Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dry Shampoo: Skip the suds for healthy hair

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Friends and family have often asked me about dry shampoo. In fact, some have even suggested I write a post about it. The whole dry shampoo topic usually comes up when I'm asked how I keep my hair healthy since I often use heat styling products, have had many straightening treatments (though I'm currently a keratin girl, which is much gentler), throw in coloring from time to time, and go for months between haircuts. Not to mention, my keratin treatment always last way longer than the estimated time frame (I can easily go six months or longer between treatments).

My number one answer is: I don't wash my hair every day*. In fact, I don't even wash my hair every other day. I'm going to make a confession: there have been weeks I have gone five days without washing my hair. Yep, I said it. And to make my confession even more shameful, I work out almost every day (at least 4-5 days a week, all during the work week). And I sweat, not glisten. Granted, on the last day or two of my five-day no-hair-washing-stints, my hair has been pulled back into a ponytail or some other such style. But I still managed just fine.

When I divulge this information, it is usually followed by a contorted face of disgust. But hey, you all asked. You want healthy hair, you gotta lay off the suds. Not everyone has to go to the extremities I've gone to. I can get away with it for two main reasons:

1. I have dry hair, not oily hair. So by day five, my hair is not clean, but it's not greasy. My bangs might be a little oily, but it's not anything a cute braided style can't easily hide.

2. I use dry/waterless shampoo to absorb any sweat from my workouts and keep my hair smelling clean and fresh.

I don't always go without washing my hair for five days, but typically, I can easily go three to four days without batting an eyelash. If I've had a particularly long work week, you can bet I'll push it out as far as I can, preferring to zone out on the couch when I get home to having to wash and style my hair. I have to do this task at night/after work because I just can't fit it into my morning routine (i.e., after my workout) and still make it to the office in time. So that's my excuse. And to be honest it's been working out.

• I get more bang for my buck when it comes to expensive hair treatments (e.g., keratin, coloring) because my infrequent washing keeps them from fading away.

• Save money on shampoo and conditioner (especially if you like your salon brands)

• Skipping washes keeps the natural oils from my scalp on my hair nourishing my strands and making them strong, which I think has something to do with why I can extend the time between haircuts (unless I want to keep my hair short, then I just have to go get it cut) because there is less damage to curtail.

• I keep my scalp from over producing oils by not washing them away all the time therefore managing oiliness. For gals with oily hair, use dry shampoo every other day (on the day you don't wash) and your hair should become less oily over time. You'll either be able to use less dry shampoo or add yet another day between washes.

Now that you have all my reasons for skipping the suds. Here is how you can do it without looking like you haven't washed your hair. That's the trick after all. People who compliment my hair often are completely unaware that the shiny hair they are commenting on is usually on its second or third day sans wash.

Pick a dry shampoo that works well for you! I am partial to the kinds in powder form, I think they work well for all hair types. I feel like they absorb any excess oil without leaving a film on the hair that makes my hair feel sticky and, well, unclean. I'm partial to the Oscar Blandi brand, but I'm aware it's a bit pricey. I tend to buy the travel size to mitigate the cost, but it's still not cheap. I've heard people will use baby powder as an alternative to expensive dry shampoo brands. I have not tried this method myself, but have heard many people tout it as an option. The thing to be wary about with powder dry shampoo is that you have to make sure you blend it into your hair well or else you have obvious white powder on your hair. This is especially true if you choose to use baby powder. Apply with care or you will look like someone dumped flower on your head! I am still on the hunt for a dry shampoo in powder form in a drugstore brand (or at least a drugstore price). If anyone knows of one, please tell me!

Dry shampoos also come in a spray form, which pretty much works the same as an aerosol hairspray. The only one of these types I have personally tried was the Tresemme brand, and it just did not work for my hair. I felt like it left too much of a residue-like film on my strands, which made them sticky and difficult to manage. This would have been OK if I was going to put my hair up, but on the first day I use dry shampoo, I usually still leave my hair down. However, the Tresemme dry shampoo in the aerosol can says it is geared more toward oily/straight hair, so maybe that is why it did not work for me. While I style my hair straight, it's certainly not oily. I gave it to my sister, who does have oily hair, and she had a similar experience. I'd be interested to know if anyone has tried and liked an aerosol dry shampoo.

I've recently started using the Tresemme waterless foam shampoo, which is marketed for dry or curly hair, and I like it alright. It has a fresh scent and I don't feel like it leaves a lot of residue. It's light and doesn't totally ruin my straight strands (though I still need to do a flat iron touch up after I use it, which is OK with me). It's about half the price of the travel-size Oscar Blandi dry shampoo (pictured above), so I can save my travel sized one for when I go on trips now. I also like that the Tresemme one is more easily accessible. I think the mousse waterless (it's not dry since it’s a mousse) shampoo would work really well for someone who wanted to perk up next-day curls. It certainly won't weigh them down, and may even help tame some unruly frizz.

Dry shampoo isn't a new thing on the market. Women were using talc in their hair to get through the week back when it was customary to go to the beauty parlor once a week to have your hair done (washed and styled). These days, dry shampoos also give the added benefit of a fresh scent and some formulas also help add volume to your strands to help you stretch a blow dry out for a few more days.

Alright, so here's what you do with any dry shampoo:

• Lift your hair and apply the shampoo to the roots so that it can absorb oil and sweat

• Hold for a few seconds to let that powder/spray do its absorbing

• Brush your hair to remove any residue or chalkiness (from powders). Do not brush if you are restyling curls, simply run mousse product through strands with your fingers

If after using a dry shampoo, you still feel awkward about leaving your hair down, take advantage of the texture you've just added in to your hair to create a cute style, like a volumized ponytail, or a pretty braided style. The texture in your hair (or product build up if you are just going with unwashed strands sans dry shampoo) will help hold the style in place. This is usually what I do on the last day or two of my wash-free cycle.

What are your thoughts on dry shampoo? Did you find this blog post helpful?

*This is one of the main things I don't do, but its not the only thing I do for healthy, shiny hair. I also use good hair products (shampoos, frizz fighting products, heat protectant) and tools (e.g., professional flat iron) and try to eat a healthy diet.


  1. I tried the Tresemme aerosol version and didn't like it at all. It seemed to leave a residue behind. The aerosol brand I really like is Batiste, sold at Sally Beauty. Here is a post I did about it: It sells for about $8 and it works really well for me.

  2. Thanks Amber! I guess it wasn't just my sister and I who didnt have much lucky with the Treseme aerosol dry shampoo. I'll have to check out the Batiste brand at Sally.

  3. 5 days?! wow, impressive! i find this stuff does help me.
    ps: find me on my new site, annoying, you'll have to refollow, if interested!