Many people use dry shampoo to extend the life of their hair between washings.
Dry shampoo offers a middle ground between stripping your scalp of its natural oils by constant washing and the effects of totally neglecting the condition of your hair for days at a time.
By not requiring you to actually wash out your hair, a dry shampoo allows you to add volume and bounce while reducing oiliness yet preserving your hair’s natural, healthy look.
Adding dry shampoo (along with biotin) is a trendy addition to people’s hair routines.
Need a go-to dry shampoo? Our research team has ranked the best dry shampoos on the market.
1. Batiste Dry Shampoo Original Clean & Classic
Batiste is a favorite both among diehard dry shampoo enthusiasts and new converts. Users with dark hair specially love it, because unlike some other brands, it won’t leave a white, chalky finish on even the darkest of hair. It has a light, fresh fragrance, but doesn’t overpower you with smell.
It absorbs grease well, and thickens up hair strands. Some women with thinning hair even use it to give the appearance of fuller hair. Batiste’s biggest strength is its versatility; it’s a great solution whether you have dark, thick, wavy hair or light, airy, blonde hair.
2. Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk
Klorane specializes in volumizing lifeless hair with their dry shampoo. The super-fine particle size helps it soak up oil without discoloring hair or leaving white spots and streaks.
If anything, Klorane appears to be a weaker option for hair that is already thick and volumnuous. It’s a dry shampoo product that’s better suited for thin, fine hair; people with very thick hair might want to try something else instead.
3. Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo
Amika Perk Up is a dry shampoo that’s based on rice starch. It’s designed to give your hair a little lift, volume, and the perfect amount of sheen without discoloring, drying out or leaving your hair greasy.
Users love its flowery scent and praise its ability to soak up grease and oil in hair, even if you have a highly active lifestyle. It’s best-used for hair that has a tendency to get greasy in short order.
The result is that Amika allows you to go longer without washing your hair to rid it of oil and that dirty hair smell.
4. R+Co Badlands Dry Shampoo Paste
This non-aerosol dry shampoo is a favorite among serious dry shampoo enthusiasts. The fragrance is pretty mild, so it shouldn’t bother a sensitive nose, and users love the fact that it will work for any color hair–even dyed platinum or neon colors.
You do have to do a little more manual labor by working the paste into the roots of your scalp, but its ability to absorb grease and increase volume at the same time is unparalleled.
5. Moroccanoil Dry Shampoo
Moroccanoil Dry Shampoo comes in several varieties for lighter and darker hair tones. This can help solve the problem of discoloration streaks that occur when you apply too much of a light-colored dry shampoo to darker hair.
You do need to make sure that you have the right style for your hair color, though, because the dark toned Moroccanoil Dry Shampoo will leave dark colored streaks in light hair.
Moroccanoil garners praise for its appealing scent and its power–even a small amount can absorb a lot of oil and grease. Just be careful you don’t overdo it; some people find it’s very easy to apply too much and dry out your hair in the process.
6. Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Refreshing Dry Shampoo
Not Your Mother’s is a beloved dry shampoo brand for its light, delicate touch and its near-magical ability to soak up grease with just a few sprays of the aerosol can.
It takes away the shine on hair strands that comes from excess oils, and works very well for light, thin hair. Users with thicker hair that produces a lot of oil have difficulty getting this dry shampoo to absorb all the oils their scalp produces, so it’s definitely not for everyone. But if you have light and fine hair, it’s one of the best dry shampoos on the market.
7. Psssssst Instant Dry Spray Shampoo
Psssssst Instant Dry Spray Shampoo does a great job at absorbing oils and adding volume, but some people find its smell too overpowering, and it has a tendency to leave white streaks in darker hair colors if it’s not brushed out promptly.
This means this dry shampoo is definitely a no-go if you have darker hair, but oily blondes might find it useful. Even so, there are likely better options to try first before you give Psssssst Instant Dry Spray Shampoo a shot.
8. Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo
Living Proof gets high marks for its designer-caliber fragrance, but it’s a more specialized blend than some of its other competitors when it comes to actual function.
It’s excellent at soaking up grease and sweat, but some users find that it has a tendency to leave grayish-white streaks in their hair if they don’t brush it out after applying it.
It will probably work best for heavily oiled, thick hairs; people with fewer oil issues may want to look elsewhere for a dry shampoo solution.
9. Aussie Total Miracle Collection 7N1
Aussie Total Miracle uses tapioca as a base compound to freshen up hair between washings. It’s decent at maintaining hairstyles across several days, and adding volume to drooping hair strands.
However, some users complain that it has a starchy, gritty feel to it, so it’s definitely not a good choice if you like to play with your hair. The scent has an air of chemical flavoring to it, as compared to the more natural fragrances of some of the other dry shampoo competitors.
