The Best Tips For Using Dry Shampoo In Between Washes — For All Hair Types

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How To Use Dry Shampoo
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Blowouts at the salon are expensive, and at home can be very time-consuming.

That's why using dry shampoo can make a world of difference. Dry shampoo is genius for extending the life of a hair style.

What is dry shampoo and how does it work? 

RELATED: This Is How Often You Should Wash Your Hair, According To Science

Dry shampoo is a powder-based formula that cleanses hair without water, so you can prolong your style when you feel like skipping the wash. “It boosts body and volume back into your hair, leaving hair looking clean and refreshed,” says IGK Hair co-founder, Chase Kusero.

Using a product to absorb oils is nothing new, it’s just that concept being applied to hair and scalp.

This may be an extreme example but, essentially, it explains how dry shampoo works on oil and on the scalp:

“Having grown up with two older brothers who were mechanics, I used to wonder why they were throwing cat litter on the oil stains in the driveway. It was because the cat litter was made of clay, and clay absorbs oil,” adds Vincent De Marco, owner of the Vincent Hair Artistry.

Why try dry shampoo?

For those with hair that requires a great deal of time and effort, dry shampoo may one of the best products out there. 

“It’s a fantastic product to not only refresh your hair, but it also provides a lot of body and volume... You can use dry shampoo everyday if you want,” says celebrity hairstylist Michael Boychuck.

A lot of dry shampoos used to be very powdery, but the formulas have improved over the years, making the products lighter while still absorbing excess oil in your hair. Whenever your hair is looking flat or a little dirty, use it!

Adds Boychuck, “After three or four days you will probably want to wash your hair due to the build-up. You can even use it on the same day that you wash your hair for added volume instead of using a texturizing spray.”

RELATED: How To Get Rid Of Oily Hair: 10 Solutions That Actually Work

What are the dry shampoo benefits for hair?

While dry shampoo is great for making hair in need of a wash feel and look fresher, it also has so many other benefits.

Says Steve Waldman, Director of Technical Training at Hair Cuttery Family of Brands, “Dry shampoo can add volume to hair that has a tendency to be flat. It's great for a spruce up after working out, if humid weather has had its way with you, and to stretch out the time between shampoos.”

It also helps you to save money. That's because the less often you go for blowouts, or the less often you use products to wash your hair, the less money you spend. During a recession, that's always a plus.

How do you use dry shampoo, and how often should you apply it?

Dry shampoo can be used as often as needed in moderation, since some hair types generate oil quicker than others and make people reach for their dry shampoo more frequently. In order to prevent using excess product, or improperly using it, here's how to use dry shampoo.

Says Kusero, “I like to focus on the hairline and the nape of the neck, where hair tends to get the most oily and sweaty.”

So, shake the bottle well and spray about half an arm’s length from your head. Spray at the roots in sections around your head. Wait 30 seconds for the cleansing powders to activate. Then, adds Kusero, “Massage or brush in until all the powders disappear.”

Once you have spritzed or loosely applied your dry shampoo, brush it through. Of course, you won't leave your hair in the brushed state and you'll loosen it back up instead, styling it accordingly.

"Brushing the dry shampoo throughout your hair delivers professional results. You can also use the 'cold air' setting on your blow dryer, with a nozzle on the tip of the dryer," De Marco recommends.

"Once you have put in the dry shampoo product, brushed it into your hair and distributed it evenly, use the blow dryer set on cold to loosen your hair back up and push it into the position of your hairstyle.”

Cold air blasted from the blow dryer also helps to shut down the cuticle and make your hair feel cleaner, less ruffled, shinier and just plain sexy.

How do you know if you've applied dry shampoo correctly?

Be sure to not spray too close to your scalp. You don't have to cover every strand of hair on your head. Plus, spraying too close leads to product build-up and it leaves white, chalky residue on your hair. 

"Only spray your roots and do it about 8-10 inches away from it," advises beauty writer, Essie Button. "You only need enough to cover the roots." 

Also, don’t massage the product in right away. A light massage is recommended to get the most out of the dry shampoo and to give your hair the volume it needs. "You need to let the product sit for about 2-3 minutes before massaging it in," Button says.

RELATED: 20 Best Shampoos For Oily Hair

What are the best dry shampoos?

While there are plenty of options available out there, here are some of our favorites. Each offers something special that can be unique to your particular hair type.

1. Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo Limited Edition Jumbo Size

Drybar's dry shampoo has a bit of a cult following (for good reason), and they just launched a new limited edition jumbo size that is double the size of the original. This one has a super-absorbent formula that's great for dealing with oils and a weighed down feeling, leaving hair with tons of volume and feeling fresh!

(The Drybar, $34)

2. Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo

This is great for making hair look and feel better instantly, but also helps keep hair healthy and cleaner longer. No matter your hair type, this dry shampoo removes dirt and oil.

(Sephora, $36)

3. IGK Hair First Class Charcoal Detox Dry Shampoo

Charcoal has become a sort of wonder ingredient in the past few years, seen in everything from face masks to toothpaste. Charcoal helps to detoxify, and that's great for lifting dirt and oils out of hair, and making it feel clean.

(Sephora, $27)

4. Aveda Shampure Dry Shampoo 

This is an all-natural approach to lifting out dirt and odors from hair. Because it's made with natural flower and plant essences, it smells really good, too!

(Nordstrom, $32)

5. Hask Charcoal Purifying Dry Shampoo

Another great charcoal-based option, this dry shampoo has rice starch in it as well. Rice starch is good for hydrating hair and keeping it silky soft in between washes.

(Target, $5.99)

Is dry shampoo bad for your hair?

Dry shampoo should be used in conjunction with a traditional shampoo and conditioner to help extend the life of your style.

“A regular hair wash, whether with a shampoo or co-wash, are designed to cleanse the scalp of impurities and product build-up, and create a clean slate for desired styling,” Kusero says.

As with any other product, this is an “everything in moderation” kind of product. Adds Gina Rivera, creator of By Gina, “Having great looking hair is directly related to a healthy scalp.”

To ensure healthy hair and scalp, the blood flow must be good to the scalp, and the hair follicles need to remain unclogged. “So, while this is a great and effective product, it’s not a replacement for cleansing the hair and scalp,” Rivera concludes.

RELATED: Is Dry Shampoo Bad For Your Hair? Potential Health Risks — And How To Use It Safely

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Aly Walansky is a NY-based lifestyles writer who focuses on health, wellness, and relationships. Her work appears in dozens of digital and print publications regularly. Visit her on Twitter or email her.

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