Dry Shampoo: Our Current Favorites

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Do you already love dry shampoo? If so, you are awesome. Congratulations on your awesomeness. If not, you need to get in on this thing, guy/girl! It's the only product that fluffs, de-smellifies, and thickens in a couple of shakes (or spritzes), no matter how oily or gross your hair situation was before. If haircare were the Matrix, it would be Neo. Now, some of you may not believe that dry shampoo is Keanu Reeves. Some of you may even be thinking, That gross spray stuff? Are you huffing the toxic aerosols out of those cans?  To which we would say: A) It's not that kind of aerosol. Ozone-depleting CFCs have been illegal in  hair products since since 1978. And B) Maybe you just haven’t found the right dry shampoo. Because once you do, it will be true love and you will want to laugh and cry and take the dry shampoo to Paris where you can propose to it under the Eiffel Tower.

Your skepticism is, however, understandable. Until recently, dry shampoos had a wee bit of an image/actual usefulness problem. They had names like Pssssst (sorry Pssssst—onomatopoeic branding is a HUGE RED FLAG); they gave you skunk stripes, which are only awesome on Cruella de Vil or Daphne Guinness; and they smelled like something a marketing guy from Dow Chemical came up with in 1962: “tropical” whatever, blue hydrangeas from a garden in hell, lemon cookies.

Luckily, some clever person—his name is Oribe—took a look at the state of dry shampoos and said, “We can fix this!” Ever since, the market has been flooded with insanely good options that make us question why anyone, really, would ever want to wash her again (just kidding...sort of).

To help you find your sebum-control soul mate, we tested every dry shampoo we could get our hands on. Below, a few suggestions based on your de-greasing needs:

For People With Dark Hair (AKA Almost Everyone)
It’s the eternal lament: “I want to use dry shampoo, but it shows up in my hair!” Well mourn no more, our raven-locked compatriot, for Alterna has produced a Translucent Dry Shampoo so formidable you can spray like half a can on your head without a problem. It’s probably evil magic, but it’s sooooo good. Our hair looks fabulous after we use it; Michael even told us we “have a mane, like a lion” now, which sounds like it might be a compliment! Try the Bamboo Leaf scent. It dissipates after a couple minutes so you can apply fragrance without worrying about weird smell overlaps.

For People Who Often Pretend To Shower
If you want to fool people into thinking that you’ve been home and, you know, washed your hair, you’re going to need something that actually smells like shampoo. Clean Dry Shampoo is by far the best mimic. It smells like Johnson & Johnson Baby Wash (extra innocent!), so you can keep on dissembling about where you’ve been. However, for portability and subtly fresh odeur, Klorane's line of dry shampoos are our go-tos, especially because they come in travel sizes ideal for those who sometimes sleep in beds that don't strictly belong to them. We're all on this long Walk of Shame called life together, guys.

For People Who Love Drugstores
Batiste! It's what follicles crave. Get the original scent, and always spray it in short bursts far away from your roots; it’s good, but it’s a traditional formulation, so powder-head is a distinct possibility.

For People Who  Just Need a Little Lift
If your hair isn't quite plastered to your forehead but you want a touchup, Orlando Pita Revive Instant Boost is an excellent option. It's a super-fine spray, which means you can subtly modify your volume and you don't have to worry about having grungy, over-powdered hair. The light mist also makes it another good one for people with very dark hair, since you have a lot more control over where and how it gets distributed.

For People Who Enjoy a Nice Dolly Parton Bouffant
Bumble and bumble Prêt-à-Powder makes for a darlin' beehive, honey. Put enough of this stuff in your hair and it'll be epically tease-able, a couple shades lighter (faux-blonde bombshell, ahoy), and lightly rose-scented. Just don't get all Jolene and try to take some nice lady's man.

For People Who Like the Natural Option
If all else fails, try cornstarch. If you aren't ready to get quite that granola, look into Rene Furterer Naturia—it uses rice starch and clay to dry up hair oil, and it has a delightful peppermint-basil scent. It's also a warm brown shade, so it blends nicely for brunettes and redheads (not recommended for platinum and buttercream blondes, though).

—Lacey Gattis

Photos by Mathea Millman. 

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • http://www.fancyalterego.wordpress.com/ Heather P.

