How Much Dry Shampoo is Too Much Dry Shampoo?

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We once were slaves to a wall and a cord, until mobile phones came along. Live streaming set us free from our monthly cable bills and network schedules.

And as far as our beauty regimens are concerned, dry shampoo has liberated us from the daily tyranny of the lather, rinse, repeat, blow dry routine. Now we hit the snooze button, dash out of the gym with just minutes to get to work and push our blow-outs to the limits because we know we can count on our precious dry shampoo powder or spray to get us through. 

But sometimes, just like deciding to spend the entire weekend binge watching five seasons of Pretty Little Liars instead of, oh, leaving the house, things with dry shampoo can go too far. Fresh can become gunky. Soft becomes sticky. And what’s that smell?

Is it possible to overdo your dry shampoo? How much is too much? Can it actually hurt your hair? Will you have to give up your gym membership in order to get to work on time? Nobody panic. You can still count on your dry shampoo to be there for you and your hair. It’s just like all things in life—better done in moderation. So here are a few tips for nailing the healthiest dry shampoo habits.

Fine Tune the Frequency

Hair health is all about sebum. Sebum is a mixture of waxes and fats, and it is produced by sebaceous glands located in your hair follicles beneath the scalp. It’s secreted through the hair shaft, and its job is to prevent your scalp and hair from becoming dry and brittle. It also helps push out accumulated debris and prevent the growth of microorganisms on the skin. So sebum? Important. However, when too much sebum is present, scalp and hair begin to look and feel oily. That’s where dry shampoo comes in.

Dry shampoo

is typically a powder or fast-drying spray that provides a water-free option for cleansing your hair. It absorbs excess sebum and other oils from your roots, perks up the rest of your hair and leaves it smelling fresher. Hence, the extra 15 minutes of sleep in lieu of daily shampooing.

However, after too many consecutive days of dry shampoo, it could begin to mix with your natural sebum and start to form a greasy paste. That paste will cause your hair to look clumpy, become difficult to comb or control, go limp. It may even begin to smell bad. Worst of all, it can start to clog the pores on your scalp, which interferes with the hair’s natural cycle of growth and shedding. It’s not life-threatening, but it’s kind of like clogging the pores on your face with too much makeup. It becomes a breeding ground for bacteria and blemishes.

So ultimately it’s a matter of knowing your hair and your rate of oil/sebum production, and adjusting fire. If your hair is on the oily side, and you normally need to shampoo every day, limit dry shampoo to every other day. If you normally skip a day between shampoos, you’ll probably be good with using dry shampoo for two days in a row. Go three days in a row in a pinch, but after that? Hit the shower and bring your shampoo!

Apply Properly

The way you apply your dry shampoo can make all the difference between pass or fail. Don’t spray too close to your head—it will prevent the product from being evenly distributed. Six inches from the roots is a good rule of thumb. If certain areas tend to become oilier than others (along your part for example), you can spot-spritz—just apply it where it’s needed most.

Remember that less is more. Too much dry shampoo can make your hair look dull. You can always go back and apply more if necessary.

Dry shampoo should only be applied to dry hair—if you put it on wet hair it will get gooey. Don’t rub it in immediately after spraying it on—give it a few minutes to absorb the oil at your scalp. Then brush out the excess, or tip your head over and blast your scalp with a cool dryer.

Shampoo Wisely

As important as how you use dry shampoo is how you care for your hair with your regular shampoo regimen. For example, if you’ve binged on your dry shampoo for a few too many days, try a deep cleansing shampoo that will dislodge scalp buildup and impurities without stripping your hair of the natural oils it needs. Follow that up with a rich conditioner to keep your hair supple and strong.

If you’re relying on dry shampoo to conserve your hair color (because the fact is that no matter how coddling your shampoo is, hair color definitely loses some vibrancy after a certain number of shampoos—especially semi-permanent and demi-permanent formulas that don’t penetrate as deeply into the hair shaft as permanent formulas do) consider a water-less shampoo option. Also known as cleansing conditioners or co-wash, these low-lathering, fast-rinsing formulas melt into your hair and rinse out gently, along with dirt and debris, without disturbing the integrity of your strands. Your hair color lasts longer and your hair stays healthier.

Bottom line? Dry shampoocan still be part of your hair care squad. Just proceed with care and be a smart user…and save your binging for Gossip Girl!