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What is dry shampoo and how to use dry shampoo

It seems like dry shampoo became part of our everyday beauty vocabulary in just a few years—and an essential one at that. After all, what would you do without it? Dry shampoo can be your beauty bestie, especially if you’re very active, always on-the-go, or want your hard-won waves to last. It’ll always be there for you whenever and wherever you need it, like after a sweat-filled spin class or even when you have a late start to the day and don’t have time to shower and to refresh the look of your hair. It can do so much for your hair routine, which explains why it’s so popular these days.

If you’re already a diehard dry shampoo user, this isn’t news to you. But if you’ve never touched the stuff, it may be time to try it. What often gets in the way is that dry shampoo can be intimidating. And there is a learning curve, especially if you haven’t used it before. So study up on this hair guide to learn how dry shampoo works, why you may want to use it, and how to use dry shampoo. Even if you’re a devotee, it’s worth brushing up on all the details of dry shampoo.

What Is Dry Shampoo

Dry shampoo is a hair product that can help absorb oil and refresh hair between your normal shampoos. Dry shampoos are usually formulated with alcohol or a fine powder (or even a combination of the two). The actual powder, of course, could be anything, from clay, starches and tapioca to volcanic ash (really).

Dry shampoo may seem like a completely new concept, but it’s actually been around for centuries. In the late 15th century, people in Asia used clay powder in their hair. Then, around the turn of the 18th century, people in the US colored and deodorized wigs with ground starches. Later, in the 1900s, Minipoo Dry Shampoo became popular. The product, manufactured from the 1940s through the 1960s, marketed itself as something you could use while sick in bed, before a last-minute date, or for your children (since, unlike liquid shampoos, it couldn’t get into and consequently sting the eyes). It even promised to preserve hair waves created by perms. This sounds nice, if not revolutionary, but a common ingredient in dry shampoo at the time was Fuller’s earth—an ingredient that is now more often used in cat litter.

Fast forward and dry shampoo is even better now, because dry shampoo formulas have come a long way since then. Plus, not only are there more versions available than ever (scented or fragrance-free, tinted or not), but some provide a lightweight feel, and are less likely to leave residue.

How Does Dry Shampoo Work?

Dry shampoo formulas have a pretty simple way of working: They help to sop up excess oil and residue that’s built up on your hair.

Because it can help absorb oil and refresh the look and of your hair, dry shampoo allows you extend the overall lifespan of your hairstyle. So if you’ve just gotten a blowout or recently DIY-ed the beach waves of your dreams, you don’t have to worry about washing out your hairstyle the next morning. Instead, just help clean up the appearance of any excess oil, grime, or residue with a few quick sprays of dry shampoo.

How to Use Dry Shampoo

There’s a good chance you’ve never touched it because you have no idea how to use dry shampoo. (Totally valid—it’s not exactly a straightforward hair product like hairspray here.) So if you’re a first-timer, follow the package directions closely to get the best possible results. Generally, start by shaking the can. Since the powder settles in the can, shaking helps to ensure that the formula can be evenly sprayed, which can help give you more even coverage.

Unlike most hair styling sprays (looking at you, hairspray), dry shampoo should not be misted all over your hair. Instead, loosely lift up your hair and aim the nozzle of the dry shampoo at your hair, keeping it six to eight inches from your hair. Then, use your fingers to massage it in and brush through your hair to both help distribute the dry shampoo and also help work out any excess powder.

Although “shampoo” is in its name—and it is effective at absorbing excess oil and refreshing the look of your hair—dry shampoo still doesn’t take the place of actual shampoo. To stay healthy-looking, your hair still needs a traditional (read: liquid) shampoo and conditioner to help thoroughly cleanse and condition your hair. (Think of it this way: Using dry shampoo is like powdering your nose to help sop up excess oil, while washing with your usual shampoo and conditioner is the equivalent of cleansing your skin with a facial cleanser.) Plus, conditioning your hair can help give your hair additional moisture, which is essential for any good hair care routine. So you can supplement your usual hair-washing routine with dry shampoo, but, don’t rely on it 24/7.

Also, while it may be tempting, don’t use dry shampoo as a hair treatment. Dry shampoo formulas can be great for sopping up excess oil, but they don’t hydrate the lengths of your hair. So if your hair tends to look on the dry side, try a moisturizing leave-in hair treatment like Fructis Moisture Lock 10-in-1 Rescue Leave-In Spray for healthy-looking, soft, shiny and moisturized hair strands.

Dry shampoo also isn’t a hair styling product. (It can be a style extender, but it won’t enhance your actual hairstyle the way a hair mousse or paste might.) If you want noticeable hair volume, opt instead to use targeted volume-boosting hair products. Since hair styling products are designed to help you achieve the hairstyle results you want, you’ll be more satisfied with their effects. The same goes for adding visible hair texture. Even though you might want to experiment with dry shampoo, it just doesn’t give you the same results as, say, a dedicated texturizing hair formula. That’s why it’s worth using actual hair styling products to style your hair.

How to Find the Best Dry Shampoo for Your Hair

Dry shampoo isn’t necessarily one-size-fits-all. Certain dry shampoo formulas can work better for certain hair textures. And, of course, there’s so much more variety in dry shampoo colors. Dry shampoo used to be a no-go for women with dark hair—since the formulas could dull the appearance of your hair and even leave a pale residue. Now, formulas are generally so finely milled that they won’t look dusty on blondes, redheads, and brunettes or leave their hair color dull.

With that in mind, the next step is to determine whether or not you have oily hair. If your hair begins to look greasy or shiny at the roots by midday—or you usually can’t go longer than a day or two before your hair gets flat and begins to look limp—you may have oily hair. This is where a good dry shampoo formula can be especially valuable. So if you have normal-to-oily hair, try a silicone-free dry shampoo like Fructis Pure Clean Dry Shampoo with Citrus Extract, which helps instantly absorbs excess oil and helps restore a fresh-washed feel. It’s lightweight and doesn’t leave behind any telltale residue—just your hair, but feeling soft with natural movement.

Finally, if you’ve avoided dry shampoo because you can’t stand the smell, it’s time to find a new bottle. Dry shampoos now come in a variety of scents from fruity to floral, so look for a scent that’s similar to your favorite fragrance. That way, it won’t clash with anything you wear. For a refreshing scent, try one that has a bright, citrusy fragrance—a sure crowd-pleaser—like Fructis’s Pure Clean Dry Shampoo.

Because here’s the bonus of dry shampoo becoming so popular in the last few years: There’s more variety than ever to choose from. So depending on the hair look you’re going for or how you want your hair to feel, you’re bound to find something to suit your needs. If you’ve been curious about how to use dry shampoo in your hair routine, there’s no better time than now.

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