What’s In Your Dry Shampoo?

Dry Shampoo claims to absorb oil, mask shine, and leave hair smelling fresh and clean. While this group of products isn’t meant to permanently replace water-based hair washing, dry shampoos make it easy to skip a day or two in your hair washing schedule.

Today’s dry shampoo products are a little more complicated than the baby powder or cornstarch women used long ago. They’ve come along way in form, function, and price. Relying on the same basics, the starchy active ingredients do the work of absorbing excess oils and masking shine. The newest products now include styling ingredients to add texture and volume, aerosol propellants to apply the product, solvents, conditioning agents, fragrance, and drying agents.

Dry Shampoos are most often delivered by aerosol, powder, or foam — Here’s a look at the common ingredients by function:

Absorbing Agents: Rice, potato, or corn starch commonly play a starring role as the absorbing agent, while kaolin clay can absorb and reduce the shine of oil on the hair strands making your hair appear cleaner.

Aerosol Propellants: Liquefied petroleum gas, often a combination of isobutane and propane, is added to propel the ingredients out of the aerosol can in a fine mist.

Conditioning Agents: Conditioning ingredients like lanolin, panthenol, and argan oil are added to lubricate the follicle which helps to detangle, reduce static, and soften your hair.

Fragrance: Fragrances are added to dry shampoos to leave a scent on the hair after use. From essential oils to chemical-based scents, fragrance is a common ingredient.

Solvent and Drying Agents: Liquid alcohol suspends the solids without dissolving them so you can spray them out of the can and onto your hair. Alcohol evaporates quickly, providing a soothing effect for dry, itchy scalps.

Anti-caking Agent: Anti-caking agents are added to prevent the starchy ingredients from clumping together. Magnesium stearate or Magnesium Myristate are common anti-caking ingredients.

Here are the top 5 GoodGuide rated dry shampoos:

Tips to choose a dry shampoo with the least health concerns:

  1. Choose products that list the scent ingredients out, instead of “fragrance”.
  2. Choose products in a non-aerosol can, or one that does not contain liquefied gas ingredients like butane or propane.
  3. If you prefer cosmetic products that aren’t tested on animals, choose a product that carries the Leaping Bunny certification

About GoodGuide Team

GoodGuide's mission is to provide consumers with the information they need to make better shopping decisions. The team behind creating this blog content includes GoodGuide's science and product teams, industry experts, and guest bloggers.
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