What Is Dry Shampoo And How Does It Work?

By Marisa Ramiccio. May 7th 2016

Before heading off to work, you like to wake up early and take a quick jog around the block to wake yourself up. The problem is, this time, you’ve overslept. You figure 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: dry shampoo.

What Is Dry Shampoo?

Dry shampoo is a powder-like shampoo that can be sprinkled into hair and does not need to be washed out with water. Although it has gained in popularity in recent years, the concept of a dry shampoo has been around for centuries. In parts of Asia, people used to wash their hair by sprinkling clay in it, and French women have used powder to color their hair in the 18th century.

These days, dry shampoo is simply used for cleaning the hair and is available as both a powder and an aerosol spray.

[Related – How Often Should You Wash Your Hair?]

How Does Dry Shampoo Work?

With a regular, wet shampoo, the usual routine is lather, rinse, repeat. But, with dry shampoo there is no lathering or rinsing. Instead, there’s sprinkling or spraying, depending on the type of dry shampoo you’re using. Here are the steps for using a powder shampoo:

  1. Lightly sprinkle the shampoo onto your scalp.
  2. Massage the shampoo into your scalp.
  3. Let the shampoo seep in for a few minutes so it can absorb the oil and debris on your scalp.
  4. Brush your hair thoroughly and then style your hair.

If you’d rather use a spray shampoo, here are the steps for how to use it:

  1. Shake the shampoo bottle well.
  2. Lightly spray your scalp, holding the can six to eight inches away from your scalp.
  3. Let the shampoo seep in for a few minutes so it can absorb the oil on your scalp.
  4. Brush your hair thoroughly and set your style.

It may take a few tries to get it right, but after you’ve used dry shampoo a few times, you should be able to use it like a pro.

When Is The Best Time To Use Dry Shampoo?

Dry shampoo shouldn’t be used for everyday washing. Rather, it should be used during those times when washing your hair with water isn’t really an option. Here are some examples of when to use it:

  • After a trip to the gym
  • While on vacation or camping
  • While on a camping trip
  • After getting your hair done
  • If you plan on going out after work
  • If you’re in a time crunch

Dry shampoo is perfect to use when you’re in a hurry or are on the go. But it shouldn’t be used all of the time and there are a few reasons why.

Pros And Cons Of Dry Shampoo

Although dry shampoo has gained in popularity due to its convenience, easy use and portability, it has some cons, as well. While some people like the fact that dry shampoo doesn’t strip the hair of its natural oils, others say that it makes their hair too greasy. This, of course, depends on how much oil your sebaceous glands secrete and how often you use dry shampoo.

However, some beauty experts claim that dry shampoo does not clean your hair as well as wet shampoo, causing oil droplets to form on the hair. They also claim that it can chemically change the way that your scalp secretes oil, which makes it difficult for the hair’s natural oils to be distributed evenly throughout the hair.

Dry shampoos can also have an aesthetic disadvantage. Some sprays may leave white streaks in your hair while some powders may not be absorb properly, leaving behind tiny flakes in your hair that may look like dandruff.

[Related – What Causes Dandruff?]

Tips For Using Dry Shampoo

Some hair stylists and beauty experts have certain recommendations when it comes to dry shampoo. Here are a few of them:

  • If you have fine hair that’s easily damaged, you may want to alternate the use of wet shampoo with dry shampoo to prevent further damage.
  • If you feel your hair needs a touch-up during the day, use some dry shampoo to bring it back to life. Just spray some dry shampoo around your head, let it sit for a minute and then brush it out and re-style.
  • If your hair is looking a little bit greasy, use some dry shampoo to dry it up. Just sprinkle some powder on the greasy areas, blot it and brush your hair.

The bottom line is that dry shampoo is a convenient product that saves time and can be used virtually anywhere. However, it does have some negatives, namely the fact that it doesn’t clean your hair as well as wet shampoo and it can change the way your scalp secretes oil. For those reasons, it’s important to use dry shampoo only when you need it and not on a daily basis.


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