Baby oil can be an excellent addition to your baby's routine, giving your baby's skin some loving care and hydration. Our review ranks this year's top 7 baby oils to help maintain that baby-soft skin. To determine the best, we've researched the market, purchased the most popular and promising contenders, and sent them through hands-on testing before ranking the competition. Since babies' skin can be sensitive and prone to skin conditions, we believe baby oil should use ingredients you feel good about, adequately absorb, leave skin feeling soft, and come in a handy bottle that is easy to grab and use. While evaluating and selecting our favorites, we kept these essential qualities and more in mind. We are confident there is a product in our review that works for your needs and budget.
Leaving skin hydrated and soft with only a few ingredients and a subtle scent is the Earth Mama Calendula Baby Oil. There's value in keeping it simple, right? We think so. The formula contains calendula-infused oil (grape seed and jojoba), and the calendula's scent is light and earthy. The oil absorbs well into the skin without leaving unwanted stickiness like some contenders, and the bottle's pump is quick and easy to use, a helpful feature when dealing with a squirmy baby. The packaging states it is free of petroleum, mineral oil, parabens, artificial fragrance, or nut oils.
Although we think the calendula scent is pleasant, we recognize that not everyone shares the same appreciation. However, it is subtle and light, not overpowering. So, if you're a fan of calendula, we recommend this product and think it is an excellent addition to your baby's routine for keeping dry skin at bay.
The California Baby Body Oil is one of our favorites and a "go-to" for baby massages. The packaging states it is free of gluten, oat, soy, dairy, nuts, petrochemical contaminants, and synthetics. It also uses cold-pressed vegan oils. We think the mild scent (a combination of lavender and clary sage) is soothing and relaxing, and the oil absorbs well yet provides enough time to massage it into your baby's skin.
As one of the most expensive products in our review, this product's price tag is a factor to consider. Also, according to California Baby's website, the formula contains French lavender and clary sage essential oils. Although these ingredients are likely in small concentrations, any essential oil increases the potential for skin irritations. Babies' skin may differ regarding sensitivities, so we suggest spot testing before marinating your little one. We recommend California Baby to families who don't mind a mild scent and seek an oil for massaging baby into sweet slumber.
Are you on a budget but don't want to compromise ingredients? The Honest Company Organic Body Oil may be a match. The formula contains nourishing ingredients like sunflower, coconut, olive, jojoba, avocado, and tamanu oil to lock in moisture and soften skin. The packaging states it is made without silicone, PEGs, mineral oil, fragrances, dyes, and parabens. We experienced no issues with its absorption, and the scent is mild and citrus-like, likely because it contains grapefruit peel oil. The pump is easy to use (a top we favor), and a little oil goes a long way.
We consider the product's fragrance to be moderate - slightly more potent than light, yet not too powerful like some contenders — a factor to consider if you are scent-sensitive. If not, we think this product is excellent, plus it offers quality ingredients at a budget-friendly price.
The Badger Calming Baby Oil stands out among the competition as the only contender to use 100% USDA Certified Organic ingredients. The bottle's pump top is easy to use, and the product absorbs well into thirsty skin, leaving it soft, smooth, and non-greasy. The formula uses cold-pressed oils (olive and jojoba), and the manufacturer claims it contains no chemicals, synthetics, parabens, or GMOs.
The bottle is glass, which may appeal to those who strive to avoid plastic, but glass is heavier than plastic and potentially less likely to survive a fall onto hard flooring. According to Badger's website, the Roman chamomile flower oil is obtained by steam distilling the white daisy-like flower to create an essential oil. In general, any essential oil can increase the possibility of skin irritations, so we suggest spot testing on your baby's skin before full body use. Also, we enjoy the mild and earthy scent but recognize that not everyone feels the same. Nonetheless, we recommend this oil to families who value its organic ingredients.
Featuring Burt's Bees' classic scent, the Burt's Bees Baby Oil performs well, leaving skin moisturized and silky. The formula contains apricot, grape, wheat germ, sunflower, and soybean oil, among other ingredients. The manufacturer claims it doesn't contain phthalates, parabens, petrolatum, or SLS.
Some users believe the Burt's Bees aroma is lovely, and although we think it smells nice too, it is strong, and we prefer products with less scent for babies. We don't mind that sweet baby smell. Also, the product lists "natural fragrance" as an ingredient and doesn't disclose this information. We value products with label transparency, even if it is their trademark scent or special recipe. However, if you enjoy the classic scent of Burt's Bees, this product might meet your needs and budget.
The Solimo Baby Oil boasts a low-price tag, large quantity, and a strong scent that reminds us of Johnson's and Johnson's trademark fragrance. It effectively traps moisture, and the formula's ingredient list is short, listing only mineral oil, aloe barbadensis leaf extract, fragrance, and vitamin E.
Unfortunately, the Solimo's performance was disappointing as the oil did not quickly absorb and left our testers' skin feeling greasy and slick for some time. The product also lists "fragrance" as an ingredient, and we prefer products with label transparency that disclose this information. Although the product's price tag and size make this option appealing, we think the scent is too strong for babies and believe you'll be happier with another product in our lineup.
The Johnson's Shea and Cocoa Butter Baby Oil features a tropical scent. This product contains mineral oil with shea and cocoa butter. It seals in moisture, softens skin, and comes in a large quantity that will likely last for a long time.
