The Truth About: Dry Shampoo (Could It Be Doing You More Harm Than Good?)

Greasy roots may have been showcased on the catwalks and used as inspiration for high fashion collections, but in reality they’re unsightly and leave us feeling downtrodden. A little lift at the root has the power to transform our look and ensure we bounce down the street, happily swinging our hair behind us. The dry shampoo market has never been bigger; this once unloved corner of the hair care market was reserved only for camping holidays, old ladies or blondes that didn’t want to dry out their locks. But with the increase in popularity of the festival, paired with our ever growing busy lives, these cans of powdery spray have become as much as staple in our routine as serums and hairsprays. Giving your hair a quick spritz in the morning when you’ve overslept may be one thing, but as we become more reliant on the oil-absorbing qualities of dry shampoo, are we starting to do more damage to our hair than good?

Dry shampoos are designed to draw out moisture from the hair and scalp, removing the ‘lank’ feeling that can often occur between washes; however, when overused they can actually remove too much moisture. The powdery formula soaks up the oil that our bodies produce to lubricate the surface of skin, leaving scalps feeling a little worse for wear. Dandruff will inevitably be the result, as the scalp can’t lubricate itself fast enough to combat the effects of frequent use. Although it may look harmless, a build-up of dry shampoo can also block the pores – causing pimples, pustles and even cysts on the surface. You could do some serious damage with these little cans that’s much harder to fix than getting up ten minutes earlier to wash your hair.

Although the medical side effects of overusing dry shampoo sound nasty, the styling impact could also be somewhat negative if you reach for your trusty can of Batiste a little too often. Hair can become coated in a fine film, meaning it’s much harder to style than usual; similarly, roots can become dusty and dark hair can start to look grey, which posts a whole other hair dilemma in itself. When used in the intended way, dry shampoos are actually incredibly useful and provide a real solution to a problem we all have at one point or another; but it’s important not to overdo it and think that they’re a complete replacement for a good old fashioned hair wash.

So how can you ensure you’re using dry shampoo in the best way?
1. Don’t overdo it. Build up the product little by little, rather than applying a huge amount in one go, spraying only on the areas where you need to soak up some oil. Keep the can a little distance away from the scalp, massaging into roots to soak up oil and distribute evenly.
2. Don’t rely on it. You should be using dry shampoo only two or three times a week – maximum. If you’re reaching for it on a daily basis then have a word with yourself and try to cut back. Make sure you wash your hair thoroughly between applications too, massaging the scalp to lift any residue.
3. Don’t budget buy. Although it’s easy to opt for a cheap and cheerful brand, salon professional dry shampoos will be formulated with much higher quality ingredients. Avoid heavy fragrances too, as they can aggravate the skin and cause allergic reactions.

Are you a dry shampoo addict? Have you ever suffered from negative side effects of reaching for it?

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  1. Lydia D
    August 5, 2015 / 3:01 pm

    Interesting! I try not to use much purely because I hate being able to feel it in my hair, but I will be bearing this in mind! Lyd x electricSUEDE

  2. Pam Scalfi
    August 5, 2015 / 3:33 pm

    I dont really like dry shampoo, so I use it once a month if at all :pPam xo/ Pam Scalfi♥

  3. beautybyalicee
    August 5, 2015 / 5:00 pm

    Very interesting read. I only find myself reaching for dry shampoo in emergencies, I can't seem to get on with the stuff!alice x | beautybyalicee | bloglovin'

  4. em has red nails
    August 5, 2015 / 5:11 pm

    I used to get greasy hair and I had to wash my hair everyday, I started to do it every other day but at first it was difficult so I used so much dry shampoo, I think this made my dandruff worse, now, nearly a year later I rarely use it because my hair doesn't get as greasy, I use it on the odd occasion but now I'm really going to cut back on it.Emma emhasrednails

    • Hayley Carr
      August 6, 2015 / 8:17 am

      It's absolutely fine as a styling product, or if you're using it a couple times a week – it's the girls that use it daily and avoid washing their hair for five days! They're going to end up in a sticky situation.

  5. emmalcm
    August 5, 2015 / 5:33 pm

    I use Batiste about twice a week usually. I have long hair that I don't want to dry out by washing all the time but my roots get really quite oily sometimes. I wash my hair twice a week and normally dry shampoo once in between washes. I find that's ok for my scalp but I must admit that I went through a phase of getting really lazy with my hair and dry shampooing it more often. It really did end up having an impact on my scalp-I had dandruff and my scalp started to get really itchy. I had to use anti dandruff shampoo for a while and now won't use it more than once between washes! Em x

  6. Carrie Richmond
    August 5, 2015 / 6:02 pm

    Really interesting read Hayley. I try not to use dry shampoo but know some people who use it daily, and a lot of it at that! I will be pointing them in the direction of this post so they can be sure to use it properly. I am starting to work through the 30plusblog list and aiming to visit every single blog on the list to date, might take me a while but something I want to do and hope to uncover some hidden gems on my travels. Thanks again for organising 30plusblogs! Carrie

    • Hayley Carr
      August 6, 2015 / 8:17 am

      Thanks Carrie! And I hope you find some great ones.

  7. Jess | Just Jesss
    August 5, 2015 / 6:35 pm

    I use dry shampoo every other day as my hair gets oily so quickly and I'm simply not willing to wash it daily! Like you say though, as long as you choose a decent brand, use it properly and wash thoroughly on the days in between, I don't think it's too much of a problem :)Jess xo

    • Hayley Carr
      August 6, 2015 / 8:18 am

      I used to use it every other day (I can't wash my hair daily or I'd never get out the door!) but now I just style my hair in different ways or use root boosting spray – my roots have actually become less greasy.

