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I Rely On Dry Shampoo To Keep My Hair In Check Between Washes — Here Are My Favorite (And Least Favorite) Brands

In my experience, dry shampoo can either be a miracle or a disaster waiting to happen.

Hi! I'm Fabiana. I'm admittedly someone who is very lazy when it comes my hair. For some context, my hair is long, extremely thick, wavy, and prone to frizz. One of the pros of having this type of hair is that I can put off washing it for a good week. (Or week-and-a-half, if I'm feeling dangerous.)

The author smiling
Fabiana Buontempo / Via Instagram

But since I live an active lifestyle — which includes working out every morning — and I barely wash my hair, dry shampoo has become a best friend.

However, I have yet to find a dry shampoo that I really love.

While I'd like to think I do have realistic expectations of dry shampoo — because nothing can fully replace a good hair washing — I'd still like to find a reliable in-between.

CBC / Via

So I decided to test several different dry shampoos after my morning workouts. I was hoping to find a dry shampoo that 1) kept my hair smelling and looking fresh, 2) didn't leave a white residue, and 3) didn't make my hair feel gritty.

Various dry shampoos
Fabiana Buontempo

Before I embarked on my quest for the best dry shampoo, I asked some hair experts for their best tips for preserving hair in between washes and after workouts with the help of dry shampoo.

Kerry Yates of Colour Collective, a hair expert and trichologist, suggests using a silk scrunchie during workouts so that you're not pulling back your hair too tightly. 

Yates also recommends setting the dry shampoo with a cool blast from your hair dryer. "[With the scrunchie], loosely pull your hair back at the nape to keep it off your face during a workout," said Yates. "After working out, lightly spritz your favorite dry shampoo and then do a quick dry followed by a cold hit to smooth out any stubborn spots."

Devin Toth, a hairstylist at Salon SCK in NYC, says his clients use dry shampoo in various ways — and all of them can work well. "Some love to use dry shampoo before their workout, or right before they leave their house on a hot, humid day," Toth said. "Another client sometimes uses it at night before she goes to bed, so it doesn't appear as white the next day."

Here's how everything went!

TEST #1: Redken Deep Clean Dry Shampoo, $25 from Amazon.

Redken dry shampoo
Fabiana Buontempo

I'm a big fan of Redken products, so I was excited to try out their Deep Clean Dry Shampoo. After my shower following a morning workout, I took my hair out of its messy bun, parted my hair in the middle, and sprayed a generous amount of dry shampoo into my roots. 

Although my initial reaction was excitement over how good it smelled, I was immediately disappointed with how much white residue was in my hair.

The author applying dry shampoo
Fabiana Buontempo

I vigorously massaged in the product to get rid of the white, but that just made it spread around. After flipping my hair around several times and even taking a comb at one point to brush the product through my roots, I finally got rid of the residue.

My hair was left feeling a little gritty, but I had to admit that after all that work to get the white out, my hair did feel less oily — and my roots even had some volume to them. Still, this one wasn't quite it.

Final verdict: Smells amazing and delivered on root volume, but (at least for those with darker hair) leaves too much hard-to-blend white residue behind.

Rating: 7/10.

TEST #2: Beyond the Zone Rock On Dark Hair Dry Shampoo, $7.49 from Sally Beauty.

BTZ dry shampoo
Fabiana Buontempo

Next up was Beyond the Zone Rock On Dark Hair Dry Shampoo. I had high hopes for this product that was marketed specifically for "medium-dark" hair — and I appreciated that it was the most affordable option of the batch, at $7 for a large bottle. After running my fingers through my post-workout hair, I again parted it, and sprayed a generous amount of this dry shampoo into my dirty roots. 

As promised by the "for dark hair" descriptor, the dry shampoo did not spray on white at all.

The author applying dry shampoo
Fabiana Buontempo

Unlike the very white Redken option, this one had a slight tint to it which blended in perfectly with my hair. Scent-wise, this dry shampoo smelled like hairspray, which didn't bother me — but might be annoying for others. It also didn't feel too stiff or gritty in my hair. I did have to be generous with how much I sprayed into my hair for it to look clean — but overall, I liked it, and the price tag was great.

Final verdict: Affordable option for those with darker hair thanks to the tint, though you may need a few extra spritzes to get the job done.

Rating: 8/10. 

TEST #3: Drybar Detox Clear Invisible Dry Shampoo, $23 from Sephora.

Drybar dry shampoo
Fabiana Buontempo

I'm a fan of just about anything Drybar makes so I was excited to give their Invisible Dry Shampoo a try. I was intrigued by its name, and eager to find something that was, in fact, invisible upon application.

