The future of beauty is here — and you’re invited. Check out the rest of our 2018 Refinery29 Beauty Innovator Awards winners for a full look at the products, brands, and people that are breaking the rules and redefining beauty standards, one lipstick at a time.
I like to joke that I have a PhD in not washing my hair. In fact, I’m one of those total weirdos that sort of hates being wet in general. (Yes, we exist — and there are a lot of us.) Due to this perplexing desire to stay dry — and my career as a beauty editor — I have an extensive collection of shower caps and a rather advanced knowledge of dry shampoo.
If you, too, don’t like to wash your hair for whatever reason, then you’re likely well aware that all dry shampoos are not created equal. From the cult French offerings to the prestige American formulas to drugstore staples worldwide, they all work a little differently. Think you hate dry shampoo? Feel like it doesn’t work? I’m here to convince you that you just haven’t found your perfect match yet.
But that’s about to change, because the best dry shampoos for every concern and hair type are waiting in the slides ahead.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. If you buy something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.
Best For: A Tight Budget
This formula is incredibly powerful — so much so that I hit my own personal record of nine days without liquid shampoo after discovering it. I’ve convinced just about everyone I know to try it, and they’ve all come back raving about how long it extends styles.
Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Dry Shampoo, $3.59, available at Ulta Beauty
Best For: Textured & Curly Hair
Pros don’t normally advise the use of dry shampoo on textured hair — and for good reason, as natural and relaxed strands tend to be drier than other hair types. That is, until now: Cantu’s formula makes hair fuller, springier, and all around more “done,” with way less work.
Cantu Cantu Conditioner Dry Co-Wash , $4.99, available at Target
Best For: Dark Hair
Anyone with dark hair and a penchant for skipping wash days knows that white splotches happen with classic dry shampoo, especially if you use a heavy hand in a hurry. There are tons of tinted formulas to combat this annoying problem, but this is the formula the pros recommend most, likely because it’s ultra-strong and comes in a variety of shades.
Bumble and bumble Brownish Hair Powder, $36, available at Sephora
Best For: Fine Hair
Dove’s dry shampoo is pretty darn effective, but it’s the volume it delivers that really makes it stand out. The active ingredient is a form of starch, which, when layered into roots and lengths, makes hair look and feel fuller without any stiffness.
Dove Refresh + Care Volume & Fullness Dry Shampoo, $5.99, available at Ulta Beauty
Best For: Achieving Texas-Level Volume
For those wanting their hair to be as big as it possibly can (I feel you), I present Sachajuan’s cult formula. This is like extensions-in-a-can: A quick spray makes hair crazy full, but if you layer it in, section by section, your strands will look so thick, you simply won’t believe it. Now, this is hair product, not a miracle, so don’t expect to be able to run your hands through your hair with ease if you really go for it. There’s always a trade-off.
Sachajuan Dry Powder Shampoo, $35, available at Sephora
Best For: Extra Greasy Hair
Some dry shampoos do little more than add a powdery texture to mask oil and buildup, and leave strands sad and greasy just a few hours later. This one, however, has a special kick that earned it the top spot for this year’s Beauty Innovator Awards: The clarifying charcoal powder sops up dirt and sweat, while white-tea powder soothes and strengthens.
Usually, a few hours later, our strands are back to being sad and greasy. But this one has a special kick that earned it the top spot for this year’s Beauty Innovator Awards. It has clarifying charcoal powder which sops up dirt and sweat, while white tea powder soothes and strengthens at the same time.
IGK IGK First Class Charcoal Detox Dry Shampoo, $27, available at Urban Outfitters
Best For: Dandruff & Sensitive Scalps
Trichologist Philip Kingsley’s eponymous line specializes in issues of the scalp — and makes effective dandruff shampoo and DIY treatments downright chic. The brand’s entire line was created with sensitive, reactive scalps in mind, which makes this formula perfect for anyone with similar issues. It soaks up oil, yes, but it also has actives like zinc PCA and allantoin to help control bacteria and sebum and condition skin, which in turn helps control dandruff and itchy skin. Win-win!
Philip Kingsley One More Day Dry Shampoo, 200ml, $25, available at Net-A-Porter
Best For: Aerosol Avoiders
Aerosol isn’t for everyone, for a variety of reasons. While there are a lot of loose powder formulas without it (cult-favorite French brand Klorane also makes a great one), the pointed applicator on Verb’s is my top pick for the sheer control it gives you. Sectioning hair in horizontal partings is very important, especially with loose powder formulas, to ensure the dry shampoo gets to the root, and the engineering of this bottle makes that easier.
Tip: Loose powder formulas are heavier that aerosol, so massage it in at the roots, let it sit for a few minutes, then brush out the excess.
VERB Dry Shampoo, $8, available at Sephora
Best For: Hair That’s Too Silky
Yes, there is such a thing as too silky — and if your hair just can’t seem to hold a style, a little bit of grit will do the trick. This lightweight formula is perfect for giving you that texture and lift without creating product buildup, and it smells damn good, too.
Kristin Ess Style Reviving Dry Shampoo, $14, available at Target
Best For: Smelly, Greasy Hair
Dry shampoo that also cancels out odor? Leave it to the twins that made “bag-lady chic” the look during the aughts to create just that. And guess what — it works. It’s not quite as strong as a classic dry shampoo, but it has far more benefits than a hair perfume.
Runner-up: Oribe’s Cote d’Azur, which is a godsend for removing strong odors (like campfire) but doesn’t soak up oil.
Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black Dry Shampoo, $14, available at Sephora
Best For: Dry Hair Or Very Light Results
The French brand’s classic formula is a top pro pick because it’s effective, but also light, so it won’t turn your strands into the Sahara Desert. The brand has a few formulas — Nettle is great for super oily scalps — but it’s the Oat Milk that I love because it keeps hair feeling soft. Like Dove’s, it has starch, which means a ton of celeb hairstylists use it for texture through the lengths, too.
Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk, $10, available at Sephora
Best For: Super Greasy Hair
You know those days when you’re not sure even the strongest dry shampoo will help your poor, oily, limp hair? This is the formula for those times. Touted by pro hairstylists as the formula that will save your hair after a spin class, its dry texture sops up oil so you can create a chic pony or bun on even the dirtiest strands.
Tigi Bed Head Rockaholic Dirty Secret Dry Shampoo, $14.29, available at Ulta Beauty
Best For: Short Hair
If ever there was a dry shampoo innovation worth raving about, it’s this. This paste — yes, paste — is massaged into roots to diffuse oil and add volume. It’s rather effective, and adds a nice fullness and grit to hair. It works on any length, but due to the sheer amount of work (you really need to avoid lengths and ends unless you want a piece-y look) I recommend this formula for short hair.
R & Co R+Co Badlands Dry Shampoo Paste, $28, available at Nordstrom
Best For: People Who Hate Dry Shampoo
A lot of people loathe the feeling of hair product and absolutely despise the sensation of dry, dusty dry shampoo at their roots. I get it. For you, I recommend one of the most talked-about formulas from the past few years. I am not sure what kind of witchcraft the brand has harnessed, but somehow Living Proof’s formula soaks up oil, refreshes hair, and cancels out odor without feeling like anything. Seriously, beauty editors love this stuff — and you will, too.
Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo, $13, available at Sephora
Like what you see? How about some more R29 goodness, right here?