Best Shampoos for Cradle Cap


The best cradle cap shampoos can help with irritating skin conditions that even the best baby shampoos cannot handle.

Cradle cap is actually quite harmless to babies, though it may look and feel alarming to the parents when they see their baby’s scalp have scaly patches. This common skin condition is also known as Seborrheic dermatitis and can typically clear up all on its own.

It is not known to be itchy or painful and it often occurs when a yeast called Malassezia breaks down the sebum which consumes saturated fatty acids and leaves the unsaturated acids behind.

Cradle cap has a yellow, flaky appearance and sometimes contains red and sore-looking scaley patches and usually resides on the top of the head, although it can affect the eyebrows, nose, and even the diaper area as well.

The great thing about cradle cap is that it looks worse than it feels and cannot be transmitted to other people. Cradle cap treatments can help heal the baby’s cradle cap faster, but if you’re not noticing a difference after a couple of weeks of using a cradle cap shampoo, you could speak to your doctor and see if there is a more medicated option they could prescribe to heal cradle cap faster.

Here are the best cradle cap shampoo options that can help heal your baby’s cradle cap.

(This post contains affiliate links. Our full disclosure policy is really boring, but you can find it here.)

The Best Cradle Cap Shampoo Options

Puracy Natural Baby Shampoo & Body Wash

I love organic ingredients here at Baby Gadget List and the Puracy Natural Baby Shampoo & Body Wash contains no harsh chemicals so it is our number one pick for a cradle cap shampoo.

This shampoo can be used all over the baby’s body, so if the cradle cap appears on more than just the top of the head, this is a safe shampoo to use anywhere on the body. simply put some of the shampoo into the bathwater so the water and the shampoo can reach some of the hard-to-reach places.

It is a tear-free shampoo, however as with any shampoo that gets into the eye it could irritate the baby, so be careful when washing the baby’s head. We recommend using a small number of water when pouring over the head to wash out the shampoo.

This shampoo also smells great and is good for treating cradle cap and other skin irritations.

IngredientsNO HARSH CHEMICALS: No Cocamidopropyl betaine, sulfates (SLS, SLES, SCS), eye-numbing agents, triclosan, formaldehyde, salicylates, parabens, phosphates, MEA, DEA, TEA, gluten, petroleum-based ingredients, animal by-products, perfumes, dyes or caustics
Rating4.3 Stars
Additional InformationVegan, Not tested on animals
No harsh chemicalsNozzle can break off the bottle if not used gently
Naturally tear-free
Grapefruit scented
Developed by Doctors

Happy Cappy Shampoo

The Happy Cappy Shampoo is pediatrician-approved and is developed to fight flake, scaling, and itching skin. This is the first FDA-approved over-the-counter cradle cap shampoo which can also double as a body wash for your little one.

This is a fragrance-free, dye-free, paraben-free, alcohol-free, sulfate-free, BPA-free, and cruelty-free formula and it’s Vegan too. This means this gentle shampoo has no synthetic fragrances and it’s a tear-free formula.

This is a great choice for parents who are dealing with cradle cap because the shampoo can be used on all family members as a shampoo or body wash when the baby is cradle cap free.

IngredientsContains the active ingredient, pyrithione zinc, which has been proven safe and effective for many decades in the relief of dandruff & seborrheic dermatitis. It also contains the natural ingredient Licorice Root Extract to help soothe redness.
Rating4.6 Stars
Additional InformationFragrance-free, Dye-free, Vegan
Created by PediatricianNot all babies seem to see improvement (4% of 750 reviewers stated this)
Medicated Shampoo
Can be used on all ages
Usually clears up cradle cap in 3 washes

Bella B Naturals Bee Gone

The Bella B Naturals Bee Gone is an organic shampoo that is made with natural ingredients such as oatmeal and organic shae butter and is great for baby’s sensitive skin.

This can be used as a daily shampoo after the flaky patches clear up, so you can be sure to use all the shampoo if you don’t like to waste product.

This shampoo is made with safe ingredients and has a light and natural scent which parents love.

This formula does contain pharmaceutical-grade tea tree oil which helps heal the cradle cap in a gentle way.

