Is Dry Shampoo Bad for Your Hair?

“Everything in moderation.” 

Alcohol, caffeine, sugar — it’s a saying I relate mostly to what I eat and drink. But it turns out it has its application when it comes to using certain beauty products too. Enter dry shampoo.

I love dry shampoo as much as the next person — maybe more. It holds up against even my most intense HIIT workouts, and it’s a great way to extend the life of a wash.

Since I’m active more days of the week than not — and almost always in the morning — it’s a true time-saver. It eliminates the need for me to wash, dry, and style. But another expression — “too much of a good thing” — also applies.

That’s right: Dry shampoo should really be considered more of a Band-Aid than an actual treatment. Keep reading to learn more about dry shampoo, why it shouldn’t be seen as a replacement for your regular hair-washing routine, and how to use it smartly as part of your beauty routine.

person with nice hair after using dry shampoo

What is dry shampoo — and is it bad for your hair?

“Dry shampoo is not actually a shampoo at all but a styling product that aids in transforming, — not cleaning — dirty/oily hair,” explains Shandi Nichelle, hairstylist and founder and CEO of Freewell.

While shampooing hair in the traditional context removes buildup, dirt, and oils, “dry shampoo is a drying agent that sits on the hair mixing with buildup. It does not actually clean the hair,” says Nichelle.

As someone active, currently training for a triathlon herself, Nichelle empathizes with anyone else who may have (formerly) thought one method could serve as a replacement for the other.

“As much as that would be amazing, it, unfortunately, isn’t a healthy replacement for a good shampoo,” she says.

Why you shouldn’t overdo it on the dry shampoo

“Dry shampoo is very drying and can actually make your scalp more oily over time,” explains Nichelle. “Your scalp is smart: If you put too much of a drying agent on it, it will freak out and start over-producing oil to protect itself.”

Nichelle adds that dry shampoo can also dry out your hair and may even cause it to become brittle and rough. Yikes!

How to use dry shampoo wisely

You don’t have to give up dry shampoo altogether — but it’s best to limit your use to avoid doing damage to your hair. If you must, Nichelle suggests you use dry shampoo “no more than once a week — and only on your roots sparingly.”

There are also some alternatives to dry shampoo you can try to help sop up sweat post-workout.

“Instead of reaching first for a product, use your blow-dryer,” suggests Nichelle. “This steams out the sweat and removes it so you can go longer.”

If you prefer to use a product, Nichelle’s company Freewell makes something called Power Gloss, a deep conditioning hair and scalp treatment you can wear while you work out.

“It not only balances your scalp, giving it good healthy oils to keep it from over-producing — it also hydrates and repairs your ends and has apple cider vinegar that gently clarifies your scalp and hair shaft for a healthy shine.”

Nichelle says you can apply it to dry, dirty hair, exercise in it, swim in it, and even sleep in it. Simply apply and wear it for up to 24 hours before shampooing out. “It helps balance your hair and scalp from multiple washes a week,” she says.

The bottom line: When you use dry shampoo correctly, the product is perfectly safe. So if you already consider it a staple, carry on! Just keep in mind Nichelle’s recommendations and best practices to help ensure the health of your hair.

Beauty Live

About Elsa Geraci

A New Yorker (upstate, not City!) Elsa is excited to contribute to aSweatLife to stay active within the ambassador community – even remotely. An athlete all her life, she didn’t fall in love with fitness until she discovered distance running now a decade ago. When she’s not logging miles with her black lab, Louie, you can probably find her at home with her husband, Mike. A group exercise instructor and personal trainer, her real passion is health coaching where she works with clients on finding joy in holistic healthy living.