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The Right (And Wrong!) Way To Use Dry Shampoo


You might have just finished a tough workout and have to run directly to a date, or missed your alarm, or are just not feeling like hauling your blowdryer out. Whatever the reason, the good news is that there is a solution to your oily hair issues, and it’s called dry shampoo.

Chances are you’ve heard of it, but you might not know how dry shampoo works, when to use dry shampoo, or even if it’s right for you. Which is why we talked to Pantene professional hairstylist Justin German to get the low down on all things dry shampoo. Keep reading for the answers to those FAQ’s.

What Exactly Is Dry Shampoo?

A form of waterless cleanser, dry shampoo helps eliminate dirt, grease, and excess oil from hair without requiring you to do a full wash and style. It can also help revive and refresh hair that’s fallen flat or lost its shape. According to Justin, it’s one of the most versatile products: “Dry shampoo has become a staple in my set bag,” he says.

How Does It Work, This Water-Free Cleaning Magic?

According to Pantene’s team of scientists and formulators, the key ingredient in dry shampoo is always a starch — in the case of Pantene’s Hair Affair Never Tell Dry Shampoo, that would be natural starch from the cassava root, more commonly known as tapioca. Unlike talc, another common dry shampoo ingredient, tapioca starch can suck up more oil. A little goes a long way! It won’t leave behind that telltale powdery white residue, making it more effective at getting rid of those second- (or third- or fourth-) day greasies.

Another bonus of Never Tell Dry Shampoo is that it also contains Pantene’s signature pro-vitamin B5 complex to nourish, along with wild mint to give stale-smelling hair an instant burst of freshness.

Is Dry Shampoo Healthy For Your Hair?

You put your hair through a lot — what with heat styling, dye, and chemical treatments — but did you know that you are most at risk to damage your hair when you wash it? True story: Hair is at its weakest when it is wet, meaning anything you do to it during that time will be more extreme, leading to breakage, split ends, and dryness. By skipping washes, you are allowing your hair’s natural oils to keep it hydrated and minimizing the harmful effects of any styling you do after washing.

Who Can Use Dry Shampoo?

For women with straight, fine, flat, or slightly wavy hair, dry shampoo is a no-brainer. It helps erase the evidence of grease that is usually super-noticeable on those hair types. It’s also a great choice for those that color their hair, as up to 80% of hair-color fade is caused by water. I.e., the less you wash your hair, the longer your color stays fresh.

But, because dry shampoo requires brushing out your hair in order to get those oil-absorbing powers, women with curly or coiled hair aren’t usually fans as it can mess up those curls. But, that doesn’t mean curly girls are destined for a life of greasy roots. Pantene’s new Hair Affair Cheat Day Dry Shampoo Foam is the better option for these hair types, as it doesn’t require the heavy brush-out required to remove the amount of powder used in typical dry shampoos. It also has an hydrating effect and is ultra-lightweight. You can learn more about it here.

What’s The Best Way To Use Dry Shampoo?

According to Justin, the best way to use dry shampoo to refresh hair and banish excess oil, is to spray it directly on to the roots (making sure to hold the can four to six inches away from your head so as not to oversaturate your strands) and work it in with your fingers. Give it a minute to settle in and grab on to that oil, then brush your hair out. The brushing step is one many women skip, but it’s crucial to making sure the product does its job. Since the excess oil is absorbed into particles, they have to be physically removed in order to get them out of the hair. “Be sure to brush out the powder (even if you can’t see it),” says Justin. “That’s an important step to remove the oils so hair feels cleaner, not greasier.”

One thing to be careful of, says Justin, is applying too much. “Many women spray it until they see residue, but newer products (like Pantene Never Tell) do not leave behind visible residue and can be overdosed.” Instead, start off with a little, then work in more if you feel like you need it.

Another common mistake women make is applying it all over the hair. “Use it only at your roots where you have the most oil, not along the lengths, which can lead to tangles,” cautions Justin.

Got Any Pro Tips?

Boy, do we. As Justin mentioned before, he uses dry shampoo for all kinds of tricks. Here are his favorites:

  • A trick I like for refreshing a hair gone flat is to spray it in at the roots and use a blowdryer to work in the product.

  • On set, a lot of us spray dry shampoo all over the hair to get rid of shine caused by excess oil. It gives you a fluffy, more matte finish or texture to the hair.

  • Since dry shampoo can leave hair feeling dry, it’s a good idea to follow them up with a leave-on treatment like an oil, a serum, or a conditioning spray to hydrate dry ends. Try Pantene Beauty Balm for lightweight hydration between washes.

Lesson of the day: If you don’t have a dry shampoo in your arsenal, you’re missing out on a whole new world of non-wash day possibilities. No one wants hair FOMO, so get to the drugstore and stock up now.



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