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Is Dry Shampoo Bad for Your Hair? Your Questions Answered

April 25, 2022 8 min read

Is Dry Shampoo Bad for Your Hair? Your Questions Answered

Dry shampoo is one of those life-changing beauty products you wish you had known about earlier in your hair care journey. Whether you’re using it to combat a greasy scalp, refresh post-gym hair or achieve perfect beachy waves, it seems like there’s nothing this little miracle worker can’t do. However, as the popularity of dry shampoo continues to surge, some people have voiced concerns over its safety. Is dry shampoo bad for your hair? What is it made of? And can you use it every day? 

In this guide, we aim to answer all your burning questions about dry shampoo. Read on!

a woman holding two jars of dry shampoo

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For Starters, What Is Dry Shampoo?

Let’s clear up one misconception about dry shampoo right off the bat: dry shampoo doesn’t actually clean your hair. The primary function of dry shampoo is to remove excess oils and sweat from the hair while also adding volume. 

Most dry shampoos are formulated with absorbent ingredients (usually corn starch or rice starch) that soak up all the grease from your scalp, giving hair a cleaner and fresher appearance without the need for water. Many formulas also contain fragrances to make hair smell as fresh as it looks.

While dry shampoo may seem like a new invention, it’s actually been around since the 1940s. Back then, it came in powder form and was known as “Minipoo.” The primary ingredient in Minipoo was fuller’s earth, a calcium-based clay material known for its highly-absorbent properties. The product was advertised to women with the advertising slogan, “When you can’t shampoo, Minipoo.” 

Today, dry shampoos come in many different forms, including powders, aerosols, foams and mists.

What Are the Benefits of Dry Shampoo?

Now that you know what dry shampoo is, let’s talk about what it can do for your hair!

a smiling woman holding a jar of dry shampoo

1. Extends the Time Between Washes

Many hair experts don't recommend washing your hair every day, and with good reason. When you over-wash your hair, it strips your scalp of the oils that keep it healthy and balanced. If your scalp becomes too dry, your sebaceous glands (oil-producing glands) increase sebum (oil) production to replenish the lost moisture, resulting in an overly-greasy scalp and dry, brittle ends. 

With the help of a hardworking dry shampoo, you can put off washing your hair by one or two more days. The benefits of this are twofold: 

  • It gives your hair a chance to soak up all the nourishment and moisture from your natural oils. 
  • It helps maintain a balance of natural oils for healthier hair and scalp.

2. Adds Body and Volume 

Dealing with limp, lifeless strands? Dry shampoo to the rescue! But seriously, dry shampoo is a total lifesaver if your hair lacks body and volume. It can help take some of the weight off your hair by absorbing the heavy oils on your scalp, making your limp strands look more voluminous. Dry shampoo also acts as a texturizer, giving hair grit and texture while adding lift and bounce. It’s the perfect way to give hair that extra oomph!

3. Reduces Odor and Sweat 

There are a lot of situations that can bring on a sweaty, stinky scalp: biking to work, getting your heart rate up with a workout or living in a humid climate, to name just a few. If you don’t have time for a shower, try applying dry shampoo to your roots! The absorbent ingredients in dry shampoo will help rid your hair of sweat and odor, making it smell good and look pristine all day.

the benefits of dry shampoo

4. Makes Hair Easier to Style 

Who needs hairspray (and all its nasty chemicals) when you have natural dry shampoo powder at your disposal? Whether you want to achieve perfect beachy waves or looking to add texture to your ponytail, dry shampoo is a great styling tool for all hair types. That’s because dry shampoo gives your tresses extra grip and hold, making hair a breeze to style. The best part? No stickiness or toxic chemicals!

5. Prolongs Hair Color 

Did you recently spend a fortune at your salon for a hair color treatment? Here’s a hot tip: wash less, dry shampoo more! When color-treated hair gets wet, it becomes more porous, making it more susceptible to color fading. To keep your hair color vibrant for longer, you want to preserve those natural oils on your hair — and one of the best ways to do that is by using a dry shampoo to prolong your wash day.

6. Saves Time, Water, Energy and Money

Dry shampoo is a smart choice for not only your hair, but also for your wallet and the environment. That’s because using dry shampoo allows you to go longer between washes, saving a bunch of water and energy while also saving you money on your utilities bill. It’s a win-win for everyone!

How Do You Use Dry Shampoo?

Figuring out how to use dry shampoo doesn’t have to be complicated. Follow the basic tips below and you’ll be applying it like a pro in no time.

  • Use a bamboo comb to part your hair into sections, starting with the oiliest parts of your hair.
  • Apply your favorite dry shampoo powder to the roots of hair with a brush applicator (Pro tip: An old makeup brush works equally as well and won’t cost you anything!).
  • Wait for the absorbent ingredients to soak up the oils on your scalp (about five to 10 minutes).
  • Use your fingers to gently massage the product into your scalp and crown until the powder is no longer visible.
one woman showing another her dry shampoo in a bathroom

Can I Sleep with Dry Shampoo in My Hair? 

If you wake up with greasy hair in the morning, try applying a bit of dry shampoo powder to your oily roots right before bed. The product will absorb the oils on your scalp as you sleep, resulting in a fresher and more manageable mane by morning. 

Is Dry Shampoo Bad for Your Hair?

Most hair experts agree that the occasional use of dry shampoo won’t harm your hair. That said, there are a few notable downsides to this beloved beauty staple that you should know about.