Did we mention it’s hypoallergenic too? This is a great option for parents who are trying to find a cradle cap shampoo for their newborn.

IngredientsOatmeal, Vitamin E, Organic Shea Butter, Aloe Vera, Organic Flower Extracts, Pharmaceutical Grade Tea Tree Oil, Amino Acids
Rating4.4 Stars
Additional InformationOrganic, Hypoallergenic, Contains tea tree oil
Paraben freeAt first, cradle cap can look worse while the formula’s working
Light, fresh scent
Can be used daily

Babo Batonicals Moisturizing Baby Shampoo

We mentioned we love natural products and the Babo Batonicals Moisturizing Baby Shampoo is not one to dissapoint.

This is a shampoo that is gentle on the baby skin and contains oatmilk which is known for soothing sensitive and dry skin.

Organic Calendula moisturizes dry patches of skin which helps soothe cradle cap.

This shampoo does take several weeks to start working on clearing up cradle cap because there are no medical ingredients in this formula.

IngredientsNatural Colloidal Oatmeal, Organic Calendula Flower, Natural Coconut Oil, Natural Shea Butter
Rating4.4 Stars
Additional InformationContains organic Calendula
Made with plant-based natural ingredientsCan take a few weeks to see results
Certified B Corporation – organic formulaNot the most pleasant smell
Rich in vitamins, antioxidants and anti-inflammatories

Mustela Gentle Cleansing Gel

The Mustela Gentle Cleansing Gel shampoo is popular dandruff and cradle cap shampoo that is free from soap and contains 99% natural ingredients.

The main ingredient in this formula is Avacado Perseus which is tear-free and proven to help get rid of cradle cap.

88% of 1000 customers have left rave reviews on this product. The only downside is this product is difficult to find in the shops, so you may have to order it online.

They even have this mustela baby cradle cap bundle that has additional products that can help you treat this common condition.

IngredientsAvocado Perseose, 99% plant-based
Rating4.7 Stars
Additional InformationParaben-free, Phthalate-free, Phenoxyethanol-free, Hypoallergenic
A bit harder to find in-store
Paraben-free, Phthalate-free, Phenoxyethanol-freeContains perfume

Guide To Buying Cradle Cap Shampoo

What causes cradle cap?

Some theories as to where cradle cap comes from are that the oil glands in the baby’s scalp, face and upper chest and back become active due to high hormone levels during the first year of life.

Others say the cause of cradle cap is due to Malassezia which is normally found on the skin and grows in the sebum secretions that are produced by oil glands.

Basic Cradle Cap Care

This information is straight from the Mayo clinic:

Cradle cap usually doesn’t require medical treatment, as it usually goes away on its own. In the meantime, wash your baby’s hair once a day with mild baby shampoo. If the scaling is heavy, apply mineral oil to the scalp for a couple of hours before shampooing. Then wash the hair as usual and brush the scalp lightly with a soft brush to loosen the scale.

If frequent shampooing doesn’t help, talk with your baby’s doctor about products that might help, such as a low-potency hydrocortisone cream or a shampoo with 2 percent antifungal ketoconazole medication. Be sure the shampoo doesn’t get in your baby’s eyes, as it may cause irritation.

Don’t use over-the-counter cortisone or antifungal creams without talking to your baby’s doctor, because some of these products can be toxic when absorbed through a baby’s skin. Dandruff shampoos that contain salicylic acid aren’t recommended for use in babies either, because they can be absorbed through the skin.

Here is an excellent idea on how to wash a newborns hair, and you can use cradle cap shampoo in this very same way.

Who Should Buy Cradle Cap Shampoo

If your little baby has hair, then you’re going to be buying a good baby shampoo. Finding a shampoo that will give your babies hair and head the nutrients it needs and is gentle on the head and skin is the key.

If your baby has cradle cap, then you’ll want to have a cradle cap shampoo on hand to wash babies skin without irritating it and drying it out.

If the baby does have cradle cap then a shampoo that treats this is more preferable that one that does nothing for it.