It does come in bulk, so if you go through a lot of dry shampoo it might be worth a try, but most people will be better served by a different product.
10. Dove Refresh + Care Dry Shampoo
Dove Refresh + Care is an all-around dry shampoo that works reasonably well for all types of hair, but doesn’t quite shine in any category either. Its smell is quite polarizing: some people love it, while others find it irritatingly chemical and sickly sweet.
It also has a tendency to leave a faint gray sheen on darker colors of hair, likely the result of the oil-absorbing compounds it uses. Users also find that it can dry their hair out, leaving it looking dull and lifeless.
With so many better options out there, Dove Refresh + Care shouldn’t be your first choice, even if it is a top seller.
Who should buy dry shampoo?
If you want to cut down on how often you wash your hair with traditional shampoo, or if you want to liven up a limp hairstyle, a dry shampoo is just what you need.
Don’t let the name fool you—you don’t need to shower or even wash your hair to use dry shampoo. It takes seconds to apply, and can help you control greasiness and oil in your hair all day long.
The finely powdered starch particles in dry shampoo sit on top of your scalp and hair roots, absorbing the oil and sweat that would otherwise make your hair look greasy, oily, and flat.
In a hurry in the morning? Need to spruce up your hair between work and happy hour? Hate washing your hair but also hate ending up with greasy hair roots in the morning?
A good dry shampoo can help fix all of these problems. Even if you wash your hair with traditional shampoo on a regular basis, a dry shampoo is a great addition to your arsenal for days where your hair needs a touch-up during the day.
How we ranked
Dry shampoo is a pretty simple product, but nevertheless, there’s wide variability between different manufacturers when it comes to quality and effectiveness.
We started by aggregating all of the dry shampoo products currently on the market. We quickly dropped any product that had too many reports of triggering allergies or skin reactions, since this indicates that the product likely contained a common allergen. After that, we looked at the ingredients of each product.
For our rankings, we wanted products that had an effective and highly absorbent starch that wouldn’t leave white marks or streaks, and we also wanted a clean product design that was not too bloated with extra ingredients.
We turned to top beauty experts to discover which products really worked when to came touching up hair, absorbing grease, and taking a hairstyle from good to great.
When it came to scent, we sought out products that had a light, fresh, and natural aroma. A bit of fragrance is nice if you are using dry shampoo to tide you over another day before washing your hair, but you also don’t want anything that’s too overpowering, too sweet, or smells too much like an industrial cleaner.
Finally, we looked for any products that offered specific perks not available in the rest of the competition. This included non-aerosol products like R+Co Badlands Dry Shampoo Paste, which take more work but offer total control over dry shampoo application, and products specifically engineered for people with dark hair or dark skin, like Moroccanoil Dry Shampoo.
Our final results represent the best options on the market right now when it comes to dry shampoo. Whether you need a reliable daily dry shampoo, a professional-grade paste, a bottle to stash in your car, or a dry shampoo that won’t leave white streaks even on dark skin and dark hair, there’s something in our rankings for you.
Dry shampoo is meant to extend the life of your hair between washings. Shampooing your hair in the shower cleans it, removing oils and smell, but it also dries your hair out and makes it more difficult to retain your usual hairstyle.
This is where dry shampoo comes in. It can prolong the duration you can go between hair washings, without getting grease and oil buildup or unwashed hair smell.
The right dry shampoo can soak up oils using a starch-like compound and can cover up scents using fragrances and perfumes.
Washing your hair with standard shampoo too often can leave it dried out and unhealthy. However, as you already know, leaving your hair unwashed for too long causes oils and sweat to build up, leaving your hair greasy and smelly. Dry shampoo helps bridge this gap.
A traditional shampoo uses detergent-like compounds to wash away grease and oil with water. But dry shampoos work differently.
Applied via an aerosol or a hand-worked cream, a dry shampoo uses tiny dry particles to absorb the oils and sweat in your hair.
One of the more commonly-used compounds in a dry shampoo is rice starch. Tiny particles of rice starch cling to the oils on your hair and scalp, preventing your hair from feeling and looking greasy.
According to Dr. Wilma Bergfeld at the Cleveland Clinic, dry shampoo is not a total replacement for regular shampoo (1). It’s still important to clean your scalp on a regular basis to clean out everything that accumulates in your hair.
You’ll find that using dry shampoo for too long still results in your hair getting greasy and dirty, because it doesn’t actually wash away contaminants; the particles of starch or whatever other absorbent are included in the dry shampoo just suck up the oils and sweat. You will eventually need to actually wash your hair to remove them.
