By now, you probably know that washing your hair every single day is somewhat less than ideal, since rinsing away dirt and grime also results in rinsing away beneficial oils that keep hair supple and healthy. Besides being undesirable from a hair-health standpoint, washing each and every time your hair feels a bit gnarly is sometimes just plain inconvenient. For those in-between times, a dry shampoo may be the answer.
Shake It On, Brush It Out
A “dry shampoo” is really just an oil-absorbing powder that, when applied to hair, can soak up excess grease and dirt without necessitating getting the hair wet. The user sprinkles or sprays the powder onto her scalp, works the powder in for a minute or so until it can absorb some of that oil, and then brushes the excess away, leaving cleaner, fresher hair. Although they’ve existed since the ’70s, dry shampoos have gained popularity in recent years for being an easy, low-maintenance way to extend the time between washings.
They’re not just great for giving hair a break between shampoos, though—they’re also good choices for times when a shampoo simply isn’t practical. A quick brush of dry shampoo can refresh hair after a workout, saving time in the locker room. It can also replace shampooing in between blowouts, keeping that “just-styled” look a bit longer. Because the powder tends to lighten hair a bit, women who color their hair blond have found that using dry shampoo is a great way to camouflage dark roots, enabling them to go longer between coloring appointments at the salon. Dry shampoo can also be a good pick-me-up after a long flight, between work and an evening date, or for anyone who finds that her hair gets a little stringy or limp by the end of the day. Because it adds fullness and texture to hair, it’s even great to use as a styling product, especially to help updos stay in place.
Although it can be used to combat a multitude of hair emergencies, dry shampoo unfortunately can’t be used on a multitude of different hair types. Since it has to be brushed out very thoroughly, it’s not great for curly or coarse hair, and since the powder needs oil to cling to, it doesn’t always have the same effects on hair that’s extremely dry. Also, it tends to leave behind a slight residue, so women with dark hair should choose a dry shampoo specifically for brunettes, to avoid making their roots look dingy or gray. A dry shampoo (or a homemade approximation, such as cornmeal, baby powder, or talcum powder) can’t completely replace a real cleansing rinse, of course, but it’s great for getting out of a follicular tight spot.
Three to Try
Bumble and bumble hair powder comes in shades, so it’s perfect for those with dark hair. ($35, Bumbleandbumble.com)
Frederic Fekkai’s Au Naturel Dry Shampoo contains 95 percent natural ingredients and is formulated to neutralize odor. ($23, Fekkai.com)
Batiste Original Dry Shampoo has a pleasant lemony scent and is a great low-priced option for those who aren’t sure whether dry shampoo will be a good fit. ($7.99, Ulta.com)