How to Choose the Right Dry Shampoo

Aly Walansky
Woman spraying product in hair

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Dry shampoo can be a girl’s best friend when you need a bit more time before you wash your hair. Aside from convenience, dry shampoo can absorb oil, and leave your hair looking clean even when it isn’t. It’s also great for freshening up the smell and feel, and even adding a bit of volume and texture to your style. But, they’re not all the same, so how do you decide which one you need?

Smell it:
A lot of us love dry shampoo for the fresh scent it gives our hair. Many of the products available contain strong odors. Before you buy, give it a spritz to test drive the scent. You may find you love the result but can’t stand the scent, says Gina Capano, co-founder of  The Luxebar,

To powder or to spray?!
Consider whether or not you prefer aerosol or powder. An aerosol can be convenient and fast, but powders are great if you are concerned about particulate in the air. If you have fine hair, you might find more success with a powder.

MORE: 10 Things No One Ever Tells You About Brushing Your Hair

Read the label:
Many dry shampoos contain harsh chemicals such as butane, isobutane and propane, says Capano. If you are trying to avoid such chemicals, read labels carefully – there’s plenty of options out there that will allow you to breathe easier!

Price isn’t necessarily an indication of quality:
There are some great value-brand products available for the budget-conscious shopper so don’t get thrown off by that high end, high price brand, says Capano.

Watch a tutorial:
“I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard someone tell me that they hate a particular dry shampoo because it wasn’t used correctly!” says Capano. Watch a tutorial online or ask your stylist to show you how to use it. For example: Don’t spray dry shampoo on wet or damp hair (it’s called dry shampoo silly!). Don’t spray it too close to the scalp – keep the bottle about six inches away from your roots so you can distribute the product evenly and avoid nasty buildup.

Hair type matters:
If you have naturally curly hair, choose a dry shampoo that is made for those with natural curls. If your hair is oily constantly, choose a dry shampoo that is more drying than the others or is made to combat excess oil secretion in the scalp, says Grace Mahoney, bridal hair and makeup artist and owner of Blushing Brides. If you have colored hair, choose a dry shampoo that will enhance your hair color, rather than dull it down or worse, strip it out.