Dry shampoo feels like a cheat code when you’re short on time or want to refresh your hair after sweating on a hot day. 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 — and some even have the power to soothe inflamed or flaky scalps. Here, we spoke to nine hair-care experts to find the 17 best dry shampoos for every type of hair and scalp need. And if you’re worried about benzene levels in aerosol dry shampoos, none of our picks were named by the FDA in Unilever’s October 2022 voluntary recall of 19 products.
What we’re looking for
Dry shampoos at their core contain oil-absorbing ingredients, the most popular being a form of starch (usually a rice starch) and oat milk. Several dry shampoos also offer added benefits to the hair and scalp such as aloe vera and niacinamide for flaky scalps, charcoal to suck up oils, or vitamins that plump the hair and promote growth. Below, we’ve broken down the most prominent ingredients in each bottle of dry shampoo.
Powder, spray, or foam
We’ve also listed what form the dry shampoo takes in case you already have a preference. The most popular is a spray, but if you’re not into aerosols, we’ve also found several powders as well as a paste and a foam.
Best overall dry shampoo
Ingredients: Oat milk | Powder
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 dry shampoo for dark hair
Ingredients: Rice starch, argan oil | Spray
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 dark hair
Ingredients: Rice starch, argan oil | Spray
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 dry shampoo for curly hair
Ingredients: Various starches | Spray
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 volumizing dry shampoo
Ingredients: Rice starch | Spray
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 volumizing dry shampoo for fine hair
Ingredients: Corn and tapioca starch, chamomile extract | Powder
Stylist Haley Campise loves reaching for a nonaerosol dry shampoo like this Hairstory powder. “The powder absorbs oil and adds a bit of texture for more volume, which is really great for fine hair,” she says. “It’s easy to apply and lasts incredibly long since it is not an aerosol,” which also makes it less damaging to the environment. Her final tip to extend the longevity of your blowout is to apply the powder after cleansing, before oil gets even a chance to build.
Best lightweight volumizing dry shampoo
Ingredients: Rice starch | Spray
“This spray will create instant undone texture and volume with a soft, weightless finish,” says hair colorist Tara Burke. The spray uses a mixture of starches to absorb excess oil across the scalp — but as the product is designed to be lightweight and resist building up, it can also be spritzed through the ends of the hair for added volume from root to tip. It works best on second- or third-day straight and wavy hair, when there’s just a hint of oil. Burke loves that the spray becomes imperceptible, absorbing without leaving any powdery residue.
Best texturizing dry shampoo
Ingredients: Potent form of silica | Powder
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.” Like the Hairstory dry shampoo, this powder’s concentrated formula makes the product 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 scented dry shampoo
Ingredients: Various starches, bamboo and rice silk | Spray
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 (less expensive) scented dry shampoo
Ingredients: Citrus oil, antioxidants | Spray
“This is a hardworking dry shampoo that instantly invigorates and deodorizes hair back to fresh, bouncy locks with a combination of citrus oils, vitamins, and antioxidants,” says hairstylist Maria Elizabeth. “Plus, every time someone hugs me after I’ve used this product, they always compliment me on my scent.” Like Campise, Elizabeth’s ultimate dry shampoo tip is to “pregame” the hair: “Apply your dry shampoo before your hair gets too oily.” If you’re on your way to an exercise class, for example, “dry-shampoo your hair before your workout. Getting ahead of your oil will make all the difference in your hair’s unwashed appearance.”
Best fragrance-free dry shampoo
Ingredients: Rice and tapioca powder | Spray
Greg Ruggeri of Salon Ruggeri defaults to this plant-based dry shampoo from Act + Acre, which has what he calls a minimal scent. “It also doesn’t make the hair feel sticky or tacky in any way.” The spray doesn’t clog the hair follicle, unlike others he’s worked with in the past — that buildup can lead to an irritated and inflamed scalp.
Best fragrance-free dry shampoo for dark hair
Ingredients: Various starches, vitamin B5 | Spray
Burke likes that this Redken spray leaves no film. “It’s free of silicons, sulfates, talc, and fragrance, a perfect formula for absorbing excess oil without the risk of product residue,” she says. And the added vitamin B5 should provide some nourishment for your hair with each application.
Best dry shampoo for very oily scalps
Ingredients: Charcoal, white-tea powder | Spray
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 dry shampoo for flaky scalps
Ingredients: Starches, aloe vera | Spray
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
Ingredients: Rice starch | 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
Ingredients: Volcanic ash | 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.”
Some other shampoos we’ve written about
• Tara Burke, colorist at Cutler Salon
• Anthony Campbell, celebrity hairstylist
• Haley Campise, stylist
• Henry De La Paz, hairstylist
• Maria Elizabeth, hairstylist at Salon deZEN
• Sahar Hissami, hairstylist
• Aviva Jansen Perea, hairstylist
• Greg Ruggeri, hairstylist at salon Ruggeri
• Benjamin Talbott, hairstylist
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