How Does Dry Shampoo Work: See Why and How You Should Use It

In recent times, we have seen many hair care products come back bigger and better. And, dry shampoo is one of them. Many have tilted that way because of its easy-to-use application. But, what exactly is dry shampoo and how does it work?

Moving from wet goop to an aerosol can-administered hair care product cannot be all the hype there is to dry shampoo.

Dry shampoo is a type of shampoo, with powder or foam consistency, that cleans the hair without the use of lather and water.

There are so many questions about its effectiveness, who can use it, pros and cons, and how to use it. Therefore, I have put this article together to answer the questions you might have about this seemingly new hair miracle product.

What Is Dry Shampoo?

what is dry shampoo

Dry shampoo is an alcohol- or a starch-based hair care product that cuts down on grease, oil, and dirt in the hair without using water. And, this is where it got its name from. Just like wet shampoo does, dry shampoo work to effectively cleanse your scalp.

This hair care product is made of alcohol or starch corn or rice starch. It is compounded with active ingredients to absorb excess sebum that can cause buildup and even lead to frizz; which is every curly hair type nightmare.

Dry shampoo comes in an aerosol can for easy application. Hair experts agree that in certain cases, dry shampoo is your best bet. For instance, when you’re traveling, after the gym, or on days when you do not want to wet your hair, you can still always have a clean scalp.

Besides, most oil-based shampoos tend to strip your hair of its natural oils. Furthermore, water exposes your hair to dryness and frizz. So, think of this class of hair care products as a miracle to your frizz-prone hair.

Why Should I Use Dry Shampoo?

benefits of dry shampoo

A hair colorist, Gio Bargallo explained that the ingredient makeup of dry shampoos helps to absorb the oils to give a “grease-free appearance and feel” to your hair. That is to say, in between blowouts and a busy schedule, you can keep your hair squeaky clean.

Not to sell anything to you but here are some reasons why I think you should make dry shampoo a scalp cleansing alternative:

1. It effectively absorbs sebum

Dry shampoo was originally made to reduce hair greasiness and dirt when people didn’t always take a shower. Sebum is a natural scalp oil that nourishes the hair and keeps it soft. But, when secreted in excess, it could lead to a buildup that is bad for your hair growth.

It is true that wet shampoo perfectly cleanses your scalp. However, people with the type 3 & type 4 hair spectrum understand the drying effect of too frequent shampooing. After a day or two, the hair is back to being oily and grimy yet it mustn’t get too much water.

Therefore, alternating wet goop with dry shampoo helps you to get rid of excess sebum without always using water.  

SEE: Simple Hair Length Retention Tips to Keep That Length You Worked Hard For

2. Time-saving

On some days, the alarm is not enough to get you up early to prepare for work. And, you already made a mental note to wash your hair. Rather than putting it for another day, you can get your scalp cleaned by misting it with dry shampoo.

Moreover, it helps you save the 1-2 hours you slate for salon sessions during the weekends. With the easy-to-use application, you can always clean your hair unaided.

3. There is an assurance of healthy hair

Dry shampoo contains alcohol- or starch-based active ingredients that supply your hair with plant-based nutrients. These nutrients are essential for healthy and steady hair growth.

In addition, it doesn’t strip your hair of the natural oils that protect it from environmental and chemical damage. This benefit protects your scalp and hair from frizz, dryness, and breakage.

4. It reduces the use of heat tools

When you get hair wet, it takes a hairdryer to get the water out of it. On the other hand, the heat from this tool can damage the ends of your hair. The curls of the afro-textured hair need a lot of good loving and heat styling isn’t on the list.

In addition, as it alternates between wet shampooing, it buys you time to allow your hair to go heat-free. This also helps to protect your scalp from pressure.  

5. Dry shampoo preserves hair color

For as long as you want to wear that blonde or red hair, you may have to stay away from washing with wet shampoo and warm water. Since you do not need a rinse-off for dry shampoo to work effectively; you should adopt it into your colored hair care regimen.

6. A bonus hair volume

If you have fine or thin hair and you have been wondering what can help, you should give this hair care product a try. An extra work of the starch formulation in dry shampoo is to coat your hair strands and gives it more body and texture.

How does this happen? As dry shampoo absorbs the excess oil, it thickens and settles into your hair. Besides, it doesn’t weigh your hair down, so you can breathe.

SEE: Try These Tested and Trusted Ways to Increase Your Hair Volume

7. Dry shampoo prevents premature gray hairs

The chemicals from using so many hair care products make your hair prone to premature graying. Instead of burdening your hair with chemicals, dry shampoo in your hair care regimen reduces the chemicals and keeps your hair black and shiny.

It rather furnishes your hair with plant-based nutrients to foster healthy hair with lots of body and movement.

8. Convenient to carry around

No matter the volume content of an aerosol can, it’ll always be lighter than a can of liquid. You can easily carry your dry shampoo around either in a bag or suitcase. Whether you’re traveling or about to hit the gym, slip it into a bag to freshen your hair.  

