The honest truth about Johnson’s Baby: Myths & Facts

I’m feeling all sorts of emotions writing this; anxious, nervous but the most part I’m feeling excited and proud!

I’m excited for you to know and understand what I now know and to join me on this journey as I discover and learn more about the well-known baby brand Johnson’s Baby.

To cut to the chase, this year I’m a Johnson’s Baby Brand Ambassador.

Johnson’s Baby has been in my family, and Ayman’s family actually, for decades; we were washed and bathed in it just like our children.


At this point, I should probably tackle a particular issue… in recent years I know the brand has been under scrutiny and had a lot of controversy surrounding it and because of that, this wasn’t a decision I took lightly.

My biggest principle as a blogger is that I only collaborate and work with brands that I 100% believe in, would legitimately use and genuinely love. To put my name to something means that I have to really care for the product and would recommend it wholeheartedly.

With this in mind, if I’m being brutally honest here, I actually stopped using Johnson’s Baby products last year after reading online that their products could harm my babies. I know – sounds a bit mad that a renowned baby brand could be unsafe for babies. I’ll explain. This mistrust stemmed from posts I saw from other bloggers on social media tagging Johnson’s and sharing all sorts of contrived stories and I guess I was taken in.

I feel annoyed at myself that I did just that. I read something, typed what they said into Google and it came up with that story so it must have been true. I didn’t analyse the source, consider any possible agenda, or do any real digging. I was too taken aback by the outlandish statement claiming that ‘Johnson & Johnson finally admits: Our baby-products contain cancer-causing ingredient Formaldehyde’.

I didn’t do my research properly though and took information at face value without knowing the full facts and for that and knowing what I know now, I vow not to make the same mistake again.

Going back to that news story – that was what was flying around in my head when I received the email from Johnson’s saying they’d love me to be one of their brand ambassadors this year. How could I say yes when even I didn’t believe in the brand anymore and had stopped buying it?

Let me just tell you it took countless emails back and forth, phone calls and even a London meeting where I – along with a room full of other bloggers – probed question after question on these haunting stories and sought answers from one of the leading chemists behind the brand, Dr David Mays who’s role at Johnson’s is Senior Director, Global Scientific Engagement. I honestly didn’t hold back; I basically interrogated Dr Mays as I wanted to know first-hand what the brand had to say about all these allegations.

If you’re reading this and have never heard a bad word about Johnson’s Baby, then that’s great and you’re probably wondering what I’m babbling about. Now you’ve read one of the accusations, I think it’s only right you get to find out what Johnson’s actually have to say about that particular claim… apologies in advance, it may get a bit geeky but you can’t fluff up technical terms can you.

First of all, Dr David Mays – one of the scientists behind the brand – said:

“Formaldehyde is a carcinogen, in a gas form. *A carcinogen is a substance capable of causing cancer in living tissue.* When formaldehyde’s in a liquid form, it’s not the same type of chemical.”

“There’s preservative systems … that release tiny, tiny amounts of formaldehyde in the liquid of the product when it comes in contact with bacteria or fungus; they’re not formaldehyde.”

“Do baby products contain formaldehyde? No? We knew that mums & dads were asking about those ingredients. Do we believe that they’re safe? Yes. Are they in our products? No.”

Ok you can breathe again…

In a nutshell, Johnson’s Baby DO NOT put formaldehyde in their products and never have done. To also put this into more context and the way that the media can totally swing someone’s thinking… did you know that there’s more formaldehyde in an apple? It’s actually in quite a lot of fruits, vegetables, meats and fish, seriously you just need to Google it to find out for yourself, it’s a naturally occurring preservative and without it, things would become riddled with germs and bacteria. Which would you rather?

Can you imagine if the media spammed that across newspapers and websites… the next thing the world would go crazy over food we’ve eaten for thousands of years yet it’s completely safe.

I think where the link has happened between Johnson’s and formaldehyde is because Johnson’s USED to use Quaternium-15 MANY YEARS AGO. This can be chemically named as a formaldehyde donor because it ‘can’ produce formaldehyde if it becomes in contact with certain bacteria and fungus. If this did ever happen, it is STILL NOT carcinogenic AT ALL as it is not in a gas form.


