Perhaps the most straightforward rule of dry shampooing is to shake the can or bottle thoroughly before setting down your finger for the first squirt. That’s because the formulation housed within the packaging can easily separate and not be as effective. “It’s important to shake the bottle before applying to mix all the ingredients,” shares celebrity stylist Adam Maclay.
The key to getting a volume boost while absorbing oil from greasy spots is to apply the shampoo just where it’s needed. When you douse the entire head with dry shampoo, it can take on a crunchy or dried-out feeling depending on the formula. Instead, always start with small sections and, if needed, add more product where necessary. Overusing dry shampoo can also create an almost unnatural look, which trichologist and Colour Collective partner Kerry E. Yates says can make the hair appear matte, dull, and drab.
Dry shampoo is one of the best-kept secrets for achieving serious volume, especially in more mature hair that’s fine or thin. With aging, the hair tends to thin, making it harder to achieve volume at the root, and that’s where dry shampoo comes in. “It gives an instant volume boost and creates texture for super fine hair,” Yates shares. “It also offsets excess scalp sebum,” she adds, which is important since too much oil at the root counteracts any natural volume.
Unfortunately, when the hair helper mixes with water or moisture, Maclay says it is rendered inactive and ineffective on the wet strands. “This staple product cannot perform on wet hair because it will not absorb oil,” he says, “since there is water and oil on the hair at the same time, and they do not mix.” So, if you’ve ever been the unfortunate victim of the unsightly mix of dry shampoo and wet hair, your only hope is to hop in the shower and perform a total wash.
Most dry shampoos start clear yet can sometimes dry down to a white powder (especially when used close to the scalp). Any evident residue often blends into the root for medium to light brown hair colors and is virtually undetectable. But on dark brown, black, red, and some blonde tones, the powdery dry-down can be an obvious sign that your strands aren’t as fresh as you may lead onto them being.
The rule of thumb is to reach for dry shampoo no more than two to three times per week, no matter how desperate the situation. According to Dr. Dominic Burg, a trichologist and scientist for evolis Professional, the main concern with overusing dry shampoo is getting too much product on the scalp while removing too much natural oil, which can leave hair brittle and prone to breakage. But it’s not just the potential for damage as to why many experts suggest limiting the use of dry shampoo. Overloading the hair and its follicles too frequently with too much product may cause irritation and inflammation.
There are certain ingredients in dry shampoo that you’ll want to steer clear of, like unsafe talc and alcohol, which can dry out hair. Instead, opt for formulas with natural rice or tapioca starches and powders found in Evolis Professional Dry Shampoo and Odele Dry Shampoo. “Also, consider ingredients that add extra benefits, like cyclodextrins for odor absorption, hair-repairing keratin or hydrolyzed plant proteins, and even antioxidants and active botanicals,” Dr. Burg says.
Back to the white residue factor we touched on above, it’s best to take a from-a-hands-distance approach and spray from a few inches away from the root to avoid it. Maclay sprays the product eight to 10 inches away from the head in a one-pass sweeping motion. “When dry shampoo is applied too close to the head, it will leave behind a white residue,” he explains. The further away you spray it, the better the product can disperse more evenly.