I’ve been fighting a losing battle with my scalp’s natural oils since puberty. As a greasy-haired teen, I made the mistake of shampooing my hair every single night, which only made my already oily locks even slicker. Eventually, after years of trial and error — and testing just about every dry shampoo on the market, from drugstore classics like Batiste to pricier options like Oribe — I had finally nailed down a routine. Wash day, dry-shampoo day, put-hair-in-a-slick-ponytail-and-hope-nobody-notices day, repeat.
This routine worked fairly well until the pandemic hit and I started working out more regularly than I ever have. (My suddenly empty days had to be spent doing something other than work.) While there were many benefits to starting a consistent fitness regimen, one unexpected downside was the way it disrupted my carefully calibrated hair-care routine. I’m the type of person who gets super-sweaty during every type of exercise, whether it’s gentle yoga or a vigorous roller-skating session, and it didn’t take long before I noticed that my current arsenal of products couldn’t keep up with the extra sweat and grime. At first, I tried tinkering with my routine — but upping my wash days left my scalp stripped, while upping my dry-shampoo applications led to a residue buildup that left my fine hair looking dull and flat.
Since I had already tried just about every dry shampoo you can buy, I resigned myself to trying to schedule my workouts around the wash days in my hair routine. But the Sophie’s Choice of whether to work out or have nice-looking hair is one I could only put up with for so long. So earlier this year, when Swair offered to send me a bottle of its so-called showerless shampoo spray, I figured there was little to lose in trying it out. According to the brand, the product is designed to succeed where dry shampoos often fail: Its liquid formula promises to actually cleanse hair by lifting away sweat and dirt, whereas dry shampoos typically use an alcohol-and-starch powder to conceal the appearance of oil. While both Swair and dry shampoos can be sprayed on, the former requires a (slightly) more involved process: You lightly mist your hair with the product, concentrating on areas that tend to get the most oily or sweaty (mine are the nape of my neck and roots), then immediately give your hair a vigorous towel-dry to remove any loosened grime. Afterward, you can let your hair air-dry, though I find a quick hit with a blow-dryer works better.
While more involved than applying dry shampoo, Swair is a lot less involved than a whole shower — I can be Zoom-ready in five minutes after a workout — and it crucially leaves my hair looking a lot better after exercising than washing or dry-shampooing it. I still use dry shampoo on the days I don’t break a sweat, but I haven’t reached for it once post-workout since I started using Swair two months ago. Not only does its squalene-infused formula add a nice shine that my trusty canister of Oribe never could deliver, but Swair also leaves my hair feeling clean, a nice departure from the dry-shampoo-created smoke and mirrors I’ve grown used to. I intend to continue working out after the pandemic — it’s one of the few positive things to come from this otherwise horrible time — and I can imagine the stuff becoming a Dopp-kit staple once I’m able to schedule in-person classes and post-workout plans for the same afternoon (something I never would’ve attempted before March 2020). Plus, because it really just replaces dry shampoo on days I do work out (that aren’t wash days), Swair fits pretty seamlessly into that hair-care routine I spent all those years fine-tuning.
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