1. Dry shampoo can irritate sensitive scalps

Finding a good dry shampoo that ticks off all the boxes can be tricky, especially for those dealing with scalp sensitivity. Many dry shampoos on the market contain ingredients that are known to cause allergic contact dermatitis reactions, such as parabens, sulfates and artificial fragrances. Unlike regular shampoo that you rinse out in the shower, dry shampoo is left in your hair all day (or night), exposing your poor scalp to these harmful ingredients for hours at a time.

Fortunately, not all dry shampoos are irritating to sensitive scalps. We made sure to formulate our dry shampoo with gentle ingredients that refresh your hair without causing irritation. With superstar ingredients like biotin and bamboo stem powder, your hair and scalp will never look (or feel) better!

Tip: Looking for a gentle wet shampoo to nourish your tresses? Lather up with a hydrating shampoo bar from The Earthling Co. and get clean hair without all the toxic chemicals or wasteful plastic.

2. It can dry out your hair

Most of the dry shampoos you find at drugstores come in aerosol spray cans. Not only are self-dispensing cans bad for the environment, but they also tend to contain “short-chain” alcohols like ethanol, propanol and isopropanol. While these ingredients are great at helping hair dry quickly, their fast-acting properties often dry out the hair and scalp in the process, resulting in brittle strands that are more susceptible to breakage.

3. Overuse can cause scalp buildup

If you’re in the habit of using dry shampoo several days in a row, you may want to rethink your routine. The overuse of dry shampoo can cause product buildup on the scalp, which in turn can lead to scalp inflammation, itching and even hair loss. To keep your scalp and hair healthy, most experts recommend using dry shampoo once or twice a week maximum.

ingredients to watch out for

4. It can expose you to harmful chemicals 

Dry shampoo can do wonders for your hair, but not all formulas are created equal. Exhibit A — conventional dry shampoos that often come in aerosol spray cans. 

Aerosols require a propellant to force the chemicals out of the can and convert them to a fine spray. More often than not, this propellant is liquid petroleum gas (usually a combination of propane and isobutane), a byproduct of refining natural gas and petroleum that is less than ideal for our personal health and the environment.

Other ingredients to watch out for in dry shampoo include:

  • Parabens. Parabens are a group of chemicals widely used in cosmetics to prolong their shelf life. They have been scientifically proven to mimic estrogen action, which means they can interfere with your body’s hormones and potentially cause adverse health effects.
  • Talc. Talc is a mineral substance that has been associated with an increased risk of ovarian cancer. Despite this, talc is still used in many conventional dry shampoo products. 
  • Cetrimonium chloride. Cetrimonium chloride belongs to a family of molecules known as cationic surfactants. In dry shampoo, it’s used to banish hair static and smooth down the cuticle. Sounds perfect, right? Although it may be useful for taming flyaways and frizz, this common dry shampoo ingredient is known for causing irritation and allergic reactions. Moreover, it can be lethal when orally ingested.
  • Artificial fragrance. If your dry shampoo has “fragrance” or “parfum” listed on the ingredients label, think twice before using it. In the United States, the term “fragrance” allows manufacturers to legally hide hundreds of synthetic ingredients that you probably don’t want anywhere near your body. Before adding it to your cart, check the label to ensure that the fragrances come from natural sources.
the earthling co all natural dry shampoo

Refresh Your Roots with an All-Natural Dry Shampoo

If you’re worried about the potentially harmful chemicals in conventional dry shampoos, consider using The Earthling Co.’s all-natural dry shampoo. Compared to traditional dry shampoos, our natural and organic dry shampoo is a better choice for both earthlings and the environment. 

Here are a few reasons why you should make the switch today.

1. It comes in powder form  

Dry shampoo sprays may be convenient, but they come with a few notable downsides. Environmental concerns aside, dry shampoo sprays are difficult to control and you’ll likely end up applying more than you need to your hair, which is bad for both your strands and your wallet. 

In contrast, powders are much easier to distribute, so you're less likely to waste the product. Additionally, dry shampoo powders are more likely to contain cleaner, natural ingredients than aerosols.

2. It contains non-toxic ingredients

You won’t find any talc, cetrimonium chloride, parabens, alcohol or artificial fragrances in our dry shampoo powder. Made from organic and natural ingredients, our dry shampoo powder utilizes the power of arrowroot powder and bentonite clay to soak up grease and revive lifeless hair.

3. It’s available in tinted versions

If you’re a brunette, then you probably know the struggle of finding a dry shampoo that matches your hair color. Well, we have good news: Our dry shampoo powder comes in light and dark options to blend seamlessly into your hair. No more white streaks or spots!

4. It’s eco-friendly and plastic-free!

Did you know that the leftover materials in aerosol cans are generally considered hazardous waste? Many aerosol cans are not recyclable and will spend hundreds of years degrading and leaking chemicals into the environment. They can also explode when thrown into a garbage compactor before they’re properly depressurized.

Our eco-friendly dry shampoo comes in a reusable glass jar and ships 100 percent plastic-free, so you can have more good hair days without harming the planet!

a woman holding a jar of the earthling co natural dry shampoo

The Bottom Line

When used correctly, dry shampoo is not bad for your hair. On the contrary, it can make your tresses healthier by giving them an extra day or two to soak up all the nourishing oils on your scalp. 

Want to refresh your strands without harming your hair or the planet? Opt for an eco-friendly dry shampoo. Made with natural and organic ingredients, our long-lasting dry shampoo powder is good for your health, your wallet and the planet!

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