the best refreshers that do oh-so-much more

Greasy hair is just a big no-no. No matter who you are, pulling off the greasy roots look is tricky. This is why the best dry shampoo has become such a beauty staple.

You can use the best shampoo for greasy hair if you really struggle with excessive oil, but having a really good dry shampoo in your arsenal is ideal for getting you from one wash to another. If you’re wondering if dry shampoo works, then put your worries to one side. We are big believers in these hair refreshers.

The best dry shampoos on the market, though, are so much more than a spray that gets rid of greasy hair. Don’t get us wrong, the good ones do that extremely well. But the best ones are smarter.

There are the ones specifically designed to deal with fine hair, that has been created not to weigh the hair down. The ones that don’t dispense white dust, but come out in a darker shade to match your hair colour. And then there are the super-duper clever ones that are like skincare for your scalp.

Like the best shampoo for hair loss, say, or the best purple shampoo for the blondes among us, a great dry shampoo is a beauty investment well worth making in our book. Here’s why.

How does dry shampoo work?

‘Hair follicles cover your scalp and in addition to producing hair, they produce sebum,’ explains Eroll Douglas, Living Proof Pro Expert and Textured Hair Specialist. ‘The production of this natural oil is key for softening your hair texture and protecting your skin. However, when you go about your day, your hair follicles can produce a build-up of sebum leading to oily-looking hair. Simply put, the starches in dry shampoo formulas absorb the oil build-up in your hair. When your scalp produces an excess of sebum, dry shampoo application makes for a great way to hide oily hair.’

‘A good dry shampoo should soak up excess oil from the hair to leave it feeling, smelling, and looking clean,’ Douglas adds. ‘Unfortunately, not all dry shampoos take care of ‘cleaning’ the hair, most, soak up oil and sweat and leave behind a powdery residue that can sometimes be hard to remove.’

How to use dry shampoo properly

Sure, part of its appeal is spray-on, comb through, and dash through the door. But in order to avoid residue and keep your scalp in good nick, there is such thing as dry shampoo best practice.

Aside from finding a dry shampoo that best matches your hair colour (Batiste does a great lighter option for blondes, while Moroccanoil has one of our top picks for dry hair), always shake your dry shampoo before use, and always hold it four to six inches away from your roots when spraying.

Like that old trick of only applying the best foundation where it’s needed, the same should go for dry shampoo. Spray it only where hair is greasiest (without going overboard on one patch). If you’re wondering how much dry shampoo to use, we recommend using it sparingly and building up.

Then, and this is a key part that so many miss, you have to leave it to set for a moment for it to truly work its magic. Don’t run your hands through it straight away. Doing this disrupts the work being done. Once you’ve left it for about a minute or two (go and brush your teeth or put your shoes on), then you can start massaging it into your roots with your fingertips. Voilà! Refreshed hair done right.

Douglas always recommends keeping a travel-sized dry shampoo with you at work or in your handbag. He recommends using it after spending time outdoors, in the sun, post-workout, or at the start or end of the day. ‘The sweat that builds up along the roots can leave hair feeling greasy,’ he says. ‘A quick refresh with a spray of dry shampoo can leave hair feeling its best in under a minute. Make sure your hair isn’t too damp before applying the dry shampoo.’

How often can you use it?

This all depends on your hair type, texture and regime. ‘The key is to give your scalp the chance to breathe between washes, especially if the dry shampoo you’re using is predominantly powder-based and doesn’t take care of the “cleaning”.’

Whilst they disguise the greasy look, they shouldn’t actually replace your normal shampoo. If used too regularly, you will find you have product build-up at the root, which can cause itchiness and dandruff.

Best dry shampoo of 2022:

Are you ready to shop our pick of the best? This is our Beauty Editor-approved edit of the best dry shampoos to buy now. Our Senior Beauty Editor (who admits to having pretty greasy roots at times) tested each of the below, paying close attention to how well it absorbed oil, fragrance, how it felt in the hair and price.

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