Beauty 1101: the skinny on dry shampoo

Photo by Joel McCarthy
Photo by Joel McCarthy

Everything you need to know about getting great hair without a wash

By Sophie Isbister, Life & Style Editor

When it comes to dry shampoo, I’ve tried a few—a few dozen, that is. When this miraculous, time-saving product showed up on the hair-care market a few years ago, there wasn’t much available by way of selection, and it was mostly confined to premium stores like Sephora. Now that the trend has caught on there’s almost too much choice at your local Shoppers Drug Mart. Which is why, for the first instalment of the Other Press’s new beauty column, Beauty 1101, I passed out different types of dry shampoos to myself and three lucky ladies on our staff. We test-drove these products so you don’t have to! I know, it’s a tough life.

Dry shampoo is a product that typically comes out of an aerosol can; it masks greasy hair and adds scent and volume to day-old styles, so you can wet your head less (and avoid the breakage and drying that comes with too-frequent washing). It also comes in at several different price points and from different brands. The products featured in this article range from $5 to $16, and are by no means exhaustive.

Our editor-in-chief, Natalie Serafini, tried the Dove Refresh + Care Invigorating Dry Shampoo. She has previous experience using a non-aerosol, powder product from Lush. “I’ve always liked [Lush’s product] No Drought for the citrus-y smell and ability to give my flat, day-old hair some volume,” Natalie told me, but she adds that Dove’s product (mostly) holds up:

“Dove’s dry shampoo performed pretty well: I wish it had given me some more volume, as my hair tends to get flat from lack of washing, but it smelled good and mostly banished oily areas. The one issue I had was with its tendency to go on well, but to show a white residue in certain lights later on.”

At around five-dollars/can, Natalie says she “wouldn’t go out of [her] way to buy this.”

Next, our newest staff writer, Brittney MacDonald, tried Batiste, a product straight from the ‘70s—it’s truly the original dry shampoo. Batiste costs around $11/can.

“As someone who dyes their hair regularly, I am an avid user of dry shampoo in order to prolong my hair colour,” Brittney said. “What I found with Batiste as opposed to my usual brand is that the scent was not as overpowering as a lot of other products, and the perfume tends to fade quickly.” She appreciates this factor because the smell doesn’t conflict with other scents she might be wearing.

Brittney reports that Batiste did not leave a visible residue: “In the past I have had problems with dry shampoo lightening my colour because I dye my hair very dark. I did not have the same issue with the Batiste brand—I will probably buy it again!”

Our humour editor Sharon Miki tried out Pantene Original Fresh Dry Shampoo—“with a fusion of natural tapioca and Pro-V science,” according to the bottle. Coming in at the same price-point as Dove, the Pantene product fared a little better in Sharon’s test-run.

“As someone who genuinely hates washing her hair more than a couple of times a week (I know, I’m gross), I’ve tried everything from translucent face powder to oil-absorbing creams to dry shampoo sprays,” Sharon told me before launching into why her test-run went so well.

“This dry shampoo tackles my main issues with long-unwashed hair—greasy-looking roots, lack of body, and lack of a pretty scent—in an instant. I sprayed the shampoo [and] within a few minutes, my hair was noticeably more voluptuous and looked less greasy.” Sharon rated Pantene Original Fresh Dry Shampoo a “would buy,” adding that she would “pay comparable to salon brands.”

Finally, it was my turn to try a dry shampoo. I picked Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk, a brand from France. The small bottle I chose was around $16, but I was attracted to it because the label said it was not only for fashion-savvy long-tressed ladies, but for people who happen to be bed-ridden. It also specified to use a “small amount of product,” which made me think that even at a higher price tag it might have better mileage than a cheaper brand.

I was thoroughly impressed with Klorane’s dry shampoo: after applying it to my second-day hair (which is medium length and very prone to greasiness), I was able to go out with my hair down. Almost unheard of! Klorane has a non-obtrusive smell and provides volume as well as a silky feel that I haven’t felt from other dry shampoos before. I most definitely will buy it again, which is more than I can say for the $25-bottle that I got from a salon (it worked so poorly that I used the whole thing up in about 10 uses).

When it comes to dry shampoos, there are tons of options out there. If you want to get super natural about it, you can even use plain cornstarch. Hopefully the information in this article is enough to get you started; our test runs have shown that a higher price tag doesn’t always equal a better product, and that smell is important. When selecting a dry shampoo, spray it a few times in the store to see if you like the smell. Good luck!