Although it creates a moisture barrier, this oil doesn't quickly absorb, leaving skin feeling greasy and slick. Also, we prefer to take a fragrance-free or light scent approach when selecting products for babies, and we believe this product's scent is too intense for most babies. We think you may enjoy a different baby oil if you feel the same. However, if you don't mind a product with fragrance, this one may be a match.
Tip: It is best to keep oils in a cool environment and away from direct sunlight to prevent them from going rancid and extending their shelf life.
Why You Should Trust Us
We purchased each product for hands-on testing, and to evaluate performance among the competition, the contenders experienced side-by-side comparisons. Also contributing to and influencing our overall ranking was feedback from testers who tested and applied the oils over an extended period.
The BabyGearLab Team has been testing baby products since 2012, and it is safe to say that we have become the baby gear experts. Leading this review is Molly Bradac, Senior Review Editor, professional Nanny, and Newborn Care Specialist with over 14 years of experience. Molly's expertise and knowledge of all things babies make her a pro at identifying top-notch products and offering recommendations.
Analysis and Test Results
With multiple baby oil products on the market, it's hard to know which options are best for you and your family. While hands-on testing, we evaluated important details, such as ingredients and bottle ease of use, to help you select.
Science shows that newborn skin anatomy is different than adults, mainly in function and structure (fun fact: it is thinner). It continues to change during the first year of life and tends to be more vulnerable than the skin of grown-ups. Therefore, the products you apply to your baby's delicate skin command attention. While evaluating the competition, we looked closely at ingredient labels and ranked products with worry-free ingredients and label transparency higher than those that don't offer transparency.
Influencing our evaluation are resources like the Environmental Working Group (EWG), which breaks down the health and safety of ingredients. We realize that some ingredients lack sufficient data, but we consider this source extensive and insightful. Also, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, manufacturers are not required to disclose "fragrance" ingredients and hidden behind this term could be hundreds of chemicals and complex mixtures. In our opinion, even the term natural fragrance leaves us with reservations as it lacks ingredient transparency, which can be misleading to consumers. Therefore, we prefer products with fewer ingredients and little to no fragrance. We think babies don't need fragrances to smell amazing, and less is more when it comes to products you put on your skin.
Our review doesn't include a fragrance-free option, but Earth Mama Calendula Baby Oil has a lighter scent. However, the Solimo Baby Oil, Johnson's Shea and Cocoa Butter Baby Oil, and Burt's Bees Baby Oil have stronger scents, resulting in ranking lower. Plus, they have ingredient labels that list "fragrance" or "natural fragrance," which means mystery chemicals are masked behind this one ingredient.
Some products in our lineup use flower oils and extracts, ingredients obtained through distillation, or soaking plant material in a substance for a long time. They provide a lovely aroma and are an alternative to synthetic fragrances. Although they are in a carrier oil, the amount is unclear, and it can increase the chance of skin sensitivities.
Regardless of which product you select, we advise discussing your selection and plan with your pediatrician before incorporating it into your baby's skincare routine. Also, test a small amount on your baby's skin to look for skin irritations before slathering.
Important: We are not medical professionals, and you should discuss products you hope to use on your little one with your pediatrician if you have questions or concerns. It is commonly recommended to avoid using adult formulation products with babies as they are not formulated for sensitive baby skin and can potentially increase the chance of skin irritations.
Bottle Ease of Use
Having an easy-to-use bottle can make a difference, especially when you have a wiggly baby or only one hand to operate them. This lineup includes various bottle tops. We prefer bottles with a pump top; they are quick and easy to use, and they pump an adequate amount of oil without the mess of holding a greasy bottle. Products that feature a pump include the Earth Mama Calendula Baby Oil, Badger Calming Baby Oil, and The Honest Company Organic Body Oil.
Disc top caps, seen on the Burt's Bees Baby Oil bottle, doesn't provide as much control and require some attention to avoid pouring too much. Also, the Solimo Baby Oil and Johnson's Shea and Cocoa Butter Baby Oil have child-safe twist tops that require you to push down and twist to open, a two-handed operation that can be challenging to do when hands are slick with oil.
If you've narrowed down the options and they perform fairly equally, consider how easy the bottle is to use to help in your decision-making.
Tip: Oil works best when the skin is wet to trap moisture for ultimate hydration, leaving it soft and moisturized. After bath time is a great time to apply, and the oil should absorb quickly with rubbing.
A Note on Infant Massage
Adding baby oil to your baby's routine naturally brings us to the topic of baby massage, which is highly beneficial. It can have a calming effect, increase your baby's sleep quality, and facilitate parent-child bonding. The power of touch is incredible, and if time allows, we suggest taking a few minutes to incorporate massage.
Babies' skin can be dry, and baby oil can be a fantastic way to hydrate and moisturize your baby's delicate skin. If you are ready to add oil to your baby's routine, we are confident our review will provide the necessary details to find a product that meets your needs and budget. While baby oil isn't for everyone, if it is for you, we think there is an option for you in our review.
BabyGearLab was founded by a Pediatrician Mom with a mission to provide a reliable, independent, source of information to new parents. Our experts have tested thousands of baby and kids products to share key performance, health, and safety findings. We spend tens of thousands of dollars crash testing car seats to inform our ratings. And, we combine our review work with gobs of expert parenting advice. To assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing by people who care.