What's The Best Dry Shampoo? I Tried 12 Different Kinds So You Don't Have To

I'd been wondering for a while: What is it that makes a certain dry shampoo the best dry shampoo? When I was first introduced to the idea of dry shampoo, I was pumped. Since I've always been a bit lazy when it comes to the hair department, dry shampoo seemed like a god-send. However, the first can I purchased did nothing for my oily hair. At the time, I didn't know about the different types of ingredients, I just assumed that dry shampoo was a gimmick and would never work for me. Let's fast forward a couple years when I tried a few more thanks to a beauty box subscription service. I was totally surprised when one actually revived my dull, unwashed locks. There must be a magical ingredient that makes certain dry shampoo brands superior to others. I had to know which dry shampoos work the best, so I put 12 to the test. 

As with basically all beauty products, each user might have a different experience and different preferred ingredients. But after testing a variety of different dry shampoos, I can say there does seem to be a secret ingredient that sets some apart from the rest: rice starch. While almost all dry shampoos contain aluminum starch as the main ingredient to suck up excess oil from hair, I found that those containing sativa (rice) starch in addition to, or in place of, aluminum starch worked better and longer. 

So if you've ever felt like dry shampoo just does not work for you, maybe what you tried was just missing that key ingredient. Take a look at these 12 to see if one (or more!) might do the trick for you. So you can better frame your needs, here's a little more about my hair:

I usually wash my hair every other day (on the morning of Day Three), and can get through Day Two without extra help. So for the purpose of this experiment, unless otherwise noted, I applied each of these dry shampoos on the morning of Day Three to see how far it would take me past my usual wash time. If I felt I could make it through the night, I applied more on the morning of Day Four. Each time I applied the dry shampoo, I targeted the same four general areas across the top of my head. I followed up by rubbing in the product with my fingertips and brushing through my hair to ensure everything was as evenly dispersed as possible. 

All images on the left are after my hair had been freshly washed and air-dried. (I used the same all-natural shampoo and conditioner for the duration of this experiment.) Images on the right are the last application of dry shampoo I used before washing my hair. The captions below each picture dictate what day I made it through without washing my hair. 

1. Batiste Hint of Color Dry Shampoo

Batiste Hint of Color Dry Shampoo, $9, Amazon

Day One versus Day Four Hair

This dry shampoo had no white cast thanks to the hint of color it provided. It smelled good, although a little strong, and gave a fair amount of volume. I was very comfortable with how my hair appeared on Day Four, and believe I could have gone even another day without washing my hair. However, the buildup of dry shampoo that I accumulated by Day Four made it so I wasn't comfortable not washing my hair for a whole extra day. 

Aluminum starch: No

Rice starch: Yes

Davines Hair Refresher

Davines Hair Refresher, $18, Amazon

Day One versus Day Four Hair

This dry shampoo did have a white cast, but it was easy to rub in. The scent was pleasant without being overpowering, and it provided a good amount of volume. Again, I felt I could have extended my no-wash period to Day Five using this dry shampoo, but was not comfortable with the amount of buildup I had by this point. 

Aluminum starch: No

Rice starch: Yes

Dove Refresh+Care Volume Dry Shampoo

Dove Refresh + Care Volume Dry Shampoo, $4, Walmart

Day One versus Day Three Hair

This dry shampoo had a white cast that easily rubbed in. Again, the smell was nice without being too much, and it provided the best volume of all the dry shampoos I tested. However, this one only took me through Day Three. Although the above picture was taken the morning of, by the end of the day, my hair was far greasier than I would have liked without a proper wash on Day Four.

Aluminum starch: Yes

Rice starch: No

Dry Bar Detox Dry Shampoo 

Dry Bar Detox Dry Shampoo, $23 , The Dry Bar

Day One versus Day Four Hair

This dry shampoo also had a white cast that easily rubbed in. However, the scent was a little too strong for my personal taste. It gave decent volume, and I also felt I could have made it to Day Five if it weren't for the buildup. 