The bottom line is, if your baby has cradle cap, parents should consider purchasing cradle cap shampoo to get rid of this skin condition.

Things To Look For When Choosing Cradle Cap Shampoo

When caring for cradle cap there are some things to consider while you’re choosing your shampoo.

Remember to never scratch the cradle cap with your fingers to try to remove it on your own as this can cause pain and irritation to your baby.

Simply wash the scalp with the shampoo and the patches of cradle cap should loosen during the washings.

It’s a good idea to start off with mild baby shampoo. If things do not improve, or worsen, then you’re going to want to speak with your pediatrician about finding an alternative solution.

Ingredients: You’re going to need to find a shampoo that has gentle ingredients. Harsh and toxic chemicals should never be used on a baby and can make things much worse. Organic and natural ingredients are the best way to go. Never use adults shampoo on a baby.

Scent: If you’re going for a scented shampoo, always look for gentle scents that aren’t super strong. It is best to go with an unscented option as that decreases the risk of irritating babies skin.

When To Speak To Your Doctor: When you’ve tried the best cradle cap shampoo’s for a couple of weeks and see no improvement, you can speak to your doctor about the next steps for healing the cradle cap on your babies skin.

Cradle Cap FAQ’s

Is cradle cap painful for my baby?

Cradle cap is kind of like dandruff for babies and it does not hurt. It can look painful, sore and scary, but it looks worse than it feels. If you’re really worried, ask your doctor about it! There are many good shampoo’s that you can use at home to treat cradle cap, so most parents don’t spend too much time worrying about it.

Are there natural alternatives for treating cradle cap?

You can use coconut oil to treat cradle cap, just make sure you’re using high quality, organic options. It can also help relieve any itchiness your baby may be experiencing and can be used with a cradle cap shampoo or on it’s own.

Can I scrub the cradle cap off?

Please do not scrub cradle cap off your baby as that can hurt them. Cradle cap needs to fall off on it’s own and using a baby shampoo that is made for treating cradle cap will help with this. Never pick at the cradle cap.

Is cradle cap a fungus?

Cradle cap is caused by overactive oil glands in the scalp and is not caused by bacterial infection or poor hygiene. It is also not contagious.

How often should you wash baby’s hair with cradle cap?

You can wash the baby’s hair every few days. There is no need for a daily bath for your newborn as this can dry out their skin and cause extra issues.

Does breast milk help cradle cap?

Breastfeeding mothers swear by their liquid gold and breastmilk has been known to treat cradle cap for some newborns. You can always try to apply breastmilk to your babies cradle cap to see if it helps, but there is no guarantee, just as there is none when using a baby shampoo either. If cradle cap persists, talk to your doctor.

How do I wash my baby’s hair?

When washing a baby that has cradle cap, you can follow these basic tips:

Put the baby in a warm bath and wet the hair. Apply cradle cap shampoo and gentle rub it in with your fingers, a washcloth or a baby hairbrush (the one with the softest of bristles that normally comes in a baby care kit.) Allow the shampoo to sit on the hair for a few minutes and then rinse it out with small numbers of water at a time.

After rinsing and getting the baby out of the bath, pat the cradle cap area with a towel or a dry washcloth to get out additional moisture.

Repeat this process every few days, and the cradle cap should clear up in no time.

If the cradle cap persists, or worsens then talk to your doctor as they may want to prescribe a special shampoo to resolve the issue.

Wrapping Things Up With Best Cradle Cap Shampoo

Our overall favorite shampoo is the Puracy Natural Baby Shampoo & Body Wash because it is affordable and contains all-natural ingredients. This vegan formula has been proven to take care of the cradle cap easily, and we love that you can add it to the bathwater to treat any and all other dry skin areas. Not to mention that it smells great – pink grapefruit!

The runner-up cradle cap shampoo is the Happy Cappy Shampoo for its medicated proven formula that is fast-acting and has been proven to help with more severe cradle cap cases in as little as 2-3 washes.

Overall, any of the shampoos’s that we listed are great options for parents.

We do hope this guide has helped you understand more about cradle cap and how to find a shampoo that will help with its treatment of it.

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