    The last time I saw my 14-year-old niece, I introduced her to the wonders of dry shampoo by telling her I hadn't taken a shower in 2 or 3 days. She was dumbfounded, so I let her in on my dry shampoo secret.

    I wish a thing like this had existed when I was her age. Greasy hair was a major issue of mine in high school, and I also hated taking showers daily. Who knew a generation later it would be a distant memory?

    • Heather

      My mom says everyone used baby powder in the 60s. Also, Pssssst has been around since the 70s. Dry shampoo isn't new--it's just having a renaissance.

      • http://www.fancyalterego.wordpress.com/ Heather P.

        I tried baby powder when I was younger, but hate the smell of it, so it was a short-lived experiment. :-)

        I also don't remember Pssssst being around at all until I found my first Ulta. Maybe that's because I live in Ohio? Or I didn't have more fashion-savvy people in my life?

        I'm just glad I found it now!

  • http://www.champagnerising.com/ heather adair

    Also -- under the heading of "translucent, volumizing, and surprizingly amazing if you can stand the obnoxious packaging" is the "Big Sexy Hair Volumizing Dry Shampoo. http://www.amazon.com/Sexy-Hair-Volumizing-Shampoo-Ounce/dp/B001U6FIVE
    It's *completely invisible,* even if you tear through a can a week, like I do. Great when you need your save a buck, great on bangs, great for lift, and comes in a mini travel size, too!

  • Marleen

    I use regular talc powder, works just as dry shampoo, gives a bit volume but cheaper!

    onadailybeautybasis.blogspot.com

    • femme_noir

      Plain old cornstarch also works.

      • Marleen

        I heard that too, I shall try that soon too!

        onadailybeautybasis.blogspot.com

  • Sharon Macklin

    I may be missing something. I don't have oily hair - never did. But...I'd like to get some volume at the top using dry shampoo...on the 3rd day after shampooing. Problem is - I hate the way my hair feels after I spray in this stuff. Is that the way it's supposed to be - do I sacrifice good-feeling hair that I can run my hands through for lift and body?

    • ITGLacey

      Try the Rene Furterer one or the Orlando Pita—they're both very "soft" feeling so that you don't get that roughed up hair feeling!

    • beeswaxnoneofyour

      I love Oribe dry texturizing spray for volume - which I think is technically a dry shampoo, but I only use it because I like that dry shampoo effect even though I wash my hair every day. Works on towel-dried and dry hair without crunchiness or powderiness/that nasty matte feeling and look. And it smells great.

      • Sharon Macklin

        I've got that...also the Bumble & Bumble product that's similar. Maybe I need to give them both another go!

  • Kaitlyn

    I love Pssssst...it's the only one that actually makes your hair FEEL clean. That being said, if you are a brunette, you can't use it for multiple days in a row or the build up will start to show. Also, it doesn't do much in terms of adding volume to your hair.

    My other favorite is the Batiste for brunette hair dry shampoo. It smells amazing, and it's brown so it won't show up in my hair. It also makes my hair feel pretty clean, but also provides some mild texture to bring back some volume to my roots.

    I also really like the Klorane dry shampoos. They smell amazing, don't really show up in brunette hair, and add volume to my roots. However, they are double the price of both Pssssst and Batiste, so I only buy the travel sized one when I'm going on trips. It's my excuse to indulge ;)

  • Saina

    I really like SkinnySkinny Organic dry shampoo. It comes in a variety of wonderful smells, it has no harmful chemicals and it is not a spray which allows me to control the amount I add to my hair. It also does not make my hair dull. Amazon has a variety of smells (Rose and Black Pepper, Lavender and Rosemary, Grapefruit and Cardamon and Jasmine).

  • Laura

    I like lulu organics. Based on rice powder, clay and corn starch. Works perfectly.

  • ITGLacey

    I really feel as though they need a rebranding campaign & some product update—I have fine hair & when I use it it's like I just sprayed my head with cake icing. : /

  • Calin

    Psssst always wins!

  • ITGLacey

    I definitely have to brush some brands out in addition to shaking my hair. I find that for me it's always best if I shake & brush my hair upside down, too. That way I get a gravitational assist with removing the excess, or some such.