Dry shampoo reduces how often you need to wash your hair. Dry shampoo really shines in situations where you are in too much of a hurry to wash your hair, or when a water supply isn’t easily accessible, says Women’s Daily beauty writer Chanie Kirschner (2).
There’s no substitute for a can of dry shampoo in your car for when you are rushing from the gym to a social outing, or if you are camping, traveling, or caught at work without a place to wash out your hair.
The real strength of a dry shampoo is its ability to double, triple, or quadruple the amount of time that you can go without having to wash your hair with a traditional shampoo.
Some dry shampoo users claim they can go a full week without washing their hair the traditional way, but a more realistic number to shoot for is three to four days. Even for hair that is thick and oily, this seems to be a reasonable goal that can be achieved with a good dry shampoo.
Different manufacturers of dry shampoo excel at different types of hair. The optimal dry shampoo for someone with fine, light, blonde hair is not necessarily the optimal shampoo for someone with thick, dark, wavy hair that produces a lot of oils.
Some potent dry shampoos are overkill for fine hair that’s not too oily, while others will leave white or gray streaks in dark hair. Make sure you are getting the right kind of dry shampoo for your hair type; this will allow you to push your standard hair washings with wet shampoo as far apart as possible.
As far as side effects go, there’s very little to fear with dry shampoo. The only negative effects are white streaking or graying spots in your hair, but that’s just the result of undissolved particles in the dry shampoo.
These tend to be worse in people with darker colored hair, and certain products have more of a tendency to cause spotting and streaking than others. Hair dryness can result if you overuse dry shampoo, or if you use a product that’s too strong for your hair type.
A very small number of people have contact allergies to the ingredients in dry shampoos, but since most of these ingredients are fairly inert, these allergies are quite rare.
Some people are concerned about hair loss caused by dry shampoo, but this seems to be the result of heavy overuse and is more the result of increased shedding from, for example, hair strands sticking together while being brushed, not hair follicles actually falling out on their own accord as a result of the dry shampoo (3).
Most cases of contact allergies in shampoo products, including dry shampoo, can be attributed to allergies to fragrances and scents, not to the primary ingredients.
If you know you have sensitive skin, it might be prudent to opt for a dry shampoo that has minimal or no fragrance ingredients to reduce the potential for an allergic reaction in your skin.
If you do develop a rash, intense itching, or redness after using dry shampoo, that’s a sure sign your body is allergic to something in the dry shampoo, and that you should discontinue using it and either opt not to use dry shampoo or use a different product without the offending ingredient.
Since dry shampoo works by absorbing oil in your hair, you can take advantage of some basic facts about oil to make your dry shampoo work more effectively.
First off, for maximum absorption, you want to shake up your dry shampoo can well, so you get a nice emulsion of the drying particles in the carrier fluid.
Oil is produced in your skin cells, not your hair, so unlike with other hair products, you want to spray dry shampoo directly onto your scalp, then work it into your hair a bit.
Make sure you use your other hand to block off your face and forehead when you’re spraying dry shampoo, because it can leave a white-ish film on your skin.
After applying a light spray of dry shampoo all across your scalp, make sure you massage the dry shampoo into the roots of your hair using your fingertips, but be careful not to drag any of the dry shampoo down towards the end of your hair: greasiness starts at the roots, so that’s where you should apply dry shampoo.
Most haircare experts agree that going more than three or four days in a row without washing your hair tends to lead to greasiness that dry shampoo can’t cover up.
Moreover, intuitively you know that dry shampoo doesn’t take away any of the oil, sweat, and grime that builds up in your hair throughout the course of the day—it just absorbs it.
This absorption activity can be incredibly effective for a day or two, but eventually you’ll notice residue starting to build up in your hair, especially by the roots.
Q: What is dry shampoo?
A: Dry shampoo is a sprayable cosmetic product that can reduce the need to wash your hair. It comes in an aerosol can, which you can spray directly onto your hair roots without having to wash and condition your hair.
Dry shampoo is excellent for sprucing up your hair if it looks a little flat, or for controlling oil and greasiness without having to constantly wash and shampoo your hair.
Dry shampoo contains finely powdered starches that absorb oils produced by your scalp. By applying dry shampoo to your scalp and hair roots, you can control and prevent greasy, lifeless hair, easily and quickly.
Q: Is dry shampoo good for your hair?
A: If you have problems with hair that is greasy, oily, or flat and lifeless, dry shampoo can be great for your hair. Dry shampoo is actually pretty inert—unlike something like a vitamin for hair growth, it isn’t designed to directly nourish or grow your hair follicles.
Instead, its primary job is to absorb oil, grease, and sweat in your hair. While it’s hypothetically possible to overuse dry shampoo and suck all of the oil out of your hair roots and cause dry hair, this is never a concern in reality.
