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If you want to stop washing your hair everyday but can’t imagine walking around with your hair feeling gross and unclean, it’s time to give dry shampoo a try. This product is the perfect hair pick-me-up for those in-between wash days. Just spray it on, let it sit, then brush it out and — voilà — your hair is good to go for at least another 24 hours. Not to mention, you save a ton of time by not shampooing and restyling your hair every single day.
What is dry shampoo and how does it work?
Dry shampoo is typically a fast-drying aerosol powder used to refresh your hair between wash days. A few spritzes to your scalp can give you up to two additional days between washes.
“The dry powder encapsulates the oil, surrounds it, and makes it easier to brush out of the scalp without triggering the glands attached to your hair follicles to produce more oil,” explains Julian Contreras, a San Francisco-based hairstylist and colorist at Patrick Evans Salon.
When you spray on the dry shampoo, the powder is an alcohol or starch base, which makes it easier to brush out once you’ve allowed the dry shampoo to settle in. Many dry shampoos contain fragrances, too, to leave your hair smelling as refreshed as it looks. But remember: Dry shampoo has its limitations.
Top Dry Shampoos of 2022
- Best Overall: R+Co Death Valley Dry Shampoo
- Best for Color-Treated Hair: Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo
- Best Dry Shampoo for Oily Hair: Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo
- Best Drugstore Dry Shampoo: Dove Invisible Dry Shampoo
- Best Dry Shampoo for Brunettes: Kristin Ess Style Reviving Brunette Dry Shampoo
- Best Dry Shampoo for Fine Hair: Batiste Instant Hair Refresh Original Dry Shampoo
- Most Affordable Dry Shampoo: Tresemmé Volumizing Dry Shampoo
- Best Smelling Dry Shampoo: Sexy Hair Big Sexy Hair Dry Shampoo
- Best Dry Shampoo for Dry Scalp: Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk
- Best Dry Shampoo for Blonde Hair: Pureology Refresh & Go Dry Shampoo
- Best Natural Dry Shampoo: Playa Pure Dry Shampoo
- Best Dry Shampoo for All Hair Types: Kérastase Fresh Affair Dry Shampoo
- Best Pro Pick: Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Tapioca Dry Shampoo
- Best Dry Shampoo for Dark Hair: Moroccanoil Dry Shampoo Dark Tones
- Best Vegan Dry Shampoo: Vegamour Gro Dry Shampoo
How to use dry shampoo
Basically, dry shampoo is a solid second or third day alternative. “It’s not meant to replace shampoo,” says Jennifer Korab, founder of Renaissance Salon & Spa in New Jersey. “It is to be used as a refresh or to extend your style.”
If your scalp feels fine and your hair looks fine, then additional products are unnecessary. However, if your scalp is looking oily or you worked up a sweat during a workout, dry shampoo is a lifesaver.
“I would recommend using dry shampoo one or two times a week,” says Starr Mason, field education leader at Hair Cuttery. “But no more than two days in a row. The hair and scalp need moisture, so you don’t want to replace your normal shampooing regimen exclusively with a dry shampoo.”
Still, those extra days could be a lifesaver for your hair. Washing your hair every single day is too drying for the scalp and rinses away much-needed oils. In fact, it’s best to not wash your hair daily, even if you regularly exercise.
To apply dry shampoo, start by sectioning your hair into 4-6 sections, then spray the dry shampoo directly onto your scalp with the can at least six inches away. Using your fingertips, massage the product in and let it sit for at least 30 seconds.
Once the product is set, brush the product out with a high-quality hairbrush that can effectively detangle your hair and gently exfoliate your scalp. If you work out daily, use dry shampoo on your scalp before and after you exercise to help maintain your hair’s freshness.
If you have curly hair that’s thin or fine and you like flexi rod sets, using one of the best dry shampoos can work wonders. “Once the hair dries, and they take the rods out and start opening up the curls, spray on a bit of dry shampoo,” says Felicia Leatherwood, natural hair stylist and founder of Brush with the Best. “It will make it fuller at the base and give more volume to the curly sets.” When you do wash your hair, try a thickening shampoo so the hair already has a volumized base.
And while it may be tempting to spray dry shampoo all over, resist the urge. It’s not meant to be used as a texturizing or holding spray.
What to look for in the best dry shampoo
When you’re looking for a dry shampoo, think of it the way you’d think of your skin care routine. If your skin is extra dry at the moment, you’re probably going to need products with lots of hydration. The same concept applies to dry shampoo.
