The concept of washing hair without water has never quite landed in my brain. How do you rinse out oil, dirt, and residue without water? The short answer is: you don’t. Dry shampoos don’t quite “cleanse” hair like a shower or a bath. Instead, they use particles based on alcohols or starches that soak up oil and grease. As you brush the dry shampoo out of your hair, you remove those particles and they carry their soaked up grease with them. That’s why you can’t just spray on dry shampoo and head out the door—it takes time to apply, wait for the particles to absorb oil, and then thoroughly brush out of the hair. Is it really that much faster than a shower? Perhaps not, but you do save time on blow drying!
Dry shampoo can be a lifesaver for curly girls, because naturally curly hair is easily damaged by frequent water washing. If your hair needs to skip shampoos or you’re a fan of cowashing, you may love mixing in some dry cleanse days into your routine.
Another note to remember on dry shampooing: you will never get all the dry wash particles out of your hair. Over time, dry shampoos actually leave your hair dirtier, though it will look like a dry, textured dirty rather than an oil slick. You can use this to your advantage by spraying on dry shampoo and intentionally leaving it in the hair—it’s a cheap hair thickener and texturizer. But either way, just keep in mind that a good ole’ sudsy wash is still necessary to truly clean your scalp and hair.
COLAB Dry Shampoo Unicorn
Although the rainbow colored bottle would suggest otherwise, this dry shampoo goes on fairly clear-ish. The unicorn labeling is supposed to be the fragrance, though it doesn’t smell like much of anything except alcohol-based aerosol spray. Compared to older, standby brands of dry shampoo, I prefer COLAB’s formulation because it goes on clearer and gives me a little bit more texture. COLAB is vegan and does not perform any animal testing.
Not Your Mother’s Plump For Joy Dry Shampoo
A bit of a root boost and dry shampoo all-in-one, tapioca gives the Not Your Mother’s Plump For Joy spray a texturizing and body boost. This is my favorite dry shampoo to use before braiding hair or pulling it up into a tousled bun. If gives the hair just enough grip for the updo and a little bit of texture for a naturally undone look.
Batiste Waterless Cleansing FOam
With the brand name of Batiste behind a dry wash product, how could it go wrong? Somehow, it went fantastically awry. I was looking forward to the foam medium, thinking it should provide a cleaner feel without the gritty residue left behind by spray products. Unfortunately, you can’t brush this stuff out, so it’s just adding more greasy product to your hair. Unless you want the “wet look” of the early 2000s, pass on this product.
Toni & Guy Texture Dry Shampoo
I gave this London-based brand a go and was not disappointed. The delivery of the dry shampoo is a typical aerosol, and it does have a bit of white residue but you can (mostly) brush that out. What I love about this product especially is that it doubles as a dry shampoo and a matte texturizer. My go-to hairstyle for unwashed hair is a ponytail, but that day-old grease gives me a pretty funky looking slick pony. I spray on the Toni & Guy Texture Dry Shampoo and brush out once to cleanse, and then spray on a light second layer to texture it up. This gives me an attractively messy look for an easy ponytail or topknot.