How Does Non-Tearing Shampoo Work? [Top 5 Tear-Free Shampoo Brands]

Have you ever wondered how a non-tear shampoo really works? These shampoos are gentle on the eyes and usually meant for babies. We all have experienced a sharp sting on our eyes after using shampoo. This happens when a miniature droplet of shampoo or shampoo suds enter our eyes.

This happens because the normal pH of our eyes is between 7-7.4 and shampoo is acidic in nature. Eyes perceive a slight difference in the pH as painful and start releasing tears.

The tears you release while shampooing is meant to remove these foreign bodies or chemicals out of your eyes. For this reason, the majority of baby shampoo is tear-free so your little one doesn’t shed tears while enjoying their bubble bath.

There are a lot of things you must know like what does tear free shampoo really means, how does the formula work and more.

What does non tears shampoo really mean?

A no tears shampoo is a delicate cleanser formulated to be gentle on the skin and eyes.

The concentration of the conventional ingredients found in regular shampoos are either reduced or completely removed in no-tears shampoos. These conventional ingredients are those that have the ability to irritate the eyes.

Further, a no-tear shampoo is diluted in order to achieve a pH that is closer or less than the neutral pH of the eyes (7-7.4). This is the reason why these shampoos are stingless or doesn’t sting the eyes at all. As a result, no tears are released even if shampoo enters the eyes.

How does non tearing shampoo work?

Shampoos contain surface-active agents, better known as “surfactants” to cleanse and degrease the hair. Surfactants reduce the surface tension of a liquid. This is responsible for spreading the shampoo evenly and penetrating the hair shafts better.

While one end of these surfactant molecules is attracted towards the water, the other end is attracted towards oil and grime.

Also, the other end repels water as well. This allows the shampoo to work efficiently and remove the layer of dirt and oil from the scalp and hair shafts.

No tears shampoos are formulated by avoiding the harsh version of detergents used in regular shampoos. Long-chain surfactants like non-ionic polymers or trideceth sulfate are used in place of harsh chemicals like sodium lauryl sulfate which is harmful to hair, skin and eyes.

Long-chain surfactants are gentle in comparison to harsh detergents and don’t irritate the skin. Plus, these are used in really small amounts in no tears shampoo.

However, a shampoo with sodium lauryl sulfate is going to give you a really nice lather and make your hair squeaky clean. No tear shampoo cleans your hair and scalp as well but doesn’t remove oil as neatly as its counterpart.

Yet, no-tear shampoo works absolutely fine for babies as they don’t need deep cleansing given the limited number of hair on their scalp. For adults, they have to use an extra amount of shampoo if they wish to attain squeaky clean hair with it.

How to select a Perfect non tearing shampoo?

No tear shampoos are supposed to be safe from harmful and toxic chemical ingredients. Sadly, the market is loaded with no-tears shampoos that contain all kinds of harsh chemicals that aren’t good for your hair and scalp health.

We are here to help you with your no tear shampoo shopping. Keep these things in mind while choosing your perfect non-tearing shampoo:

1. Seek Sodium Lauryl Sulfate and avoid it

It goes without saying that a tear-free shampoo should not have sodium lauryl sulfate in its ingredients list. This surfactant cleans so deeply that it is also used in making dish soaps and laundry detergents.

If you are looking for a no-tear shampoo or a safe shampoo for a baby in general then avoid this ingredient at all costs. A baby’s skin is too sensitive for such a harsh detergent.

2. Stay away from parabens

It’s more than common to find parabens in the ingredients list of your favourite brands of shampoos and personal care. These are used as synthetic preservatives to prevent the growth of bacteria and molds in order to increase the product’s shelf life.

Parabens are extremely harmful and are reported to cause a number of health risks such as skin irritation, cancer, reproductive toxicity and endocrine disruption.

Look for ingredients ending in -paraben and avoid them at all costs. If a shampoo contains parabens, it’s not really a no-tears shampoo.

3. A good no tear shampoo has natural extracts

Your favorite non-tearing shampoo should have fewer harsh chemicals and more natural or plant-based ingredients or extracts.

Check out ingredients like sunflower seed oil, fruit oils, avocado oil, Aloe Vera, raspberry and chamomile extract while choosing your perfect no tears shampoo.

