this thing's incredible

This $12 Powder Replaced My Aerosol Dry Shampoos

Photo: Erika Veurink

I’ve made a sport out of avoiding washing my hair. Of course, a sweaty Pilates session warrants a body-wash, and, no, there isn’t anything more divine than a midday bath during the weekend. But as for lathering and rinsing my short bob, I try to keep it to three times a week. The tools of the trade — the trade being skipping hair washes — are these: a greasy ponytail transformed into an intentionally slicked-back look and a good dry shampoo.

For years, I used Klorane Dry Shampoo With Oat Milk when I was feeling flush and Batiste Original Dry Shampoo when my hair-care budget thinned out. But recent controversy (aerosol recall) and the ever-present plight of the ozone layer have cast a shadow on my beloved staples. Gone are the nights spent getting ready under the glow of Christmas lights with my college roommate, fogging up our Manhattan dorm room with Detox Dry Shampoo from Drybar. We’re older now, wiser — more environmentally conscious, less likely to order Cosmos. We need a dry shampoo to match.

It was time to consider powder, a solution suggested to me by my friends in the beauty industry. The category was ripe with crunchy options and sleek branding, but as I tried more out, I realized the powders themselves were not without issues. I loved the scent of one, only to mutter curse words under my breath when it exploded in my toiletry bag on a family vacation. I adored the clever packaging on another but couldn’t justify the near-$50 price point. It spilled too.

Luckily, testing products is just one of the occupational hazards of being a writer who happens to cover beauty, and one day after I’d chucked an empty Klorane in the trash, I opened a PR package that contained a slim bottle of Odele Dry Shampoo.

The product, aptly described as “oil-absorbing, volume-reviving, shower-extending magic” on the brand’s website, seemed to transcend the expectations I placed on traditional dry shampoo from my very first use.

Poofed is the best word to describe the application process of the Odele Dry Shampoo. It’s certainly not spray or shake. A light mist is released from the bottle, landing on greasy strands with no need to mix vigorously at your roots to rid yourself of the George Washington–wig effect. A simple head-flip will do. The defining difference is that Odele feels like it’s actively absorbing my grease, while spray solutions really only masked the feeling with scent and a sticky texture, a prime culprit for buildup.

Odele’s plant-based powder relies heavily on cornstarch, an ingredient I tried employing on its own as dry shampoo in a particularly zero-waste, Patagonia-sporting phase of my early 20s. That cornstarch was hard to control and not fine enough to sprinkle gracefully, making the crown of my head look like an early phase of pancake batter. Odele, thanks to the spray apparatus, applies more naturally. Other key ingredients include arrowroot powder and rice starch, and there are no sulfates, phthalates, or parabens. While the label of “clean” carries baggage in its own right, this dry shampoo is the closest to earning the qualifier than any of the dozens I’ve tried. The scent is a signature of the brand’s — fresh notes of cucumber, oakmoss, and ylang-ylang — and it’s on par with the high-end powder I ditched.

So go ahead: Attempt a messy Bardot-inspired updo with the voluminous texture this dry shampoo provides — and none of the guilt. Exhale a sigh of relief knowing your eye-shadow palette and eyebrow gel are safe from a light coating of snow upon arrival, and put off that shower for one more day.

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This $12 Powder Replaced My Aerosol Dry Shampoos