The Best Natural Dry Shampoo
Refresh your hair with natural dry shampoo. Swap out conventional dry shampoo for a clean version that supports a healthy scalp and absorbs oil with all-natural ingredients. I tested and reviewed 7 brands of natural dry shampoo and I have some favorites!
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When it comes to hair, mine is the perfect candidate for dry shampoo. It’s fine, thin and seems to attract every grease molecule around.
By the evening, I’ve got an oil slick on the top of my head. It wasn’t until a few years ago that my hairdresser suggested dry shampoo. Where has it been all my life?
If it’s the end of the day and I’ve got a school meeting or am heading out for a Target run, I use a little dry shampoo to make my hair more presentable (especially my side bangs). With just a teeny bit of dry shampoo rubbed into the roots, it works like a charm to get rid of that oily look.
HOW DOES DRY SHAMPOO WORK?
Your scalp is covered with hair follicles. These follicles produce sebum, the natural oil that keeps your scalp healthy and softens your hair. While a certain amount of natural oil is normal, excess oil buildup gives your hair a greasy look.
The starch in dry shampoo soaks up excess oil and grease in your hair and scalp. This gives your hair a cleaner, fresher, non-greasy appearance. No water necessary!
BENEFITS OF DRY SHAMPOO
- With dry shampoo, you can go a day or two longer without washing your hair.
- Dry shampoo may give your hair more volume, thickness, and texture.
- Touch up your hair with dry shampoo after a sweaty workout.
- Dry shampoo can extend the life of a salon blowout.
- If you’ve just colored your hair, frequent washing can cause the color to fade. Alternate washing with dry shampoo to extend the life of your hair color.
- The addition of essential oils makes your hair smell fresh between washes.
- If water isn’t available, like on a camping trip or power outage, dry shampoo will tame the grease.
DO I STILL NEED TO WASH MY HAIR?
Yes. Dry shampoo is not a replacement for washing your hair, it simply lengthens the time in between washing.
ARE THERE CONS TO USING DRY SHAMPOO?
Overuse of dry shampoo can dry out your hair, making it brittle and fragile. Your scalp may also start to feel itchy from overuse of dry shampoo.
Super dry hair is more vulnerable to heat damage and can break more easily. This is worst case scenario- just don’t use dry shampoo every single day.
INGREDIENTS TO AVOID IN DRY SHAMPOO
- Talc- Talc is used in some conventional dry shampoo formulas because it absorbs oil so well. The drawback is that talc can easily get contaminated with asbestos fibers during the mining process, and the methods used for testing for asbestos have severe limitations (1). Asbestos fibers can pose health risks such as toxicity to the respiratory system and cancer. Although the latest studies linking talc to ovarian cancer are inconclusive (2), a 2020 study has identified a link between asbestos in talc and mesothelioma, a rare form of lung cancer (3).
- LPG’s (Liquid Petroleum Gas): Butane, Propane & Isobutane- While it might seem more convenient to grab an aerosol spray can of dry shampoo over the powdered version, this odorless, colorless gas may be raising your carbon footprint and contributing to global warming (4).
- Cetrimonium Chloride- Cetrimonium chloride may be in your conventional dry shampoo to reduce static. The EWG classifies this ingredient as a known human toxicant and allergen, giving it a score of 4.
- Synthetic fragrance- Have you read the Right To Know report (5) on fragrance ingredients? It gives you a good idea of what isn’t disclosed on ingredient lists (cosmetics, skin care and cleaning products). Beauty products can list fragrance as one ingredient and don’t have to disclose the fact that these formulations may contain hundreds of ingredients. Synthetic Fragrance may contain carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, allergens, respiratory irritants and neurotoxic chemicals (5). Synthetic musks like galaxolide and tonalide, are linked to hormone disruption (6). Fragrance formulations also contain phthalates, which are hormone disruptors (7).
NATURAL INGREDIENTS TO LOOK FOR IN DRY SHAMPOO
- Oil absorbers: cornstarch, arrowroot powder, clay, baking soda, tapioca starch, rice starch
- Essential oils for fragrance: lavender, rose, citrus peel oil
- To darken: cocoa powder
HOW TO USE DRY SHAMPOO
- Start with dry hair.
- Remove any barrettes, bobby pins or hair ties before applying dry shampoo.
- Make sure your hands are clean, or you risk transferring more oils from your fingertips onto your hair roots.
- If using your hands to apply, squirt a half-dollar sized amount of dry shampoo on the top half of your fingers.
- I like to apply dry shampoo right underneath where I part my hair, in the roots. Massage your scalp to evenly distribute the product down to the roots with the tips of your fingers.
- Alternatively, apply a small amount of dry shampoo directly into your roots by aiming and squirting the bottle and rub it in with your fingertips.
- If applying dry shampoo with a flat brush (like a boar bristle brush or kabuki makeup brush), pour some dry shampoo onto the brush, shake off any excess dry shampoo and brush throughout your roots.
- If you want volume, flip your head over and rub the dry shampoo into your roots.
- If your dry shampoo is a powder or aerosol, don’t breathe in any product. I hold my breath when applying the powder.
