After an intense workout or a day under the hot sun, you might find your scalp (and hair) looking rather oily and greasy from the sweat pooling around your roots. Because there’s no real way to stop a scalp from sweating — unless you want to shell out the money for regular Botox injections — a quick solution to making it look less sweaty is dry shampoo. Typically formulated with moisture-absorbing corn or rice starch, a dry shampoo will sop up excess oil while removing any impurities, like dirt, from your hair. Some even have the power to soothe inflamed or flaky scalps with ingredients like oat milk, aloe vera, and niacinamide.
To find the best dry shampoos, we consulted eight hairstylists about the ones they recommend. Their 12 favorites run the gamut, from dry shampoos for curly hair, to products that work better with darker hues, to options that offer a little volume, too.
Best overall dry shampoo
Four of the hairstylists we spoke with cited this product from Klorane as their go-to for an all-around good dry shampoo. Celebrity hairstylist Anthony Campbell, the owner of Campbell & Campbell salon, told us it is “lightweight and great for all hair types.” Hairstylist Benjamin Talbott agrees that this dry shampoo works for a variety of hair types and for people with “seriously greasy scalps.” As he explains, “the oat milk in this formula works as an astringent to dry up excess oil while also adding a softness to hair.” This dry shampoo is a bit better for the environment because it’s released as a powder, not an aerosol spray. Talbott notes that this means you should “go easy with this” when applying to prevent any product buildup. Hairstylists Henry de la Paz and Aviva Jansen Perea also recommended this dry shampoo, with Perea adding that Klorane’s oil-control dry shampoo would be worth considering if you find your scalp gets super-oily after a “particularly sweaty workout or during the hot summer months.” (It contains all the same ingredients plus nettle extract, which helps regulate oil production.)
Best drugstore dry shampoo
“This is the dry shampoo I reach for time after time, year after year,” says Perea. “It works 100 percent of the time on all different types of hair.” It is also by far the cheapest dry shampoo on the list. The formula “soaks up oil and dirt without being too powdery or depositing too white of a cast,” adds Perea, who says a few quick sprays are all you need to freshen up your hair.
Best dry shampoo for darker-colored hair
Because many dry shampoos leave a white cast on darker-toned hair, the hairstylists say dark-haired folks should seek out one specifically formulated for their hair color, like this dry shampoo recommended by Talbott. The spray is formulated with ultrafine rice starch that immediately dissolves as it’s massaged into the scalp, preventing any dandrufflike residue from showing on roots. Talbott adds that it’s “infused with argan oil and UV filters, which help moisturize and prevent sun damage.” In addition to being great for dark-colored hair, he adds it’s also “an ideal choice for natural kinky, coily, or textured hair, as it won’t cause shrinkage.” Hairstylist Sahar Hissami, the owner of Maeve in June salon, also recommends this product, telling us it has an appealing “fresh smell.”
Best (less-expensive) dry shampoo for darker-colored hair
For dark-haired people looking for something less expensive, Perea recommends this dry shampoo from Kristin Ess that she uses on clients before they step in front of a camera. “This product lets me breathe easy knowing that when the cameras flash, they won’t pick up any of the white powder,” she says. Unlike the Moroccanoil spray, which comes out white, this actually has a neutral brown tint to help it blend into darker hair colors. De la Paz also told us about this dry shampoo, noting it lacks sulfates and parabens and contains vitamins that he says help nourish hair that has been damaged from years of dyeing or being styled with heat.
Best scented dry shampoo
Two hairstylists raved about Oribe’s dry shampoo. Hissami describes it as “smelling like a luxurious perfume,” and de la Paz promises it’s “worth every penny.” The fragrance is based on Oribe’s signature Côte d’Azur scent, which includes notes of bergamot, jasmine, and sandalwood. While the smell is palpable, the experts say it’s not too overwhelming. The formula, which works for all hair types and textures, contains a blend of starches and is translucent, allowing it to quickly absorb oil and treat scalp impurities without weighing hair down or leaving white spots.
