Image of a lady with dark long hair spraying dry shampoo into her roots.

Apr 11, 2024

We love third-day hair and its oomph-worthy volume, but is dry shampoo as bad as they say it is? 

Ah, the glory of dry shampoo—a saving grace for those busy mornings, a savior when time and energy seem scarce, and a trusty companion in our quest for fresh, voluminous locks after sweat-soaked gym seshes. But lurking beneath its handy convenience lies a question that often haunts the minds of hair enthusiasts everywhere—is dry shampoo truly a friend, or should this love affair come to an end?

The world of haircare is HUGE, and whilst there are plenty of products to give a go, there is one that comes out on top every time. We can’t put it down, so we think it’s time we look into this controversial topic and see if the experts really are right. While dry shampoo has earned its stripes as a go-to solution for banishing greasy roots and extending the lifespan of our hairstyles, whispers of its potential harm have stirred uncertainty among this dry shampoo fan club. Does dry shampoo damage your hair? We certainly hope not. 

Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about our hair-refreshing friend and unravel the mysteries surrounding dry shampoo. From disproving common misconceptions to unveiling best practices, let's get dry shampoo’s rep back—it’s what it deserves, after all.

What is dry shampoo?

Like we need to be telling you guys, but we’ll explain anyway. Dry shampoo has revolutionized the way we approach hair care, offering an easy solution to refreshing our locks between washes. It typically comes in the form of aerosol sprays, powders, or foams and is designed to absorb excess oil and buildup from the scalp, leaving hair looking and feeling refreshed without the need for water (we’re looking at your lazy morning girlies). Its popularity stems from its ability to extend the time between those hair wash days, making it a lifesaver for busy working girls or those just generally wanting to minimize any heat styling on their hair. 

In summary, dry shampoo is a revolution in a bottle that turns your hair from drab to fab in one spritz of an aerosol—it’s like magic. 


The rise in popularity

Believe it or not, dry shampoo has been around since the 15th Century, and though we aren’t quite using clay in our hair as they did in Asia—we’re always looking for a shortcut to refreshed hair. In recent years, dry shampoo has soared in popularity, probably down to all the new products, and the benefits that they are selling. The product is now becoming a staple in many households and part of a work bag beauty arsenal. 


Its convenience factor cannot be overlooked, as it provides an instant pick-me-up for limp, oily hair, making it ideal for hectic mornings or post-gym touch-ups. The rise of dry shampoo has also been fueled by its versatility, with various formulations catering to different hair types and concerns, from volumizing formulas for fine hair to color-specific options for brunettes and blondes. We may have grown up on the country’s favorite Batiste dry shampoo, but we’re adults now, and we’re looking for bigger and better products that won’t break the bank (or our hair). 

The debate—is dry shampoo bad for your hair?

Despite its widespread use and undeniably unmeasurable benefits, dry shampoo has been at the center of a heated debate regarding its long-term effects on hair health. While some praise its ability to extend the time between washes and add volume to flat, fine hair, others express concerns about its potential impact on scalp health and overall hair condition. Some argue that constant use of dry shampoo can lead to product buildup, clogged hair follicles, and scalp irritation, potentially triggering issues such as dandruff or even hair loss.

When used excessively or incorrectly (spraying half an inch close to the hair), dry shampoo can cause all of those risks relating to your hair health. One of the most common issues associated with frequent dry shampoo use is product buildup. Over time, residual powder or starch particles can accumulate on the scalp and hair strands, leading to clogged follicles and reduced hair growth. This buildup may also create an ideal environment for bacteria and fungi to thrive, potentially causing scalp infections, folliculitis, seborrheic dermatitis, and even hair thinning or loss. No, thank you! 

Along with all of those worrying issues, regular use of dry shampoo can also disrupt the scalp's natural oil production, leading to dryness, itchiness, or flakiness. This can create a scary cycle where the scalp becomes increasingly reliant on the dry shampoo to absorb excess oil, making the issue 10 times worse. 

This can also relate to the abrasive nature of some dry shampoo formulations that may cause physical irritation or inflammation, particularly in individuals with sensitive or compromised scalp conditions—which is why we’re explaining the ingredients to look out for.

