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Dry shampoo: Benefits, Side effects and How to use it right

A dry shampoo is perfect for those who don’t have much time to have a head bath. But before using it, know the dos and don’ts of dry shampoo, along with its benefits and side effects.

If you are unfamiliar with dry shampoo, you must know it is a hair care product that does not remove dirt from hair. Still, it is a go-to product for busy women, as it absorbs the oil in hair, making the dirt, grime and greasiness, less noticeable. Mostly made with alcohol or starch, this waterless product is more of a hair freshener. Does that make you wonder if using a dry shampoo after your daily workout session or right before a party is good for your hair? Read on to know the benefits, side effects and dos and don’ts of dry shampoo.

What is a dry shampoo?

Dry shampoo is a hair care product that offers an easy way to refresh and clean hair without traditional washing with shampoo and water. It comes in spray or powder form and is designed to absorb excess oil, dirt, and odour from the scalp and hair, making them look cleaner and more voluminous, says dermatologist Dr Vichitra Sharma.

A woman using dry shampoo
Dry shampoo has benefits and side effects too. Image courtesy: Freepik

What are the benefits of dry shampoo?

For women with packed schedules and who may not have time for regular hair-washing routines, dry shampoo can be handy and helpful. Here are some of the benefits of dry shampoo:

1. Bouncy hair after workout

Dry shampoo is not just good for busy women or travellers who may not have access to a shower, but also for fitness enthusiasts who sweat it out every day. A dry shampoo can help to manage sweat and greasy look after exercising without washing hair immediately.

2. Oil absorption

It is effective in absorbing excess oil and sebum from the scalp, says the expert. It may benefit people with oily scalps and seborrheic dermatitis of the scalp when washing frequently is not possible.

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3. Volume and texture

It can add volume and texture to hair, making it easier to manage and also style. It is particularly good for those with fine or flat hair.

4. Hair colour maintenance

For women with coloured hair, dry shampoo can help maintain the vibrancy of hair colour by reducing the frequency of washing. Frequent hair washing can strip away colour molecules, says the expert.

What are the side effects of dry shampoo?

Using a dry shampoo saves water too, but its side effects can’t be ignored!

1. Clogged hair follicles and build-up

Regularly using it can lead to product build-up, and can clog the hair follicles. This can potentially lead to scalp irritation, itchiness, and hair thinning or hair loss over time, says Dr Sharma. If hair follicles will get clogged, dirt and oil will get trapped and potentially leading to folliculitis (hair follicle inflammation).

2. Dryness

Dry shampoo can absorb excess oil from the scalp. But if overused, it can also absorb too much natural oil, leading to dryness and dehydration of the scalp and hair. This can result in flakiness, dandruff, and brittle hair.

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3. Residue

Dry shampoo can leave a visible residue on the hair, especially if not applied and massaged properly. This residue can make the hair appear dull, powdery, or discoloured, particularly on darker hair colour.

4. Hair texture changes

Using it frequently can alter the texture of the hair. It can make the hair feel rough and stiff. This can affect hair manageability and styling versatility.

5. Carcinogenic potential

High levels of benzene, which is known to be a carcinogen, were found in 70 percent of dry shampoo samples tested during a 2022 study conducted by Valisure, an independent laboratory in the US. It also has harmful ingredients like asbestos fibres and magnesium silicate, talc, and aluminum compounds.

A woman using dry shampoo
Know the steps to use dry shampoo. Image courtesy: Freepik

How to use a dry shampoo?

If you still want to give it a shot, here are steps to use a dry shampoo:

  • Before using dry shampoo, shake the canister to ensure that the product is well-mixed and ready for application.
  • Divide your hair into several sections by using a comb or your fingers. This makes it easier to apply the dry shampoo evenly and target oily areas.
  • Hold the dry shampoo canister about 6 to 8 inches away from your scalp. Spray the product directly onto the roots of your hair, focusing on oily areas. If you are using a powder form, sprinkle a small amount onto your fingertips and massage it onto your scalp.
  • Use your fingertips to massage the dry shampoo into your scalp and roots thoroughly. This helps distribute the product evenly and ensures that it absorbs excess oil effectively.
  • Allow the dry shampoo to sit on your hair for a few minutes to absorb oil and refresh your scalp.
  • After letting the dry shampoo sit, use a brush or comb to gently brush out your hair. This helps remove any excess product and distributes it evenly throughout your hair.
  • Once you have brushed out your hair, you can style it as usual.

Dry shampoo dos and don’ts

Here are some tips to keep in mind while using a dry shampoo!

  • Shake the dry shampoo canister well before use to ensure even distribution of the product.
  • Start with a small amount of dry shampoo and gradually add more if needed to avoid buildup.
  • Massage the dry shampoo into your scalp and roots thoroughly.
  • Focus application on the roots and oily areas of your hair for best results.
  • Allow the dry shampoo to sit for a few minutes before hair styling.
  • After letting the dry shampoo sit, brush out your hair.


  • Don’t apply too much dry shampoo at once to prevent buildup and residue.
  • Avoid spraying it from too close. Maintain a distance of about 6 to 8 inches from your hair when spraying to avoid concentrated application and buildup.
  • Don’t use dry shampoo on wet hair, as dry shampoo is designed for use on dry hair only.
  • Don’t ignore scalp health, and avoid using dry shampoo if you have any scalp issues or irritations.
  • Don’t use it every day. You can limit the use of dry shampoo to a few times a week to prevent excessive buildup and potential scalp issues.

You can use a dry shampoo once in a while, but don’t make it a full-time substitute for cleaning your hair with shampoo and water!

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