specialize in creating safe and natural skincare and body products suitable for use during pregnancy. Try out the following five brands:

  • The Belli Skincare
  • The Earth Mama® Organics
  • The Erbavia Organic Skincare
  • The Spoiled Mama
  • The BeautyCounter

Causes of Hair Loss in Pregnancy

Nearly 90% of hair is actively growing, while the rest is in a resting stage. This hair falls out every few months to let new hair grow. Pregnancy can lead to telogen effluvium, which can last between 1 to 5 months after giving birth, and it affects about 40-50% of mothers. Though typical, this hair loss is only temporary during pregnancy.

Hormonal Changes

Hair thinning and loss in women can be brought on by a hormonal change. A tiny percentage of pregnant women experience this, especially in the first trimester when hormones are significantly changing to support the developing fetus. Stress at this period might cause more hair to enter the telogen phase, often known as the “resting” phase, than the typical 100 hairs each day. However, it may take many months for this hair loss to become apparent. It typically lasts no more than 6 months and is not a persistent problem.

Health Issues

Numerous health problems that might develop during pregnancy can result in a disease called telogen effluvium, which causes an increase in hair loss. Hormone imbalances or deficiencies in vital vitamins may be to blame for this problem.

Two common health issues during pregnancy are thyroid issues as well as iron deficiency. Thyroid disorders, like hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism, may not be easily noticeable, but one common symptom is hair loss. A greater percentage of pregnant women—2 to 3 out of 100—have hypothyroidism. Iron deficiency during pregnancy is more common in pregnant women, especially in those who are carrying multiple children, are about to give birth or have severe morning sickness. A blood test can identify the issue in either scenario. The hair loss caused by these conditions is transient, though, and will return to its usual strength if hormonal or nutrient balances are restored to their normal levels.

Excessive Hair Loss Post Delivery

Women frequently have hair loss after having given birth, which usually peaks 4 months following delivery. Yet, this is regarded as “excessive hair shedding” rather than “real hair loss.” A drop in estrogen after birth is to blame for this. While it may be distressing to see so much hair falling out, it usually resolves naturally without any medical intervention.

Other Causes

Hair loss is a complex issue, and there are many reasons why it happens. Telogen effluvium is one of them, and it is characterized by consistent hair loss. Nevertheless, other reasons may be in play if areas of hair loss or more serious balding are seen. Whether a woman is expecting or not, hereditary and autoimmune diseases can also contribute to hair loss.

The two primary causes of androgenic alopecia, or female pattern baldness, are a shortened hair growth period and a long gap during hair loss and subsequent growth. Alopecia areata is characterized by the patchy hair loss on the scalp and in other body parts, as well as sudden or recurrent hair loss and growth. Although there is currently no treatment for this illness, several medications may help manage hair loss and encourage regrowth.

How Can I Keep My Hair Healthy During Pregnancy?

How Can I Keep My Hair Healthy During Pregnancy?

Don’t be scared of oily hair or greasy hair

Regular scalp massages with warm oil are a great way to keep your hair healthy. Taking two to three scalp massages every week may considerably enhance hair health, soothe the scalp, and even promote better sleep. The best oils to use for scalp massages are almond, coconut, olive, tea tree oil, or organic jojoba seed oil, as they help to strengthen the roots of the hair and reduce hair fall. To enhance the benefits of your scalp massage, consider mixing a few drops of essential oils with the oil you are using. Oily hair further boosts the health of your hair and promotes growth.

Use chemical-free shampoos

It is recommended to shampoo your hair twice a week with a pregnancy safe shampoo to maintain its cleanliness and fresh scent. When choosing a shampoo, opt for a product that is gentle on your scalp and contains minimal chemicals. This will prevent any potential adverse reactions that could be caused by using harsh shampoos. Additionally, select a shampoo that caters to your specific hair needs and includes natural ingredients like aloe vera to promote healthy hair. A good hypoallergenic shampoo is the Moroccan argan oil shampoo. Avoid dry shampoo, even if you have color-treated hair, as it can cause skin irritation and dry hair.