The only potentially risky part about using dry shampoo is a very small chance that you have an allergy to one of the ingredients, which usually happens with fragrance molecules, not the primary ingredients.n
Q: Is dry shampoo safe?
A: When it comes to cosmetics, dry shampoo is pretty safe thanks to the few ingredients used in most dry shampoos, and the fact that most of these ingredients are pretty inert.
The primary active ingredient in dry shampoos is some type of starch, such as rice flour: it’s a finely powdered carbohydrate that has the ability to suck up oil and moisture, preventing your hair from getting greasy.
Unlike a face moisturizer or sunscreen, there’s no advanced cosmetics chemistry going on. The only potential problems you could face are from scent or fragrance compounds that are added to enhance the aroma of a dry shampoo.
When people develop allergies or contact dermatitis from a shampoo, a fragrance ingredient is often the culprit. If you want to keep the possibility of an adverse skin reaction to a minimum, check out a dry shampoo that’s fragrance-free.
Q: What is dry shampoo made of?
A: Dry shampoo typically relies on two primary ingredients to achieve its effects: a starch-based absorbent, and a propellant.
Rice starch or rice flour is a typical choice for the starch: you want something that is dry, soaks up oil well, and most importantly, can be ground into fine particles. It is this last part that enables dry shampoo to be used without leaving white streaks or flakes in your hair.
The propellant is some type of aerosol gas that shoots out an emulsion of the starch particles into your hair when you spray the can.
Making sure this emulsion is well-mixed is the reason behind shaking up a can of dry shampoo vigorously before you use it. If you don’t shake up your dry shampoo, you’ll get a stream of propellant that is devoid of starch particles, which is not what you want.
Q: Can you use dry shampoo every day?
A: You can use dry shampoo every day without any problems. The real question is how long you can go without washing dry shampoo out of your hair.
Most haircare experts recommend not pushing it past three or four consecutive days of using dry shampoo as your only method of “washing” your hair.
If you’re trying to limit how often you use normal shampoos, which can lead to dry and frizzy hair, at least wash your hair with water to rinse out the accumulated oil that’s been absorbed by your dry shampoo.
Q: How do you use dry shampoo?
A: To use dry shampoo, first shake up the bottle well (assuming you are using an aerosol dry shampoo). Then, hold the can about 12 inches away from your hair and spray the dry shampoo into your hair, targeting only your scalp and your roots.
Do your best not to get too much dry shampoo into the middle and ends of your hair strands, because it’s not going to do too much good there.
Also, try to avoid getting any dry shampoo on your face or forehead, as it can leave a thin white film on top of any makeup you are wearing. You can use your hand to shield your face from wayward sprays.
Once you’ve sprayed dry shampoo into the roots of your hair, work it in a bit with a brush or your fingertips. This will help prevent any streaks, and will help restore some life to your hairstyle.
Q: How does dry shampoo work?
A: Dry shampoo works by absorbing grease, oil, and sweat using some kind of starch, like rice flour. These starches are provided in an extremely fine particulate emulsion, which is important for two reasons.
First off, smaller particles of starch mean there is more surface area available for grease and oil to get absorbed, which means you don’t have to use as much dry shampoo.
Second, this fine particulate is what allows dry shampoo to be sprayed directly into your hair without leaving white streaks or flakes.
While small particles of starch are the primary ingredient in dry shampoo, a good product will include other ingredients that help keep the starch particles suspended in the propellant, preserve the product’s shelf life, or provide a fresh and natural scent.
Q: Can dry shampoo cause hair loss?
A: Dry shampoo causing hair loss is a myth: no evidence suggests that any of the ingredients in dry shampoo can make your hair fall out.
The source of this myth might be the fact that some women who are experiencing hair thinning or hair loss use dry shampoo to give their hair more volume and fullness, so it can be very helpful if you do have some hair loss.
None of the ingredients in a typical dry shampoo have any plausible connection, so you can lay any worries about hair loss to rest. If you do have hair loss already, you may want to use a specially targeted hair loss treatment to address it.
If you want to extend the amount of time that you can go between hair washes, a dry shampoo is the way to do it. You don’t have to choose between greasy, oily, smelly hair and dried-out untamable hair; with a dry shampoo, you can keep your hair looking, feeling, and smelling healthy without regular washes.
Dry shampoo is especially useful for situations where you are pressed for time, or if you don’t have access to enough water to clean out your hair. Think about your hair type while shopping for a dry shampoo; some products work better on thicker, oilier hair, while others are better suited for fine, light hair.
Some brands offer special formulations made to match the color of your hair, to help avoid white or gray streaking. With a quality dry shampoo, your hair will be looking better than ever despite fewer hair washes.
For BodyNutrition‘s #1 dry shampoo recommendation, click here.