Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 21 September 2020

Are you using dry shampoo right? A guide to helping your hair last longer between washes

A quick spritz might not be the solution to greasy roots that we're led to believe it is

The right technique for using dry shampoo is more than a quick spritz, according to one hairdresser. Unsplash
The right technique for using dry shampoo is more than a quick spritz, according to one hairdresser. Unsplash

Dry shampoo is, it is fair to say, one of the beauty heroes that really pulls its weight. That bottle can, unlike most products, buy you a lie-in on a weekday, or free up an evening so you can do something other than wait for your hair to dry. What mascara or moisturiser boasts that claim to fame?

But that humble can of powdered shampoo might not be doing as much for you as it could if you're not using the right technique. If you simply give a quick spritz around your hairline in the morning, and find that by mid-afternoon your roots are greasy again, it could just be a sign of a shoddy application method rather than your hair type.

Read on to discover the trick you might be missing.

What is dry shampoo?

For the uninitiated, it's a popular hair product that claims to remove oil and grease from hair, prolonging its freshness and allowing you to go longer without washing your locks. It can be particularly handy for those with fringes, or for revitalising strands after a workout.

It usually either comes as a powder in a bottle or in an aerosol can, though some cutting-edge formulas are also concocted in mousse or foam form. It can be applied to dry hair and doesn't need to be washed out, hence the term "dry" shampoo.

Most formulas use starch as the absorbent property, while some contain talc or clay.

When should you use it?

Whenever you like! Most people tend to use it between washes – whether that's the day after a fresh shampoo or a little later depends on how quickly your hair feels oily (thicker-haired people can typically go a little longer). You can also use it on clean hair to add a little volume and texture.

"Dry shampoos are fantastic – they can keep your hair more manageable and less susceptible to humidity," celebrity hair stylist Michael Canale told The National earlier this year.

But remember, while a dry shampoo absorbs oil, it doesn't actually clean your hair. It might help a blow-dry last longer, but it's not a replacement for washing your hair entirely. A lot of aerosol formulas contain alcohol, too, which can leave hair feeling dry, so don't go crazy on this stuff – it's a Band-Aid, not a fix-all solution.

How should I use it?

Ah, here's the important question. Sure, a quick spritz and a ruffle to the roots of a fringe might suffice, but it won't necessarily have the long-lasting effect you're after.

If you're using a spray, liberally douse your roots – all over, not merely around your parting – and massage in with your fingertips. Make sure to shake the product before application, too, so the ingredients are properly dispersed.

“Keeping the proper distance between your hair and the aerosol bottle is so important,” hairstylist Chris Appleton told Allure this month. “You don’t want to spray the product too close to your scalp because it will leave a residue that’s hard to remove.”

According to a now-viral TikTok video, you should then leave the product in your hair for about 10 minutes, to let the powder do its magic.


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“It’s really crucial to let the dry shampoo sit for a few minutes so it can work its magic properly,” Appleton says. “After you’ve let it sit, you can massage it into your scalp with your hands to really activate the ingredients that soak up the oil.”

Then, brush the dry shampoo thoroughly through your hair, which should help get rid of any visible signs of residue. Some brands sell tinted formulas suited to darker locks, to help get rid of that tell-tale white cast.

What one should I use?

If you've got fine hair, opt for a spray formula, which distributes a thinner, more even coating. People with thicker hair types can use either aerosols or pure powder formulas, which should be sprinkled directly on the scalp.

Batiste, which you can find for about Dh35 at most pharmacies in the UAE, is the OG of the genre, and is available in a wide range of scents and hues.

Ouai, by celebrity stylist Jen Atkins, also has a couple of reliable options, which you can find at Sephora stores, namely the Dry Shampoo Foam (from Dh60) or the classic Dry Shampoo (from Dh60). Sephora's own brand option (Dh55) is also worth a squirt.

Colab, Vichy and Rene Furterer are also brands readily available in the UAE that have dry shampoos in their product portfolio. And, if push comes to shove, a little cornstarch or baby powder will do the trick, though will probably leave a noticeable white tint.

Updated: May 21, 2020 07:21 PM

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