Why I’m Quitting Commercial Dry Shampoo

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You wake up in the morning (feeling like P-Diddy), take a long and satisfying stretch of your limbs and jump out of bed to start your day. You put on a flattering outfit and slap on some makeup to make your lashes reach the sky. Hair is up next, you approach the mirror and brace yourself for the creation of a keratin-filled masterpiece to find a greasy, sloppy, limp and flat mess of what appears to be your hair.

Yes, that thing on the top of your head that looks like it’s been dipped in an oil rig is your hair.

You look at the clock, there is no way you have enough time to hop in the shower to wash and dry your hair. You’re running out of options, you consider tucking your hair underneath a beanie (in 35 degree heat) or calling in late when suddenly, the heavens open up for the sunlight to illuminate a can of miracles *cue in angelic harmonies*

What is this mysterious miracle in a can thing? That’s right, it’s Dry Shampoo. That little ‘shower in a can’ powdery wonder that millions of people around the world swear by.

This situation is one I’ve faced many times over, and once I started using dry shampoo on pretty much a daily basis I knew I had discovered the solution to all my oily hair woes. I suffer from thinning, very fine hair that is just a disappointing sheet of limp, flat lifeless greasy strands. The gods graced me with probably two of the worst hair woes (in my opinion) – oily hair and low-density thin hair. Because my hair is so fine, it doesn’t take a lot of grease for my hair to look like an oil slick. Once I started using dry shampoo I found it was incredible for soaking up my oil whilst also giving me the volume in my hair I wish my Mumma gave me. I started to wash my hair less and less, and my hair was getting bigger and bigger.

So why would I then want to quit something that answered my hair-prayers? Well, I started noticing some changes in my hair and overall scalp health that started to worry me. My hair started to feel itchy and irritated more and more each day, there was so much build up that sometimes I needed to shampoo 3 times over. It felt really heavy on my fine hair, and sometimes made my hair feel so dirty that I regretted using dry shampoo and wished I actually washed it properly instead. So I researched. There were two things that really scared the hell out of me.

1.Using dry shampoo can actually do the reverse of what it was designed for

Counter-intuitive I know. While best known for keeping excess oil at bay, dry shampoo use can actually send your scalp into sebum production overdrive. Dry shampoo does soak up oil, yes. But like the rest of your body, your scalp NEEDS oil for protection and natural lubrication on the surface of the skin. While oily hair isn’t a hair goal for most people, it is a natural function of our body and sebum production is integral to the overall health of your scalp and hair. Completely stripping the oils pretty much everyday will, in the long run, only cause your scalp to produce more and more oil. It’s like a snow-ball effect, the more dry shampoo you use, the more oily your hair will become. I definitely concur, this is something I noticed with my hair. I found that the longer I was using dry shampoo, the more oilier my hair became and in turn, had to use dry shampoo more frequently to the point I was using it every day and sometimes nightly as well.

2. Build- up of dry shampoo has nasty side effects on your scalp health, and may stunt hair growth

Oil, dirt, dust and pollution accumulate on your scalp naturally from, well… living. These impurities need to be removed frequently so that the hair follicle can remain active and clear of dirt. But does dry shampoo remove these impurities? No, it only serves to mask them by smothering the follicle in product that just absorbs the impurities. By using dry shampoo, we are only adding to this build up of impurities. After some time of using dry shampoo I hated the way it made my hair feel. Gritty, dirty, and heavy with that build up. Dry shampoo will absorb oil on your scalp, but it still remains on your scalp, it doesn’t disappear. This dry shampoo + oil concoction just sits on your scalp and over time, will sink in. This product build up can block the pores in your scalp, leading to pimples and cysts and can also create dandruff or flaky scalps. The biggest problem with blocked follicles is that for proper hair growth, follicles must remain clear to be active. So if you’re blocking your follicle by repeatedly adding more and more build up without vigorously cleaning your hair, hair growth will be stunted. That’s enough to make me go eeeeeeek!