DRY SHAMPOO TIPS
- Once you rub the dry shampoo in, don’t touch your hair. There are natural oils in your fingertips that transfer to your hair if you keep touching.
- After applying dry shampoo, you can give you hair a blast of cool air from a blow dryer to give it some added volume and bounce.
- If you notice some white powder hanging around your roots after application, take a damp washcloth and dab lightly at the white powder- it should disappear.
- Add dry shampoo to clean hair before styling in a bun, braid, or updo to add some grip. Clean hair can be super slippery.
- Apply a little dry shampoo to bobby pins or barrettes to help them stay in place.
HOW I TESTED
I applied dry shampoo in the evening when my hair was the greasiest, or in the morning right after waking up. I applied each dry shampoo brand several times to get an idea of how well each product made my hair NOT look greasy and how well the dry shampoo volumized my hair. My 13 year old daughter also helped me test. She has a similar hair type (fine and thin), so it’s pretty easy to produce the same results.
Ingredients for all of the dry shampoo brands are listed at the end of this post.
NATURAL DRY SHAMPOO BRANDS TESTED
- My take: The color of the powder is light tan, so it would still show up on super dark hair. It has a pleasant lavender scent, and it gave my hair nice volume and considerably reduced the grease factor. With the great price point and the fact that this product works so well, I would definitely buy this dry shampoo again.
- From the Beauty By Earth website: It’s time to rethink how you clean your hair. Swap out your regular routine for an organic dry shampoo to get the long, luscious, healthy locks you want. It’s the gentle way to deal with drab, drained, or dirty ‘dos.
- Cost: $11.81/ounce
- My take: I love this dry shampoo. It comes in a pump container in liquid form. When pumped into your palm, it comes out as a foam. Apply the foam to your roots and it dries quickly as a powder (although it did not feel like a powder at all). I waited about 5 to 10 minutes for it to dry, but you could use a blow dryer to dry it faster. This dry shampoo adds really nice volume and also smells great (lemony and floral). The ingredient list is longer than the powdered dry shampoos that I tested, but I put all of the ingredients into the EWG Skin Deep database and I give it the “green” light. It does contain alcohol, so I wouldn’t use it every day (alcohol is drying). I love the fact that it’s not in powdered form. I don’t like the thought of breathing in a powder during application. This would be great for kids and teenagers if you’re worried about them breathing in a powder. I would highly recommend this dry shampoo, and even though it’s on the pricier side of all the dry shampoo, I would buy this dry shampoo again.
- From the Innersense website: A dry shampoo. This foam to powder dry shampoo eliminates excess oil, builds body, creates texture and renews second day hair. Tapioca starch and witch hazel help pull oil, while Certified Organic honey adds body and imparts shine. Works well with all hair types and colors.
- Cost: $4.70/ounce
- My take: Another affordable dry shampoo that does a great job at sopping up grease and volumizing. It has cocoa powder for darker hair. This is one of my top dry shampoo picks. I would definitely buy it again.
- From the Acure website: With cocoa & rosemary. Easy to use, fast acting, dry shampoo that absorbs oil and removes grime without water! Convenient and effective! Paraben free, Sulfate free, Mineral oil free, Petrolatum free, Formaldehyde free, Cruelty free. 100% Vegan 0%, USDA organic.
- Cost: $17.78/ounce
- My take: This dry shampoo comes in white powder form. It definitely does the job of adding volume and getting rid of grease. It is one of the more expensive products I tested. I don’t think it’s any better than the cheaper dry shampoo brands I tried. The cons are that the applicator sends a big whoosh of powder everywhere and it was hard to control. It is supposed to be aimed at your roots, but the powder ended up coating the bottom half of my strands. It also has a chalky scent. Due to the price, I wouldn’t buy this dry shampoo again.
- From the Rahua website: Crafted with plant-based ingredients, our highly efficacious dry shampoo leaves hair and scalp clean and refreshed and makes styling effortless. Packaged in an environmentally friendly non-aerosol dispenser, it delivers texture, hold and volume. Best for all hair types.
- Cost: 28 ounce bottle ($7.00/ounce) or 1 ounce travel size ($12.85/ounce)
- My take: This dry shampoo did a decent job at taking care of grease, and it provided moderate volume.
- From the Lulu Organics website: The original, talc-free, organic dry shampoo powder. It will soak up oil at the root, give you extra body and leave your hair looking and smelling as fresh as a day-one wash. A must for any hair product collection. And with seven different scents to choose from, you are sure to find one you love! Talc Free / Vegan / Gluten Free / Handmade / Child Safe
- Cost: $2.92/ounce
- My take: This is a great affordable dry shampoo that takes care of grease and volumizes. Unfortunately the strong floral smell gave me a headache and I will not be able to use it again.
- From the Captain Blankenship website: A miracle worker. Our talc-free dry shampoo is the perfect solution to lifeless, unwashed hair. A powerful combination of powders absorbs oil, adds volume and gives life to your hair, plus it smells amazing. Sprinkle a little in whenever your hair needs an instant pick me up. Organic Arrowroot Powder and Kaolin Clay mattify greasy hair and add volume. Aluminum Free Baking Soda absorbs oil and adds freshness. Organic Essential Oils of Geranium and Palmarosa create a beachy rose smell.
