I like to joke that I have a PhD in not washing my hair. In fact, I'm one of those total weirdos that sort of hates being wet in general. (Yes, we exist — and there are a lot of us.) Due to this perplexing desire to stay dry — and my career as a beauty editor — I have an extensive collection of shower caps and a rather advanced knowledge of dry shampoo.
If you, too, don't like to wash your hair for whatever reason, then you're likely well aware that all dry shampoos are
not created equal. From the cult French offerings to the prestige American formulas to drugstore staples worldwide, they all work a little differently. Think you hate dry shampoo? Feel like it doesn't work? I'm here to convince you that you just haven't found your perfect match yet.
But that's about to change, because the best dry shampoos for every concern and hair type are waiting in the slides ahead.
Best For: A Tight Budget This formula is incredibly powerful — so much so that I hit my own personal record of nine days without liquid shampoo after discovering it. I've convinced just about everyone I know to try it, and they've all come back raving about how long it extends styles. Not Your Mothers Clean Freak, $5.99, available at Ulta Beauty.
Best For: Textured & Curly Hair Pros don't normally advise the use of dry shampoo on textured hair — and for good reason, as natural and relaxed strands tend to be drier than other hair types. That is, until now: Cantu's formula makes hair fuller, springier, and all around more "done," with way less work. Cantu Cleanse Dry Co-Wash, $4.99, available at Target.
Best For: Dark Hair Anyone with dark hair and a penchant for skipping wash days knows that white splotches happen with classic dry shampoo, especially if you use a heavy hand in a hurry. There are tons of tinted formulas to combat this annoying problem, but this is the formula the pros recommend most, likely because it's ultra-strong and comes in a variety of shades. Bumble and bumble Soft Black Hair Powder, $36, available at Sephora.
Best For: Fine Hair Dove's dry shampoo is pretty darn effective, but it's the volume it delivers that really makes it stand out. The active ingredient is a form of starch, which, when layered into roots and lengths, makes hair look and feel fuller without any stiffness. Dove Refresh + Care Volume & Fulness Dry Shampoo, $2.99, available at Walgreens.
Best For: Achieving Texas-Level Volume For those wanting their hair to be as big as it possibly can (I feel you), I present Sachajuan's cult formula. This is like extensions-in-a-can: A quick spray makes hair crazy full, but if you layer it in, section by section, your strands will look so thick, you simply won't believe it. Now, this is hair product, not a miracle, so don't expect to be able to run your hands through your hair with ease if you really go for it. There's always a trade-off. Sachajuan Dry Powder Shampoo, $35, available at David Pirrotta.
Best For: Dandruff & Sensitive Scalps Trichologist Philip Kingsley's eponymous line specializes in issues of the scalp — and makes effective dandruff shampoo and DIY treatments downright chic. The brand's entire line was created with sensitive, reactive scalps in mind, which makes this formula perfect for anyone with similar issues. It soaks up oil, yes, but it also has actives like zinc PCA and allantoin to help control bacteria and sebum and condition skin, which in turn helps control dandruff and itchy skin. Win-win! Philip Kingsley One More Day Dry Shampoo, $26, available at Net-A-Porter.
Best For: Aerosol Avoiders Aerosol isn't for everyone, for a variety of reasons. While there are a lot of loose powder formulas without it (French cult brand Klorane also makes a great one), the pointed applicator on Verb's is my top pick for the sheer control it gives you. Sectioning hair in horizontal partings is very important, especially with loose powder formulas, to ensure the dry shampoo gets to the root, and the engineering of this bottle makes that easier. Tip: Loose powder formulas are heavier that aerosol, so massage it in at the roots, let it sit for a few minutes, then brush out the excess. Verb Dry Shampoo, $14, available at Sephora.
Best For: Hair That’s Too Silky Yes, there is such a thing as too silky — and if your hair just can’t seem to hold a style, a little bit of grit will do the trick. This lightweight formula is perfect for giving you that texture and lift without creating product buildup, and it smells damn good, too. Kristin Ess Style Reviving Dry Shampoo, $14, available at Target.
Best For: Smelly, Greasy Hair Dry shampoo that also cancels out odor? Leave it to the twins that made 'bag lady chic' the look during the aughts to create just that. And guess what — it works. It's not quite as strong as a classic dry shampoo, but it has far more benefits that a hair perfume. Runner-up: Oribe's Cote d'Azur, which is a godsend for removing strong odors (like campfire) but doesn't soak up oil. Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black Dry Shampoo, $28, available at Sephora.
Best For: Dry Hair Or Very Light Results The French brand's classic formula is a top pro pick because it's effective, but also light, so it won't turn your strands into the Sahara Desert. The brand has a few formulas — Nettle is great for super oily scalps — but it's the Oat Milk that I love because it keeps hair feeling soft. Like Dove's, it has starch, which means a ton of celeb hairstylists use it for texture through the lengths, too. Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk, $20, available at Sephora.
Best For: Short Hair If ever there was a dry shampoo innovation worth raving about, it's this. This paste — yes, paste — is massaged into roots to diffuse oil and add volume. It's rather effective, and adds a nice fullness and grit to hair. It works on any length, but due to the sheer amount of work (you really need to avoid lengths and ends unless you want a piece-y look) I recommend this formula for short hair. R+Co Badlands Dry Shampoo Paste, $28, available at Birchbox.
Best For: People Who Hate Dry Shampoo A lot of people loathe the feeling of hair product and absolutely despise the sensation of dry, dusty dry shampoo at their roots. I get it. For you, I recommend one of the most talked-about formulas from the past few years. I am not sure what kind of witchcraft the brand has harnessed, but somehow Living Proof's formula soaks up oil, refreshes hair, and cancels out odor without feeling like anything. Seriously, beauty editors love this stuff — and you will, too. Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo, $22, available at Ulta Beauty.
Like this post? There's more. Get tons of beauty tips, tutorials, and news on the
Refinery29 Beauty Facebook page. Like us on Facebook — we'll see you there!