Why do cosmetic products need preservatives in them?

This never occurred to me until I was enlightened at the meeting but I was also left feeling kind of horrified too when I thought of other brands I’d been using that claimed to be 100% natural and organic.

A lot of the time you keep all your baby wash, shower wash, shampoos etc in the shower or next to the bath. Sometime bottles fall in the bath, they get sprayed with water, your kids might play with them and the products without intention become contaminated with water. The moment this happens bacteria starts to form and if there aren’t any preservatives in the products then these can grow out of control and can cause a lot of harm and irritation to you and your baby. It’s essential that products whether for babies or adults contain some sort of preservative to ensure its safety and ongoing use.

Here are a few other concerns that I’ve heard about Johnson’s and want to try and touch upon quickly:


Johnson’s products are full of toxic chemicals, to name a few that haven’t already been mentioned; parabens, phthalates, MIT.

The facts:

Johnson’s do not put any of these chemicals in their products. In the words of Johnson & Johnson: ‘Safety is our number one priority and we want parents to have full peace of mind. Our products are specially formulated to meet the special needs of babies’ skin and thoroughly assessed to make sure they’re safe, mild and gentle for use on babies’.

‘Every ingredient in our products is rigorously reviewed by scientific experts before being selected. Our final formulations are then tested and reviewed to ensure they are both safe and work effectively. Once our products are in store we continually monitor consumers’ experiences, as well as the latest scientific research’.

Please go and read all the facts about their ingredients HERE I also urge you to use this website INCI labeling to put all the ingredients that Johnson’s Baby put in their products and do the same for the current products you’re using if it’s a different brand – then come up with your own conclusions. I’ve learnt that there are a few names for different ingredients and some ‘sound’ more natural when they’re actually not and those can actually be more harmful and irritable on your baby’s skin.


They test on animals

The facts:

Johnson & Johnson do not test their cosmetics on animals anywhere in the world.

Unfortunately though to sell in a few other countries including China it is a legal requirement for everything to be tested on animals before it is sold in that country so their government take it upon themselves to test the products on animals. Johnson’s take these issues very seriously and are actively involved in developing alternative testing methods that do not involve the use of animals and continue to work with regulatory authorities in order for these alternative testing methods to be validated and accepted.



Johnson’s Baby Powder causes ovarian cancer

The facts:

Every ingredient that is in their talc as well as all their other products go through quality standards to ensure that each and every ingredient in the product is ‘fully evaluated by scientific and medical experts to ensure they are safe to use’.

Johnson’s have never paid a single penny to those that have claimed to be rewarded with monetary compensation as the allegations aren’t backed by professionals in that field i.e. other scientists and medics who understand the ingredients. See here



Johnson’s baby products are fragranced which is harmful to babies

The facts:

We all know about our five sensory organs; touch, sight, taste, smell and sound. To help babies develop at optimum levels particularly in their first two years of life it’s really important that each of these senses are explored as much as possible. It helps their brain make more connections on a physiological and psychological level.

Understanding this, it’s amazing to know that Johnson’s Baby products help your baby’s brain develop purely from having fun in the bath or whilst having a baby massage before bed. This is why from day one Johnson & Johnson pride themselves on their deliciously scented baby products. All ingredients to make it smell so good are thoroughly tested and 100% safe.


Johnson’s baby products aren’t natural and full of chemicals


Taken from Johnson’s website, ‘At Johnson’s, over 90% of the ingredients in their washes, lotions and shampoos are of natural origin’ but they still ensure to put them through all their safety checks because natural ingredients aren’t always safe to use in their natural form. The other 10% of ingredients are necessary ingredients, such as preservatives, that have specific benefits. Please read these interesting facts for more details


In concluding this I really hope this hasn’t been a boring read for you and if anything it’s made you understand more of what Johnson’s Baby is all about.

After coming away from my meeting with them in February, I knew I had to take on this role to be an ambassador for them.

I not only feel proud to be working with them this year but determined to help educate others who are – or were – like me.

