What Does Dry Shampoo Do to Your Hair? Benefits, Drawbacks, and Efficacy

As an avid user of dry shampoo, I can testify to just how amazing it is. Hair pros everywhere tell you not to wash your hair too often, but then you’re left with a greasy look. The only accessible solution is dry shampoo. It seems like a magical answer, but the question remains: What does dry shampoo do?

Whether you are touching up your roots after a crazy workout, looking for that extra volume to spice up a flat look, or you haven’t washed in three days, you should know what you’re getting into before using dry shampoo.

So, let’s break down how it works, its (many) benefits, and the unfortunate drawbacks to see if dry shampoo is worth all the hype.


What Does Dry Shampoo Do?

dry shampoo

Dry shampoo cannot replace your regular shampoo or even wash your hair. Although these products give off the appearance of clean hair, it is very important to still wash it at least once a week.

Dry shampoo works by using alcohol or starch as an ingredient to soak up excess oils in your hair. These excess oils come from your roots, where your hair follicles are located. From these follicles come sebum, which your hair needs to stay healthy. However, too much of it creates a greasy and dirty appearance.

By absorbing these oils, dry shampoo covers up the fact that you didn’t have time to wash that day and makes your hair look fresh. But it really just adds a layer of product on top of the oils instead of getting rid of them.

As most dry shampoos come in the form of aerosol sprays with perfumes to make them smell good, it’s easy to simply spray the product on your roots. However, some also come in powder form, while others even have a tinted color added so you can choose one to match your natural hair color.


Benefits of Using Dry Shampoo

1. No Washing Required

Dry shampoo takes the time out of washing your hair, blow drying it, and then restyling it.

2. You Can Go Longer In Between Washes

This perk is great for your hair. Overwashing can make your hair very dry, so try to space out your washes with dry shampoo by a couple of days and see how long you can go.

3. Volume

If you have flat hair, dry shampoo is a great and easy way to add volume and texture. You can even use it on clean hair when styling to get the look you want! It also does a great job holding this volume all day long.



1. Buildup

drawbacks of dry shampoo

Although I love dry shampoo, I have cut down on my use due to the drawbacks. The biggest issue is that, with daily use, it can lead to residue buildup.

The buildup can also be an issue if it starts to block your hair follicles. This would take a consistent use of dry shampoo, but it could really impact hair health and growth. While it appears to clean your hair, dry shampoo actually gives it more grime and dirt, trapping everything in that clogs these follicles.

With consistent use over time, it can even lead to hair thinning and loss. This can be especially dangerous for those with already fine or thin hair. The product buildup will cause those hair types to tear. That’s not exactly the look you’re going for. Check these tips to remove hair build-up naturally.


2. Irritation

Dry shampoo is meant to dry out oil, but this oil can actually be a good thing for your scalp. The reason why hair pros recommend going longer in between washes is to let this oil naturally moisturize your hair. The ingredients in dry shampoo can dry out and irritate your scalp and hair follicles, causing your hair to be more brittle.


3. Hard to Wash Out

Once you finally do hop into the shower, you might still be left with unclean hair. The fact is, with all that buildup, you will have to really scrub to get it out. If you aren’t careful getting everything out, then the product will simply continue to build up.

I recommend using a clarifying shampoo or a scalp scrub after dry shampoo to avoid this drawback.

Try using NatureLab Perfect Shine Scalp Scrub, which does a deep clean on your scalp. This will clear out any clogged hair follicles from dry shampoo use and bring life back into your hair.


Do Dry Shampoos Actually Work?

Dry shampoo lives up to the hype by making your hair look amazing even when you don’t have time for a wash. You can get that blowout-like look in no time.

It does not wash your hair, which makes its name somewhat misleading. You have to view dry shampoo more as an additional product. These dry shampoos for wavy hair work like magic!


What to Look For

When shopping for dry shampoo, consider what is going to work best for you. If you are looking for a more environmentally friendly option, go with a powder instead of an aerosol can. If you’re looking for something not as drying, go for an all-natural option.


Here Are Some Of My Favorite Dry Shampoos:

Best Overall – Batiste Dry Shampoo

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Batiste is probably the most popular dry shampoo around, and for good reason. It works like a charm. If you are not too concerned about the drawbacks of dry shampoo and just want something that is sure to work, this is the one for you.

It is perfect if you want something in your cabinet for the occasional use in between washes or for days when you need extra volume. It smells amazing and it is easy to massage into your hair. It doesn’t leave a bad residue on your hair, either, making it easy to style.


The biggest plus for this one is the fact that it comes in tinted colors so you can match it to your hair color for blending.


Best All-natural Dry Shampoo – Rahua Voluminous Dry Shampoo

This product is great if you want to avoid a dry and irritated scalp. The conditioner is a natural version that uses clay and cassava root to absorb oil.

It still leaves you with product buildup, but it is definitely a better option if you are using dry shampoo more than once a week. Be mindful, though, of the fact that it is slightly less effective than an alcohol-based dry shampoo. You also have to massage it in more to see it absorb.


Pro Tip – Waterless Dry Conditioner

If you still want the benefits of dry shampoo but are concerned about the drying effect, try adding in a dry conditioner. Although it adds more product, this will help moisturize and soften your hair.

I love Waterless for all things hair, and its dry shampoo and conditioner do not disappoint. The dry shampoo revives dirty hair, and the conditioner detangles and hydrates. This will counteract any fear of breakage that comes with dry hair.


Final Thoughts

All in all, dry shampoo is worth the purchase. There is really no better option if you’re looking for a way to go longer in between washes. Overall, it is a great product.

The drawbacks are real, but it also offers solutions. With more all-natural products gaining popularity, it is pretty easy to find a dry shampoo that fits your needs. I recommend testing a few out to see if any irritate your scalp.

The most important things are to know to not use dry shampoo daily and to take care of your scalp. As long as you use cleansing shampoo and scalp treatments while being aware of the concerns, dry shampoo is a great product to add to your beauty routine.

I hope you enjoyed reading more about dry shampoo. Let us know what you think in the comments below.