Welcome to Beauty In A Tik, where each week we put TikTok's viral beauty hacks and innovative trends to the test.
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TikTok is no stranger to smart hair hacks. Just last month I discovered the brilliant benefits of hair cycling: alternating your shampoo to keep your hair and scalp healthy, happy and in much better condition. Then came glycolic acid (an exfoliating product that you'd typically use on your face), which TikTokers swore got rid of buildup and flakes.
This week, my feed has been bombarded with dry shampoo tricks specifically, and apparently I've been using it wrong this entire time. For me, dry shampoo means I can eke an extra day out of my oily, unwashed hair (before giving it a serious scrub that night). I spritz it through my roots, massage it in with my fingers (the same way you would make a lather with a water-based shampoo) and then brush through from the roots right down to the ends to make sure I'm distributing the powder evenly.
So when I saw a handful of TikTok hacks which suggested that spraying dry shampoo through dry hair is actually doing me and my lengths a serious disservice, I was intrigued. TikToker Jillian Jane credits style aficionado Katrina Ives with bringing this trick into their life. "Three days is typically how long I can do without washing my hair," Jillian told the camera, "but I saw another creator say to put dry shampoo in wet hair after you wash it and it will last longer between washes." Jillian says that the key is to blow-dry the dry shampoo into your roots once applied.
The impressive height is the first thing that Jillian noticed. Though she didn't apply any kind of volumising product, her roots appear lifted and her hair bouncy. But the real proof that TikTok might be on to something is how Jillian's hair looked three days post-dry shampoo. "It is significantly less greasy than what it would usually be on day three." On day two, there was no grease. "My hair looked completely clean," said Jillian, "and today it looks still pretty good!" TikTokers such as @rio.makino and even hair salons are sold. So does it really work or is it just a gimmick?
My all-time favourite dry shampoo is Living Proof Perfect Hair Day (PhD) Dry Shampoo, $47, but if you're on a budget, you can't go wrong with Batiste Dry Shampoo, $10.71. I decided to use the former here because a little goes a very long way. What's more, Living Proof promises that this actually cleans hair by soaking up oil, and I've found that it pretty much eliminates scalp odour.
When I explained the wet shampoo hack to my colleagues, one was worried that the white powder might end up making some sort of sticky cake batter in my wet hair — and I panicked. But dry shampoo doesn't contain flour (at least, not this one). It mops up grease using rice starch, while hydrated silica is responsible for volume and texture.
My hair can be dry on the ends and greasy at the root so I washed my hair with The Body Shop Shea Intense Repair Shampoo, $20, and matching Shea Intense Repair Conditioner, $15. I raked a 20c-sized amount of Moroccanoil Hydrating Styling Cream, $56.50, through the ends of my hair and proceeded to spritz in the dry shampoo liberally, just as I would on day three or four when my hair gets greasy. The product isn't invisible so it did look strikingly white against my dark brown hair. But once I began to rub it in with my fingertips, most traces disappeared.
A crucial step, according to most of the TikTokers sharing this hack, is blow-drying the dry shampoo into your hair. A great option for this is the Bondi Boost Sonic Dryer, $279, but if you're on a budget try Remington Aero 2000W Hair Dryer, $23.95. Surprisingly, the dry shampoo seemed to slice my drying time in half, perhaps because it soaked up the majority of the water. Regardless, I welcomed getting at least five minutes back that evening.
I can't deny that the volume was incredible and the dry shampoo gave my hair a boost like no other. As my hair is thick, I felt it might even be too much, but now my hair is very short, I tend to straighten it anyway. My hair looked fuller and somehow much more luxe, as though I'd just had a salon blow-dry. I thought I would be able to feel the dry shampoo sitting in my roots but my hair was just as soft and smooth as it always is after blow-drying. The product felt extra chalky on my hands but a quick rinse sorted that out.
Having my hair in a boyfriend bob means I touch it a lot to move it out of my face, so it's no wonder it gets a little greasy after day one. Call it magic or simply science but there wasn't a trace of oil in my roots the next day, nor the day after. On day three I noticed a little oil at the front of my hair, where I touch it the most, but it was considerably less greasy than usual and I could get away without another spray of dry shampoo. I didn't really need to wash my hair on day five but I had a bath where the underside of my lengths got bubbly and wet, so I did (reluctantly).
I had to ask Jay Dharamshi, hair specialist and founder of SKY Clinic, and hairstylist Neil Moodie at Neil Moodie Studio for their thoughts. Is something like this really beneficial or was I just having a good hair week? And is using dry shampoo in this way safe for all scalps, particularly sensitive types? It seems the experts are divided in their opinion.
Jay says there is absolutely a benefit to using dry shampoo in this way. "It's great to use as preventative product for oily hair," he told me. "Dry shampoo works well if applied on wet hair straight after washing, as it has the ability to absorb oil even before it makes hair greasy. This will leave hair looking fresher for a longer time — and it makes hair voluminous, too." Jay wants everyone to know that dry shampoo doesn't actually clean your hair; it merely absorbs oil to make your hair appear cleaner. Jay also says that dry shampoo should only be used as a quick fix and not as a permanent part of your haircare routine.
Though I saw a significant improvement in my greasy hair, Neil doesn't see any benefit in this hack. He calls it a fad. "For me," says Neil, "it defeats the object of what a dry shampoo does as a product. Dry shampoo is designed to be used after your hair hasn't been shampooed for a day or two, and will soak up any excess oils in the hair." Neil worries that adding dry shampoo to clean, wet hair could strip your hair of any natural oils already on your scalp, which you need to moisturise your scalp and hair.
Neil also suggests that spritzing powder directly onto wet skin could cause clogging over time. If your hair and scalp has buildup (it feels itchy and excessively oily), that's when Neil suggests using a clarifying shampoo. Try Olaplex No. 4C Bond Maintenance Clarifying Shampoo, $54, or Noughty Detox Dynamo Clarifying Shampoo, $14.95, if you're on a budget. The rest of the time, your usual shampoo will do. You could also enlist a scalp massager to help dislodge dirt, oil and other things that may have settled on your scalp throughout the week, says Jay.
While the jury is still out on this one, I can't deny it worked well for me. That said, it's not something I would do every time I wash my hair for fear of making my scalp and lengths dry in the long run (thanks, Neil). There's nothing like a good hair wash to totally revitalise you but during busy weeks, festivals or even travelling where I don't have the time to wash my hair properly, this could be quite a handy hack to know.