After parting my hair as I have been each day and spraying a few short bursts into my hair and roots, this dry shampoo lived up to the "invisible" claim — but it didn't hold up to thicker hair.

The author applying dry shampoo
Fabiana Buontempo

I was thrilled to see I wasn't left with a white streak in my hair, and it didn't feel gritty at all. WIN! However, my hair was still flat and pretty dirty-looking even after generously spraying this dry shampoo into my hair. This product is described as having a "lightweight formula" — so my hair might be too thick for it to actually work. Also, the price of this dry shampoo is $23 for only a 3.5-ounce bottle, which is expensive for the amount you get compared to other dry shampoos that I tried.

Final verdict: Too lightweight for my thick hair but at least lived up to its name by spraying on clear. 

Rating: 5/10

TEST #4: Beachwaver Second Chance Dry Shampoo, $12.60 from Beachwaver

Beachwaver dry shampoo
Fabiana Buontempo

The next day I gave the Beachwaver Second Chance Dry Shampoo a chance.  The label says that "our rice formula soaks up moisture to refresh and restore your hair to your day-one style, adding volume and texture along the way." I held the brand to their claims when I sprayed a generous portion into my dirty hair. 

I had to admit, I was expecting this spray to leave streaks of white in my roots — but it actually didn't at all. I sprayed some more dry shampoo in other areas, and my hair felt clean and dry to the touch.

The author applying dry shampoo
Fabiana Buontempo

The scent of the dry shampoo was clean and not too overpowering, which I really liked. Overall, this dry shampoo was one of my favorites and checked off all my boxes. 

Final verdict: Great! Smelled amazing, didn't leave behind any white streaks, made my hair feel dry and clean to the touch, and rang up at under $15.

Rating: 9.5/10

TEST #5: Lee Stafford Dry Shampoo, $10.49 from SkinStore

Lee Stafford dry shampoo
Fabiana Buontempo

Next on the list of dry shampoos to try was the Lee Stafford Dry Shampoo. I appreciate a hair product that has a strong aerosol spray because it just feels like it gets the job done, and this Lee Stafford product did not disappoint in that department. After another sweat sesh, I took my hair out of its ponytail, flipped it upside down a few times, and then parted it to spray the dry shampoo where I felt I needed it the most. 

Although this dry shampoo won me over with its sturdy applicator and clean smell, it failed in other areas.

The author applying dry shampoo
Fabiana Buontempo

Thankfully, this dry shampoo did not leave my hair with hard-to-blend white streaks — but it did leave my hair looking flat. After spraying the dry shampoo in, my roots looked matted down, and no matter how many times I tried adding some life back into my roots with my fingers, I was left with flat (albeit somewhat clean-looking) hair. 

If you're looking for an affordable dry shampoo that is only $10.50 (for a 6.76-ounce bottle) and you don't care too much about volume at the roots, this dry shampoo might be worth a try — but it didn't work for me.

Final verdict: Reasonably priced and blendable. Didn't leave any white streaks in my hair but left my roots looking flat. 

Rating: 5/10.

TEST #6: ColorProof FreshStart Dry Shampoo, $25 from Amazon or $17.50 directly from the brand.

Color proof dry shampoo
Fabiana Buontempo

The last dry shampoo I tested out was the ColorProof FreshStart Dry Shampoo. The first thing I noticed about this one was how easy it was to massage all over my roots. Some dry shampoos stay in one place, making it difficult to spread around — but that wasn't the case for this quickly blendable option.

I was also able to be generous with the ColorProof without it making my hair feel sticky.

The author applying dry shampoo
Fabiana Buontempo

The smell was great too — it smelled like a familiar perfume, which I personally loved. After a few spritzes and flip of my head, my hair looked rejuvenated and no one would be able to tell it was...6-day old hair. 🙈Look at those waves! This was a dry shampoo that I would definitely add into my rotation. 

Final verdict: One of the two best dry shampoos that I tried. My hair looked and smelled cleaner after one or two sprays. A bit pricier than other options but IMO, worth it.

Rating: 9.5/10

TL;DR: The Beachwaver Second Chance Dry Shampoo ($12.60 from Beachwaver) and the ColorProof FreshStart Dry Shampoo ($25 from Amazon, or $17.50 directly from the brand) were the clear winners for me. Both smelled great and delivered on making my hair feel clean, dry, and lifted at the roots. Neither left white residue behind. ✨

Are you a fan of dry shampoo? Which is your favorite? Tell me in the comments below!