Does Organic Dry Shampoo Really Make a Difference?

Having that label doesn't necessarily mean it's more effective, or conversely, that it's toxic without it.

Ah, the Big “O.” As consumers, we’ve certainly come a long way in the natural and organic movement, with people being more mindful of what, and how, they use food and agricultural products. From fruits and veggies to household staples to clothing and even our daily cup of coffee, the word “organic” has been a standard that more and more of us are starting to seek out for its benefits.

However, for better or worse, this hyper-awareness for organic consumption can sometimes make people overly discriminatory with the products we use, particularly from those in the beauty sphere. To wit: A lot of debate has been had over “green” beauty products, such as organic dry shampoo (and yes, we’ve had a discussion on gluten-free shampoo as well). But what exactly goes into a beauty product that’s been labeled certified organic? Scroll on for a quick primer:

organic dry shampoo ingredients
Organic certification was set in place for quality assurance and, in the early days, to encourage commerce.

To be labeled certified organic, a food product must have passed certain regulations and standards on growing, storing, packaging, processing and shipping, as well as on the feeding and breeding of livestock. Generally, these standards involve avoiding the use of genetically modified seeds, certain pesticides, hormones, radiation, fertilizer, antibiotics and other chemicals.

But what does this have to do with my hair products, you ask? Currently, according to the US Department of Agriculture, the “FDA does not define or regulate the term “organic” as it applies to cosmetics, body care, or personal care products.” Dry shampoos, as well as all other beauty products, can, however, apply for this certification if it is made of agricultural ingredients. Now, this is a highly regulated process; a USDA-accredited organic certifying agent must verify the operations and handlers of said ingredients, as well as certify the manufacturer of the final product. Organic dry shampoo then, to be marketed as such (yes, with that much-sought-after label), should have at least 95 percent organically produced ingredients (the remaining ingredients must be non-agricultural). A lot of checks and balances are in place for sure.

Dry Shampoo: An Oil Absorber, First and Foremost

Dry shampoo is primarily meant to absorb excess oils on the hair and scalp, and to revitalize a hairstyle without the use of water. A clay ingredient, as well as sodium bicarbonate (or baking soda!) is at the heart of most formulations. That said, choosing an organic dry shampoo doesn’t necessarily guarantee a better dry shampoo experience, i.e. a refreshed feeling, as well as a convenient way to re-infuse hair with volume and bounce without water. There are also some so-called organic dry shampoo formulas in the market that claim to be so because the rest of their ingredients, i.e. all the other add-ons aside from their active ingredients, are agricultural and thus, certifiable.

For those simply looking for a safe, efficient way to refresh their strands without washing, a non-organic option can be just as effective—and, more often than not, more affordable. Be on the lookout for brands that use the certified organic (and vegan!) labels as a marketing ploy more than anything else, and be diligent in determining what you really want out of your personal care must-haves. Only then can we really say you’ve made an informed, and thus truly beneficial, decision.