New York Magazine May 28, 2024

New York Magazine

The Cut

These Are the Best Dry Shampoos That Actually Work


Fresh blowouts in this economy? You might want to reconsider and find the best dry shampoo for your hair instead. Whether you want to extend the life of your days-old blowout, absorb oils and odor between washes, or pump up the volume at your roots, dry shampoo is your best bet.

Below, I’ve rounded up the 12 best dry shampoos based on my own my rigorous testing as well as recommendations from professional hairstylists. From vitamin-enriched dry shampoos and ones that deposit color to texturizing sprays and affordable dry shampoos available at Target, this list has options for every hair type, color, and routine.

The Most Nourishing Dry Shampoo


Even some of the most effective dry shampoos on the market don’t feel great on the scalp upon application — some are sticky and heavy, while others have an aerosol spray that is concernedly aggressive (IYKYK). I love this one from Saltair because it feels like a treat for my hair and applying it is such a luxurious experience. The star ingredient is shea-butter-coated rice starch, which absorbs excess oils without drying out the hair. Plus, the scent notes of sandalwood, amber, and musk are warm and irresistible.

The best talc-free formula

Dae Fairy Duster Volumizing Dry Shampoo Powder

If you’re concerned about the presence of benzene in your dry shampoo aerosol cans, you’ll love this clean, non-aerosol option — it has a squeezable dispenser that simply “poofs” a highly-concentrated powder onto the scalp. The oily-absorbing formula features mojave yucca to help cleanse, exfoliate, and promote a balanced scalp, prickly pear seed oil to nourish and soften hair, and cactus flower extract to strengthen your locks.

The Best Dry Shampoo for Light Hair


As a strawberry blonde with oily hair and limited funds for hair appointments, I swear by this product. It deposits a small amount of color to help disguise my roots between salon visits — and it’s even more effective than most root touch-up sprays. The waterless formula absorbs oil, dirt, and grease, leaving my scalp feeling clean and refreshed. (The Batiste Hint of Color line also has a dry shampoo designed specifically for brunettes as well as one for people with darker hair.)

The Best Lightweight Dry Shampoo

Kérastase Fresh Affair Dry Shampoo

This ultrafine formula is infused with moisturizing vitamin E to help reduce breakage, plus it works well on all hair colors. Raven Hurtado, a stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, loves it because it’s “lightweight, doesn’t leave a white cast, and gives hair a fresh scent that lasts 24 hours.”

The Best Dry Texturizing Spray


This best-selling dry-shampoo alternative is worth the hype. It builds volume and gives me that messy, effortlessly cool texture without ever feeling sticky. Since it’s not a traditional dry shampoo, the formula won’t leave a white residue or cause product build-up at the roots — it uses spongelike crystalline-zeolite minerals to absorb oil and dirt instead of rice starch, charcoal, or other traditional ingredients.

The Best Affordable Dry Shampoo

Kristin Ess Dry Shampoo

Everyone needs a reliable drugstore dry shampoo in their beauty arsenal — this talc-free one from Kristin Ess is mine. It’s filled with oil-absorbing rice starch and strengthening vitamin C, plus it helps eliminate odor without an overpowering smell. I reach for it between washes, of course, but I use it (sparingly!) on clean hair when I need some texture. The best part? The lightweight and fast-acting formula is completely translucent, so I never have to worry about white residue.

The Best Cleansing Dry Shampoo


If you hate the feeling of dirty hair even more than the look of it, try this detoxifying dry shampoo from IGK. It contains charcoal powder, which lifts dirt and buildup while absorbing oil and sweat. Iudina describes it as an “intensely cleansing dry shampoo” that’ll leave your hair “visibly refreshed even after a very sweaty workout.”

The Best Powder Dry Shampoo


If you don’t like aerosols, try this powder formula from Crown Affair. Simply brush it on with a Kabuki brush to refresh your scalp and add volume. The scent is oh-so-fresh, and the unique design allows a more precise application than traditional dry shampoo. “I’m always on the lookout for products that extend the time between styling. Powder makes my hair look fresh and does not add the stickiness of other dry shampoos,” one review says. “A must for those who push 2-plus days between washes.”

The Best Dry Shampoo for Dark Hair


The never-ending search for a dry shampoo that actually works on brown and black hair stops here. Hundreds of reviewers say this product from Verb is the only dry shampoo on the market that doesn’t leave a white cast and blends right into their roots. “My hair is a level three dark brown, and this is the first dry shampoo that doesn’t leave a white cast,” one five-star review says. “It’s super lightweight and does an amazing job at absorbing oil. I can’t recommend it enough!”

The Best Volumizing Dry Shampoo

Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo

Amika products never disappoint — and this vegan dry shampoo is no exception. Ideal for all hair types and textures, this talc-free formula noticeably boosts volume while absorbing oil and reducing odor (scent notes include warm vanilla, spicy sweet clover, and fresh citrus). I reach for it when I want the oomph of a fresh blowout.

The Best Clean Dry Shampoo

Klorane Dry Shampoo With Oat Milk

This award-winning aerosol spray adds tons of body as it soaks up oil. It comes out white but is very lightweight, so it disappears as soon as you brush it through your hair. My roots instantly went from limp and oily to bouncy and shiny — as if they were freshly washed. Plus it’s hypoallergenic and made from ultra-gentle, plant-based ingredients



No, dry shampoos won’t replace real shampoos. Please shower! However, they’re a great alternative. “They can provide more time between washes, help to add a little bulk or texture to your curls, or even help create a better ponytail by adding some grip,” Goldwell national artist Steven Picciano explains.


Dry shampoo is great when used in moderation a few times per week. But overuse clogs the hair follicles, plus it causes breakage and dandruff, IGK stylist Olya Iudina says. “A good dry shampoo can last up to four days, so using once to twice a week is sufficient,” Jayne Castiglia, a colorist at Warren Tricomi salon in New York City, suggests.


“Dry shampoo is typically something to start using the night after your hair is styled,” Picciano says. “It’s better to use dry shampoo before bed and prevent the oil rather than trying to clean it up in the morning. The powder in dry shampoo needs time and manipulation to absorb oil.”


Late last year, the safety of dry shampoo was called into question when an independent testing facility reported that it had found a known carcinogen called benzene in 70 percent of the dry shampoos it tested. Headlines about health issues linked to benzene (like blood disorders and cancers) were alarming, to say the least, especially for those of us who use dry shampoo on a weekly basis.

After doing my own research and reading up on expert opinions, I continued to use dry shampoo and don’t plan on cutting it out of my beauty routine anytime soon. (Dr. Michelle Wong, a cosmetic chemist and science educator based in Sydney, Australia, told the Cut in November 2022, “This news does not mean any exposure to benzene will cause cancer, which is how people tend to interpret it. It’s about probability based on the amounts and the exposure — and the risk is really small.”) I do take a closer look at ingredients lists, though, especially when perusing the drugstore beauty aisle). “You should definitely avoid dry shampoo with ingredients such as propane, butane, and benzene, which can be found in some cheap mass-market shampoos,” Iudina says. It’s a good idea to use dry shampoo in moderation, read up on recent health concerns, and avoid products that were recalled by the FDA last year.

Our Experts

  • Jayne Castiglia, master colorist at Warren Tricomi in New York City
  • Raven Hurtado, stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago
  • Olya Iudina, stylist at IGK salon in New York City
  • Steven Picciano, Goldwell national artist