In a way that only she can, Ellen brought up many valid-yet-hysterical points about dry shampoo in a recent opening monologue. If you’re a dry shampoo fence-sitter like me, check out her monologue below and get ready for the jig of glee that ensues when your hesitations are finally put into words (because now we can discuss them!).
To recap: The concept of dry shampoo is confusing. As Ellen points out, how does putting more product in your hair clean it? Aren’t you then just adding another layer of dirt? And how busy are we that we can’t take a few minutes out to wash our hair?
The truth is, most of us wash our hair too much, which leads to stripping your hair of important oils, drying out your scalp and bringing on dandruff (dun, dun, dunnnn). It’s a vicious cycle that leads to excess product usage to fix the problems being created, when all that’s really needed is a shampoo detox. Dry shampoo is a fab way to spread out time between shampoos without your tresses feeling uber-gross. (Though technically, dry shampoo doesn’t clean your hair per se: It makes it look clean and makes it easier to style between shampoos.)
How long you go between shampoos depends on your hair and habits. “The finer your hair, the less time you’ll be able to go without showing the effects (oily, limp locks),” says beauty expert Alexis Wolfer. “Slowly extend the length of time between washes, though, and your scalp will adjust. No one will be the wiser.” The thicker, curlier or more processed your hair, the longer you can go between washes since the oils take longer to travel down your hair shaft.
According to Wolfer, powder and spray dry shampoos operate with the same principle: Absorb oil and add volume. “I like spray because you get a more even application (not powdery spots!), and can apply it to the lengths of your hair as well for added volume and texture,” she says.
How to use dry shampoo
- DO spray a minimum of six inches away from the roots. This will help prevent buildup.
- DON’T apply too much. “You can always apply more so start slowly, or you’ll end up with dull-looking locks,” says Wolfer.
- DO brush it out if you’ve accidentally crossed the line. “If you do apply too much, a good brush will help clear the air (err, hair),” says Wolfer.
- DON’T style right away. Wait at least two minutes before you work it through your hair. Use your fingertips to add texture and volume before you brush and blow dry.
- DO use it as a styling product. Dry shampoo has a knack for pumping up the volume, not to mention giving bangs a serious refresher.
- DON’T spray it haphazardly. Focus specifically on your root area, since it’s ultimately the greasiest during a shampoo hiatus.
- DO experiment. “Different textures, application mechanisms and brands will feel and wear differently,” says Wolfer. “I have one I use when I just need a refresh, one I use for volume and another I use for some serious control.”
- DON’T use it instead of regular shampoo. Nothing beats regular shampoo when cleaning dirt and oils out of your hair. If you’ve used dry shampoo twice in a row, rotate back to your regular shampoo.
For thin hair
Herbal Essences Naked Dry Shampoo (drugstore.com, $7)
This line specializes in using ingredients that don’t weigh down your locks. In other words, bring on the volume!
and/or dry hair
Suave Professionals Waterless Foam Shampoo (drugstore.com, $3)
This dry shampoo goes on like a mousse and leaves your hair silky, thanks to aloe and jojoba oils.
For dark hair
Bumble and Bumble Brown Hair Powder (sephora.com, $35)
A tinted dry shampoo that won’t make you look like George Washington.