    • KT

      I spray it in, let it soak while I do my makeup, then massage it through my roots, then brush! :)

  • Eliza

    i have the alterna in mango coconut...i'm blonde, so i don't need the translucent finish, but i picked this kind anyway because the smell is AMAZING (and it works really well...you let it "set" for a minute, and you can literally watch too-shiny day-old hair turn clean).

    • ITGLacey

      YES. I actually tried it the other day & was like, "Some lady here smells like delicious orange Chiclet gum; I'm into it." Then I realized it was me. I was very excited.

  • Christine

    Lacey you have done it again! This article did NOT fail to rescue me from the 3pm doldrums (again - weird coincidence that I read this at just about 3pm). My personal favorite was your description of the scent of dry shampoos of yore as "blue hydrangeas in a garden from hell." You have a way with words!
    I love all of these new suggestions for dry shampoo (read: I'm a product whore), though I am pretty into the Serge Normant dry shampoo. It gives me that full lion's mane effect which is, in fact, a compliment. I would take it as one, anyway :)
    I can't wait to read your next article!!!

    • ITGLacey

      Christine, you are just a delight!

  • Laudavirginia

    does this work for really curly hair?

    • ITGLacey

      It does indeed! If you've never tried it before, the Alterna or Orlando Pita are the easiest to use.

  • KT

    I loooove the Toni & Guy dry shampoo - it's invisible, so it works for all hair colours. The worst would have to be tresemme. I had to actually quickly wash my hair in the sink, and go to work with wet hair after using that terrible stuff! Straight in the bin!

  • Molly

    Hey Lacey - what about Oscar Blandi's Pronto Invisible Dry Shampoo? I've been using it for a while and it works pretty well at giving your hair a clean look without adding too much "cake". Also, it smells decent, so while it doesn't overcompensate with a scent, your hair smells ok if anyone gets too close. It's also super easy to purchase last minute, since it's sold at a lot of brick and mortar beauty stores. My ultimate favorite though (and if I'm cool with spending a few extra bucks) is Philip B Russian Amber Imperial Dry Shampoo. It smells amazing and works well - other than the fact that the bottles go fairly fast. I've never been told I smell so good so many times in one day.

    • ITGLacey

      Hey! That Philip B one sounds verrrry interesting; you had me at "smells amazing." What's your brush out/shake out technique? I've always had a little bit of trouble with Oscar Blandi—not because it isn't a good product—but because my hair is fine & it feels heavier.

      • Molly

        I have curly hair, so that makes sense! I usually don't use a brush because I want to keep my curls intact, so instead I'll really just focus on the roots and use my hand to shake it out. Definitely test out the Philip B one though in that it doesn't cause that weird matte texture! It's sold at C.O. Bigelow as well as any Space N.K, (maybe more places too), so you could purchase it whenever! It really smells so, so good!

  • In A Snap

    Translucent dry shampoo! Why didn't I hear about this before! I have tried many different dry shampoo brands and always have the same problem of it showing up. Thanks for sharing!

    http://beauty-inasnap.blogspot.com

  • Brie

    I've been having a dry shampoo love affair for a couple of years and with thick hair that falls to the small of my back, washing it is a chore that requires a couple of hours set aside for washing/drying/styling, so it's so great on day 2 and day 3 hair and I even use it right after washing to get some root lift.

    When I first decided to try some, I tried Tresemme (wasn't a fan) and then Suave (the $3 bottle of grapefruit-smelling stuff) and I was hooked. I haven't gone outside the drugstore just because I use it every day and the $20+ bottles are out of my budget since I go through it so fast, but after trying Not Your Mother's and Dove, which were both good, Suave is still my favorite. It requires the least amount of product and does the best job of volumizing in my opinion. You have to like a light citrus smell to use it, but it's not strong or sickly.

  • Tanya

    Oscar Blandi pronto powder is hands down the best

  • Christina L.

    Do you know if this works with curly hair?- Do you have to brush it through really well?

  • Hope Ferguson

    Dry shampoo has changed the game! I love using it to add texture and volume when doing up do's as well! Suave has a pretty decent one that I use. I will have to try some of the ones you recommend! Thanks for the great post!

    http://www.hopefullyhelpfulbeauty.blogspot.com

  • Luisa Marielli

    Lacey Gattis, you're such an awesome writer! This article made me totally realize I need to try dry shampoo - all while cracking up at lines like "We're all on this long Walk of Shame called life together, guys." Thank you for the insight!

