If you're new to the no 'poo haircare method, or you just don't have time to wash, condition, deep condition, and leave-in condition your hair, then you might be looking for a boost of encouragement to get you through the day. “Much like Little House on the Prairie, Sunday night is hair washing night,” YouBeauty senior editor, Courtney Dunlop, recently bemoaned on Twitter.
It’s a sentiment that’s spawned a burgeoning industry of dry shampoo, named for the product’s seemingly miraculous ability to refresh hair without the need for water. Harried women everywhere are rejoicing, as more skip their daily sudsing ritual in favor of more sleep, more free time, more sanity and in our case, healthier curls.
“Dry shampoo beats the old-time trick of using baby powder because aerosols and nozzles better direct application,” says San Diego celebrity stylist and salon owner, Jet Rhys.
Options range the gamut with budget versions that include oil-absorbing particles and basic scents while pricier picks employ micronized powders for greater volume and extras like tea tree oil to prevent dandruff. Higher end options also offer elegant fragrance blends that mimic shampoo-fresh hair, adds Rhys.
To apply dry shampoo, bend forward and work in sections holding the spray several inches from hair and directing the nozzle towards the scalp. Next massage roots with fingertips to build volume and to spread the formula through strands, instructs Rhys.
However you use it, dry shampoo is one of those hero products that you’ll likely wonder how you ever did without. Check out the best picks of the crop in the gallery.
Dirt and oils that accumulate on the scalp between shampoos can leave hair limp and lifeless. This powder-based aerosol spray builds volume at the roots and dries with a matte finish. Spray four inches from scalp and shake excess powder out.
MORE: The Dish on Dry Shampoos
Among dry shampoo aficionados, René Furterer remains a perpetual cult favorite. Rice and cornstarch powders freshen the scalp while clay and silica absorb oil and dirt. Even better, it doesn’t leave a white residue behind. Essential oils of peppermint, caraway and basil invigorate and scent the scalp.
Best For Colored Hair
If you spend big bucks on maintaining your color, invest in a dry shampoo that offers UV protection against fading. Kenra’s version includes rice starch to absorb grease and impurities, and a mango melon fragrance to refresh hair.
Best For Texture
Sexy hair is touchable—so über-stylist Oribe designed his texturizing spray with movement in mind. Patented polymers absorb oil to build body, while extracts of sunflower seed, ginger root, mango kiwi and passionflower add shine and manageability. It’s also a great texturizer to give strands a piecey look and hold them in place for updo styling.
Best For Dark Hair
Powders and sprays can speckle dark tresses with dandruff-looking patches of white flakes. Alterna’s translucent formula sprays on completely clear, no matter the hair color. The fresh green fragrance of bamboo leaf, water lily and musk adds a veil of scent that exudes cleanliness.
Best For Fine Hair
Dry shampoo particles can weigh baby fine hair down. This keratin-infused formula uses finely ground minerals and natural wax dissolvers to cleanse and hydrate weightlessly. Hold can 10 inches away and mist lightly all over hair, then brush out. A quick, once-over finishing shot of the blow dryer adds extra perk to fine strands.
Best To Cover Grays
Bumble and Bumble’s iconic hair powder comes in full coverage shades that mask gray roots. Since the formula requires a slightly oily surface to adhere, use a light application of pomade or wax at the root if applying on freshly washed and dried hair. (And if your hair is dirty, you’re good to go!) Hold can 10 inches from hair and spray as needed, allow to dry, and shake out any excess with fingers. Use a towel to cover shoulders if your hair is dark or if you’re wearing light clothing.
Best For Travel
For gals on the go, nothing beats the portability of a traditional powder; there’s no worrying about carry-on size limitations or an aerosol going off unexpectedly. Stila’s version comes in two scents: a vanilla-amber Crème Bouquet or green tea-touched Jade Blossom.
Best Budget Buy
For generations, there weren’t many drugstore options in the dry shampoo category, though savvier technology has since made headway. Suave Professionals combines a grease-blasting aerosol spray with the shine and hydration of keratin at a bargain bin price.
The Type 2 NaturallyCurly Editors chose Arrojo's dry shampoo in the 2013 annual Editors' Choice awards. We find that it doesn't leave any white or powdery residue on our Type 2 wavies.
Best for Beginners
No need to worry about applying incorrectly, just point and shoot: the nozzle design of Oscar Blandi’s dry shampoo cleverly controls product for direct contact on the scalp, where oil absorption is most needed. Lemon verbena makes for a stimulating scent and wheat proteins combine with vitamin E to strengthen strands.