Confused about how to use dry shampoo? I get it. People rave about how amazing it is, but unless you’re using it right it seems to be pointless or just weighs your hair down.
Chances are, you’ve been using it off and on for years but have you really understood the best way to use it? Does your hair feel clean and fresh or just overloaded with product, greasy and heavy. Or worse, do you end up with chalk white roots?
I used to think that I knew the right way to use it until I talked to my hairstylist (the lovely Jenna from Cajah Salon)! I told her how I used it every once in a while but it didn’t work for my hair.
Turns out I was not only using it wrong, but there are so many more ways to use it than just in the morning to soak up some extra oil!
There are also lots of common mistakes people make when using it — many of which I was doing! Tune in below for some dry shampoo tips and tricks!
What Is Dry Shampoo and How Does It Work?
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Dry shampoo (as the name implies) is a type of product that reduces hair greasiness without having to wash your hair. It comes in a variety of forms: there’s powder dry shampoo, foam dry shampoo, dry shampoo paste and spray dry shampoo, but you can most commonly find it in aerosol cans.
It doesn’t actually clean your hair, so it’s important to not use it as a replacement for regular hair-washing — just apply it between washes.
You can also make your own! If you search on Pinterest or just good ole Google, you’ll find a ton of DIY recipes for dry shampoo.
I’ve never tried them, but I have a few friends who swear by it! It’s usually made with some sort of starch blend, which helps absorb oil, dirt and product buildup.
9 Tips for How to Use Dry Shampoo
Here are a few tips and tricks and some of my favorite brands!
1. Pick the Right Type of Dry Shampoo
There are a variety of different types of dry shampoo from aerosol, spray, powder, and foam. Depending on your hair type, and your goals, you’ll want to get different types of dry shampoo.
Fine hair (like mine) does best with an aerosol or spray version. You don’t want something that will be heavy and weigh your hair down, and these versions are great because they dry fast and add volume.
Powder versions are great for thicker or oilier hair. There’s even color tinted dry shampoos so you don’t have streaks of white in your black hair!
Men can also benefit from dry shampoo, whether they want more texture in their style, want a boost after a workout, or feel like their hair falls flat in the middle of the day. They should also choose their product type based on their hair type and goals.
Your best bet is to read the care label of the dry shampoo bottle because like most hair products, it will tell you the type of results you should see.
2. Apply Dry Shampoo to Your Scalp
When using dry shampoo in the morning on day-old (or few-day-old) hair, first shake up the aerosol can. This helps mix up the shampoo, preventing too much white residue and helping the shampoo work best.
Then apply it all over your scalp. It’s best to separate your hair into different layers or sections.
I typically pull all the hair from mid-ear up out of the way and spray my scalp. Then I go up a few inches, apply, and then finish with the top layer.
Make sure you’re actually getting in on your scalp and not just on the hair. Don’t get the ends of your hair, that won’t do anything if you’re trying to eliminate excess oil!
3. Don’t Spray Too Close!
Hold the dry shampoo 10-12 inches from your scalp, and then spray it. If you get it too close, you’ll likely end up with too much product on your scalp, which will cause buildup.
Be sure to also spray it lightly, and don’t go overboard. Think of it like spray painting — you don’t want a messy layer of product that will drip down and cause a mess.
Apply it to the spots that are more oily, and start with a little rather than a lot. You can always add more.
Use a sweeping motion when spraying to make sure it’s not concentrated in one spot. You don’t want a big white patch on your head!
4. Wait a Minute
This next step is one that most of us forget to do. Wait a few minutes to allow it dry. You want to give it a minute to work! It needs time soak up the oil and do it’s job!
5. Use Your Fingers!
After you’ve waited a minute, use your fingers to work it into your scalp. This helps it actually do its job rather than just sitting on the surface.
If you still have some visible residue, comb or brush through your hair to distribute it more evenly. Better yet, some professionals recommend doing a quick blow-dry to up the volume and get rid of any residue from your scalp.
6. Use Dry Shampoo Before Bed
Another simple tip is to apply it before bed. The night before your second- or third-day hair, brush your hair and then apply dry shampoo at the roots. (Use the method I mentioned above to get it throughout your hair.)
I often pull it up into a loose top bun with a scrunchie (this pack of 54 for under $7 is my fav!) to help keep some volume in it too!
Doing this helps absorb oil as it’s produced. That way you’re not waking up to more oil on your scalp, because it’s working while you sleep! If you feel like your hair is a bit greasy when you wake up, you can add more in the morning if needed.
This trick has transformed my hair! When I do this, I wake up with volume in my hair rather than having it flat and limp. This is my favorite trick!
7. Spray For Texture
Apply a dry shampoo that has some grip or hold (this texturizing dry shampoo is my favorite!) for added texture. This way it can double as a texture spray and eliminate one more product you need to add (and one less product to purchase).