Johnson’s Baby are pioneers in providing so much medical and scientific research for all those other baby cosmetic brands out there and it’s honestly awful how their reputation has been damaged because of people who don’t understand the science behind ingredients. Let’s just think about it for a moment – what brand would want to harm a baby? It’s practically the biggest insult you can make towards a brand and I know it’s devastating for them that some people believe this to be true.

I know this post has been a bit heavy but I really wanted to try and lay everything on the table and get the facts right. Everything I’ve written in this post has been fact-checked by the scientists and people behind Johnson & Johnson to ensure that it’s accurate information.

I also wanted to mention that this isn’t a plea for everyone to use Johnson’s on their children as I think it’s really important that every parent confidently finds the perfect products for them and I respect that we all have different preferences :).

I’m excited to show you the more fun, light-hearted and sentimental side of using Johnson’s Baby next time and hope that you continue to stay with me on this exciting journey.

Thanks so much if you’ve made it this far and if by any chance you have further questions on any other matters or on topics I’ve mentioned above then please do feel free to leave me a message below.


Before I go a huge thank you to my friend Christina from Fish2Photography for helping me with some of the photos in this post :).

Have a lovely week!

Love Sally


I’m proud to say this post was kindly sponsored by Johnson’s Baby. As ever, all thoughts and opinions are my own. I only blog about brands, products and services that I truly connect with, would genuinely use, and would legitimately recommend to others.



  1. April 26, 2018 / 8:30 pm

    Really really interesting Sally. I must admit, I was advised against using Johnsons by the health visitor team…I’d been given some bottles and never found using it to be a problem, but the health visitors said that it coukd be a little harsh on some babies’ skin. Again, I never had a priblem with it. I was also advised against using the talc as it can ‘fester’ in places (HV team again) but when my eldest had a very sore neck (the crease just never got any air to it!) and no cream would work, my mum encouraged me to use some Johnsons talc and it cleared it up quick smart. So I’m very greatful to them. Boy they have had a bad rap though. Definitely a blog post that has made me think xxx

  2. April 26, 2018 / 9:13 pm

    Brilliant darling! Well written and well informed! It’s so silly that we all jump on a bandwagon, almost like if it’s written somewhere, it must be true…but anyone can write anything! It’s lovely that you now feel confident to use and work with a brand that you’ve always really loved. A great post well done honey! Xxx

    April 26, 2018 / 9:36 pm

    Ah thanks darling, it took a long time to write but hopefully worth it if it helps people understand a little more as I was honestly clueless before this! Thanks so much for you comment xxx

    April 26, 2018 / 9:42 pm

    Thanks for your message sweetie, this is so interesting that they said that to you! If you don’t mind I’m going to raise this with the Johnson’s team and see what they say. I’m glad this post has made you think though as I feel so happy and confident using Johnson’s now after finding out about what all the ingredients are used for and how carefully tested everything is. Also I love the fact that the talc helped clear it up finally. xxx

  5. Lauren
    April 26, 2018 / 10:59 pm

    What a great read sally, love all the scientific information, I think it’s great that you’ve really done your research and cleared up all the crazy stories that circulate! Gosh there’s so many out there, I must mention though because I too was advised against using this product from my HV saying it was too harsh on babies skin?! Anyway enjoyed every word you can tell how passionate you are about the brand!! loved it x

  6. Kate
    April 27, 2018 / 4:07 pm

    Such a great read and cleared up so much of the negativity around Johnson products, thank you! I admittedly also stopped using them believing that they were harmful so changed products even though id had no problems – sadly I still wont buy them as I don’t believe in animal testing, not that Johnson and Johnson test directly themselves, however as the product is sold somewhere where animals are tested on, it goes against my thoughts and feelings. BUT I’m so glad you’ve written this and clears up all myths about cancer causing ingredients etc ♡

  7. May 1, 2018 / 4:00 pm

    having recently had a baby i too read the horrific things about johnsons.
    The thing that concerns me is whenever I used to spill something on the carpet from nail polish to red wine Johnson baby wipes always got it out which was a god send. However it then made me think what the hell are they putting in it that would do that and do i want to be wiping my babies bum with that. Still deliberating!
    elle x

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

11 − one =


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.