How Does Dry Shampoo Work?

How Does Dry Shampoo Work Featured Photo

I like reading up on an array of topics. I especially take great interest in anything that has got to do with personal care, skincare, makeup, and hair care. I’m always on the lookout for new personal care products to try.

I spend a lot of time (and money, too) on learning stuff about my hair and what I can do to get it healthy. From routines to new products to try, I make sure to do my homework and get to know what I need to know.

One product I always come across are dry shampoos. From the get go, it got me interested so I made sure to read anything I can get my hands on about it.

If you’re also curious about dry shampoos, how they work, and if they’re really effective, I’ve got you covered below!

What is Dry Shampoo?

Dry shampoo is a hair product that reduces oil, grease, and dirt from your hair in between wash days.

The scalp produces a greasy substance called sebum. Sebum forms a protective layer for your scalp and hair strands. This keeps them from drying out, but at the same time, sebum collects dirt and your hair becomes oily overtime.

Many people swear by using dry shampoo to eliminate this very oily look and all the dirt it collects along with it.

Though a waterless “shampoo”, it isn’t exactly a substitute to the good ‘ol wet shampoo and water. The shampoo in the name “dry shampoo” doesn’t mean it actually cleans. What a dry shampoo does is essentially freshen up your hair and remove excess oil and dirt so your hair looks fresher in between wash days.

Many dry shampoos also have different fragrances, so it not only improves the appearance but also how your hair smells without getting it wet.

How Does Dry Shampoo Work?

Nobody likes greasy and oily hair, this is why hair washing is such an important part of anyone’s life. The thing is, daily hair washing might also not be the best course of action for many. This is where dry shampoos come to the rescue.

Dry shampoos are either alcohol-based or starch-based in formula. Either of these ingredients collect and eliminate the oil and sweat from your hair.

How dry shampoo does this is by absorbing water-repelling oil, build-up, and dirt on your hair. They instead leave behind a cleaner-looking lather and layer of product on your hair. This is the very opposite of how shampoo works, but sometimes can be a lifesaver.

By soaking up all that excess oil grease your hair has collected in between washes, you end up with a cleaner and fresher appearance, even without getting in the shower.

They generally come in as aerosol spray or any other form of spray for easier application. There are also some in the form of a tinted powder with color options to match your hair color.

Does Dry Shampoo Really Clean Your Hair?

Dry shampoo doesn’t actually clean dirty hair. What it does is only remove the build-up of oil, grease, and dirt so hair appears fresher and cleaner in between regular wash days.

Even with the word “shampoo”, dry shampoos are not a substitute and replacement to actual hair washing with water and wet shampoo. What it does, however, is help make your hair smell fresh.

Remember, a dry shampoo improves your hair’s appearance, but it doesn’t actually clean it. For that ultimate cleaning experience and clean hair, you still need to wash your hair in the shower with a wet shampoo and water.

How Long Does Dry Shampoo Last?

A dry shampoo offers a great way to get longer days in between your wash days. But much like anything you apply on yourself, too much isn’t going to do you any good.

It’s recommended to use dry shampoo two to three times a week to keep hairstyles and salon blowouts longer. You can also use it to freshen up your locks if you’re sweating after a workout.

When should you use dry shampoo?

It’s best to use dry shampoo on your locks in between wash days if you’re not a daily hair washer. It’s a great pick-me-up to freshen up your locks and remove all that excess oil, grease, and dirt build-up.

It’s also recommended to apply dry shampoo at night. This gives the product enough time overnight to absorb all the oil and greasiness so you wake up with fresher-looking locks.

Do dry shampoos expire?

Like any other personal care product you get your hands on, dry shampoos do have a shelf life and will eventually expire. Expiration dates would depend on the brand and manufacturer but generally, hair care products have a shelf life of about two to three years.

How Often Should You Wash and Wet Hair?

How often you should wash your hair with water and regular shampoo would depend on your hair type and lifestyle.

It’s recommended for people with extra oily hair to wash their hair once a day. If you have drier hair, you can get away with washing your hair around two to three times a week.

Your hair texture, lifestyle, and preference also play a part in how often you wash your hair. Some people work in environments where they sweat a lot or would just prefer to wash their hair daily.

Dry Shampoo: The Good and The Bad

The good

A dry shampoo is a great, effortless way to freshen up your locks in between wash days. If you commute to and from places, workout regularly, or even stay home all day, chances are your hair will turn oily, greasy, and dirty in between wash cycles.

A good solution to this are dry shampoos. You won’t even have to get in the shower and wet your hair to get your locks looking fresh!

Dry shampoos are generally packaged in aerosol sprays that make for a convenient and easy application. Simply spray some amount on your crown and you’re good to go.

The bad

Too much of anything is always not a good thing, and the same goes for dry shampoos. Using dry shampoo more than the recommended times will lead to scalp sensitivity and irritation. Also learn about how fragrance in hair products might be bad for those with sensitive scalps.

Overusing dry shampoo can likely lead to very dry scalp. These irritations can lead to long-term issues including but not limited to hair loss and hair growth issues affecting hair follicles.

How to Use Dry Shampoo

  1. If it says so in the can, shake it before use to evenly distribute the product.
  2. Keep the can at least six inches from your scalp.
  3. Spray directly on your roots, but don’t spend too much time and spray too much product on one spot. Spray it with a sweeping motion.
  4. Apply only in areas absolutely necessary i. e. where it’s very oily and greasy. Focus on the roots, which is the area with the most oil. Don’t forget the hair growth at the back of your head, at the nape of your neck, and those above your ears!
  5. Work the product into your hair by massaging gently with your fingers. Brush out any excess product.
  6. Wait for the product to settle down and absorb before you spray any more of the dry shampoo.
  7. Some people like to follow up with heat tools like a blow dryer to give their locks a volume boost, but this is up to personal preference.


Nobody wants greasy and oily hair, especially in between wash days. But with everyday tasks and constant changes in your environment, it’s inevitable, especially for non-daily hair washers.

This is where dry shampoos come to the rescue.

A dry shampoo is a hair care product that can reduce the oil, grease, and dirt from your hair even without getting in the shower to wet and wash it with your regular wet shampoo.

Dry shampoos are either alcohol-based or starch-based. Either of these ingredients can absorb all the build-up of oil and dirt off of your hair. While they do reduce the greasiness, it doesn’t actually clean the hair like your regular in-shower shampoo.

What dry shampoos do is temporarily freshen up your hair and roots so it looks better and fresher overall. What it can’t do is replace the actual hair washing you do in the shower.

And that has been our guide on everything dry shampoo!