How You Should Actually Be Using Dry Shampoo

by Miki Hayes

If you've never learned how to use dry shampoo, it might seem like witchcraft. A product that cleans without water? Impossible. Maybe you've even tried it once and it didn't seem to work. But there are secrets, my friend, to make this magical product work for you. The first is knowing what type of dry-shampoo ingredients work best for you. Some can get away with aluminum starch, which is the most common oil-absorbing ingredient in dry shampoos. Others, like moi, require rice starch, which is not always included.

Once you know what dry shampoo will work best for you, there are a few steps to follow (and tricks to incorporate) that are not always listed in the directions. After following the routine that will actually degrease your locks and add volume to your 'do, you can reap some pretty awesome benefits. The most obvious one is that you can go longer without having to wash your hair in the shower. Being able to skip a wash is not only helpful if you're crunched for time but also for the overall health of your hair. Another benefit of using dry shampoo is all of your new styling options. Braids and updos behave better with unwashed hair, and the added texture and volume from dry shampoo will help your hairstyles look and hold even better. So if you're ready to take hair's game (and health) to the next level, here's how to get the most out of your dry shampoo.

1. Spray

If you've chosen an aerosol form, start by shaking the can vigorously. It's important that the contents are well mixed, so if you're not sure you've shaken it enough, shake it a little more. Then begin spraying it four to six inches away from the roots of your hair or wherever you think it's a little too oily (avoid mid-shaft to ends, though). You'll want to lift sections of your hair and spray at the roots but not the scalp. If too much product is sprayed (and later rubbed) on your scalp, it can cause excess buildup and might be itchy.

If you've chosen a powder form, you can either sprinkle the product directly onto your hair, or onto a kabuki brush and sweep it on your hair. Again, make sure to apply it to different sections of your hair, aiming for greasy parts but not your scalp. If you accidentally apply too much, just tip your head over a sink and lightly shake off the excess, or lightly blow-dry your hair to remove the excess.

2. Wait

If you're totally crunched for time, you can skip this step, but the longer you can wait with the product in your hair, the better. This is because the starches (or whatever absorbing ingredient used) will have more time to soak up the oils on your hair. If you want, you can even sleep in dry shampoo so it can be working for you overnight. But try to wait at least two minutes (five to ten is better though!) before moving on to the next step.

3. Rub

Once you've waited a bit, work the product into your roots with your fingers. Just make sure to wash and dry your hands first so you're not rubbing more oil from your fingertips into your hair. After you've finished this step, make sure to not touch your hair again to prevent adding more oil from your fingers.

4. Brush

Finally, brush your hair through to ensure there is not any excess product left in your hair. A bristle brush will work the best for this step.

5. Love

Oh, and don't forget to show your dry shampoo a little love for the extra volume and day of not washing your hair.

Images: Miki Hayes