BUT don’t be put off, all of this is without the proper care of your scalp, and washing it incorrectly. So before you throw away your trusty sprays, hear us out first. 


Understanding the ingredients of dry shampoo 

One of the primary factors influencing the safety of dry shampoo is its ingredient list. 


To assess the potential risks associated with dry shampoo, let’s scrutinize its ingredients and their effects on hair and scalp health. Common ingredients found in dry shampoo formulations include talc, starches, and alcohol, which work together to absorb oil and refresh the hair. However, some formulations may contain harsh chemicals or fragrances that can strip the scalp of its natural oils and disrupt its delicate balance, leading to dryness, itchiness, or inflammation—which is exactly NOT what we’re aiming for. Nothing is worse than having an LBD moment and getting dry flakes falling on your shoulders.

While these ingredients are generally considered safe for occasional use, prolonged exposure to certain chemicals may lead to scalp irritation or dryness. Any dry shampoo that contains alcohol can dry out the hair shaft, causing the strands to stick together. Sadly, hair that sticks together falls out far more and in larger quantities than that of healthy hair. We really can’t win, can we?

Expert Insights into dry shampoo 

To shed light on this contentious issue, we turn to hair care professionals and dermatologists for their expert opinions on the matter. According to renowned experts, the kicker lies in moderation and proper usage. They recommend using dry shampoo sparingly and alternating it with traditional washing methods to prevent product buildup and maintain scalp health. Experts also advise choosing dry shampoo formulations free of harsh chemicals or fragrances and thoroughly cleansing the scalp and hair regularly to remove any accumulated residue.


How to use dry shampoo safely 

To enjoy the benefits that we all know and love of dry shampoo, while minimizing potential risks, consider adding the following tips to your hair care routine:

  • Limit the use of dry shampoo to no more than a few times per week. I.e. Wash your hair every 2-3 days, and use it in between. 
  • Choose dry shampoo formulations that are free of harsh chemicals, fragrances, and potential allergens.
  • Apply dry shampoo evenly to the roots and oily areas of the scalp, holding the canister at least six inches away for even coverage. 
  • Allow the product to absorb oil for a few minutes before massaging and brushing it through the hair to remove any residue. Doing it too soon runs the risk of applying more product and burning the strands. 
  • Incorporate regular cleansing into your hair care routine using a gentle shampoo to remove product buildup and maintain scalp health. Make sure to always wash your hair twice with shampoo, followed by conditioner. Washing it twice removes product build up, and cleans the strands from root to tip.

Our favorite dry shampoos 

We can’t be hair care specialists who LOVE dry shampoo without giving you some of our cult favorites. Here are our top three products that you should buy, that are guaranteed to keep your tresses safe—as long as you look after your hair.

  1. Philip Kingsley One More Day—it’s not just a dry shampoo, but a scalp care product too. Talk about an overachiever? It soothes and cleans your scalp, whilst keeping your locks going even on day 3. It’s a winner! 
  2. Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo—this wonderful product uses technology to remove the powders from the formula, making it gentle on the scalp. It’s oleophobic too, which for us regular folk that don’t know what that means—it repels dirt and oil. We love. 
  3. Dry Shampoo Light Tones Moroccanoil®—Moroccanoil Dry Shampoo Light Tones contains ultra-fine rice starch that absorbs oil, buildup, and odor, leaving hair instantly cleansed and refreshed. UV-protecting, argan oil-infused formula comes in two different shades, so when it comes to dry shampoo, this one’s personal. 

Dry shampoo is bad for your hair—wrong.

It’s a myth! Dry shampoo is perfectly safe to use, and we couldn’t be happier. That’s only if you do it correctly, and never substitute it for regular hair wash days. It’s a styling aid on purpose and needs to be washed out to protect your hair and keep it in prime condition. 

While dry shampoo can be a convenient tool for extending the time between washes and refreshing your hair on the go, it's essential to use it responsibly and mindfully. By understanding the potential risks associated with dry shampoo and adopting healthy usage practices—you can continue with it as your MVP. 

But just like you wouldn’t wear your foundation for three days straight, you shouldn’t with your dry shampoo either. Get this simple rule right, and you’ll be ready to spray the day away without worry.