  8. Anonymous
    August 5, 2015 / 7:00 pm

    I used to use dry shampoo every other day in my first year at university because I was too lazy to wash it, and I was very much a 'wash every day' kinda girl before starting uni. Even now, I still can only get away with 2 days max, but I try to just tie it up if it looks greasy, rather than dry shampoo it. I steer clear as best I can because I find that my hair looks just as bad as before I've dried shampoo-ed it after a couple of hours anyway. It's interesting to think about what dry shampoo really does to your hair and scalp though! I'd never even really considered it before.Sophie x | Essential Twenty

  9. Gillian: Eyeliner Flicks
    August 5, 2015 / 8:12 pm

    Very interestesting points. I use dry shampoo quite reguarly as I have bright red hair and try to keep my colour a bit longer by not washing so often but I certainly have to agree with your points. Stay away from cheaper brands, and don't over-use it. I've tried cheap products in the past and they've been really disgraceful, the build up and attempting to get a brush through my hair afterwards is just not worth the hassle. I'd rather get up 10 mins earlier or have my hair coloured more often.Gillian xx EyelinerFlicks

    • Hayley Carr
      August 6, 2015 / 8:19 am

      There are loads of alternatives to dry shampoo now too – root boosting sprays and refreshing products. I feel your pain about the colour too, having been a red head many times over!

  10. Anonymous
    August 6, 2015 / 1:30 am

    I've used dry shampoo every other day choir a few years now, as my hair gets greasy so fast. I use a build up removal shampoo weekly and I've never had the problems described here. This all seems like scare mongering to me. Is someone about to bring out a ' non drying' version, this seems likes sneaky attempt to whip up some support!

    • Hayley Carr
      August 6, 2015 / 8:21 am

      You obviously don't know my blog very well if you a) think I would scare monger and b) if you think I would whip up support for a new launch in such a ridiculous way. If you're using a weekly clarifying shampoo then you're removing build up, which is why you haven't had any issues.

  11. Dagmara K
    August 6, 2015 / 8:27 am

    So glad you have written this article! Personally I don't use dry shampoos, don't like them at all. But when I see girls talking about the dry shampoo being their everyday hair essential I feel a bit sick 😉 xMummy’s Beauty Corner

  12. Lily Lipstick
    August 6, 2015 / 5:00 pm

    Interesting! I try to limit my usage of dry shampoos as I find they irritate my scalp if I use them too much. x

  13. Becky Smith
    August 8, 2015 / 12:05 am

    Although I do suffer with oily hair and have several cans of the stuff upstairs I rarely use it because for me nothing feels better than clean, fresh hair, and a head full of dry shampoo certainly doesn't feel clean and fresh to me. I'm planning to start trying to use it soon, as I'm changing my hair colour and want to try and help it last, but I can only see me using it maybe twice a week at the most to try and prolong time between washing. Interestingly whenever I have gone to use dry shampoo my boyfriend has always pointed out that its actually not very good for your hair! x Becky @ The Little Blog of Beauty

  14. Sarah Dickinson
    August 10, 2015 / 9:35 pm

    I was, until very recently, guilty of this!!! 🙁 I have dyed my hair red and thought nothing of using my Batiste everyday for almost a week in between washing!! :/ SSooo bad!!!! But now I have shorter hair, all my previous 'between washes' problems are on the floor with the rest of my hair! Haha! 😀 It just looks better in between now and will only use when absolutely necessary!!!!! GAH!!!! SOO BAD!!! #BeautySin LOL! 🙁 xx

  15. Music and Eyeliner
    August 12, 2015 / 12:36 pm

    This makes complete sense. I can't get on with any dry shampoo except the Colab one, which I love and use about once a week (lucky for me, I've thick hair that only gets greasy ish roots when it's on its 4th no-wash day, if I leave it that long!).

    • Ally // Digital Diva
      August 15, 2015 / 10:21 pm

      I'm a fan of the Colab ones too. I tend to use it every other day as I have a fringe that quickly gets greasy. I try to limit it though and I use Oribe spray too as an alternative. Going to try to use less after reading this x

  16. Kisa Johnson
    August 12, 2015 / 9:04 pm

    Thank goodness I only reach for it on rare occasion! So I should be alright hair wise. @_@ I did like Batiste when I had some. I'll have to get another can since I'm actually out of dry shampoo. It took me almost a year to year my last one!

  17. Ellie - Pinkie Prim
    August 13, 2015 / 10:09 pm

    I used to love using dry shampoo but realised it made my hair grey and horrible so I decided to train my hair not to go greasy instead! I know so many people who use TONNES of dry shampoo, I'll have to warn them now, great post!

    August 16, 2015 / 7:41 am

    This is such a great article and I will defo be holding back on the amount of dry shampoo I use now I've seen this article! Brilliant thankyouEvaKnows

    August 16, 2015 / 11:26 am

    Completely agree! I stay away from Dry shampoo for this reason. i already have a sensitive scalp so it only get aggravated by adding a layer of powder. kinda freaks me out when i think about it!

  20. Anna C.
    August 16, 2015 / 9:21 pm

    That's interesting because a few days ago I was applying my Bed Head Dry Shampoo and by the night my scalp was so dry and itchy! I probably applied too much but it's not the first time that I realise the texture of my hair after applying it and I honestly don't like it…

  21. Victoria
    August 16, 2015 / 9:22 pm

    I go through phases with dry shampoo – I can't use it too much or the negative effects on my hair & scalp are just too much! Great piece! ♥

  22. Leanne Marshall
    August 17, 2015 / 8:52 am

    Great post Hayley, I have to say i am a huge fan of dry shampoo's. My fine flat hair would look hideousthe day after washing it if i did not use them. I try to use ones that are not too chalky. I love the Colab & Dove brands but i do make sure i double shampoo my hair when i wash it!

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