I apply this not only at the scalp but also within my layers to add volume throughout my hair. I always curl or wave my hair in layers.
Once I’m finished with a layer, I apply the texture spray in before letting down more hair.
You can also spray it on bobby pins or other hair accessories before putting them in your hair to give them a little extra grip. This is helpful for people with fine hair whose accessories tend to slip out.
8. Apply it Before You Back Comb
Apply your dry shampoo at your roots before back combing. This will help to keep it from slipping out!
I do this when I put my hair extensions in. Nobody wants a weave falling out at dinner! 😉
Back combing is great for adding lift and volume to your hair. When you marry that with dry shampoo you can fake a ton of volume super easily!
9. Use it to Add Bulk to Hairstyles
Want to add (fake) thickness to your hair? Spray a dry shampoo all over your hair (not just the roots) before braiding or putting it in a top knot.
After it dries, do whatever hairstyle you wanted to do. Then, gently pull on the outer stands of the braid or bun to get a bulkier look.
As you pull out the strands, the product will prevent it from all falling out and causing you to start over. Be sure to tug gently so you don’t overdo it!
I love this trick for my favorite hairstyle — it’s my secret weapon to fake thick hair!
Let’s move on to my favorite products. Here are some recommended products to try.
Best Dry Shampoos and Dry Texturizing Sprays
1. Best Dry Texturizing Spray: Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray
I swear by this one dry texturizing spray. It is more expensive than a lot of dry shampoos and texturizing sprays, but I’m a believer.
If you have thick hair you may not require this but for someone with fine hair, this dramatically makes a difference. My hair looks way more thick and voluminous with this spray!
Pro tip: Try a travel size first before investing in a full size. No sense in wasting money if you don’t love it!
2. Best Dry Shampoo: Oribe Gold Lust Dry Shampoo
All the same sentiments as above except this one is perfect for those days when you don’t need as much volume or texture.
I put this one on my roots when I’m doing updos or just having a simple style. It has a fragrance retention technology to keep the amazing Oribe scent in your hair all day long.
*Oribe also has an amazing hair powder for adding volume!
3. Best Dry Shampoo for Adding Volume: Living Proof Perfect Hair Day
I love how this one smells! It does a fabulous job at actually cleaning my hair and making it feel fresh.
It features fast-absorbing powders to soak up oil and sweat. It doesn’t weigh it down or cause it to feel heavy.
And bonus, it neutralizes odor and has a time-release fragrance that keeps hair smelling clean all day!
4. Best Texture Spray on a Budget: Kristin Ess Dry Finish Working Texture Spray
This is a great lower price option to the Oribe dry texturing spray. It’s light with some good texture!
I use this one for my day to day so I don’t use up my more expensive Oribe spray when it’s only the kids who see my hair. 😉
You can easily pick this one up at Target, which is an added bonus!
I love all things R&Co, and this dry shampoo is no different. I also use R&Co’s Shine and Texture spray, and it has been a game changer with styling my hair. This product is just as amazing.
And let’s be real, the packaging is amazing on these.
6. Best Dry Shampoo for Dark Hair: Moroccanoil Dark Tones
Brunettes, this one is for you! They have an option for dark hair that doesn’t leave a white residue or give brunettes a dull, powdery look.
I think Moroccanoil is the only brand that creates a dark tone option!
7. Best Value: Tresemme Volumizing
I actually apply this one at night (see #2 above). It’s very inexpensive, so I don’t feel bad using it before sleeping, and it does a good job at adding volume! 🙂
Dry Shampoo FAQ
However, using it for a few days to eliminate the amount of heat used on your hair (in the form of hair driers or curling irons/flat irons) can definitely prevent you from damaging your hair more from heat.
Just be sure to continue to actually wash your hair and massage your scalp when you do so to ensure you get any product buildup cleaned.
The correct way to use dry shampoo is to spray your roots with the can 10-12 inches from your hair, let it sit and massage it in to your scalp.
You can also reference the care instructions on your specific product to see what it says about application as well.
Whenever your hair is feeling oily or you need a lift! Typically this is best on day 2 or 3 (or even 4 or 5) hair.
Yes, you are supposed to rub dry shampoo after you let it sit for a few minutes. The key is to let it sit so it has to start working. Then rub it in using your fingertips to really soak up the excess oil.
You should leave dry shampoo in for minimum of 30 seconds to activate and cleanse your hair but upwards of 1-2 minutes is great.
I hope this helps you find a brand that you love and officially know how to apply dry shampoo!
Now that you know how to use dry shampoo correctly, let’s tackle some other hair products! Check out this post for everything you need to know about using purple shampoo on dry hair, and if you’re looking for non-toxic shampoos, head here for 15 natural organic shampoo brands.
Thanks so much for reading!