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Shampooing Basics

Don’t Cry For Me Baby Tina


  • Babies are often born with little hair
  • Shampoo only once or twice a week
  • Happy hair washing begins with a tearless shampoo
  • Babies don’t like having their head tipped back
  • A little drop goes a long way
  • Shampoo visors protect your baby’s eyes


Baby basics are very simple as long as you keep a “to do” checklist in your mind. Baby tub in the sink? Check. Shampoo, towel, washcloth ready? Check. Baby propped up safely with her head in your hand? Check. You’re ready for what everyone hopes is a quick and gentle shampoo.

  • My Hairless Wonder. Some babies are born with enough hair to form a pompadour. Others resemble Bruce Willis. Truth be known, many babies are born with what look like five o’clock shadow on their head. Little hair at birth is very common and only temporary. Within one to two years, your little girl or boy will have plenty of hair. Enjoy the ease of shampooing that comes with sparse hair and accessorize to help distinguish the gender of your cute little baby.
  • Don‘t Go Shampoo Crazy. Tiny babies don’t get very dirty, nor does their hair. Shampooing more often is harmless but not necessary because a little natural oil is good for her scalp and hair. Unless she has a very oily scalp or is prone to crusty cradle cap, you only need to shampoo her hair once or twice a week.
  • You Call That Tearless? Baby shampoos are very similar. Pick a tearless variety for babies and don’t over think your choice. Unfortunately, none of them are great at cleaning hair (thanks to the science behind what makes them tearless). Fortunately, your baby’s hair will likely never be dirty enough for that to matter. Basically, all tearless shampoos are good enough to make your baby’s hair clean. As for the tearless claim, even that has its limits. Enough shampoo in the eyes will likely sting and make your baby cry. Use as little shampoo as possible, consider a foamy shampoo for easier control and above all, do your best to avoid shampoo in your baby’s eyes. Should some shampoo splatter on the face, a quick rinse with warm water should solve the problem. Every attempt to make your baby as comfortable as possible will help make future washings that much easier.
  • Decline to Recline. At a hair salon, someone will put you in a chair, tilt your head back and rinse your scalp. As uncomfortable as that is for an adult, it’s often terrorizing for an infant or toddler. Tipping their head back under a sink or bathtub nozzle often makes them feel vulnerable and can be frightening. To avoid the howls and pushback of tipping back your baby, consider using a spray hose if you have one. Otherwise, a large cup filled with warm water may be your best bet. Gently support your baby’s head over the sink or tub with one hand and tip your baby back just enough to prevent the water from running into your baby’s eyes.
  • A Little Dab Will Do Ya. Once you’ve poured or gently sprayed a little warm, not hot, water over your baby’s scalp to wet it, you only need a drop of baby shampoo to remove excess oil, some cradle cap, and sweat. Using more won’t get him any cleaner, but sure will make it harder to rinse the shampoo out. Rinse off the shampoo with the spray hose or a few cups of warm water. Then snuggle your baby in a soft towel that has a hood to cover his head, and cuddle up for a few minutes.
  • The Bath Visor Fashion Statement. Have you seen these things? Bath visors come in all sorts of fun colors, fit around the head and help prevent water from running in your baby’s face. Not all babies are a fan of this funny hat and not all parents find success with them, but if water in the face is making bath time a miserable experience, this device may be worth a try.

Your reward for a job well done is to take a big whiff of her sweet-smelling, baby-fresh hair. Sitting together for a few minutes before dressing her is a nice transition from the activity of bathing to getting in pajamas for bedtime or fresh clothing for your date with her fans.

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