  • melissa

    dry shampoo also alleviates itchy scalp caused by Oding on moisturizer and Moroccan and offers a better way to manage natural and curly hair that has been flat ironed. @melspainn

  • laura

    Shame on you guys... You forgot to mention the PHILLIP B RUSSIAN AMBER DRY SHAMPOO, la creme de la creme!! It will make you wanna use it just to perfume your bathroom even when your hair are clean!! .....

    • Nina

      Really? I was so let down by that one. I didn't clean my roots at all and it didn't give me any volume, but yes the scent is amaaaazing! Love the Russian Amber shampoo and conditioner though.

  • Nina

    I've fallen out of love with dry shampoo after many years of addiction (mainly Klorane). In the end they always made my hair feel dry and kinda stiff, although the added volume was nice. I prefer having to wash everyday and have my soft natural hair with movement and less crazy volume. According to some hair specialists, dry shampoo is NOT good for the scalp/follicles. It was becoming an expensive habit too, as I used up a can in a month (and Klorane is expensive here).

    Anyway, so true what you say about Batiste - the "tropical" versions STINK! Seriously, that smell almost choked me.

  • Behind the Mirror

    Batiste Dry Shampoo is still my favorite! It can't be beat, last year I put up a post with some great photos about my love for Batiste. Check it out sometime -

    http://behindthemirrorbeauty.com/2012/12/09/it-doesnt-matter-i-love-it/

  • Sylvie

    Corn starch or arrow root powder. If you want it to be darker, add cocoa powder. BOOM

    • http://clickwatchwrite.com/ Hannah M.

      Fine-milled rice flour also works! The rice starch turns translucent when it absorbs oil. Put in it a salt shaker so it's easy to apply. Easy-peasy! :)

  • Three Girls One Apple

    Always wanted to try dry shampoo but not sure if it will work just as good on thick hair with curls. If so, please let me know. Would love to try the best one. Thanks for sharing from 3girls1apple.com

  • Heather

    I am curious whether the Bumble one is actually a re-packaging of their original dry shampoo which was fabulous, but got replaced by their awful dry shampoo in the spray can. If it is, I'm in!!

  • Jani

    Did you try the Philip Kingsley One More Day dry shampoo? It's supposed to be great. I haven't tried it. My go to dry shampoo is Alterna Caviar Anti Aging (hate that they call it anti aging!) dry shampoo. It is a powder so I just put some in my hands and rub it through the top of my head and use the nozzle to concentrate some on the roots and scalp and rub it in. It does not leave a residue. I am completely inept at spraying really anything on my hair so the Alterna has been a real savior.

  • jang geun gulk

    I was suffered from hair loss problem I can use Thick hair shampoo Is it right or wrong?

  • Bells

    I SWEAR by the René Furterer Naturia Dry Shampoo! It makes my hair look like I just had a blowout, with lots of volume, not limp anymore. The scent is also very mild, not at all cloying like with some dry shampoos, and no white powdered head! A winner :)

  • Michelle

    believe it or not, Makeup Forever's Transulent HD Powder works great. In a pinch, I use an old powder brush-- work generous amount into roots and shake out. It is pure silica-- common ingredient in all the listed dry shampoos. :-)

  • Courtney

    Dry shampoo is amazing! I use it frequently and do not know what I would do without it!
    http://www.loveandclothing.com

  • http://phloxy88.blogspot.co.uk/ hello phloxy

    I definitely fall under the category 'For People Who Love
    Drugstores' i have recently tried out the Aussie dry shampoo. I love it, I’ve pondered over the idea but I have reached a decision and i am waving good bye to Batiste, no more powder cloud for me!! Great post! x

PRODUCTS MENTIONED

Alterna
ALTERNA ‘Bamboo Style’ Cleanse Extend Translucent Dry Shampoo
CLEAN
CLEAN – Original Dry Shampoo
Klorane
Klorane Dry Shampoo with Nettle
Batiste
Batiste Dry Shampoo, Original Scent
Orlando Pita
Orlando Pita Revive Instant Boost
Bumble and bumble
Bumble Pret a Powder
Rene Furterer
Rene Furterer Naturia Dry Shampoo
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