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What is dry shampoo? Expert tips on how to use it to revive your style

By Megan Bedford

What is dry shampoo? Expert tips on how to use it to revive your style
Dry shampoo is a time and style-saving godsend in-between washes.

It’s fair to say the words ‘game-changing’, ‘iconic’ and ‘cult-favourite’ are bandied around a lot in the beauty world.

We’re passionate about great products, okay?!

But rarely do those labels apply with more relevance than when talking about dry shampoo.

The hair styling innovation that delivers a fresh head of hair without needing access to a shower, actually has origins much older than its recent popularity. However formulation updates have made those available now much more user-friendly and kind to our locks.

Dry shampoo offers a convenient, in-between wash solution for those on the go, while travelling, or just to extend the life of your style or blow-dry. It also adds a fresh, clean scent to your locks.

In the Elizabethan era, powders were used to cleanse away dirt from the scalp, given the lack of bathing opportunities. Minipoo Dry Shampoo was produced from the early 1940s through the late 1960s and became popular across the US, to cleanse hair and for those who could not wash their hair due to physical limitations.  In the 1970s brands such as Klorane and Batiste, still popular today, advertised their dry shampoo to prolong time between washes and keep trending hair styles looking good for longer.

What is dry shampoo?

Dry shampoo is a powdered form of the liquid product we commonly apply to wet hair. It’s intended to cleanse strands and help mop up and remove excess dirt and oil that commonly build up in hair and make it look greasy after a day or two, (or three) without washing.

It can also help revive some of the volume and bounce hair loses when oil starts to build up, causing hair to fall flat and look lifeless.

However, applying it takes a very different approach to our usual lather, rinse and repeat approach in the shower.

Most dry shampoos usually come in an aerosol spray bottle or can. They are typically created with a starch component that dispenses as a fine powder. Once applied, it soaks up oil and grease in your roots and strands. Because such fine particles are used, you don’t need to rinse away.

Other variations are available as a loose powder or a foam, applied and used in a similar way.

Top to try: Schwarzkopf Got2b Fresh It Up Volumizing Dry Shampoo; Batiste Blush Dry Shampoo; Joico Weekend Hair Dry Shampoo; Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo; Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo

How do you use dry shampoo?

To use dry shampoo, first shake the can or bottle to move the product around and make sure it is evenly distributed.

Then, spray the product into your roots and mid-lengths from around 20-30 centimeters away.

Use your fingers to briefly massage the powder into your hair.

After 30 seconds to a minute, use a brush to distribute product and style hair as normal.

While there are numerous approaches to get the most from your dry shampoo (see below), there are some things you shouldn’t do.

Never apply to hair that is wet or damp, the starch will go gluggy and won’t work as you wish.

In addition, don’t go thinking dry shampoo is a full-time substitute for a proper lathered-up cleanse with water, shampoo and conditioner. You’ll still need to wash your hair as usual eventually and too much use of dry shampoo can be drying , cause dandruff and strand breakage thanks to build-up of powder at your roots. This is when the use of a clarifying shampoo can help.

Tips to try

Remove the residue with a dryer

Stylist and Dyson ambassador Michael Beel suggests applying thoroughly at the roots of dry hair and then blasting it out with a hairdryer on cool setting. “Most people just rub it in but you need to get rid of the dirt and oil that the dry shampoo picks up, otherwise it’s not really doing the job you want it to do.”

Use targeted application

Gio Bargallo, colorist at Rita Hazan in New York City, says don’t spray dry shampoo all over your head. Instead stick to the top few centimeters. “Identify the parts of your hair that are oily [by] sectioning the hair to expose the scalp and roots,” says Bargallo.

Try a tinted version

Some dry shampoos can leave a white powder residue that can makes darker hair look grey and dull. If this is the case, try one of the tinted versions that match the colour of your locks.

Choose one for your hair type

“Normally, people with curlier hair need more moisture, while people with an oily scalp don’t,” according to celebrity stylist Chris Appleton. “Dry shampoos cater to specific hair types, [and] some dry shampoos come with other properties like volumising and texturising.”

Try it at night

If your hair is only a touch greasy, applying at night can give dry shampoo time to sink in. It can also give a touch more volume to hair the morning-after.

Try a loose powder for fine or short hair

“Powder dry shampoo is best for fine, thin hair, as well as lighter hair colors as it blends in well with the hair,” celebrity stylist Andrew Fitzsimons shared with Mane Addicts. “The products are often light so you may find yourself needing more than you thought. It’s a quick fix and powder dry shampoos will get you through the current day but they don’t last terribly long.”



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