The children’s aisle in the grocery store looks so inviting with the wholesome pastel colors or bold primary colors for older kids. The labels coax an unassuming parent with words like “gentle” or “naturally derived” ingredients, yet a closer look at the ingredients list would shock you.
An informed parent can’t help but wonder what toxic ingredients are doing in any items, let alone baby products.
To date, countries around the globe ban over 1400 ingredients that are still allowed to be used in the U.S.
Why would asthma-inducing phthalates be found in the obscure “Fragrance” that’s listed on the children’s body wash with the cheerful cartoon character on the front?
Why would the kid-friendly sunscreen be loaded with hormone-disruptive and highly allergenic oxybenzone and octyl methoxycinnamate?
And why would formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing ingredients be allowed in personal care products—for children?!
Who would do such a thing? It’s a great question that many parents are asking and that Green Beauty Team covered in this post on toxic ingredients in baby products here.
The answers are flimsy at best. A vague “nothing has been proven conclusively” or the term “fear mongering” are the lines that are frequently thrown around to thwart the efforts of people who advocate for safety in our personal care products.
So the next time you’re ready to pick up some essentials for your kids, refer to this list of easy swaps instead.
17 Safe Swaps: The Best All Natural Baby Products That Really Work!
When you want to reach for the products geared to babies like shampoos, body washes, and baby oils, take a closer look. The fragrances themselves can be potentially irritating or lead to an asthmatic response. But it’s the sulfates like sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) that can wreak havoc on hair follicles, in addition to the parabens that you want to steer clear of in all your products—let alone the ones you use on an infant’s delicate skin.
#1 Zoe Organics
#2 Meow Meow Tweet
These brands are my safe selection for multiple baby care needs, including selections for the entire family. Zoe Organics can be found in the “Family Planning” section at Target making them even more accessible to new moms.
So you want to use Desitin? This occlusive diaper cream is made with fragrance (allergies/irritation/organ system toxicity), petroleum (see more below) and parabens (endocrine disruption).
#3 Weleda Calendula Cream
Prevents diaper rash like no other without resorting to petroleum-based ingredients and harmful preservatives. Whenever I stopped using it, my kids inevitably got rashes.
If it’s too late to stop the rash, reach for…
#4 Skincando’s Combat-Ready Balm
An instant healer when it comes to painful rashes and dubbed “combat-ready” thanks to its very effective use on U.S. soldiers in the desert. They have been reaching for this powerhouse to soothe burns, bug bites, inflammation, scars, cuts, and scrapes, and there’s a gentler version for babies too.
With the recent lawsuit that linked Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder that contains talcum powder to ovarian cancer, it seems clear that we need to avoid using it, particularly near any of our lady parts. I never used baby powder on any of my children and cannot see a reason why one would.
However if this is something that you’d like to replace, I have and use:
#5 Redmond Clay Baby Powder
Made from pure bentonite clay, known to pull toxins out of the body and absorb wetness and odor.
Steroid creams to treat eczema may temporarily relieve the itchy areas, but don’t actually heal the cause of the problem.
Use of steroids may suppress the issue internally only to resurface as asthma later on.
My kids who suffered from eczema, plantar’s warts, molluscum (small viral pustules all over the body) recovered through reflexology treatments and homeopathy conducted by skilled practitioners.
Topical treatments provide temporary relief, but healing rashes from the source requires dietary changes and seeking the advice of a professional (naturally, I recommend going to a holistic doctor who will understand the correlation between
#6 CV Skinlabs
The lotions, balm, and spray can be used on the most sensitive and raw skin without causing further irritation and delivering comfort to those areas. Chalk it up to the anti-inflammatory Tri-Rescue Complex of turmeric, alpha-bisabolol, and reishi mushrooms.
I applied the Calming Moisture Cream to my daughter’s itchy eczema and it was the ONLY product that didn’t sting and helped stop her scratching that made the condition worse. The Rescue + Relief Spray soothes sunburns and accelerates healing.
#7 Ciao Eczema
Poofy Organics’ cream that also worked instantly to soothe my daughter’s skin.
