How To Properly Apply Dry Shampoo

by Gerilyn Manago

One of the qualms I have about working out daily has to do with sweat. (I dare you to try a SoulCycle class without sweating—or using a headband.) I could wash my hair every day without feeling guilty, but I worry about stripping my scalp of its naturally-produced oils. So, in order to maintain a regular workout schedule and fabulous second-day hair, I rely on dry shampoo. But I often worry if I'm doing it right and ask myself, "how does one properly apply dry shampoo?" Because I know I'm not alone, I decided to ask celebrity hair stylist Nathan Rosenkranz for a primer so you, too, can look FLAWLESS every day.

1. Choose a type

Most dry shampoos look like a can of hairspray. (I’ve tried Batiste, Psssssst!, Klorane, R+Co, and more.) But brands like Lush and Oscar Blandi also offer loose-powder options. Personally, I find sprays to be the easiest to use—a beginner’s go-to. They distribute the product throughout your hair for an all-over cleaning. But bottles with a funnel-shaped top can be more effective. “You can be more specific as to where you want to apply the shampoo,” says Rosenkranz, who is also on the creative team at Alterna Haircare. “If you only need it at your roots, you can target just that area.”

Alterna Bamboo Style Dry Shampoo, $17, Amazon

Alterna Caviar Anti-Aging Dry Shampoo, $16, Walmart

2. Know where to apply it

If you're using dry shampoo for volume or texture, apply it throughout your hair to get the desired effect. Section off your hair like you would to insert hair extensions or clips and lightly spray from the roots to the ends. But if your goal is to absorb moisture and oils, focus your application on the scalp.

3. Master the form

Use a light hand when working with loose-powder products. If the product doesn’t dispense through a narrow nozzle, dust a small amount from your fingers to your scalp. But Rosenkranz says the most common dry shampoo mistake is with spray dry shampoos: People hold the cans too close to their heads. Ever wonder what causes the “white powder” look that everyone hates? “The formula in spray dry shampoo needs time to react in the air before hitting the head and hair,” Rosenkranz says. So be sure to following the instructions on the can—and spray at least 6 inches away.

4. Don’t overdo it

Sometimes it’s obvious: You’ll see a white streak in your brunette hair. But liberal application can also be felt. “You can always tell if you’ve applied too much because there is a grittiness at the root of the hair,” Rosenkranz says. Remember: Dry shampoo is buildable, and you can layer more as necessary. But if you apply too much from the start, it’s difficult to remove. So, only use as much as you need.

5. Be patient

Take your time. Let dry shampoo do its job. Rosenkranz recommends letting the product sit for 30 seconds to a minute before shaking it out with your fingers or brushing it through.

I've found that dry shampoo is a quick fix—a remedy that will take you from morning till, well, your 3 o'clock meeting. Don't plan on your refreshed look to last through happy hour, though. So, I like to keep a small bottle in my desk drawer at work for emergencies. It has come in handy on more than one occasion.

Images: Alterna Haircare; Giphy