4. Look for the label “fragrance-free”

I know that you love the “baby smell” when you hold a freshly bathed baby or toddler in your arms. However, added fragrances are not worth the hype and are actually harmful to sensitive skin.

Added fragrances hide a number of ingredients that are not mentioned on the back of the shampoo bottle. Avoid shampoo with added fragrances at all costs. Instead, go for neutral fragrances or fragrances derived from natural ingredients.

Top 5 Tear-Free Shampoos from Leading Brands

There is a huge demand for tear-free shampoos in the market. There are hundreds of different brands selling no-tears shampoos right now. We are here to help you with the best brands you can consider to make your shampoo purchase.

Here is our recommendation list of the best tear free shampoo options from top brands like SheaMoisture, Mustela, SoCozy, Fresh Monster and Johnson’s. Let’s have a look at them –

1. SheaMoisture Mango & Carrot Kids Extra-Nourishing Shampoo

SheaMoisture Mango & Carrot Kids Extra-Nourishing Shampoo is one of the best tear free shampoos in the market. It doesn’t make vague remarks about being gentle to the skin and hair.

Though the brand doesn’t officially claim it to be tear-free, as per user reviews, it works as a perfect tear-free shampoo.

The shampoo truly consists of natural extracts and hydrating elements required to make a good quality tear-free shampoo.

It includes healthy ingredients like coconut oil, carrot oil, olive oil, mango butter and certified Shea butter that nourishes hair strands while gently cleaning scalp and hair. Its hydrating qualities make this non-tear shampoo a great fit for dry and brittle hair.

Formulated carefully to cleanse and hydrate, this shampoo has no sulfates, parabens, mineral oil or phthalates. The shampoo is also cruelty-free.


  • The superbly hydrating and sulfate free formula makes this shampoo the best choice for kinky curls. It is also helpful in enhancing curl definition.
  • Apart from nourishing kinky curls, this non tear shampoo is ideal for cleansing other hair types as well.
  • Vitamin E and Vitamin B-5 strengthens hair and prevents breakage. 


  • The shampoo has a strong scent which has received mixed reviews. Though, the ingredients used in this shampoo are all natural and non-toxic to the skin or hair.

2. Mustela Gentle Shampoo

Mustela Gentle Baby Shampoo & Detangler is so gentle and natural that it suits even the most sensitive skin types. It’s a perfect choice for even newborns as it doesn’t strip away natural oils from the scalp. The shampoo is hypoallergenic and safe to use.

It is formulated to cleanse, hydrate and detangle at the same time. The shampoo is gentle to suit sensitive scalp yet it cleans the toughest of dirt and sweat. The shampoo mainly consists of plant-based biodegradable ingredients.

The primary natural ingredients are Avocado Perseose and Chamomile extract.

Avocado Perseose is a patented natural ingredient used by the brand to give clean and hydrated scalp to the little ones with their shampoo. Chamomile is used to give further hydration and detangle without irritating the skin or hair.


  • Mustela Gentle Shampoo is made up of 93% plant-based formula. The formula is natural and biodegradable. This makes this tear free shampoo safe for our skin, hair and eyes as well as safe for the environment. 
  • Mustela Gentle Shampoo is 100% free of parabens, phthalates and phenoxyethanol.


  • The shampoo doesn’t lather until you use considerably huge amounts of it. While the lack of formation of lather states the shampoo is free of harmful chemicals, it might not satisfy those who can’t shampoo without a good lather.

3. Baby Dove Rich Moisture Baby Wash and Shampoo

Baby Dove Rich Moisture body wash and shampoo provides the most gentle and moisturizing formula to take care of sensitive skin and hair.

The shampoo is made up of 100% natural ingredients with selected ingredients that are similar to those naturally found in the skin.

The shampoo has zero sulfates, parabens, phthalates or dyes. This ensures the product is safe for your hair, skin and eyes. The brand uses 100% recycled plastic to ensure its safety for your skin as well as the environment.

Its formula is so nourishing and gentle that it is also suitable to use for a newborn’s first bath. It’s hypoallergenic, tear-free and dermatologically tested to give a pleasant shampoo session.


