How to Use Dry Shampoo, Once and For All

Eunice Lucero | 24 April 2016

We bet you’re wondering how you’re doing it wrong.

The struggle was definitely real: Kids today are lucky enough to have never bootlegged some baby powder to use on their strands. Before we first learned how to use dry shampoo, we all started with the real stuff, a.k.a. talcum powder.

Although our enterprising ancestors took to the use of clay powder and starch to deodorize their wigs—giving birth to the first-generation dry shampoos—it regained popularity in the 1940s when women started looking for ways to refresh their elaborate hairstyles without ruining them with water. Then came the matte-everything trend of the 1990s, where clever girls and guys took to sprinkling baby powder directly on their crowns to revive and punkify locks without that freshly-rinsed sheen.

Cut to today’s iterations, which include both aerosol and simple powder versions, which are used primarily for mopping up excess grease on our scalp without wetting—a literal dry-clean, if you will. Read on to learn how to use dry shampoo and some of our top dry shampoo favorites.

How to Use Dry Shampoo: A Simple Tutorial


Start with unwashed hair.

It’s best to use dry shampoo on hair that is in need of a refresh. Use it after the gym, or when you just don’t have enough time to get a hair wash.


Part hair.

Using a comb or a brush, part your hair into small sections, focusing on your the oiliest areas.



Hold your dry shampoo about 8 inches away from your head and spray to the sections you parted.


Massage product in.

Now that you’ve sprayed all your sections, massage your head and allow the product to fully absorb any oil and greasy residue.



Et voila: you’ve taken care of any greasy strands and can now style your hair any way you like.

How To Use Dry Shampoo Tips

how to use dry shampoo on waves
Dry shampoo is the perfect midday refresh for limp or stringy locks. Bonus: It has a slightly mattifying effect too, which we’re all about. Photo credit:

Dry shampoo usually comes in a powder form and typically has starch or alcohol as its main drying ingredient. A lot of brands now come administered in an aerosol formula, which is super effective when using the product to revive your hair and scalp during a particularly muggy day—it sprays on much more evenly, without the mess of powder shampoos of yore.

Some faves:


A few dos and don’ts when using dry shampoo:

Do use only a few times each week, and only as a reprieve from the cleansing benefits of regular shampoo or as a midday refresh. Although your hair might benefit from the occasional break from water-washing, its effects can plateau after a certain number of uses, usually after three days.

Don’t use dry shampoo on dripping wet hair. Its main advantages come from sopping up excess oil, and not as a styling product on wet hair.

Do let the product settle on your scalp, and don’t panic at the sight of white. Spraying the product too close to your head (< 6”) can give quite a potent burst of product at the onset; feel free to tousle your roots once this happens, and rest assured the product will disperse accordingly. Ed’s tip: Try forming a capital letter L with your arm; this is approximately the right distance.

Do keep an emergency mini-bottle in your purse, gym locker or office drawer for an on-the-go root lift. This can prove especially handy, particularly during long busy days where a shower is nowhere in sight.

Do start by lifting your hair and spritz the product on the roots. This helps focus its drying properties directly on the scalp, while providing some bounce and lift at the same time.

Do use dry shampoo as a fast and easy bang degreaser. A fringe is particularly susceptible to getting oily and stringy because it lays flat on our actual foreheads. A simple spritz of the product onto the hairline of a fringe can refresh and reinvigorate your locks.