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  • Writer's pictureLynn

The "right" way to use dry shampoo

Updated: Dec 31, 2022

Whether you have fine hair, thick hair, light hair or dark hair, I would bet money that you've tried to perfect the art of using dry shampoo. Or at the very least you've bought a bottle in hopes that it would be the answer to all your prayers. But have you mastered it yet?

It's one of those things that, in theory, would just make getting ready every morning so much easier. But why does it seem to be one of those things that just works better on some people and not others?

The Basics

Let's start with the basics. What even is dry shampoo? Dry shampoo is a water free option for "washing" your hair. Also known as the easiest way to refresh your hair without taking a shower.

Dry shampoo is most effective for hair that naturally holds a lot of oil. If you find that even a quick workout session or by the end of the day you are looking oily, dry shampoo might come in handy for a quick fix. Dry shampoo works for most people by absorbing oils and hiding dirt or grease between washes. But contrary to its name, it’s not a replacement for washing your hair.

Continue to wash your hair as often as you need to, and don’t use dry shampoo on your scalp for more than two consecutive days. Hair that gets greasy quickly still needs to be washed often to cleanse your scalp and prevent blocked pores, resulting in painful pimples or a rash.

What's going wrong

It's common to misuse dry shampoo. You can put too much in or spray it too close to your roots and end up with giant white patches in your hair or on your scalp. You can spray it too far down the hair shaft, drying out the hair and causing damage. Or you wait too many days to start using it and then you don't get the results you wanted from it and you waste a $20 bottle of dry shampoo in one go.

How to use it

First you need to determine what kind of hair you have and what you want the dry shampoo to do for you. What I mean by this is are you just trying to do a quick refresh on medium to thick hair? (my suggestion is probably an aerosol option) Or are you trying to prevent your hair from getting weighed down and greasy in the first place? The latter is most common for those with fine hair. (in which case you could go with aerosol or powder)

Think about it this way... what I tell my clients at the salon is

Dry shampoo is a forethought. Not an afterthought. You want to prevent and preserve your style not treat it or fix it.

Best Practices

- Aerosol spray - make sure you are spraying a minimum of 6 inches away. But some sprays are better 8-10 inches away. You also want to make sure that you're directing it at the hair and the roots, but not directly at the scalp.

- Powder - if you're concerned about putting the powder directly on the root from the bottle then you should place it into a small bowl and use a large powder makeup brush to apply it on the hair and root. Powder also tends to work best when it's worked vigorously into the hair after it's been applied. Either by a brush or with a brush and a blow dryer.

- Foam - if you have curly or wavy hair then you already know that brushing through your curls once they are dry is a big no-no. So a powder or a spray is pretty much off the table for you because of how they need to be worked in to be most effective. Yet while curly hair is naturally dehydrated you can still get oily at the root and scalp area. So the best option here is to use a foam in which you can apply it directly onto the hair and you don't have to worry about working it into your dry locks and causing crazy frizz.

Tips and tricks

  • Work in sections by pulling up hair and spraying the powder evenly at the roots. Try to avoid your scalp and aim instead for the hair.

  • Always let dry shampoo dry for at least 2-3 minutes. Let it do it's job!

  • Especially for fine hair, apply dry shampoo on freshly cleaned hair out of the shower. Then as you're blow drying put the dry shampoo in when the hair is about 90-95% dry

  • Always work the product through with a brush, comb or your fingers. For best results blow dry the product through for a more even distribution

  • If you didn't apply it at the blow dry then apply it at the end of your day before bed to prevent the oils from building so you're prepped for next day. This is letting the product work smarter and not harder.

In January of 2020 I did a whole Instagram story on using dry shampoo (because a friend was asking how to look her best for a holiday/new years party)

So if you want to see this all in action I would recommend you head over to the link below and check it out!

My favorite dry shampoos

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning that at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.

Drug store

  • Batiste spray : This is my OG first love. It's what got me to start using dry shampoo. There are a ton of scents and colors and you can get it at so many places. It's super convenient. Plus it usually retails around $10

  • Batiste foam : for those of you lucky ladies with curly or wavy hair, this is the foam version I was mentioning as an option above.

  • Garnier Pure Clean Dry Shampoo : this is your choice if you have exceptionally oily hair. It's price and it's efficacy is quite a winner especially at $7

Professional :

  • Verb : I can personally vouch for this can of magic! It is what I use on my own hair any time I need a quick fix to look acceptable. Plus one of the best things about this dry shampoo is it comes in many options. Light, Dark, and Loose Powder. It generally retails for about $18

  • Amika : after I discovered to wonder of dry shampoo (in batiste) this was the first time I leveled up my game. Amika is light and easy to use and the scent is clean and refreshing. Even though it is the most expensive of all the options here, it is definitely worth the $25

I hope this helps you in making your mornings go a little easier when it comes to faking a fresh blow out!

I'd love to know your thoughts in the comments if this helped or if you've tried any of the tips.

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