Dry Shampoo 101

101How to Use  Dry Shampoo

Typically, dry shampoos are applied to the oily roots. It is important and necessary to avoid rubbing the dry shampoo into the scalp because this can cause dry skin and itching. Next, wait for at least two minutes (and no more than five minutes) and then brush the dry shampoo out of your hair. There may be a bit of a white tinge to your hair that goes away after brushing it out.

Getting rid of the white

If you are concerned about the residue showing up, there is a product by Bumble & Bumble that is tinted in a variety of colors to make it less visible in brown, blond, or red hair.

How long can you go between shampoos?

The answer varies from one person to the next, and depends on the environment, lifestyle, and on the gender of the person, as well as on the hair type and length. People with fine hair usually prefer to shampoo more often. Not surprisingly, you will have to shampoo more often if you live somewhere hot, dusty and dirty, or if you are exposed to dirt on a frequent basis. The amount of physical exercise or labor you do is also a factor. Having said that, shampooing every three or four days is enough for most women, while every second day is fine for most men. If you live and work in a clean modern environment, this regimen is enough to maintain acceptable levels of hygiene. There is no biological reason for the gender difference; it reflects the fact that men generally have shorter hair than women, as well as the fact that most men do not subject their hair to the same styling appliances, coloring, and even drying that is common amongst women. Colored hair will fade faster if it is shampooed too often.

Choosing between spray and powder dry shampoos

Although it comes in a number of different varieties – foam, spray, powder and even liquid – dry shampoo always works in the same way. Different forms just deliver the product to your hair and scalp in different ways. Dry shampoo soaks up oil from your scalp that is produced by the sebaceous glands near your follicles. Foam or spray dry shampoos generally consist of a propellant like propane and isobutene, an oil absorber like starch or aluminum, and magnesium stearate (a binding and lubricating agent similar to soap – you’ve seen it if you’ve ever noticed leftover soap scum), a conditioner like hydrolyzed soy protein, a solvent, panthenol (which is an alcohol related to pantothenic acid which is a pro vitamin of B5, acting as a moisturizer, emollient and humectant. In other words, it binds on to the shaft of the hair, sealing and lubricating it.) and fragrance.

No Substitute for Real Shampoo

The tried and true method of shampooing your hair using water with a good mild shampoo that is free of sodium lauryl sulfate and ammonium is still the best. Traditional shampooing allows you to wash away dead skin cells, oil, dirt, odor and environmental contaminants (including microorganisms and pollutants) much more effectively than dry shampoo. Water makes all the difference.


People with environmental sensitivities or allergies may not be able to tolerate some of the chemicals used in dry shampoos. These agents can particularly cause respiratory problems if inhaled. There is certainly a place for dry shampoo in your hair care regimen: It’s useful if you are trying to extend the time between shampoos to keep an expensive style for as long as possible, or if you are in a situation where you don’t have access to water all the time. You can also use it to freshen up your hair quickly if you are going out somewhere directly from work.