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Is $20 Baby Shampoo Worth It?

It used to be that Johnson's (JNJ) was the standard baby skin-care brand, and any idea of luxury for infants meant using the line's lavender-scented products.

However, in an age of $1,000 strollers and $175 outfits newborns, upscale skin care is the latest decadence for children, and parents can choose from numerous new brands to lavish their tots with.

The catch, of course, is that these fancy lines such as Love Me Baby Me and Noodle & Boo are significantly pricier than good old Johnson's, and may leave parents wondering why their kids need $20 shampoo and body lotion.

After all, $20 stretches a lot further when it comes to the familiar baby bath names. Wal-Mart (WMT), for example, sells a Johnson's nine-product gift set for $19.95, which has full size bath and body goodies, including 9-ounce bottles of lotion and body wash.

On the other end of the spectrum, an 8-ounce bottle of shampoo from Love Me Baby Me, a California-based brand launched in 2007, is $19.95.

Behind the high cost is the claim that these products are far healthier for babies than their drugstore counterparts and are more suitable for their delicate skin.

Noodle & Boo, for example, has only hypoallergenic products -- which means they should cause fewer allergic reactions than standard lines. Many of the other brands are more expensive because of their natural ingredients and because of what they don't have, especially certain chemicals.

Burt's Bees Baby Bee line, California Baby, Nature's Organics and Love Me Baby Me, for instance, are all paraben-free. Recent studies have indicated that parabens may cause cancer, which led even some of the most budget-conscious parents to spend on the more expensive paraben-free names.

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