Is Dry Shampoo Bad For Your Hair? Does It Cause Hair Loss [UK] 2023?
When you’re in a rush and don’t have time to wash your hair, putting it up or shoving it under a hat aren’t the only options. A spritz of dry shampoo can absorb excess oil, leaving your hair looking like it’s been properly washed.
While you can’t get away with using dry shampoo instead of actual shampoo forever, it’s a great hair product to keep in your back pocket – not literally. It’s the perfect way to freshen up after a sweaty workout or if you’re just popping out for a quick errand.
But is dry shampoo bad for your hair? In this article, we’ll explore the benefits and drawbacks of this product and provide tips for using it properly.
Is Dry Shampoo Bad For Your Hair And Scalp?
Dry shampoos can benefit the scalp and hair if used appropriately. They should be used as follows:
- Dry shampoos can be used to absorb oil from the hair and scalp.
- Occasional use of dry shampoos is safe for your hair.
- Do not overuse dry shampoos, leading to product buildup and dry skin.
- Dry shampoos should be applied to the root of the hair.
What Is Dry Shampoo?
When you want clean hair, a shower with good shampoo and a thorough scalp scrub is the way to go. But washing your hair takes time you might not always have. For individuals with mobility issues, bathing may also require assistance that isn’t always available.
Enter dry shampoo. It’s a convenient alternative to regular shampoo that helps clean your hair without washing it. You simply spray it into your hair to absorb excess oil, dirt, and other impurities that give your hair that greasy appearance. It’s a simple way to freshen up quickly without taking a full shower or bath.
Dry shampoo is a simple product to use, but how does it work, and what does dry shampoo do to your hair? Let’s find out.
How Does Dry Shampoo Work?
Your skin is covered with hair follicles, and they’re particularly concentrated on your scalp. In addition to hair, each follicle produces a natural oil called sebum, which helps moisturize your skin and hair. Over time — especially after exercise — that oil builds up on the scalp and in your hair, giving it an oily appearance.
While traditional shampoo removes excess oil, dirt, sweat, and other impurities from your hair, dry shampoo is designed to absorb it. Using alcohol or absorbent ingredients like talcum powder, dry shampoo makes your hair look cleaner. Some products also have fragrances to give your hair a smell as if you’ve just had a wash.
Unlike regular shampoo, dry shampoo doesn’t need to be rinsed out. The absorbent ingredients help absorb the sweat and oil that leaves you with greasy strands, enabling you to go a little longer between washes.
But you can’t leave it in forever, and overusing dry shampoo can lead to consequences for your hair and scalp.
How Dry Shampoo Affects Your Hair
While most dry shampoos help your hair look cleaner, they can also give your hair added volume and texture. Excess sebum can weigh down your hair — applying dry shampoos to absorb it can give your hair a fresh lift.
Dry shampoos work to absorb oil on the scalp and at the root of each hair follicle, but it isn’t a substitute for a thorough wash with real shampoo. It’s meant as a quick refresh. Dry shampoo may affect various hair types differently, and using it regularly or for extended periods of time could leave your scalp itchy and deprived of moisture.
This may lead you to wonder: does dry shampoo damage hair? It can if you use dry shampoo regularly and don’t wash your hair often enough.
The problem is the way dry shampoo works — it’s designed to remove oils that help keep your hair moisturized. Overuse of dry shampoo can leave your hair dry and more prone to breakage. You may also end up with product buildup on your scalp, leading to scaly skin and dandruff. Go too long without shampooing with real shampoo, and you could end up with a rash.
In addition, ethanol-based dry shampoos have an anti-microbial activity to them, discouraging the growth of pesky fungi and bacteria.
How often you need to wash your hair depends on your hair type. A dermatologist or certified trichologist may be the best person to advise you. Still, many people find washing their hair two to three times a week is sufficient to maintain healthy hair and a healthy scalp.
How To Use Dry Shampoo Safely
As with any hair styling product, it’s important to use dry shampoos properly. To keep your locks looking healthy — and to avoid scalp problems — use it sparingly and time your use appropriately.
Here are some tips for applying this product the right way:
- Aim the product directly at the roots of your hair, applying only to the oily parts that need it. Be sure to hold it at least six inches away from your scalp to ensure even distribution.
- Apply this product before a workout to soak up sweat and oil as it accumulates on your scalp. After you’re done, you can do a spot check and reapply where needed.
- If you know you’ll skip your morning shower, apply the dry shampoo the night before. This gives it time to soak up grease, and it will work its way through your hair as you sleep.
- Use as little as possible to avoid product buildup, which can contribute to dandruff. Using too much can weigh your hair down and leave it looking dull.
Remember, because of how dry shampoo works, it can build up on your scalp over time. This may lead to clogged pores and inflammation of the scalp, inhibiting hair growth. Does dry shampoo cause hair loss? Not directly, but it can contribute to it if you don’t use it properly.
Nineteen dry shampoo products from the Unilever company were removed from the shelves in 2022 due to benzene contamination through the propellents. So, these products are not without their safety hazards. This situation continues to be monitored on an international basis.
Alternatives To Dry Shampoo
Whether you don’t have any dry shampoo on hand or you prefer a non-commercial alternative, there are several things you can try.
Here are a few alternatives to traditional dry shampoos:
- Baby powder. It’s a little trickier to apply than a spray, but you can sprinkle baby powder on your hair and scalp and then work it in by hand to absorb oil.
- Cornstarch and cocoa powder. If you have a dark hair color, a mixture of cornstarch and cocoa powder may be less visible than white powders like baby powder.
- Apple cider vinegar. Mix a few tablespoons in a spray bottle with water, then spritz at the roots and work it along the hair shaft to remove grease.
- Blotting paper. If you have oily skin, you may already have blotting paper on hand. Simply press it into your scalp at the root of the hair follicles as a quick fix.
Another alternative to dry shampoo — if you’re also trying to avoid using regular shampoo too often — is to simply rinse your hair and apply conditioner when you bathe. Conditioner helps moisturize the scalp and hair follicles, while a good rinse helps remove dead skin cells, oil, and other impurities so they don’t build up on your scalp.
If you’ve asked yourself, “Is dry shampoo safe,” you can rest easy. Occasional use of this product won’t rob you of your healthy hair and won’t lead to hair thinning or lack of hair growth. Just remember that it’s a quick fix, not a long-term solution.
+ 2 sources
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- Ryu, C. and Jeong, N.-H. (2014). Antimicrobial Activity and Skin Safety of Ethanol-Based Dry Shampoo. Han-gugyuhwahakoeji. [online] doi:https://doi.org/10.12925/jkocs.2014.31.1.14.
- Elanda Fikri and Yura Witsqa Firmansyah (2023). A Case Report: Benzene Contamination in Shampoo. Jurnal Serambi Engineering, [online] 8(2). doi:https://doi.org/10.32672/jse.v8i2.5970.