The Best Dry Shampoo!


Give your hair that just-washed look — no matter how long it's been!

What We Learned While Researching Dry Shampoo

Several members of our team had used dry shampoo previously and had positive experiences. But there were also a few skeptics who felt like all dry shampoos were essentially the same and that they would not work effectively.
After researching and testing the best products, we found that there is definitely a difference among the top options, and most importantly, that there are several dry shampoos that can work wonders. We also found a few alternatives to dry shampoo that the budget-conscious DIYer might want to test out.

There’s a difference between aerosol and powder.

Dry shampoo comes in one of two forms: spray or loose powder. The powder can be shaken directly onto the hands and worked through hair, while the sprays are typically aerosol-based products that are spritzed into the hair’s roots.
The experts we spoke with were divided on which delivery method was best. “I don’t recommend the powder ones for anyone,” says Jacquelyn Walent, senior stylist at DevaChan Salon in New York City, “because they dull the hair and dry out the hair and the scalp. The majority of them out there are really dehydrating.”
But Amy Schiappa, owner of New York’s two Fringe Salons, says she believes there’s a time and a place (and a hair texture) for powders. “Powder can be great for fine hair,” she says. “I use one that has a little bit of clay in it, and it gives fine hair texture. But someone with super-thick hair might want to use a spray.”
When using a powder dry shampoo, be sure to apply it correctly. “I always rub it onto my hands first,” says Schiappa. “You cover your whole hand, then rub your hands together. Then, work your hands up underneath the hair at the back of the hair, and then put it right into your hair’s part and your bangs, if you have them.”

We ask a lot of our dry shampoo — it should work well with as few chemicals as possible.

In meeting these criteria, a good dry shampoo should be simple to apply (and not messy). If it’s an aerosol, it should also dry quickly and leave hair manageable and clean-looking. A high-quality dry shampoo shouldn’t give hair a white, powdery look or cause irritation or dryness. A dry shampoo is even better when it’s reasonably priced and easy to find in stores or online.
Many of us also want a dry shampoo that’s free of chemicals like parabens or hair-drying sulfates. Walent advised us to avoid talc, too, which has been proven to cause tumors in laboratory studies. “You want the least amount of chemicals possible,” she says. “You want something where you can recognize the majority of the ingredients. Personally, if I can’t recognize something, I don’t want to ingest it or put it on my body. Our skin is super-absorbent, and once we absorb a product into our skin, it’s going into our bloodstream.”

Despite their perks, dry shampoos have limitations.

Dry shampoos are unbelievably handy, but they’re not a long-term substitute for actual shampoo. Both the stylists we spoke with cautioned against using the products too many days in a row, as dry shampoo builds up on hair and a sticky or gummy residue can develop that can weigh it down, negating any volumizing effects.
And, of course, there’s the matter of these oil-absorbing products being, well, drying. “I don’t think it’s meant to be used as a regular thing, as an alternative to avoiding flushing through the hair often enough,” says Walent. “It’s not something to replace a cleanser; it’s just something to benefit a lifestyle that’s on-the-go.”

There are DIY options for the thrifty and patient.

Plenty of easy-to-find products can be used as makeshift dry shampoo: baking soda, baby powder, arrowroot powder, cornstarch, and even cocoa powder for darker hair. These DIY options are usually a lot cheaper, but they can be pretty messy and, in our experience, they’re less effective than the formulas you can buy.

Take Action

  • Stop washing your hair so often: Even with the best shampoos and conditioners, washing everyday damages your hair. While dry shampoo shouldn’t replace cleansing altogether, it does give you a few more days between washes, which will help keep your hair healthy.
  • Test a couple products: The great thing about dry shampoo is that there are several effective products that are reasonably priced. Testing out both an aerosol and powder option likely won’t break the bank, and will give you a better chance of finding a product that really works for your hair.

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