Johnson's head-to-toe baby wash & shampoo: A gentle option for adults?

This product could be a great sulfate-free shampoo for adults with color-treated hair and/or sensitive skin.

Even though I’m not a parent, I love keeping an eye on personal care products that are formulated for babies. I’ve mentioned my fascination with baby products before—this whole category of products is typically formulated to be extra-gentle for sensitive, pure skin. As someone who has sensitive skin and eczema, I look to baby products as a safe haven for ingredients that won’t aggravate my skin. I also like the claims of what each baby product doesn’t contain. One thing that baby shampoo doesn’t contain? Sulfates! And you know who needs sulfate-free shampoo? People with color-treated hair.

Well into my teenage years, Johnson’s baby shampoo was my go-to choice because I liked its gentle fragrance, pale honey hue, and its claim of “no more tears.” I love the smell of Johnson’s baby shampoos, so after many years of using adult shampoos, I thought I might as well give this old favorite a try. But this time, I got a variation on the regular Johnson’s baby shampoo you see everywhere: Johnson’s Head-to-Toe Baby Wash and Shampoo.

Johnson's head to toe baby wash baby shampoo sulfate free Review

Johnson’s head-to-toe baby wash and shampoo ingredients

water, cocamidopropyl betaine, peg-80 sorbitan laurate, glycerin, peg-150 pentaerythrityl tetrastearate, ppg-2 hydroxyethyl cocamide, phenoxyethanol, sodium methyl cocoyl taurate, sodium benzoate, decyl glucoside, citric acid, fragrance [dipropylene glycol, hedione, florosa, hexyl salicylate, ethylene brassylate], ethylhexylglycerin

Johnson’s Head-to-Toe Baby Wash and Shampoo contains two preservatives: sodium benzoate and phenoxyethanol. Read more about the preservatives in Johnson’s products here. Johnson’s makes a few claims about the fragrances it includes in its products: apparently, the company specifically formulates its fragrances to be gentle and to exclude common allergens.

The third ingredient, PEG-80 sorbitan laurate, is a surfactant, which could help this shampoo foam up (since it’s sulfate-free, and sulfates usually act as foaming agents in soaps and shampoos). I couldn’t find much information about this ingredient online. I did see some red flags, but I wasn’t able to find any conclusive evidence that this ingredient is something to worry about. The Cosmetic Ingredient Review concluded that PEG-80 sorbitan laurate and other polysorbates were “safe in cosmetics when formulated to be non-irritating.” And just as notable are the things this Johnson’s Head-to-Toe Baby Wash and Shampoo doesn’t contain: parabens, phthalates, sulfates, and dyes.

I’m looking forward to using this sulfate-free shampoo for myself, even though I’m not a baby.

Update (10/6/18): Johnson’s Head-to-Toe Baby Shampoo Review

I’ve been using this shampoo over the past few days, and I think I’m ready to share my thoughts. This shampoo has a light, pleasant fragrance that reminds me of my old baby shampoo days. It doesn’t foam up very much, which makes it a little hard to distribute through long hair. It seems like it would be more suitable for short hair or hair that isn’t oily. I have oily hair, and I think this shampoo isn’t heavy-duty enough to remove all the grime, so my hair still feels a little oily after rinsing it out. The packaging on my bottle was also a bit problematic. I was expecting the pump to pop up, but it didn’t. I tried twisting it to the left and then the right, and then back again, to no avail. I even tried prying it up forcibly, but that only resulted in pulling the whole piece off of the bottle. I frantically stuck it back on, to realize that I was able to pump some shampoo out after reattaching the pump mechanism. However, it can feel a little weird because when you’re pressing on the pump, it doesn’t feel like it’s moving down very much at all. But fear not—some shampoo will come out.

I’m not sure if I just got a faulty bottle or if all of the shampoos are designed this way. Either way, I’m probably not going to repurchase this. If you’re an adult who needs a sulfate-free shampoo, I recommend this Aveeno shampoo or this other one from Costco.

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