Some of the factors you want to keep in mind include:
- Scalp: Consider what your scalp needs the most. If your hair is oily, select a dry shampoo with more powder so it can bind to the excess oil and brush away easily. The same goes for those with dry scalps — some dry shampoos are formulated with more oil and other hydrating ingredients, and those are what you want to reach for. Before you purchase a new dry shampoo, take a moment to check in with your scalp. If it’s behaving the same way it was when you bought your last dry shampoo, feel free to repurchase the same product if you liked how it worked. If you’re interested in trying something different, pick out a product that will address the scalp concerns you’re dealing with right now.
- Hair Color: Not all dry shampoos are created equally, and that’s not a bad thing. With the product’s rising popularity, more variations are available depending on your hair color. “For dark hair, I really love Dove invisible dry shampoo,” says Los Angeles-based hairstylist Clariss Rubenstein. “There’s no risk of white residue, and it completely absorbs with no work. There are so many dry shampoos now — the label tells you what you need to know and usually gives you some direction.”
- Fragrance: Many dry shampoos are formulated with fragrance to mimic the freshly washed hair experience. No one wants to go two days without shampooing and smell like it. But if you don’t like scented products or you’re sensitive to fragrance, look for an unscented or lightly scented dry shampoo.
- Texture: Bad dry shampoo reviews tend to come from people who aren’t fans of the texture. The best way to figure out if you like a texture is to try the dry shampoo for yourself. You can also ask your stylist if they have any recommendations.
Below, check out the 15 best dry shampoos for every hair type to add to your spring hair care shopping list.
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R+Co Death Valley Dry Shampoo
Oily hair requires a formula that volumizes and adds texture. “R+Co Death Valley Dry Shampoo is my favorite dry shampoo of all time,” Contreras says. “It’s sulfate-free, paraben-free, and sodium chloride-free, which means it can be used with any texture, any color, and any type of hair. It’s free of most of the chemicals that cause buildup, create damage on the hair, or make your hair color fade.”
Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo
Best Dry Shampoo for Color-Treated Hair
Leatherwood calls this dry shampoo from Living Proof one of her favorites, in large part because it works for color and chemically treated hair. “A lot of times, dry shampoo can be heavy or cakey on the hair,” she says. “Living Proof keeps the hair light and in a way that I can still manipulate and style it, and it still absorbs the oil in the hair, which helps me get more volume out of it.” She also adds that it’s great for all hair textures.
Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo
Best Dry Shampoo for Oily Hair
Oribe’s dry shampoo is ideal for oily hair. It has a light texture, so you don’t lose volume at the scalp. “Because of the oils it has, it nourishes the scalp and cleanses it at the same time,” says Contreras. “Oribe has a signature scent that was made in collaboration with Tom Ford, so it has a significant scent that’s amazing and very recognizable.”
Dove Care Between Washes Dry Shampoo
Best Drugstore Dry Shampoo
No greasiness or streaky white residue here. This option from Dove is available in a 5 oz. bottle and more than 500 reviewers swear by this good-smelling dry shampoo that lasts for up to two days. “It has a clean fresh scent and it’s great for absorbing impurities,” Rubenstein says. “You can use as much as you want without any risk of a white powdery appearance.”
Kristin Ess Style Reviving Brunette Dry Shampoo
Best for Brunettes
Because it uses a tinted formula to add richness to hair, this dry shampoo from Kristin Ess is best suited for oily-scalped brunettes. One of the best elements about this dry shampoo is the bottle’s design. It dispenses a lot of powder, which is necessary if you’re extra oily. Use a light touch on your first go-round and adjust as needed, but be careful though because it may stain.
Batiste Instant Hair Refresh Original Dry Shampoo
Best Dry Shampoo for Fine Hair
Batiste is a classic, well-loved dry shampoo for a reason. This option serves up a quick fix for greasy-looking hair. The texture is cloud-like, the original fragrance is nice, and the texture isn’t too powdery. If you have fine hair that tends to appear oily quickly, then this will be a good investment for you. At less than $10 a bottle, it’s super budget-friendly to stock up when you run out.
Tresemmé Volumizing Dry Shampoo
Most Affordable Option
According to the pros, this affordable dry shampoo from Tresemmé is an absolute steal and works just as effectively as the pricier options. It barely leaves a residue and helps boost volume. However, this option doesn’t work as well on oilier scalps, so someone with a combination or dry scalp will see the best results. Also, if you’re scent-averse, skip out on this one, but if you like a good fragrance, this will be a new fave.