Aluminum starch: Yes

Rice starch: Yes

Garnier Volume Extend Instant Bodifier Dry Shampoo

Garnier Volume Extend Dry Shampoo, $5, Amazon

Day One versus Day Two Hair

This dry shampoo had a lighter white cast that easily rubbed in, and smelled very nice. It gave a good amount of volume, but unfortunately I didn't feel it could carry me through Day Three without a wash. 

Aluminum starch: Yes

Rice starch: No

Herbal Essences Naked Dry Shampoo

Herbal Essences Naked Dry Shampoo, $5, Amazon

Day One versus Day Three Hair

This dry shampoo had a white cast that could be rubbed in. It had a pleasant scent and provided some volume. However, by the end of Day Three, my hair needed a wash. 

Aluminum starch: No

Rice starch: No

Tapioca starch: Yes

Kenra Platinum Dry Shampoo

Kenra Platinum Dry Shampoo, $15, Amazon

Day One versus Day Two Hair

This dry shampoo had little white cast and easily rubbed in. The scent was nice, and it gave good volume. However, I felt I needed more product than usual to bring my hair back to a non-greasy state, and I still didn't feel confident taking it through Day Three. This was the only dry shampoo that contained rice starch that did not perform as well as the others. I believe this is because it was significantly lower on the ingredients list than the other products.

Aluminum starch: Yes

Rice starch: Yes

Lush No Drought Dry Shampoo

No Drought Dry Shampoo, $16, Lush

Day One versus Day Four Hair

This dry shampoo was a little different from the others. Instead of an aerosol, this was a powder that I had to sprinkle on my roots and rub in. The white cast took a little longer to dissipate because the powder is applied in a more concentrated manner than a spray. The scent was nice and light, and it provided some volume. This product contained different oil-absorbing ingredients. Again, I thought I could make it to Day Five if I didn't care so much about the buildup. 

Aluminum starch: No

Rice starch: No

Talc: Yes

Cornflour: Yes

Not Your Mother's Clean Freak Refreshing Dry Shampoo

Not Your Mother's Clean Freak Dry Shampoo, $9, Amazon

Day One versus Day Two Hair

This dry shampoo had a white cast that required a little more effort to rub in, and I wasn't a fan of the scent. It gave OK volume, but this product couldn't even get me an hour into Day Three. I didn't notice that any oiliness was alleviated from using this product. 

Aluminum starch: Yes

Rice starch: No

Redken Pillow Proof Blow Dry Two Day Extender & Oil-Absorbing Dry Shampoo

Redken Pillow Proof Dry Shampoo, $17, Amazon

Day One versus Day Three Hair

This dry shampoo had a severe white cast that I just could not rub in or brush out, so I wouldn't recommend it to those without blonde hair (which would better hide the white). The scent and volume were both OK, and I was able to make it through Day Three without needing a wash. If the product were easier to rub in and brush through, I might have been able to take this through Day Four. 

Aluminum starch: Yes

Rice starch: No

Suave Professionals Moroccan Infusion Weightless Dry Shampoo

Suave Professionals Moroccan Infusion Weightless, $5, Walmart

Day One versus Day Two Hair

This dry shampoo surprisingly had no white cast. It smelled good and provided OK volume, however it did not balance my oiliness enough to carry me into Day Three. 

Aluminum starch: Yes

Rice starch: No 

V76 by Vaughn Barber's Powder

V76 by Vaughn Barber's Powder, $25, V76

Day One versus Day Four Hair

This dry shampoo was like Lush's in that it had different oil-absorbing ingredients, and I had to sprinkle a powder into my roots. However, the sifter on this was wider than that on Lush's, so it was hard to not deposit too much product, and therefore took me a longer time to apply and rub it in. It had a light, pleasant smell, but didn't really give me too much volume. If I had more time to get ready in the morning and didn't mind the buildup, this could have taken me to Day Five. However, it only took me halfway through Day Four before I had to touch it up again because I spent more time than I wanted (and apparently didn't apply enough) in the morning. 

Aluminum starch: No

Rice starch: No

Arrowroot powder: Yes

$25, v76.com

Images: Miki Hayes

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