I need dry shampoo in my life, but I don’t want to use it. What are my alternatives?

Dry shampoo was what dreams were made of. It just makes your hair seem bigger and fuller, you know? Like real, actual hair. On top of that, it kept it that way for a while. So when I made the decision to stop using dry shampoo, I asked myself “What else is out there that I can use?” Because I don’t want to go back to washing my hair pretty much everyday – that will just makes my oily hair worse. After doing a bit of research and experimentation into DIY dry shampoo, I’ve come up with own dry shampoo without all the chemicals, explosive propellants such as isobutane, propane and ingredients that would cause nasty build up. I’ve turned towards a more natural remedy to refresh my hair in between washes.

I use baby powder as a base. Firstly, I don’t mind the smell of it which is an issue for some people. But the smell doesn’t last that long once in the hair. It also doesn’t leave any gross feeling of grittyΒ  build up in my hair, it still makes my hair feel like hair!Β  And another really good thing about it is that white powdery look with dry shampoo is pretty much non-existent after brushing it through, whereas with dry shampoo I had to blow dry my hair thoroughly to get rid of that white powder look.

As I have dark brown hair, I also add some organic cacao powder. While this may seem expensive, once you make it up with my other ingredients it lasts for so long and in my opinion works out to be cheaper than buying dry shampoo. The dark brown powder works well in my hair and helps to minimise the white powdery look. Not to mention it does smell pretty damn good.

I also add some cinammon in here too – weird I know! But it has one of the highest levels of antimicrobial properties so it will help to keep your hair clean. Again, also smells amazing!

I then mix these all together (you can change up ratios to your liking) and use an old makeup brush to apply it to my roots and blend in. It pretty much looks just like cacao powder. It works so well on my hair and doesn’t cause the gross build up like I said I experienced with dry shampoo and I feel better knowing that I’m using ingredients that are better for my hair and scalp health. The application is loads better too in my opinion. I’m not blitzing my scalp with a propellant that smothers the scalp in product, instead I am lightly dusting the hair with it so less product is actually coating my scalp. I also find that I don’t need to use it every day like commercial dry shampoo – one application lasts me at least two days.


What are thoughts or experiences, I’d love to know! Do you make up your own ‘dry shampoo’ or are you completely content with using commercial dry shampoo?

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15 thoughts on “Why I’m Quitting Commercial Dry Shampoo

  1. Informative article… I also hated using dry shampoo because of the reasons you mentioned in your article. For most part it made my scalp itchy and I felt I tended to get dandruff after using dry shampoo.

    One question I ask does the cacao powder get sticky after a while especially if you sweat?


    1. Thank you MoonlightSak! Interesting question. I haven’t experienced that. But in saying that, I use raw cacao powder which shouldn’t have any sugar in it. Not sure if cocoa powder has any it or if it would make any difference.


  2. I had no idea! I also love the little recipe you suggested. I’m currently having issues with a really dry scalp


    1. Well when I first started using it, it definitely wasn’t every day. But then as my dependence on it grew, my hair was getting oilier and oilier and in the end I had to start using it every day. Which is one of the reasons I stopped πŸ™‚


  3. I’m super glad to read that I’m not the only person who has experienced this when using dry shampoo. Most people look at me crazy (including a hair dresser) when I explained it just doesn’t work that well for me on a long term basis! xx


    1. Glad you enjoyed the post Jasmine! Some hairdressers are support the use of it, while I’ve also met some who are completely against it. It works well for some sand not so well for others. I really liked the immediate effects of it, but long term really messed up my scalp health so I made the decision to stop πŸ™‚


  4. I’ve got oily roots & fine (but lots of it) hair, but I’ve found out the hard way that me & normal dry shampoos don’t work well together – the alcohol content in them makes my scalp go crazy & itchy. I have found a couple of non-alcohol based dry shampoos/hair powders I’d like to try, but I haven’t bothered buying them. Maybe I’ll give your method a go!


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