Sexy Hair Big Sexy Hair Dry Shampoo
Best Smelling Dry Shampoo
If you want a dry shampoo with an irresistible fragrance, then you need this one from Sexy Hair. Use it on any hair color for visible, volume-enhancing results. For this dry shampoo, it’s best to let it sit for a few minutes before brushing. Some reviewers say that the texture is a little sticky, so skip this one if that’s a texture turn-off for you. Sadly, the container is one of the smallest on this list at just over 3 oz.
Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk
Best Dry Shampoo for Dry Scalp
Since it’s alcohol-free, the nearly 12 oz Klorane dry shampoo with oat milk is a dream if you have a dry scalp. Filled with nourishing, gentle ingredients with sensitive scalps, will love this formula’s soothing feeling and still offers all the texture and volume you need. The ultra-fine powders seamlessly blend onto the scalp without leaving visible residue.
Pureology Refresh & Go Dry Shampoo
Best Dry Shampoo for Blonde Hair
Pureology’s Refresh & Go dry shampoo helps limp hair restore movement while removing impurities without the drying effect. This lightweight, rice starch-based formula is 100% vegan, works well for color-treated hair and even adds volume and shine. It offers a floral blend of tuberose, almond milk, and cedarwood for fragrance.
Playa Pure Dry Shampoo
Best Natural Dry Shampoo
Playa’s lightweight formula and sweet scent make this a best-selling dry shampoo. “It has a wonderful light rose scent, comes in a 7 oz bottle, and truly absorbs oil,” Rubenstein says. “As someone who tends to be on the oily side, I am in constant search for a shampoo that refreshes hair without leaving a chalky residue. Playa does exactly that.”
Kérastase Fresh Affair Dry Shampoo
Best for All Hair Types
This dry shampoo from Kérastase can reliably absorb excess oil on the scalp and hair. “It’s lightweight to the touch,” Korab says. “The best way to use this product is to hold 10-12 inches away from your hair, focusing on the roots and scalp. I find it’s best to thoroughly brush through and restyle with the blow dryer. I also love to use dry shampoo after a fresh blowout to extend the blow dry and delay oil buildup.” And even better, it provides a 24-hour long-lasting Neroli oil scented fragrance.
Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Tapioca Dry Shampoo
The Not Your Mother’s dry shampoos are a pro pick. They come in a variety of fragrances, leave little to no residue, and are especially helpful for oily hair. Not to mention, the bottle is a whopping 7 oz. This particular product has a fairly strong smell, so if you’re not into fragrance, keep that in mind.
Moroccanoil Dry Shampoo Dark Tones
Best Dry Shampoo for Dark Hair
Do you have dark and/or textured hair? Then Moroccanoil’s dry shampoo was made for you, as it easily absorbs grease while adding volume with ingredients like rice starch and argan oil. The formula specifically designed for dark hair makes black and brown tones have a richer look, and the tinted powdery pigments are so fine, you can’t see them on the hair. This brand also has a formula for light-colored hair that performs just as well.
Vegamour GRO Dry Shampoo
Best Vegan Dry Shampoo
Searching for a vegan dry shampoo? Vegamour’s dry shampoo is a great pick. It features a fresh bergamot scent and uses organic rice starch to soak up grime. It’s one of Leatherwood’s go-tos because the super effective formula leaves hair feeling clean, so you’re able to style hair with ease.
Is Dry Shampoo Bad for Your Hair?
Bottom line:? No, dry shampoo isn’t bad for your hair. The fine print, though, is that you need to use it correctly. Don’t freestyle. Follow the instructions on the product packaging.
You also need to wash your hair after no more than two days of dry shampoo use. If you don’t thoroughly rinse off your scalp, the dry shampoo can harm your hair follicles and inhibit hair growth. Washing provides much-needed moisture to keep your hair and scalp healthy and strong.
“Make sure you’re using nourishing products in and after the shower,” says Rubenstein. “I liken it to makeup. Powder may give a temporary drying effect on the skin, but if you have a good skincare routine, you should be good.”
The effects dry shampoo can have on your scalp are important to keep in mind when you’re applying the product, too. “When I spray it on, I pat some of it out so it won’t be too heavy on the hair follicle,” Leatherwood says. “It can make it difficult for your hair to grow.”