All about Dry Shampoo!

Dry shampoos are used in between washes to keep your hair refreshed and oil free. This is one of those products that has become a necessity in any beauty-junky household. However, selecting the perfect dry shampoo is an ordeal especially if you have darker hair like I do. The white cast that they leave behind is annoying and not so flattering either. Even though there are pricier, fancier dry shampoos that actually are quite good and are effective, the high price point is such a turn off for me personally. The range of dry shampoos available for in-store purchase in New Zealand is very limited anyway, high-end or drugstore. So, before getting into investing on buying a dry shampoo let’s get to know what it is and how to use it.

First thing first, lets us get into some science :).

How do dry shampoos work?

The most common ingredients of dry shampoo are corn starch and alcohol. They soak up the excess oil in your hair and gives you a refreshing cleaner appearance. Apparently, according to Cleveland Clinic, you can get a similar effect from sprinkling corn starch onto your head (not recommended, though).  This Wired articFrom explains the active ingredients in dry shampoo in detail.

In a nutshell, they are;

  • Cornstarch – This binds to the oil and soaks up the grease.
  • Kaolin – This is a Chinese soft clay that absorbs the oil and hides the shine of unwashed hair. The hydrous aluminium silicates coat hair strands, reducing reflectivity to create a matte look (says Wired).
  • Laminaria saccharina Extract – An extract of brown algae that also absorbs oils.
  • Magnesium Stearate – This keeps the starch from clumping.
  • Denatured Alcohol –  This is the solvent for cornstarch and Kaolin. Being a mixture of ethanol and other chemicals like methanol, this suspends the solids without dissolving for easier distribution and evaporates as soon as it hits the scalp providing a cooling effect. Usually appears on the ingredients lists as Alcohol Denat. or SD Alcohol followed by numbers. [Note: even ‘alcohol-free’ products may contain denatured alcohol (FDA)]
  • Liquefied Petroleum Gas – this is used to propel the dry shampoo out of the can in a fine mist. LPG (often a combo of butane, propane, and isobutane), became the replacement of CFC (chlorofluorocarbons) in aerosol sprays. Unless you want crispy fried hair, don’t use a dry shampoo, or any other aerosol for that matter, near an open flame. 😀

How to use dry shampoo


  • Only spray oily areas.
  • While spraying, keep the canister at least 6 inches from your scalp.
  • After spraying, massage your scalp to evenly distribute the product down to the roots.
  • Carefully and gently brush through any patches that have too much dry shampoo added.

Don’t s:

  • Don’t spray on damp or wet hair. It is called ‘dry’ shampoo.
  • Don’t spray the ends to avoid extra dryness or static. Add a pea-sized amount of coconut oil or hair conditioner if the tips feel too dry.
  • Don’t use more than two days in a row.

I am not a scientist nor have I used all the dry shampoos in the world to explain the how each product works and their ingredients. So please take these with a grain of salt.

In my next post, I will review a selected few dry shampoos that I have used which are not so expensive so that you can make an informed decision about whether to buy them or not.

Please don’t forget to comment if you have questions or suggestions and do subscribe to get notified of my new posts. Hope to See you soon.



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