What Does Dry Shampoo Do? (And How to Use It the Right Way)

BY Jamie Snow · September 15, 2017

If you’re anything like me, you wash your hair on Saturday for brunch with your friends, have second-day hair for Sunday Funday or running around doing errands, and when it comes to Monday morning you just don’t have the energy to wash it again. Washing your hair not only takes time, but it takes effort. Of course it’s nice to have freshly washed hair—but, real talk, that’s not always realistic. This is where dry shampoo comes in!

For the days when you’re on the go and don’t have time to set aside for a fresh wash, dry shampoo becomes your best friend. Below, Denver-based hair and makeup artist, Carter Harris shares her expert tips for using this ultra-helpful styling product. 

Dermstore: What does dry shampoo do?

Carter Harris: The purpose of dry shampoo is to soak up the oil produced on your scalp, giving the illusion of freshly washed hair. While absorbing the excess oil, it also works as a texturizer, adding grit and volume to limp, dull hair.

DS: How should it be used?

CH: First, section your hair based on where your part is. Spray product directly to the roots, holding it about 10–12 inches away. Make sure to spray on the root and not just on top of the head, or the product won’t be able to work its way through the oil. One of the most important steps is to wait 30–60 seconds after spraying to rub it in. Once you’ve waited, give your scalp a nice massage to distribute the product evenly, also giving hair more volume and texture.

DS: How often should dry shampoo be used?

CH: Hair should only be washed every three to four days to keep it healthy, so dry shampoo should be used in between those wash days. Many people think that they only need to use it a couple of days after they’ve washed, but if you wait too long it may be hard to soak up all the oil. If you wash your hair in the morning, spritz the dry shampoo before going to bed that night or the next morning to keep the oil at bay.

DS: What kind should I use?

CH: The two most common forms of dry shampoo are aerosol and powder. Aerosol form comes in a spray can (like a hairspray) that makes it easy to distribute and not clumpy. Aerosol is best fit for coarse, dark and curly hair since you don’t need as much grit originally and it won’t come out as a white powder. Powder form is best fit for thin, light and straight hair since it will add more volume and blends well into lighter strands.

Top-Rated Dry Shampoo 

Finding the dry shampoo for your hair type may take time—there are many products to choose from, making the search even harder. When you’re not too sure where to start, the reviews section is an ideal reference to use. These dry shampoos are among Dermstore shoppers’ top-rated favorites.

1. Rene Furterer – Naturia Dry Shampoo

Why We Love It: Rene Furterer’s Naturia Dry Shampoo cleanses without water to refresh and revitalize oily strands. With argilla powder as one of the main ingredients, this product will absorb beautifully into your scalp and blend without leftover residue. The essential oils create a two-in-one dry shampoo and hair perfume so you’ll radiate a clean scent all day.

Reviews Say: “This dry shampoo gives incredible volume to the roots between washing & is not visible even in dark hair. The best dry shampoo I ever used!!!”

2. One Love Organics – Healthy Locks Dry Shampoo Powder

Why We Love It: Skip the shower with One Love Organics’ Healthy Locks Dry Shampoo Powder! With an organic blend of Georgia kaolin clay, this dry shampoo helps strengthen hair, while leaving locks soft and scalp unharmed of irritation. Sprinkle onto your hands or apply directly to roots to absorb oil.

Reviews Say: “I have tried many dry shampoos and this one actually works on my fine, straight hair! I have never been able to skip a day of washing my hair without it looking awful, and I’m happy to say that I’ve even skipped 2 with this product! And it has nontoxic ingredients which makes it even better! I am also very sensitive to smells and this one has a lovely, light scent. I started with the small size to see if I liked it and I just purchased the full size. This is a product that I won’t be running out of!”

3. Oscar Blandi – Pronto Dry Shampoo Spray

Why We Love It: A crowd favorite, Oscar Blandi’s Pronto Dry Shampoo Spray removes excess oil while fighting against product buildup. With starches, vitamin E and wheat proteins, this product will absorb oil without causing hair to lose its volume. The lightweight mist smells mostly of lemon verbena with a hint of sweet floral.

Reviews Say: “A light spray/powder; coats hair in a mist of fine powder to absorb excess oil. Lightly scented with lemon verbena, so not too heavy to really be noticeable or clash with perfume.”

4. Klorane – Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk

Why We Love It: Klorane’s Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk is a customer favorite! The nourishing oat milk works to soothe and protect strands, making it safe to use for daily use. Formulated paraben and colorant free.

Reviews Say: “The hype is real; this really is the best dry shampoo. It makes my hair fluffy, soft, and texturized. I don’t have to bother shampooing in the shower as often. I love that it doesn’t smell too ‘chemically.’ Great product; I highly recommend.”


5. Briogeo – Scalp Revival Charcoal + Biotin Dry Shampoo

Why We Love It: Bring your limp hair back to life with Briogeo’s Scalp Revival Charcoal + Biotin Dry Shampoo! The binchotan charcoal will release impurities from the scalp, while the witch hazel extract helps hair become naturally less-oily after a few months of use.

Reviews Say: “I have been looking for a good dry shampoo that doesn’t contain all the bad stuff yet smells heavenly. I found this and this is a gem. The smell is so good! I apply the dry shampoo mostly around my bangs. The powder doesn’t leave white residue at all. It absorbs quickly and [leaves] my hair [feeling] clean.”


6. Batiste – Dry Shampoo

Why We Love It: Batiste’s Dry Shampoo leaves your hair feeling clean, fresh and weightless between washes. Refresh your hair with this quick fix, adding texture and body.

Reviews Say: “I absolutely love this dry shampoo! Definitely one of the best ones I’ve tried. Doesn’t leave your hair feeling oily and doesn’t leave a lot of residue. Makes your hair feel clean and soft, and adds a really nice and clean scent. I recommend this to everyone. And the price is great too. Can’t go wrong with this one.”

Jamie Snow

Jamie Snow is a Marketing Manager for an online editorial news company in Denver, CO. Weekdays are for work and pilates, Saturdays are for friends and adventures and Sundays are for church and the Broncos.
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