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Safe Shampoo for Pregnancy Step-by-Step Guide

Written by Irina Webb

Today’s post – a step-by-step guide to a safe shampoo for pregnancy – is inspired by multiple requests from my readers who are soon-to-be mothers.  I have observed that during pregnancy women start realizing their responsibility for the baby they are carrying.  Many women want to be sure that the products they use on their own bodies do not harm the precious baby inside. 

The product we’ll discuss in this post is hard to avoid in our dynamic 21st century life.  Pregnant or not pregnant – a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do: wash her hair!  So, is a shampoo specially formulated for pregnant women, is it any different from a safe shampoo for everyone else?  And, most importantly, do you need to search for that one and only pregnancy-friendly product?

Safe Shampoo for pregnancy Step-by-step guide. Photo of a pregnant lady in a white dress with her hands folded on her belly and hair going down her shoulders.

Why do I know so much about shampoos for pregnancy?

I know what you are going through.  In 2012, I was pregnant and anxious to make the right choices for my unborn son.  I started thinking about the products I used on my body and skin.  My focus shifted and I became more aware of the presence of chemicals in products that had the potential to end up in my body, and consequently, perhaps even in my baby. 

Before looking for a safe shampoo for pregnancy for myself, I wanted to check out baby shampoos.  One day, I picked up a bottle of baby shampoo, read the ingredients and literally didn’t understand a thing.  Was it even in English?  I photographed the ingredients and then researched them online at home. 

What I found was alarming in many ways and pushed me into doing more and more research.  I got so carried away that today, seven years later, I am still doing it!  If you want to know how baby shampoos are made, visit my post on tear-free baby shampoos.

Where did my support come from?

I have to say that my husband was supportive of my drive to learn more about the nontoxic life and to implement the findings.  If your significant other is supportive of your desire to “go clean and green,” that’s great!  But if they are still on the way to that shift in their thinking, you may find it useful to let them read my husband’s open letter to your significant other in which he shares his views on nontoxic life.  It might help your significant other accept the changes you’re advocating.

What is a safe shampoo for pregnancy like?

To begin, I would like to emphasize that all the products I recommend are safe in the general sense of the word.  It means that if they are safe for you when you are not pregnant, they will still be safe for you when you are.  For example, even now that I’m not pregnant, I’m using shampoos that I would be using if I were pregnant.  If I got pregnant now, I wouldn’t change my shampoo for a different one. 

Now that we have established that a safe shampoo for pregnancy equals a safe shampoo, let’s talk about how to spot a safe shampoo.  And to learn why it is important to use a safe shampoo in the first place and how not to fall into a common trap, head here.

How to find a nontoxic shampoo?

There are a few ways for you to find a safe shampoo, including a healthy shampoo while pregnant. 

Read shampoo ingredients

If you want to start making conscious decisions about changes in your life, namely your beauty routine, you can’t avoid this step – reading product ingredients. My post How to Read Shampoo Labels will help you understand the basics of shampoo manufacturing.  And this post will present you with a shortcut to a list of shampoo ingredients to avoid altogether.  

Knowing how a shampoo is made and what ingredients it must have are the first steps in making good choices.  In my practice, I have come across shampoo brands whose list of ingredients seemed too perfect – even for a safe shampoo for pregnancy.  However, to the trained eye, they don’t make any sense because they miss the ingredients that shampoos must have to be effective.  In my post What Makes Tates Miracle Shampoo a Miracle, you can read about my encounter with a popular brand whose yummy list of ingredients just doesn’t make sense.

Check out my Shampoo Rating List

In the Shampoo Rating List e-book, you will learn about more than 100 shampoos, rated by their degree of safety from the safest to the least safe.  To make it clear, there is no such thing as an absolutely safe shampoo.  Even a specially formulated newborn baby shampoo wouldn’t be 100 percent safe.

As I mentioned above, to be effective a shampoo must contain chemicals.  Thus, shampoo safety is a matter of degrees.  That was why I created this Shampoo Rating List where you can find a product that will work for your hair type and that will be a healthy shampoo to use while pregnant. 

What else can you do to make sure that you buy a toxin-free shampoo?

It is important to avoid certain essential oils.  Generally, the amounts of essential oils used in shampoos should not pose any threat.  However, if you want to be on the safe side in your choice of a safe shampoo for pregnancy, just avoid products that have the following essential oils among their ingredients (source).

Essential Oils Latin Name
Aniseed Pimpinella anisum
Basil ct. estragole Ocimum basilicum
Birch Betula lenta
Camphor Cinnamomum camphora
Hyssop Hyssopus officinalis
Mugwort Artemisia vulgaris
Parsley seed or leaf Petroselinum sativum
Pennyroyal Mentha pulegium
Sage Salvia officinalis
Tansy Tanacetum vulgare
Tarragon Artemisia dracunculus
Thuja Thuja occidentalis
Wintergreen Gaultheria procumbens
Wormwood Artemisia absinthium

Here are a few points to consider that should help simplify your search for a safe shampoo for pregnancy.

Organic shampoos

No shampoo can be organic, and no shampoo can be chemical-free.  There are ingredients in shampoos such as surfactants and emulsifiers that by definition can’t be organic.  What can be organic is herbal plant extracts and plant oils. 

Shampoo fragrance

Fragrance as a shampoo ingredient is a mixture of many other ingredients.  Many of these ingredients do not even have safety data.  In your search for a safe shampoo for pregnancy you might want avoid products with the word ‘fragrance’ on the label.  You can read more about natural and synthetic fragrance in my post here.

Natural shampoo bars

The safest shampoos that also have the least negative impact on the environment are shampoo bars.  All-natural shampoo bars can be the healthiest choice during pregnancy, because they consist of simple ingredients, and are made the way soaps have been made for ages.  They do have a tiny flaw, though.  Learn more about it here.

What you might want to know about healthy living during pregnancy

Using a safe shampoo for pregnancy is just one step to a safer prenatal period.  It is also crucial to use skin products that contain organic extracts and oils.  And I can’t emphasize enough the importance of eating organic food.  Conventional, i.e. non-organic, food may contain the residues of around 700 chemicals (source).   

In addition to eating organic food, you want to be sure that the dishes you use are safe, too.  A lot of tableware can leak heavy metals such as lead and cadmium.  Water filtration is something else to consider. 

There are many ways you can be exposed to harmful chemicals without even realizing it.  But the good news is that I can help you with stress-free practical solutions during your pregnancy.  If you want to reduce your exposure to potentially harmful chemicals that may be lurking in your house, book my consulting services, and I will be happy to assist you.

Conclusion about a nontoxic shampoo during pregnancy

In conclusion, there is no special safe shampoo for pregnancy.  When we say, “safe for pregnant women,” we mean that it is safe in general for anyone.  Getting a nontoxic shampoo is a good start in improving your environment.  And there are other changes you may want to look into, which can improve your chances of having a healthy baby.

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