How to Use Dry Shampoo

how to use

The correct use of dry shampoo begins with choosing the right formulation for your hair type and texture. Hairstylist Adriana Tesler says, “if you have fine hair and you use powder, it might feel heavy and weigh down your hair”.

She further added that a dry shampoo with powder consistency better suits thicker and oily hair. It absorbs the oil and doesn’t weigh your hair down. And, people with fine hair should rather use an aerosol dry shampoo.

Follow these steps to get the best results:

  • Start with shaking your bottle of shampoo
  • You should work in small sections to evenly distribute the product
  • Hold your bottle at a distance of at least 10 inches from your hair to avoid any buildup or residue that a close distance can cause
  • Then, apply/spray directly to the roots of your hair; a little at a time
  • Apply according to the degree of oiliness of your scalp and hair type; thick hair, more product; fine hair, less product
  • Most importantly, focus on the areas where you have more shine
  • When spraying, do not stick to one area, go back and forth for even distribution
  • Afterward, stop applying the product for some minutes and allow your hair bask in the benefits of dry shampoo
  • After waiting for at least 3 minutes, use your hands to gently massage it into your hair. This opens your scalp and hair to the active ingredients and oil zapping
  • Then, check for any residue on your hair. If any, use a comb or brush to distribute it or massage it in with your fingers

In addition, apply dry shampoo at night, just before bedtime. The advantage is, your skin secretes more oil at night when you sleep. So, the shampoo zaps the oil as it is produced.

Drawbacks of Dry Shampoo

Hair experts say while you’re enjoying the work of this hair product, it is possible to have too much dry shampoo. Consequently, the starch builds up on your hair and clogs your hair follicles. There are also so many things it can do to your hair. These include:

Dry shampoo is not a perfect cleaner

Vickie Vidov says “you need to remember that dry shampoo does not truly cleanse the hair, it is only absorbing the excess oils from the hair and scalp”. The cleansing effect that is lauded is how the product binds to sebum and absorbs it.

The refreshing feeling on your head can make you satisfied. Since, you do not get to scrub your hair as you would with wet shampoo and water, it cannot efficiently remove dirt.

It may expose your hair to damage

The aerosol dry shampoo contains alcohol which is not good for the hair. Alcohol strips the hair of moisture and leaves it dry. This dryness is bad for afro-textured hair and can lead to frizz, split ends, and breakage.

Formation of buildup that can clog hair follicles

Dry shampoo is used without water. That is to say, there’s a chance that you go weeks without washing your hair. When dry shampoo finishes with its work, it is possible that the oil it absorbed melts again into your hair.

This accumulation of oil and product is what clogs your hair follicles and makes you have an itchy scalp. Also, it exposes your hair to conditions like alopecia.

SEE: Grow and Shine Your Hair With Top-Rated Hair Serum

Talc allergy in some people

Powder dry shampoo contains talc, an absorbent. Talc contains asbestos, a carcinogenic material that causes inflammation of the lungs when inhaled. Also, on your outer skin, an intolerance of talc could manifest as itching and red scalp.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Is dry shampoo good for my hair?

Yes, it is. Dry shampoo work to absorb grease from your hair and make it clean and voluminous.

But, to get the best of dry shampoo, you need to get one with a formulation that works for your hair type, texture, and degree of greasiness. Furthermore, you shouldn’t go overboard with it. Otherwise, you may just ruin your hair.

2. Should I replace my wet shampoo with dry shampoo?

No, you shouldn’t. Dry shampoo is not considered an effective scalp and hair cleanser. It cannot perfectly scrub out grime and dirt as wet shampoo does.

Besides, washing your hair remains as essential as it has always been. Instead, fill in the no-wash days with dry shampoo if your hair feels greasy.

3. How can I remove dry shampoo from my hair?

When you notice dry shampoo residue on your hair, use a comb to evenly distribute it or massage it into your scalp with your fingers.

If you can still see any, use a blow dryer to diffuse the powder out of your hair. And, if it forms a buildup, wash your hair with a sulfate-free clarifying shampoo. A shampoo like this dissolves dirt and doesn’t strip your hair of its natural oils.

4. For how long should I use dry shampoo before wet shampoo?

As an alternating hair cleaning product, hair pros say you should not use dry shampoo for more than two days in a row before an actual wash.

Prolonged periods of not washing your hair can lead to scalp dandruff and clogged pores. And, these conditions are bad for hair growth.


Dry shampoo is back from the 1940s and better. It helps to absorb oil and grease from the hair, leaving it refreshed without the use of water. This hair care product contains active ingredients from plant-based nutrients that make for healthy hair.

However, it cannot be a replacement for wet shampoo. Dry shampoo is an alternative between washes that protects your hair and scalp from the drying effect of too frequent washing. Also, it is reliable for days when your busy schedule doesn’t give you the luxury of getting a wash.

Just like every beauty product that has ever gotten our attention, dry shampoo has its drawbacks. But, on a scale, it does not outweigh its benefits. So, it is totally harmless to incorporate it into your hair care regimen.

Thanks for reading.

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