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All hair textures — from straight to kinky-curly — can utilize dry shampoo to soak up oil, dirt and dandruff in between wash days or after exercising. It can also help extend blowouts and add texture to create “second-day hair,” which is helpful when you want to enhance beach waves.
Dry shampoo is available in two forms — spray and powder — and active ingredients vary from brand to brand but starch, clay and alcohol are relatively common, according to hair stylist Courtney Foster. For example, Acure dry shampoo contains cornstarch while L’Oréal has a dry shampoo that utilizes three types of clay.
Application is also simple — hold the spray can about 6 inches away from your head, spritz and then massage the dry shampoo onto your scalp. If you’re into powder dry shampoos, just sprinkle the product onto your scalp and massage it in to help blend the product into your hair and let it absorb excess grease.
Although dry shampoo is useful for touch-ups, it is not a substitute replacement for regular shampooing and conditioning, according to Foster. She recommended people use dry shampoo no more than three times a week to help prevent product buildup.
“Dry shampoo will help for a couple of days, but it will not fully remove the build up,” Foster said, explaining that shampoo removes dirt, debris and oil from the scalp and when skipped, the hair becomes dirty and smelly. “Dry shampoo will help for a couple of days, but it will not fully remove the build up,” she said. “If you use dry shampoo excessively, then it's not going to be effective.” Foster added that if hair follicles are “clean and clear,” the hair “can properly grow without obstruction.”
Overall, dry shampoo offers both functional benefits — it absorbs dirt and oil, plus minimizes the need to shampoo after exercise — and aesthetic ones.
5 best dry shampoos of 2021
If you’re looking to invest in your hair styling routine, brands like Living Proof, Moroccan Oil and Drybar are all discounted up to 20 percent off during the Sephora Spring sale event that wraps April 19. Ulta is also currently hosting its Spring Haul event where shoppers can save up to 30 percent off dry shampoos from Batiste, Matrix and Hask. You can also find dry shampoo at Shopping reader-favorite retailers like Amazon, Target and Walmart. Dermstore also carries a variety of dry shampoo brands like Klorane, Sachajuan and Alterna.
To help guide your dry shampoo shopping experience, we’ve compiled recommendations from Foster and some of the Shopping staff, ranging from a $5 spray to a powder designed for those with dark hair.
Batiste dry shampoo is Amazon’s No. 1 bestseller in its class and boasts a 4.6-star average rating from more than 14,400 reviews. Foster called Batiste her “all-time holy grail” dry shampoo because of the “very lightweight” and vegan formula that mists nicely onto her natural hair and absorbs grease. Shopping editorial intern Kala Herh added she has been using the Original formula for seven years because it doesn’t leave behind a dreaded white residue on her dark hair. The dry shampoo’s fragrance profile includes notes of lavender, musk and powder. Batiste’s dry shampoo is available in 23 variations like Pink Pineapple and Tropical, plus there are formulas created for various hair tones like Brilliant Blonde and Beautiful Brunette.
Foster has been using this aerosol dry shampoo for the past five years because it “immediately absorbs” grease in between wash days. She also highlighted the appealing amber scent and refreshing cooling sensation it leaves on her scalp. Dove’s dry shampoo is the most affordable pick on this list and it comes in 13 variations like Fresh & Floral Dry Shampoo and Fresh Coconut Dry Shampoo. It earned a 4.3-star average rating from more than 3,600 reviews on Target.
Foster also recommended this dry shampoo because it doesn’t deposit a “strong spray cloud of whiteness” to her textured hair. Instead, it uses finely grained rice starch to absorb moisture from the scalp while sea buckthorn berry nourishes the hair. The New York-based hair stylist noted amika’s dry shampoo has a light amber scent. It boasts a 4.6-star average rating from more than 5,800 reviews on Amazon.
Shopping reporter Ambar Pardilla is a fan of Billie’s dry shampoo because the cocoa brown powder blends in with her dark hair and creates noticeable volume. (Billie also makes a formula for those with lighter hair.) “With other dry shampoos, I’ve had to forcefully blend in the product after a spritz to make sure I didn’t have white spots all over my hair (or on my clothes),” she said. In contrast, Pardilla needs one to three shakes of Floof dry shampoo to style her hair “just right” and hasn’t dealt with fallout from the powder.
In between wash days, Shopping editor Morgan Greenwald likes to spritz this dry shampoo designed for curly hair types onto her scalp. After 30 seconds of letting the dry shampoo soak up any sweat from her gym sessions, Greenwald will massage the raw silk powder into her ringlets. Ouidad’s dry shampoo is infused with a blend of mongongo and rosehip seed oils, which together help condition her hair and scalp. It received a 4.4-star average rating from more than 60 reviews on Ulta.