The Basics of Baby Skincare

13th June 2019

With so many baby brands out there promising to gently cleanse their delicate skin, and ingredients so complex you’d be forgiven for buying on packaging alone. Lucky for us (and now you), we’ve got a skincare specialist in the family. Pip is the founder of SkinLyst, a free service designed to tailor your perfect skincare regime, from a totally unbiased and brand-neutral standpoint. 

With a BSc in cosmetic science and almost a decade in formulations and product development, Pip really knows her stuff. Here’s her guide to what to watch out for when buying for your bubs. 

Strong cleansing agents (surfactants)

The most common of these are SLES/SLS, which are commonly found in shampoo and body wash. In most baby products, these are paired with more neutral ingredients to reduce to the potential for irritation, but for really sensitive skins, it’s better to avoid them completely (and there’s really no need to use a strong cleanser on a baby).


“This is often found in cosmetics and a likely culprit when it comes to irritated skin. There is a known list of 26 fragrance allergens, which are listed at the end of ingredients lists, separately to perfume (common ones being linalool, citral and limonene). Essential oils are the worst as they are natural ingredients so more likely to contain allergens (with synthetics you can isolate components to avoid including them). I know they can smell amazing, but to keep your baby’s skin as soft and natural as the day they were born, it’s worth trying to avoid fragrance completely.”

Chemical sun filters

“There are two types sunscreen out there, chemical and physical. I would recommend only using physical sunscreen on your children, which you can find by looking for ingredients such as zinc oxide or titanium dioxide. These are not only non-irritating but they also physically block UV rays, as opposed to chemical filters which absorb into the skin and convert UV energy into heat inside the skin cells. This helps to avoid DNA damage but has been recently considered more damaging to the skin due to the heat energy produced.”  

If you’re after specific advice or your child has allergies and you’d like some more tailored recommendations, drop Pippa a line at

Pip’s Picks

Organii SPF50 Sun Milk – £23.95 / 125ml 

Coola - Mineral Baby Organic Unscented Sunscreen SPF50 – £33 / 88ml 

Organic babies Baby Wash & Shampoo Scent Free – £7.95 / 100ml 

Child’s Farm Baby wash – £4 / 250ml 

Kokoso Baby Hair Body Wash – £7.99 / 200ml 

Jackson Reece Kinder by Nature Natural Body Wash – £3.99 / 200ml 

Sophie La Giraffe uses natural, non-allergenic ingredients to fragrance products. 

Zoe Organics our top pick is the cream.

Mustela very sensitive skin line. It’s completely free from fragrance and essential oils. 

Chuckling Goat Baby Kefir Range

Water wipes offer the fewest chemicals of all the disposables so they’re good, even for newborn skin. If you can make it work with reusables though, that’s what we’d recommend. Even if it’s just at home – small steps and all that.

Cheeky Wipes can be washed over and over again, so (as long as you have an efficient washing machine) they’re much better for the planet. The set comes with a wet box and mild cleansing oil for freshening up on the go.

Words by anna whitaker and pippa harman

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