Lather, Rinse, Repeat or Not? Your Guide to Dry Shampoo

Wondering why you should add a dry shampoo to your beauty arsenal? We checked in with Monica Groark, esthetician in La Jolla, Calif., for tips on how to best use this beauty time-saver.

What’s dry shampoo all about?

If you want to reduce the amount of time spent washing and drying your hair, dry shampoo is here to help—it can help freshen your locks and remove excess oil produced by your scalp. Fine powders give a just-shampooed look in minutes, increase volume, reduce oily shine and eliminate any odors your hair might have absorbed. Even better, colored or highlighted hair lasts longer since regular shampoos and hard water can remove color and make it fade.

Besides saving time, dry shampoos are ideal for travel, camping or after a workout.

What’s in dry shampoo?

Dry shampoos are made with oil-absorbing botanical starches, like corn or rice starch and arrowroot powder. Natural essential oil fresheners, or even light conditioning agents, are added. The newest formulations of dry shampoo now include natural darkening agents (like cocoa powder), so those with darker hair can avoid showing white powdery residue on the scalp.

How do I use dry shampoo?

Technique counts when using dry shampoo: Monica recommends pure powder or aerosol versions (instead of paste formulations) so you can control the amount of product being used. “Dry shampoo aerosols should be applied in sections, 7-10 inches away your scalp, near the root of your hair,” she says. “Let the product absorb and dry before massaging into your scalp.”

If the product leaves your scalp wet, you’ve probably applied too much or applied too closely. She recommends spraying a couple spritzes to clean fingers (because fingers carry oils!) before massaging gently, she adds. For pure powder shampoo, “squeeze a small amount of powder into your (clean) hands and massage gently into the roots.” Then fluff and brush out to complete the process.

Ones to try

Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk cleans hair with rice starch and gently moisturizes with oat kernel oil, making it a good choice for those with dry or normal hair. This aerosol spray leaves a fine coat of powder on your roots that dries quickly. When it’s dry, massage the powder in and then brush it out. For darker hair, try Klorane Dry Shampoo in Natural Tint, which uses finely milled natural minerals as colorants.

Acure Dry Shampoo for All Hair Types is a pure powder shampoo that leaves hair smelling fresh thanks to the addition of peppermint and rosemary essential oils. Corn starch, arrowroot powder and kaolin clay absorb excess oils quickly and are kind to sensitive scalps. Acure Dry Shampoo for Brunette to Dark Hair is a good choice for darker locks, as this cocoa-colored powder cleans and freshens without leaving any white residue on your scalp or hair.

Remember, as easy as dry shampoos are, they aren’t a full-time replacement for traditional shampoos and conditioners. Your scalp and hair still need regular cleansing with traditional shampoo and conditioner to keep it healthy and happy!