What Is Dry Shampoo, and How Does It Work?

Medically Reviewed by Carolin Schneider, MD

Photo Courtesy: NicolasMcComber/E+/Getty Images

Before heading off to work, you like to wake up early and take a quick jog around the block to wake yourself up. But this morning, you’ve overslept. You try to figure out if you can still get that jog in, but by the time you get back to the house, you have no time to wash your hair. You can’t go to work with sweaty workout hair — so what do you do? The answer: Use dry shampoo.

Dry shampoo is a powder-like hair product that you can sprinkle into your hair to absorb the oil and leave your scalp (and tresses) looking and feeling fresh. You don’t need to wash it out with water after you apply it, either. Although it has gained popularity in recent years, the concept of dry shampoo has been around for centuries. In parts of Asia, people used to wash their hair by sprinkling clay in it, and French people have used powder to color their hair since the 18th century.

These days, you can use dry shampoo for cleaning your hair, and it’s available as both a powder and an aerosol spray. But there are a few important things to know about this hair product before you head to the local drugstore and stock up.