Dry shampoo has a place in your gym bag, your overnight bag, and your styling bag — it absorbs oil, refreshes your hair, and can add body and texture. But whether it’s budget or high-end, it’s not always smooth sailing, with chalkiness, mess and lack of oil-absorption being some of the most common gripes. To that end, we asked ten experts, including stylists and beauty industry veterans, to recommend which ones they turn to.
No matter which one you choose, the right application technique will make the difference between a seamless refresh and a powdery mess. “Dry shampoos are usually a mix of some kind of starch, and maybe alcohol, which helps reduce the oiliness at your roots,” explained Jenny Richardson, a Senior Colourist at FOUR London. “My trick for applying any dry shampoo seamlessly is to section your hair so you can spray it at the roots, and then wait about thirty seconds before you massage it in. This will give the powder time to absorb the oil better.”
Four of our experts name-checked this as a favourite. “MIT scientists actually worked to formulate this dry shampoo,” said Kathleen Hou, beauty director at The Cut. “This is one of the rare ones that actually makes your hair feel truly clean, and it’s the best if you really can’t wash your hair. It makes your hair look great and adds a little volume too, so you really do look like you washed your hair.” Dancer and model Danielle Peazer is also a fan, saying she always used to buy whichever dry shampoo was cheapest, but found she got a lot of residue on her dark, curly hair: “This doesn’t sit on my roots or make my hair feel chalky, and I love that it doesn’t come out white, which is important for someone with dark hair like I do.” Jenny Richardson, a Senior Colourist at FOUR London adds, “It’s my go-to in an emergency, even if my hair is just limp and not unwashed. It has a lovely light, clean scent and is ideal for all hair types. It’s silicone-free and safe for colour and chemically treated hair.” Beauty journalist Ayesha Muttucumaru who has thick, dark hair said “It’s the anti-dry shampoo! It’s not heavy, and it gives a hard-working refresh. A little goes a long way, so sometimes I just buy the travel sizes as it’s cheaper.”
Best Budget Dry Shampoo
Affordable, reliable and heavy-duty, everyone has a can of Batiste, including three of our experts. “This is the one that I reach for when I need an instant shot of volume, or if a hair wash is seriously overdue. It’s cheap as chips and one of those products that I feel everyone should have in their artillery for those SOS moments,” said Muttucumaru. “It adds a bit of texture to my wavy lengths that provides the illusion that I’ve made an effort when I really truly haven’t.” It’s also got the A-list seal of approval with celebrity stylist Joseph Maine saying, “I love the classic Batiste Dry Shampoo, but there’s a whole range.” Maine said the Colour range (which includes brunette, blonde and red) is good for root regrowth coverage as well as minimising oiliness, and there’s also more scented options for hair on day two or three post-wash. “I usually prefer unscented hair products, but if your hair is unwashed, you’re likely going to want a bit of a scent refresh, too, so that’s useful!” he added. Trichologist Simone Thomas also noted that Batiste would be her recommendation for a budget option, saying, “It’s the perfect styling tool too to keep in your handbag and delivers results on volume, body and texture. I love that they have options to blend your roots as well as giving you really big hair, too.”
Best for Volume
This premium option offers styling benefits as well as mopping up oil. “Not only does this product absorb your oil from your hair and scalp, it also really boosts your hair’s volume and texture,” said Thomas, who also noted that it has added UV and colour protection. “I’ve tried lots of them, but I really love the instant lift I get with this dry shampoo.” Also a fan is Kathryn Dartnell, Art Director at Linnaean, who said, “This has to be my hero product — I use it both on clients and also backstage at Fashion Week shows. It has celery seed oil which makes it feel really refreshing on the scalp, and the scent is really decadent, it reminds me of the Cote D’Azur.” Dartnell also said that it’s suitable for all hair types from fine to curly, but to focus spritzing it on the roots to avoid drying out the lengths, saying “it’s especially good on fine and fragile hair.”
Best for Wigs
If you’re looking for something to zhuzh up your wig or weave, look no further. “When I’m not rocking my natural hair and wearing a wig, I often go a few days longer than I should to wash it — enter Klorane Dry Shampoo,” said beauty journalist Giselle La Pompe-Moore. “I never understood the hype of dry shampoos until I tried this. It refreshes my wig, which is prone to product and oil buildup, adds a subtle hit of volume and doesn’t leave that sticky-yet powdery-finish.” Hou, who’s not a wig-wearer but a devotee of French pharmacy brands, said, “This was a beauty-editor secret until worldwide shipping and Amazon became a thing. I still reach for this one again and again because it actually does sop up grease and oil without making the hair feel chalky or gritty. It isn’t the strongest dry shampoo, so I wouldn’t use it if my hair was truly, very dirty. But I love using this for my fringe or if my hair is looking a little weighed down.” It also comes in a non-aerosol squeeze version, which is more environmentally friendly.
Best for Fine Hair
Beauty director Anita Bhagwandas said she’s tried countless options over the years, but always comes back to this one. “It’s excellent for my dark hair because it’s easy to brush through and doesn’t turn it zombie grey. But it also works well for fine or thinning hair, as it doesn’t sit on the scalp and clog the hair follicles as much as some heavier dry shampoos can,” she explained. “I also like that one container lasts a really long time too so it feels much more cost efficient. Also, it’s almost 99 percent naturally derived, is mostly made from bioplastics that are plant-based and it’s recyclable.” Bhagwandas said that it’s very rare to find a dry shampoo that works with fine hair rather than against it, which is why she always comes back to this one.
Best for Texture
Net-a-Porter beauty director Newby Hands said, “This is especially good, as it hydrates the ends as well as absorbing the oil at the roots. It’s truly a restyling spray as much as it is a dry shampoo!” Liz Hambleton, former Grazia beauty director and now head of editorial for Space NK is also a fan: “I hate the feeling of product in my hair and this has a way of working its magic without any kind of product-build up or leaving that kind of crispiness you sometimes get.” She also added it offers insurance against hat hair — “It’s brilliant for me as my hair is constantly squashed under a riding hat and if I use it before I ride, it scents my hat and it stops my hair from getting flat in the first place.”
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