dry shampoo: what is it, what does it do, how to use it

Posted by Kayce Sebree on

Dry shampoo. It’s a lazy girl’s dream, a post-workout necessity, and the ultimate way to extend a blowout. If you've heard about dry shampoo but don't think it's for you or you haven't found the right one yet, check out our talc-free dry shampoos, they'll make anybody a believer:

But in order for this miracle worker to — well, work miracles — you need to be sure you’re using it correctly. Are you taking advantage of all this versatile hair product has to offer? Whether you’re a longtime user of dry shampoo or a first timer, we’ve created this guide with hair care tips to help you get the most out of it. Learn what dry shampoo is, what it does, and how to use it in your hair care routine.


What is dry shampoo?

Dry shampoo is a hair product that absorbs dirt, grease, and oil from your scalp to help hair appear cleaner without washing. A lot of people use dry shampoo to keep hair fresh between washes, extend the life of a blowout, or to quickly clean hair after sweat-inducing activities like exercising. 

Dry shampoo is available as a powder or an aerosol spray, but both options are usually made from a base of alcohol or starch that soaks up oils when applied to the scalp. In some cases, dry shampoo may come with a pleasant scent and be offered in a light or dark color to match the tint of your hair.

How does dry shampoo work?

Your scalp is constantly producing sebum to keep hair moisturized and healthy, but over time the oils can build up on hair follicles resulting in a greasy appearance. Dry shampoo absorbs oil from the scalp to prevent them from accumulating on strands. The alcohol or starch base in the product is highly porous, so it soaks up the oils and sebum to keep hair looking clean. It often contains a fragrance to help your hair smell good, although you’ll still need to occasionally wash it with water to actually clean it.

What does dry shampoo do?

Dry shampoo absorbs dirt, grease, and oil to make hair appear cleaner. However, it doesn’t actually clean hair and is not a complete substitute for washing with water. Essentially, dry shampoo is a refresher or a quick fix to help hair look clean while washing it actually cleanses the scalp and strands to remove dirt and impurities that build up.

How to use dry shampoo

Your use of dry shampoo will be unique based on your hair type, texture, and oiliness. However, you can follow these steps and make slight adjustments to use the product correctly and maximize its effect:

1. Aim and apply it to your scalp

Whether you’re using a powder or spray, start by holding the product 6-12 inches away from your hair and part strands so it can be applied directly to the scalp. It’s best to start with the spot that feels the oiliest, which is usually along the hairline, tape of the neck, or crown. Once you’ve got a hair-free patch of scalp visible, start lightly applying the product while maintaining the same distance to prevent overapplying too much in one spot. 

2. Use a small amount

Apply dry shampoo slowly and in a small amount to see how your hair reacts. Applying too much can leave strands looking dull or discolored, so it’s best to start small and increase the amount of product as needed until your hair gets to a good place. You can always add more if you feel like you need it.

3. Massage it in

As you apply the product, gently massage it into your scalp and roots with your fingertips, a makeup brush, or comb. Working the product with your hands will also allow you to shape and style your hair with an extra boost of volume, so you may be able to skip or cut down part of your regular routine.

4. Let it absorb

You’ll see a change quickly as you work the product throughout your hair and it can be tempting to immediately brush it out after. However, you should let the product sit for 1-2 minutes to ensure it has enough time to absorb all the oils it can.

5. Smooth out the product with a brush or comb 

Once the product has settled, grab a brush or comb to smooth out strands. The hair will have a thicker texture, so gently run thtough it from root to tip to disperse the product and smooth out strands. Afterwards, you can prep for styling or leave as is if you’re satisfied with the look.

6. Pair it with dry conditioner

You use shampoo and conditioner when you normally wash and rinse, so why wouldn’t you use dry shampoo and conditioner when you’re trying to look refreshed without washing? Our Ghost Dry Oil conditions ends, eliminates tangles and adds a delightfully fresh scent to all hair types. Use dry shampoo to absorb oil from your scalp and roots, then Ghost Dry Oil to add moisture back into dry ends. It’s like a one-two punch that leaves you with perfectly refreshed, lived-in hair.

7. Wash out at least once a week

Dry shampoo is a goddess-send that can help hair look clean, but you have to wash your hair every now and then to actually remove dirt and oil. It's important to cleanse the scalp of product build-up and let it start fresh every few days (or in our case, once a week). To help, check out our Ghost Exfoliating Scalp Nectar™, which removes build-up and nourishes the scalp for healthier-looking hair.

So lazy ladies, workout warriors, and blowout bombshells rejoice! All you need is dry shampoo, dry conditioner, and some hair care know-how for your hair to look fresh for days on end.


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