No. Dry shampoo won’t automatically cause harm if used in moderation. However, using dry shampoo for many days in a row—without actually washing your hair—causes a buildup of product on your scalp and hair follicles. This buildup blocks new hair growth and can ultimately lead to hair loss and thinning over time. So how do you keep your favorite lazy-girl hair hack without damaging your strands? We got to the root of the issue to learn how to keep using our favorite time-saving product without doing undue damage to our ‘do. Read on to find out.
It’s All About The Scalp
We love dry shampoo because it makes our strands look freshly washed and voluminous. But here’s the thing to remember: dry shampoo doesn’t actually clean your hair. It helps soak up oil and grease, but by coating the scalp, not by cleansing it. Your scalp still needs to be cleansed in order to allow for new hair growth. Now, we’ve all been sold on the notion that over-washing your hair is bad for you. (And we bought it because, yes, washing one’s hair every day is time-consuming!) The truth is, the pendulum may have swung a little too far in the other direction. You don’t need to wash your hair every day, but you shoudn’t substitute dry shampoo for the real deal all week long. Why? It wreaks havoc on your hair health.
How Does Dry Shampoo Affect Your Hair Health?
Remember how we said dry shampoo essentially coats the scalp instead of cleaning it? By doing this, dry shampoo clogs the follicles on your scalp, blocking new hair growth. It also dries out the hair shaft itself, which can cause strands to stick together—meaning more strands that aren’t ready to be shed may come along for the ride on your hairbrush if they’re stuck to one that’s ready to fall out. (No thank you!) Plus, dry shampoos are often made from harsh chemicals which irritate the scalp and can cause excess flaking and itching. All of this sounds pretty grim, right? Just hold tight.
So…How Often Can You Safely Use Dry Shampoo
Let’s cut to the chase. The last thing you want to hear is that a product you rely on to get through busy mornings could be damaging your ‘do. Trust us—for an office full of women who thrive on daily workouts and easy hair hacks, the thought that dry shampoo is doing more harm than good is enough to send us over the edge. But the fact is, it’s only damaging if you’re treating it like an everyday thing. Hair experts agree that as long as you cap your dry shampoo days in a row at 2-3, you’re likely not doing any major damage.
Of course, everyone’s hair is a little different. Those with superfine hair may be thinking “pssht, I have to wash my hair everyday anyway, this doesn’t apply to me!” And those with thick, wavy hair (envious of you, by the way) may be able to go a few days longer without washing their tresses. The point is though, no matter how many days you go before shampooing, don’t over-clog your follicles by piling on the dry alternative day after day.
Related: 8 Sneaky Reasons You’re Losing Your Hair
Which Dry Shampoo Brands Are Best?
It’s not just the threat of hair loss that has some people questioning dry shampoo usage. Some brands of dry shampoo contain chemicals that may be harmful to your health; and many also come in aerosol sprays which are bad for the environment. Be on the lookout for dry shampoos that meet the following criteria:
Oh, and ones that work really well, too! To get you started, here are three natural dry shampoo brands we love that fit the above criteria. Give one of them a try and enjoy an extra day or two (remember, not a week!) without actual shampooing.
Verb Dry Shampoo. This all-natural dry shampoo boosts volume without leaving behind a white streaky residue (which is a must for brunettes).
BB Prêt-à-Powder. One bottle of this stuff will last for-ev-er (seriously) and is great for light volume and super greasy roots.
Lulu Organics Hair Powder
Lulu Organics Hair Powder. This lovely powder is paraben and talc free, and comes in 4 amazing different scents. We’re fans of the lavender/clary sage combo because it provides us with a fresh, relaxing scent in addition to taking our post-gym hair from greasy to gorgeous.
3 Commandments of Proper Dry Shampoo Usage
So, to recap, if you’re going to use dry shampoo, how do you do so without harming your strands—or the environment? Follow these three commandments.
1. Thou shalt not use dry shampoo for more than 3 days in a row
Two is pushing it, but it depends a little on how thick or fine your hair is. In general though, don’t go more than three days. Seriously. Just wash your head. It’ll be fine.
2. Seek out a dry shampoo free of parabens and other harmful chemicals
Your scalp absorbs chemicals at 5 to 10 times higher rates than other parts of your body. Repeated exposure to ingredients like parabens, talc, and liquified petroleum gas are no-nos. Parabens and talc are considered “suspected carcinogens” that are unfortunately found in many mainstream cosmetics, and liquified petroleum gas (LPG) has been shown to cause dizziness, headaches, and respiratory problems, in addition to being bad for the environment. Which brings us to…
3. Thou shalt not purchase dry shampoo that damages the environment
Many dry shampoos comes in an aerosol spray. Although most no longer contain the CFCs of the 1970s that were banned for their ozone-depleting characteristics, they do still contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs). According to Scientific American, VOCs contribute to ground-level ozone levels, a key component of smog. Many states are on their way to regulating VOCs because of their potential hazards. To stay on the safe side, try to avoid aerosol dry shampoos (if possible!) and opt for one of the three natural brands we listed above.