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Choosing the Best Shampoo for Pregnancy: What to Look for and What to Avoid

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Pregnancy is a wonderful phase for any expecting parent. The excitement levels are soaring, and you have tons to look forward to in the next chapter of your life. However, as happy as this time is, it can also be a bit stressful. All mothers worry about their children's well-being and good health and want to ensure that their bundle of joy is always safe. 

Right from the food you eat to the cosmetics you use, everything impacts your unborn child. This is why it is important to know the components of your everyday products and understand how they affect you and your baby. Not many people know that one of the most commonly used products, shampoo, can lead to congenital disabilities in babies. 

Now, there is no reason to panic. You do not have to stop using shampoo on your hair during pregnancy. You simply have to avoid using shampoos that contain certain ingredients. Keep reading to find out what these are.

Table of Contents

  • How do shampoos affect pregnant women and their unborn babies?
  • What ingredients should you avoid?
  • What is the best shampoo for pregnancy?

How do shampoos affect pregnant women and their unborn babies?

There is nothing wrong with using a shampoo to wash your hair when you are pregnant. However, it is important to use a safe product that is not laden with harsh chemicals. Shampoos can contain many chemicals that have been linked to congenital disabilities in babies. And irrespective of how often you wash your hair or how long you let the products rest on your hair, these chemicals can lead to severe health problems for you and your unborn child. Hence, it is advised to use natural, plant-based products that use as few chemicals as possible when you are pregnant. 

Artificial fragrances, parabens, sulfates, etc., are known for their harmful effects on the human body. So, the farther you stay from them, the better it can be for you and your baby. 

What ingredients should you avoid?

Try to avoid the following ingredients in your shampoo:

  • Sodium lauryl sulfate: Sodium lauryl sulfate is a detergent and surfactant that is easily found not only in shampoos, but also in bathing soaps, toothpaste, mouthwashes, detergents, etc. The lather from your shampoos primarily forms because of the sodium lauryl sulfate in it. Sodium lauryl sulfate can irritate the eyes and skin. In some animal studies, the ingredient was also linked to birth defects. Moreover, the chemical has been associated with cancer too.
  • Parabens: Parabens are preservatives used in cosmetic products to prolong the product’s shelf life. Parabens protect the product from bacteria and fungus, but they also have many side effects. These chemicals are infamously known as hormone disruptors, which is why they are particularly harmful to pregnant women. It can be hard to spot parabens in your products as they are hidden under other names like methylparaben, propylparaben, butylparaben, isobutylparaben, and ethylparaben. Parabens have also been linked to an increased risk of breast cancer. 
  • Phthalates: Phthalates are used in many hair care products, from shampoos to conditioners, hair sprays, and even masks. Phthalates help prolong the fragrance of the product. They also make it easy for the product to absorb into your skin. However, phthalates can disrupt hormones. They have also been linked to breast cancer, diabetes, behavioral changes, and obesity. If you find any of the following ingredients on the shampoo (and conditioner, for that matter) label, you should avoid using them: 
    • BzBP (benzylbutyl phthalate)
    • DMP (dimethyl phthalate)
    • DCP (dibutyl phthalates)
    • DEHP (Di(2-ethylhexyl)phthalate)
    • DEP (diethyl phthalate)
    • DiDP (diisodecyl phthalate)
    • DBP (dibutyl phthalate)
    • DNOP (di-n-octyl phthalate)
    • DnHP (di-n-hexyl phthalate)
    • DiNP (diisononyl phthalate)
  • Triclosan: Triclosan can be found in antibacterial shampoos and soaps. High doses of triclosan have been associated with lower levels of thyroid hormones. Some animal studies have shown that triclosan can irritate the endocrine and reproductive system, which is why they should never be used during pregnancy

In addition to this, you should also avoid products with very strong scents. Artificial fragrances are nothing but chemicals that are formulated in labs. They often do not contain any hint of the natural product they mimic. They are made from petrochemicals like phthalates, benzene derivatives, aldehydes, etc., which can cause birth defects and nervous system disorders. You should also not use any medicated shampoos for dandruff, hair fall, etc., without consulting with a doctor.

Make sure always to scan the ingredients list of all your skin and hair care products to ensure complete safety. And if you have any doubts, you can always consult a dermatologist.  

What is the best shampoo for pregnancy?

A plant-based, paraben-free, and sulfate-free product is the best pregnancy-safe shampoo. You can try the following pregnancy-safe shampoos and conditioners, depending on your hair’s type and needs:

WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo

WOW Apple Cider Vinegar Shampoo

This sulfate-free shampoo is infused with raw apple cider vinegar that gently detoxifies your hair. Apple cider vinegar is known for its hair cleansing and moisturizing properties. You can use this pregnancy-safe shampoo to restore shine and vitality to your hair. The product is vegan, cruelty-free and powered by natural ingredients such as nettle leaf extract, saw palmetto extract, argan oil, and almond oil.

Coconut Milk Shampoo 

Coconut Milk Shampoo

Coconut milk is an excellent remedy for dry and damaged hair. It helps detangle knots and smooth out hair strands. The WOW Coconut Milk pregnancy-safe shampoo reduces frizz, hair thinning and hair loss due to breakage. It also helps revitalize dull and dry hair. 

Red Onion Shampoo and Conditioner Set

Red Onion Shampoo and Conditioner Set

Infused with antioxidant-rich red onion seed oil extract and black seed oil, this pregnancy-safe shampoo and conditioner set can help reduce hair fall due to breakage. The product revitalizes damaged hair and offers the goodness of Ayurveda in a hassle-free and easy-to-use manner. 

Make sure to choose natural and plant-powered products over harsh and harmful chemicals to ensure that you and your baby are safe. Wow Skin Science is a firm believer in natural ingredients, and that reflects in our extensive range of plant-powered products. 


Rahul Bhatia

Rahul is the published author of "Heads Or Tails" and Quora writer with over 1.6 million views. He is a keen observer who enjoys the simple joys of life. He strongly believes true beauty is not how beautiful your face is but how beautiful your heart is.

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