Kiss controversial DEET goodbye! Actually, don’t even get close enough to kiss this toxic substance that’s linked to disorders of the central nervous system.
DEET is a registered pesticide that stands for for N,N-diethyl-m-toluamide (also known as N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide). It is a member of the toluene chemical family, an organic solvent used in rubber and plastic cements and paint removers.
#8 Tick Tock Insect Repellent
Wards off mosquitoes as well as ticks and it really works! No DEET or toxic ingredients plague this formula that was developed by a woman who suffered from Lyme’s Disease as a result of a tick bite. The lemongrass scent is strong but pleasant, and bugs hate it.
#9 Tea tree oil
Got an insect bite? Try tea tree oil to nab the itchiness and reduce swelling.
Bumps, bruises, muscle aches and pains
There really is nothing like Arnica in the conventional world, though Bengay which is designed to relieve muscle tension may come close.
#10 Boiron Arnica Cream
Both the cream and pellets are an absolute staple! Bumps and bruises are no match for this powerful homeopathic remedy. Plus, my midwife recommended the 200c to ease contractions after birth.
Soaps and Cleansers
Years ago, a naturopathic expert shocked me by saying that using soap all over the body is excessive and unnecessary. Actually, she explained that cleansing intimate areas and under arms was enough, allowing the daily Vitamin D dose from sun exposure to be left intact.
For when we do want a good lather, skip the Dial soaps that contain drying sulfates that strip the protective barriers of the skin and can lead to a backlash of issues.
Their multi-tasking bar or liquid soaps can be used on hair, hands, and body, and are made with organic saponified oils instead.
Can’t quite give up those foaming soaps?
Snap up #12 Kosmatology’s Hand Soap that smells great (there are five scents to choose from!) and never dries the skin.
Congestion & coughs
Petroleum is a by-product of the crude oil once used on rigs. The unrefined oil contains carcinogenic substances. Its refinement turns into products that apply on our skin. But why would we want to continue using them when there are eco-friendly and biodegradable alternatives?
Before grabbing the Vicks Vapour Rub, try this petroleum-free version instead.
#13 Between You & the Moon Happy Vapours Chest Rub
Powered by cloves, cinnamon, elder flowers, peppermint leaves, rosemary, eucalyptus, and turmeric, is a lifesaver. When coughing season starts, rub a thick layer on soles of feet, cover with socks, and—voila!—almost instant relief. Buy several to make sure you never run out.
Actually, you can skip the petroleum-based products altogether and you’ll never miss ‘em with these all natural Vaseline alternatives.
Safe sunblock is perhaps one of the more confusing categories to navigate. For a more extensive discussion, head here. A metered daily dose of Vitamin D from sun exposure actually does the body good!
#16 Keeki Pure & Simple Sunscreen
Derives its vegan and cruelty-free sun protection from non-nano zinc oxide in a base of natural or organic ingredients like shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, aloe vera, vitamin E, and jojoba oil to shield skin and keep it supple.
If you prefer a spray, which my kids do try…
#17 Acure Organics
They recently launched a continuous spray sunscreen with recommended SPF 30 that our family loved last summer.
We can’t neglect that new mamas need lots of extra pampering! Seni Naturals has an incredible Beautiful Belly Balm that’s rich with moisturizing butters and oils to ward off stretch marks and keep skin supple and smooth. Plus the lip balms and scrubs are some of the best I’ve tried—and there have been many to cross my pout!
Definitely check out sites like The Choosy Chick and Integrity Botanicals that have separate categories for Babies, Mamas, and Kids, and Mighty Nest that includes eco-friendly swaps for household products, as well as school lunch containers and water bottles too.
Have you found any great swaps for traditional to all natural baby products that you love using? Let me know in the comments below! [Do not post links to your personal MLM sales pages. They will be removed.]
In some cases we’ll earn a small commission if you choose to buy from the links above. It puts a little coin in our pocket to keep giving you the free resources this site offers.
All photos by Sarita Coren. Editorial assistant and graphic design by Emily Criswell.