  • It has a tip to toe care formula. The product can be used as a shampoo and a body wash as well.
  • Unlike other natural tear free shampoos, this shampoo provides a rich creamy lather to amplify your hair wash experience.


The pump is not up to the mark and requires more effort than usual to pump out a little amount of shampoo.

4. Fresh Monster Kids Shampoo and conditioner 2-in-1

Fresh Monster Kids Shampoo has a multi-tasking formula that makes hair clean, shiny and soft at the same time.

The shampoo has plant-based ingredients and is 100% toxin-free. This makes sure that it won’t irritate the eyes or cause skin allergies.

The formula is dermatologically tested to be safe for all skin types, including sensitive skin. It has no harmful ingredients like sulfates, parabens, dyes or phthalates. The product is also gluten and synthetic fragrance-free.

Like all premium no tear shampoos, this shampoo also contains natural botanicals and fruit extracts. You are going to love the natural fruity and fun fragrance of this hair care product.


  • Fresh Monster Kids Shampoo is toxin free and hypoallergenic.
  • The no tear shampoo meets the standards set by names like Whole Foods, PETA and The Environmental Working Group. Hence, it can be assured that the product is totally safe.


  • The shampoo cleanses well but you may still need a separate conditioner to condition and detangle thick or curly hair types.

5. Johnson’s Head-To-Toe Gentle Baby Body Wash & Shampoo

Johnson’s Head-To-Toe Baby Wash & Shampoo uses a special tear-free formula to maintain the natural pH of your skin and give you a happy shampoo session.

The shampoo and baby wash is pediatrician-approved and safe to be used by your baby and the whole family.

The shampoo is pH balanced to ensure its safety to the eyes and doesn’t sting. It works as a gentle cleanser to clean delicate and sensitive skin. The shampoo is safe to be used for babies as well as adults who have skin allergies or a sensitive scalp.

The hair care product not only lacks harmful chemicals like sulfates, parabens, dyes, phthalates but it also lacks harsh fragrances to give you a safe experience.


  • Johnson’s Head-To-Toe no tear shampoo contains 90% natural ingredients and cleans 99.9% of germs.
  • It is hypoallergenic and cruelty-free


  • The shampoo itself is great but has some issues with packaging. The pump of the shampoo bottle doesn’t provide much product in one go and is prone to breakage. You have to pump it out several times to get a considerable amount of product.

Comparison of above listed tear-free shampoos

 SheaMoisture Mango & Carrot Kids Extra Nourishing ShampooMustela Gentle ShampooBaby Dove Rich Moisture  Baby Wash and ShampooFresh Monster Kids Shampoo and Conditioner 2 in 1Johnson’s Head-To-Toe Gentle Baby Body Wash & Shampoo  
Key ingredientsMango Butter, Coconut Oil, Carrot Oil, Olive Oil, Shea ButterChamomile extract, Avocado PerseoseIt says 100% of the ingredients are natural. Though, no names are mentioned.Fruit ExtractsIt says 90% of the ingredients are natural. Though, no names are mentioned.
Non-toxicNo sulfates, parabens, phthalates, or mineral oil.No sulfates, parabens, phthalates, or mineral oil.No sulfates, parabens, phthalates, or mineral oil.No sulfates, parabens, phthalates, or mineral oil.No sulfates, parabens, phthalates, or mineral oil.
FragranceNon synthetic strong natural fragranceMild fragranceNatural Chamomile fragranceNon synthetic fruity fragrance (watermelon)Mild natural fragrance
Main featureDetangles curls and enhances curl definition. Also suits other hair types.Suitable for toddlers, adults and even newbornsMoisturizes skin and hair with it’s gentle pH neutral formulaMakes detangling hair and knots easier while cleaning and hydratingAs gentle as water on eyes
LatherMinimal latherDoesn’t lather muchRich creamy latherLathers wellGentle lather

Final words:

The gentle formula and natural ingredients make tear-free shampoos a perfect choice for getting clean and healthy hair. Try these shampoos and experience how these change your healthy hair game.

Experience the transformation of dull and damaged to the fresh and shiny mane. Also, have a great time using this shampoo with your little one who loves to have a bubble bath! Finally, you can have a happy bath without shedding tears.