Regularly trim your hair

Maintaining a regular hair trim schedule is imperative, especially during pregnancy. During this time, the texture of your hair may change, and therefore, it is crucial to get your hair trimmed frequently. Hair trimming reduces breakage, gets rid of split and brittle ends, and keeps hair from getting too thin. In the long term, regular trimming can also enhance the overall health of your hair, making it a must-follow hair care tip for expectant mothers.

Stay away from hair dye

During pregnancy, it’s important to be cautious with hair care choices. Avoiding chemicals and hair dye is a key tip to follow. Pregnancy is not when you should be trying out new hair treatments, as the chemicals found in hair dye may penetrate the hair follicles and circulate through your bloodstream, causing potential harm. Keep your hair healthy and safe by steering clear of harsh chemicals.

Eat a healthy diet

When pregnant, it is important to maintain a healthy diet that benefits both you and your baby. Eating a healthy, balanced diet will not only benefit the well-being of your baby but also do wonders for your skin and hair. Neglecting the nutrient content of your food can lead to worsening hair quality.

Wear loose hairstyles

When it comes to hair care during pregnancy, it is important to avoid tight hairstyles. Tying your hair too tightly can put stress on your hair roots, making them weaker and more susceptible to damage. This can result in increased hair fall, which is not desirable, especially during pregnancy when hormones are already imbalanced.

To prevent this, it is recommended to opt for looser hairstyles, such as loose ponytails or buns. They are not just more gentle on the hair, but they also do not cause headaches. Therefore, take the time to ensure that your hairstyles are not causing undue stress on your hair roots. By doing so, you can enjoy beautiful, healthy hair during your pregnancy and beyond.

Best Body Washes, Deodorants, and Body Lotions in Pregnancy.

Best Body Washes


  • Daily Moisturizing Body Wash 
  • Positively Nourishing Calming Lavender Body Wash


  • Botanicals Shower Foam White Orchid and Coconut Oil
  • Daily Silk Body Wash


  • Ultra Gentle Soothing Body Wash


  • Body Wash Deep Moisture
  • Body Wash Go Fresh Cucumber and Green Tea

Dr. Teal’s:

  • Charcoal Body Wash
  • Coconut Oil Body Wash
  • Ultra Moisturizing Detoxify & Energize with Ginger & Clay Body Wash

Mrs. Meyer’s:

  • Clean Day Body Wash, Honeysuckle Scent


  • Rainbath Refreshing Shower and Bath Gel


  • Care and Coconut Moisturizing Body Wash
  • Foaming Oil Moisturizing Body Wash
  • Oil Infused Body Lotion Orchid and Argan Oil


  • Age Defying with Vitamin E Body Wash
  • Fresh Outlast Soothing Orchid & Black Currant Body Wash
  • Ultra Moisture Shea Butter Body Wash

Best Deodorants


  • Sustainable Super Strength Deodorant
  • Super Strength Deodorant
  • Aluminum-Free Prebiotic Deodorant, Sensitive Skin


  • Sage 12h Deodorant Spray
  • Citrus 24h Deodorant Spray

Tom’s of Maine:

  • Coconut Lavender Natural Strength Plastic-Free Deodorant
  • Rugged Coast Natural Strength Plastic Free Deodorant
  • Long Lasting Natural Deodorant, Wild Lavender

Best Body Lotions

Earth Mama Organics:

  • Belly Butter
  • Eczema Cream

Green Go:

  • Belly Balm Salve

Earthly Wellness:

  • Good Night Lotion, Magnesium Lotion

Zoe Organics:

  • Belly Butter

Bottom Line

Using pregnancy-safe shampoos and hair products is very important, not just for your hair health but also for the health of your baby. The components from shampoos can get absorbed into your bloodstream and can affect you and your baby. Opt for a sulfate free shampoo and conditioner combo, preferably with essential oils to improve damaged and dry hair. You may also use a baby shampoo because the majority of them are devoid of artificial fragrances and possibly dangerous substances. Avoid hair sprays and always check shampoo ingredients before buying.