Cradle cap can be extremely big pain — unless you have the right products to remove it without any drama
Cradle cap is a super common occurrence in babies during their first year — and it’s harmless as well. But seeing crusty scales on your sweet kid’s head is tough and the flakey yellow or white patches can sometimes be large, red and itchy.
The bummer is that the scales can be hard to remove (and you shouldn’t pick at them with your fingers), but the good news is that there are a number of products you can buy — both new and time-tested — that can help you remove cradle cap from your baby’s skin gently and easily.
We’ve rounded up the best cradle cap shampoos, brushes, and combs for your baby, keeping both quality, ease of use and price in mind. Pick what looks like might work for you, and start coddling that baby of yours!
We only include products that have been independently selected by Scary Mommy’s editorial team. However, we may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.
This three-in-one solution for cradle cap removal doesn’t come with a cradle cap shampoo, but the reviews are all raves with subject lines like, “Take my money!” Why does it work? We love the three-step system that starts with a super soft sponge that you can use with the shampoo of your choice, followed by a soft brush that helps break up and loosen cradle cap scales. Finally, the comb comes in to play, and you should see what comes off your baby’s head — it’s satisfying like those pimple popper videos. Knowing that over 70 percent of new parents are going to deal with cradle cap, this is a thoughtful baby shower gift as well, especially for people who you think have everything already.
If you’re looking to pair your FridaBaby brush and comb set with something else, we recommend the scalp spray and scalp mask by the same company. The scalp mask is used before the brush and comb to soften the cradle cap scales before removal while the scalp spray is used after brushing and combing in order to soothe and moisturize baby’s head after the scrubbing. We love that both products are hypoallergenic and dermatologist tested — and it’s less oily than a lot of other related products.
For daily or regular use, we love this bundle of shampoo and conditioner from Mustela. Made with hypoallergenic and mostly natural ingredients, including avocado, the shampoo works at gently dislodging cradle cap scales from your baby’s head, while the cream locks moisture in to prevent and reduce cradle cap in the future. The company recommends that you use the shampoo at night, leave in the cream while the baby sleeps, and then rinse it in the morning — creating a sustainable cradle cap routine.
We love how durable, simple, and affordable Safety 1st products are, and this cradle cap comb and brush combo is a great example. At $4.99, the price is hard to beat, and the comb and brush are perfect to pair with the best cradle shampoos that you can find. We recommend using the brush first, to loosen the scales, followed by the comb, which pulls the scales out of the hair. And it’s all-in-one, so you’ll never lose one (at least without losing the other, too).
We love the fresh peppermint smell of this serum, which is sulfates, free of gluten, parabens, and phthalate. We also love that it has everything you need to fight cradle cap inside of it, including a serum, which you massage into your baby’s scalp and leave for 10 minutes, and a two-sided comb, which you use to comb out the detached scales. The highly-rated cradle cap shampoo and comb duo was founded by two moms and registered nurses, and we’re not surprised.
If you hate looking at a long list of ingredients on your baby products but love natural solutions to problems, this might be the cradle cap oil for you. It’s pure coconut oil with no added chemicals — a known salve and skin-saver for centuries. This can be used with great effect in combination with a cradle cap brush and/or comb and is great for families with sensitive skin. Unlike a lot of other products on this list, it’s also multi-purpose — you can also use it to fight dry skin, baby acne, and other skin issues, and it both on both you and baby.
Dr. Eddie’s Happy Cappy Medicated Shampoo and Body Wash bundle is a great choice for parents who are looking for a pediatrician-developed solution that has an active ingredient know to help skin issues related to cradle cap. Happy Cappy contains pyrithione zinc, the active ingredient in dandruff shampoos, and a safe and reliable over-the-counter way to fight flaky skin on the head. What it doesn’t contain is skin irritants like fragrance, dye, alcohol, phthalates, sulphates, and parabens.
A soothing blend of coconut oil, jojoba oil, and organic calendula make this salve a lovely natural way to fight redness, itching, and irritation, not just with cradle cap, but also with a host of other skin issues common in babies and young children. We love the lower price point than many similar products as well as the easy-open, no-mess container. We also love that it can be used for a number of things besides cradle cap — and that it’s vegan and hypoallergenic. Don’t look for fragrance, dye, phthalates, sulphates, or parabens here.