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How Does Dry Shampoo Work?

4 minutes

In the past 100 years, there have been endless incredible inventions that have changed the nature of our lives; from the telephone to the Internet, to the smartphone and Instagram. But none, and we say this with all sincerity, have the power to change a bad hair day to a good hair day, quite as effectively or easily than dry shampoo.

What does dry shampoo do? The queen of hair inventions, not only does dry shampoo, make clean hair look better, it also performs some sort of miracle magic and makes dirty hair look clean. But what is it and how does it do it? Let’s dig beneath its brilliance to discover what dry shampoo is and what makes it such a haircare saviour.

What is dry shampoo?

Dry shampoo is a cosmetic applied to your hair while it’s dry, unlike you normally do with other “wet” shampoos, conditioners and other hair products. This means that you don’t have to rinse the dry shampoo out of your hair. It instantly brings the hair to a perfect condition and gives it a beautiful fragrance. It is usually applied to the top of the head and other areas of hair that are visibly greasy.

The main goal of using dry shampoo is to quickly refresh the hair, remove the sebum and all other unwanted guests that settle on your hair every day.

In addition, dry shampoo can give your hair shine and a delicate scent of vanilla and jasmine.

How dry shampoo works

Quite simply, dry shampoo works when either alcohol or starch in the product soak up the excess oil and grease from hair follicles, giving it a cleaner, fresher appearance. Years ago, our grandmothers may have applied corn starch into their hair to achieve a similar effect, but today, with the wonder of science you’re able to get cool-girl texture, grit and freshness with a mousse.

How to use dry shampoo

The whole “wait 30 seconds for the shampoo to sink into your roots” instruction on most aerosol dry shampoos can in reality feel like forever, so the genius of the new generation of foam formulations is that you don’t have to wait around at all. How to use dry shampoo? Simply spray a golf ball size into the palm of your hand, scrunch it into your roots and bam, your hair is dry and oil-free in an instant. Even better, while spray versions shampoos usually give you a white residue if you make the mistake of spraying it too much or too close to the hair, there is no white residue when using foam shampoos, it just disappears into your hair leaving no residue and no grease.

When to use dry shampoo

Best used in between shampoos for a water-free way to freshen and restyle your hair, not only does dry shampoo remove excess oil from your hair, it’s the perfect hair pick-me-up to take your ‘do from day to night, adding texture and volume to your locks. The product works to absorb all the excess oils in your hair so no one has to know that you haven’t actually washed your hair in days… Sneaky! The best thing about dry shampoo is that is makes it possible to eke out a couple of extra days between washes. You’ll not only shave valuable minutes off your morning or evening hair care regimen, but you’ll notice your hair’s easier to manage and style. Dry shampoo is perfect in-between mini-refresh, resetting your style with volume at the roots and eliminating grease.

Here's what to do. Apply dry shampoo liberally to your roots, rub it and let it absorb the grease and gunk. Then, grab your hairdryer and use it on your roots - to set the product in where it might usually fade throughout the day or for a looser lighter touch up, brush through the lengths of your hair to help spread the product evenly for some much-needed all-over volume. What not to do? Apply to wet hair, or think it’ll replace hair in need of a proper lathered up cleanse.

How many days in a row can you use dry shampoo?

Ok so while dry shampoo is the best, it doesn’t mean you can forget about washing your hair altogether. We all like a lie-in, but there are times when your hair will need a thorough rinse and cleanse, so just ensure your addiction to dry shampoo stays within healthy limits. A general rule of thumb is two or three times a week max for any leave-in product that doesn’t involve washing the hair, unless it’s a hydrating oil, as even with dry shampoo, there can be too much of a good thing.

Dry shampoo and traditional wet-and-lather shampoo both have their own sets of pros and cons. The advantage of using a regular shampoo is obvious in that it leaves your hair squeaky clean, however, it takes time and effort to do. Dry shampoo is the miracle worker that makes your hair look washed, free from grease and smelling a treat. But it shouldn’t be used constantly, or replace actual washing because of product build-up, so use it smartly! Dry shampoo is actively good for hair because it gives you the power to choose whether to rinse or not, all whilst adding texture and life to hair. What’s not to love?

For more tips on how to care for greasy hair we’ve put together a helpful guide to help!

*does not contain ethanol

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