- Cost: $9.99/ounce
- My Take: This is one of the more expensive dry shampoo options. It takes care of grease and moderately volumizes hair (see note below).
- From the Hair Dance website: Our 100% natural, vegan, and cruelty-free dry shampoo adds instant volume and leaves hair feeling silky and soft. Absorbs excess oil and adds instant volume to any hairstyle. Convenient to use and can be thrown in your purse for on-the-go application. Perfect for refreshing your hair during busy mornings when you don’t have time to wash your hair. Also great to use after any workouts, physical activities and excursions. Suitable for ALL hair colors: blonde, brunette, redheads, light and dark brown, and black. NO talc, parabens, baking soda, or phtalates.
- Note: This dry shampoo has silica listed as an ingredient. The silica in this dry shampoo is hydrated silica. It is recognized as safe for use in cosmetics, and you may find hydrated silica in toothpaste, foundation and other beauty products. The form of silica that causes silicosis is crystalline silica, and it’s a danger especially if you work in these fields: masonry, sandblasting, mining and countertop cutting. I’d still rather not be breathing silica into my lungs if there’s a whoosh of powder when applying. This is purely a personal preference.
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DRY SHAMPOO INGREDIENTS
Beauty By Earth Dry Shampoo & Volume Powder: Organic Zea Mays (Corn Starch), Organic Maranta Arundinacea (Arrowroot) Powder, Kaolin Clay, Sodium Bicarbonate (Baking Soda), Organic Theobroma (Cocoa) Powder, Organic Lavandula Hybrida (Lavender) Oil
Innersense Refresh Dry Shampoo: Water, Hamamelis Virginiana (Witch Hazel) Leaf Extract, Tapioca Starch, Alcohol, Caprylyl/Capryl Glucoside, Citrus Aurantium Dulcis Peel Oil, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, Zea Maize (Corn) Starch, Decyl Glucoside, Lauryl Glucoside, Dehydroacetic Acid, Benzyl Alcohol, Galactoarabinan, Pullulan, Glycerin, Xanthan Gum, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Hydroxypropyltrimonium Honey, Sorbic Acid, Panthenol (Vitamin B-5), Hydrolyzed Rice Protein, Hydrolyzed Quinoa, Chamomilla Recutita (Matricaria) Flower Extract*, Eucalyptus Globulus Leaf Extract*, Ginkgo Biloba Leaf Extract*, Aspalathus Linearis Leaf Extract*, Honey Extract*, Tocopheryl Acetate (Vitamin E), Linalool Ϯ, LimoneneϮ ϮA natural component of essential oils *Certified Organic Note: Zea Mays Starch is Certified non-GMO
Acure Dry Shampoo: Zea mays (corn starch)*, Maranta arundinacea (arrowroot) powder*, Kaolin clay, Sodium bicarbonate, Rosmarinus officinalis (rosemary) oil*, Mentha piperita (peppermint) oil*, Theobroma cacao (cocoa) powder*. *organic ingredient
Rahua Voluminous Dry Shampoo: Fuller’s Earth (clay), Organic Tapioca Starch (Cassava root), Illicium verum (star anise), Vanila Planifolia, Citric Acid
Lulu Organics Dry Shampoo: *organic corn starch, white clay, baking soda, *organic horsetail powder, *essential oils / *USDA Certified Organic
Captain Blankenship Mermaid Dry Shampoo: Maranta Arundinaceae (Arrowroot) Powder,* Kaolin, Lactobacilius Ferment, Sodium Bicarbonate, Cymbopogon Martini (Palmarosa) Oil,*Pelargonium Graveolens (Rose Geranium) Oil. *certified organic ingredients
Hair Dance Volumizing Dry Shampoo: Organic Oryza Sativa (Rice) Starch, Organic Colloidal Oatmeal, Silica, Lavandula Angustifolia (Lavender) Oil, Organic Olea Europaea (Olive) Leaf
- Rohl, A. and Langer, A. Identification and quantitation of asbestos in talc. Environ Health Perspect. 1974 Dec; 9: 95–109.
- Moline, J. et al. Mesothelioma Associated With the Use of Cosmetic Talc. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: January 2020 – Volume 62 – Issue 1 – p 11-17.
- Bad Hair Day: Are Aerosols Still Bad for the Ozone Layer? Are the new propellant chemicals any better than the CFCs banned in the 1970s? Scientific American. September 4, 2008.
- Nudelman, J. and Engel, C. Right To Know. Exposing toxic fragrance chemicals in beauty, personal care and cleaning products. Breast Cancer Prevention Partners and Campaign For Safe Cosmetics. Sept. 2018.
- Synthetic Musks. Campaign For Safe Cosmetics. A Project of Breast Cancer Prevention Partners.
- Patisaul, H.B. and Adawele, H.B. Long-Term Effects of Environmental Endocrine Disruptors on Reproductive Physiology and Behavior. Front Behav Neurosci. 2009; 3: 10.