Best dry shampoo for very oily scalps
Those familiar with charcoal masks for the face or skin will recognize the ingredient in this dry shampoo that Hissami recommends to anyone in need of something more heavy-duty. She says the formula combines charcoal with white-tea powder to create a dry shampoo that “deeply cleanses your scalp,” regardless of hair type or texture. Its marquee ingredient helps to lift dirt and absorb excess oil, while the white-tea powder acts as a calming agent to prevent any irritation.
Best texturizing dry shampoo
Our experts mentioned various dry shampoos from R+Co, but the Skyline Dry-Shampoo Powder came up the most. One of its fans is Campbell, who says it’s not only great for minimizing gunk built up from sweat but also for “extending your blow-dry or style for the next couple of days.” The same ingredient that absorbs oil — diatomaceous earth — also adds a bit of texture and grip to hair, which is what helps extend a style. This dry shampoo also contains jojoba-seed oil to help condition hair and add a bit of shine. Hairstylist Jasmine Burnside calls it her “all-time favorite dry shampoo” because, like the Klorane product that tops our list, this is a powder, not an aerosol spray. “I find it way more effective than an aerosol at absorbing excess oil from your scalp,” she says, noting that the powder formulation makes the product much more concentrated and therefore last longer. “I have had one bottle for almost two years,” says Burnside, who cautions it may not be the best for darker-colored hair because you “really have to work it” if you apply too much or too close to your scalp.
Best volumizing dry shampoo
Because oily and greasy hair can already look flat, hitting it with an additional volumizing product on top of dry shampoo can make it look even limper. Instead, de la Paz recommends using this dry shampoo from Sexy Hair to reduce oil and get some volume in the process. “You’ll get the va-va-voom volume without the product buildup,” he says. If you get this, he notes you’ll want to apply it a bit differently: In order to get maximum volume, you have to let this dry shampoo sit on your hair for two minutes before brushing it out or styling.
Best dry shampoo for curly hair
Curly hair requires a lot of moisture, so using a dry shampoo might seem counterintuitive. But Talbott says this one works particularly well for hair that’s “thick, kinky, and curly.” The ultralightweight translucent formula won’t dry or weigh down delicate curls, and with notes of water lily, green stem, and juniper wood, it also smells “sublime, like a breath of fresh air,” he promises.
Best dry shampoo for flaky scalps
Talbott calls this “the perfect solution if you have dandruff or scaly scalp issues.” As he explains, “it’s been formulated to target the root cause of dandruff and clears up any excess sebum, keeping you balanced and refreshed.” The product absorbs oil with a blend of starches, while ingredients like bisabolol (a derivative of chamomile), niacinamide, aloe vera, and methyl lactate (a cooling agent) all work together to soothe and calm inflammation as well as improve the scalp’s appearance.
Best dry-shampoo foam
A foam might seem like an odd texture for dry shampoo, but Perea says it’s actually fantastic for volume, especially if you have thin, fine hair. “You give the can a really good shake and pump out a golf-ball-size amount of foam and rub it on the scalp,” she says. “The wetness will dissipate and provide a lift that is hard to achieve with powder.” The foamy consistency, she adds, makes it easier to dictate where the product goes. Plus, “this stuff smells amazing,” Perea says.
Best dry-shampoo paste
Paste is another atypical consistency for dry shampoo. But Perea says that, like a foam, a paste can be easier to apply for anyone seeking precision. Echoing what we heard about the other R+Co dry shampoos on this list, she says this product gives an excellent texture — one you just can’t get with a spray. “The texture has this really unique grit that gives hair such beautiful movement, piecey-ness, and shine,” she says. To apply it, she says to “scoop a grape-size amount into your palms and rub them together to warm up the paste, then take your pincer fingers and separate the hair.”
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