Are You Using Your Dry Shampoo All Wrong?

Victoria Moorhouse
dry shampoo guide

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Fact: dry shampoo can singlehandedly make a good hair day….if you use it the right way. Seriously—overdose on this stuff and you might as well throw on a hat. And while it seems like the easiest point-and-shoot hair product of all time, there’s quite a bit more to dry shampoo than spraying and hoping for the best. To make sure you get the loveliest locks of all time, we’ve rounded up the cleverest dry shampoo tips ever.

Know That It Doesn’t Clean Your Hair
Dry shampoo is for extending the life of your blowout or minimizing your weekly washes—but it’s not a replacement for actually shampooing and cleaning your hair of dirt, oils, and product build-up. Most products soak up oil so it’s less visible on your scalp—they don’t clean it from your hair entirely. Or they did before now; Living Proof’s Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo ($22, ulta.com) soaks up oil but also dirt and then removes it from your hair…just shake your hands through your locks for an actual perfect hair day.

Find The Right Fit For You
A dry shampoo that makes your hair less greasy-looking is great—but don’t expect all formulas to work the same way on everyone. Fine hair may need a lighter version, while those with thick hair can handle a thicker powder. There’s also dry shampoo that is formulated to strengthen your hair, like Batiste Strength and Shine Dry Shampoo ($9, ulta.com), while R + Co’s Death Valley Dry Shampoo ($29, randco.com) is made with vitamin E for nourishment.  Sexy Hair’s Dry Shampoo ($11, target.com) even has a UV-protection component. Genius!

Find One for Your Hair Color
While many dry shampoos apply translucent powder, there are versions out there made specifically for your hair color. And really, that takes the anxiety out of blending it all in—that white, powdery residue is the worst. Moroccanoil Dry Shampoo for Dark Tones ($10.50, moroccanoil.com) is (as the name implies) made specifically for those with dark hair, and contains Argan oil for moisture. The brand also has a Light Tones Dry Shampoo ($10.50, moroccanoil.com) which is absolute genius—it contains a violet undertone to actually color-correct blonde hair. And Bumble and bumble makes an entire line of dry shampoo Hair Powders ($36, sephora.com) for blonde, brown, black AND white hair tones.

Don’t Spray It Too Close
That will just dispense way too much product and leave the residue you don’t want, plus it contributes to product build-up. Most dry shampoo bottles will tell you how many inches away is ideal, but we usually stick to a solid 10 to be sure. And with that, stick to one or two spritzes—don’t want to overdo it. The only way to remove dry shampoo from your hair is with a wash, and weren’t you trying to avoid that in the first place?

Rub It In
This isn’t a spray-and-go product. After you’ve applied the formula, you need to help it get to work. Gently massage your scalp to blend in the powder, which will then absorb the oils on your head. If you are using a straight-up powder dry shampoo like Aveda’s Shampure Dry Shampoo ($30, aveda.com), this is even more important.

Double It As a Styler
Any stylist will tell you that dry shampoo is amazing at adding light, airy texture to your hair. Appy it to the lengths of your hair to get a tousled look, but keep it to the minimum. Your strands are usually drier than the hair near your scalp as it is and don’t have as much oil for it to absorb.

And of course, remember that eventually, you will need to wash your hair. But on those days when you’re running late to work, dry shampoo—and these tips—are your saving grace.

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