The Best Dry Shampoo
Give your hair that just-washed look — no matter how long it's been.
The best dry shampoo is like the wand of your fairy godmother, granting precious moments of your life back in a spritz of magic dust. On those hectic mornings where there’s no time for coffee — let alone a full-on wash-and-blow-dry routine — dry shampoo gets you out the door looking fresh. We set out to find the best and after 45 hours of research and 17 product tests, Klorane Dry Shampoo With Oat Milk stood out as our favorite.
In our search, we read dozens of articles, scoured top lists and recommended brands, and consulted with experienced stylists and other industry experts. We sorted the aerosol sprays from the powders, and tried the expensive ones as well as the DIY alternatives we made in our own kitchen. The best ones soaked up oil, added volume, and left our hair smelling fresh. The worst were messy to apply and left our hair a chalky white.
Based on our research, we designed a method for reviewing dry shampoo, focusing on the most popular, competitively priced options. With our methodology in place, we narrowed a list of more than 50 dry shampoos down to the top five:
How We Found the Best Dry Shampoo
We read more than 20 different web roundups from trusted beauty blogs and gathered information on 54 of the most recommended products. We started narrowing our list of dry shampoos by focusing on the 17 most popular (those that were named in three or more roundups). Unless a particular product was
We tested dry shampoos in both powder and aerosol form, and tried them all on our own “second-day” hair that hadn’t been washed in at least 24 hours. Some of the dry shampoos we tested were very similar, so we differentiated the top products based on other factors, like smell and product size.
There were a few recurring problems we noticed with the dry shampoos that didn’t make the cut:
We eliminated products that left behind a chalky residue.
Some dry shampoos left a powdery film on our hair, making it feel even dirtier. While our hair might’ve looked fine to passersby, it was uncomfortably stiff to the touch, and that residue caused our hair to fall flat a few hours after application.
We couldn’t recommend dry shampoos that gave our hair an unpleasant odor.
Some had an unpleasant or incredibly strong smell. It’s true that smell can be very personal: What reminds one person of a walk through a fresh English garden reminds another of a urinal cake. But in general, intensely scented products probably wouldn’t be right for most people, given the potential for an allergic response.
We cut options if the price was too high.
We’re willing to spend money on a quality product, but it’s difficult to rationalize spending a considerable amount on a dry shampoo that may only last a few months, depending on how and how often it’s applied. It’s even harder to justify when there are less expensive ones that work just as well.
If we had to reapply the product several times to get the desired effect, it didn’t make the cut.
Some dry shampoos didn’t tackle the oil well enough, which meant we had to apply it several times. Less is definitely more when it comes to spraying an aerosol in your hair, so we looked for products that did the job correctly without requiring us to apply a significant amount.
These four characteristics were found in 10 of the top contenders, which made it easier for us to identify the 5 best dry shampoos.
Our Picks for the Best Dry Shampoo
Klorane Dry Shampoo With Oat Milk has, according to the company, been a “best-seller for over 40 years,” and that was easy to understand once we tried it. Its website claims that the product “gently revives hair in two minutes” and leaves hair “clean and volumized” with the aid of “a unique combination of plant-based ingredients.” We definitely found these claims to be true — the dry shampoo dried quickly and left our team’s hair with plenty of movement, as if we’d washed it the traditional way. It’s no wonder that Birchbox said Klorane Dry Shampoo With Oat Milk “deserves its own spot on the Hollywood Beauty Walk of Fame.”
This dry shampoo has also won accolades from the choosy beauty editors at Allure and scored 4.2 stars out of 5 from Birchbox customers — pretty impressive, considering there are more than 18,000 reviews. Leandra Medine, known for her blog Man Repeller, says she’s tried “at least 70 percent of the dry shampoos currently on the market,” and prefers Klorane Dry Shampoo With Oat Milk over all the others. It’s also a favorite of Karl Lagerfeld and has been recommended by magazines like InStyle, Shape, Marie Claire, and Elle.
The white can has a classic, vaguely European design, and the aerosol spray goes on with a strong, even burst that covers a lot of scalp surface area very quickly. A white powder appears as the product dries, but it’s easily worked into hair with your fingers or a brush. For those of us with fine hair, Klorane Dry Shampoo With Oat Milk has the added benefit of delivering bouncy, believable hair volume.
It does leave hair slightly matte, which is a look most of our testing team actually preferred, and they found that applying a bit of shine spray to the outside of their hair afterward gave it some gloss. While we nearly chose Oscar Blandi Pronto Invisible Volumizing Dry Shampoo Spray as our top pick, Klorane Dry Shampoo With Oat Milk ultimately won our vote because it didn’t dry out our testers scalp or hair. We found that several of the dry shampoos we tested left our scalps dry and flaky, particularly in cold weather. And Klorane’s nourishing formula, combined with its lack of troubling chemicals, won us over in the end.
Who is it best for?
Klorane’s best-selling dry shampoo works best for light or medium-toned hair, but can be used by those with curly, thick, or fine hair. The product comes in two varieties: Oat Milk and Nettle. The Oat Milk formula is great for all hair types, while the Nettle is best for those with oilier strands.
Who should skip it?
The budget-conscious might fret about the price of this dry shampoo, which comes in at nearly $20. And while some dark-haired users were happy with the product, others found that they needed to brush very thoroughly to remove all traces of white powder. Anyone with jet-black hair might want to try a dry shampoo specifically made for darker tones, such as SachaJuan’s Dark Volume Powder or Batiste’s Dry Shampoo in Dark/Deep Brown.
How best to use it?
Spray the aerosol product close to the root of your hair, wait until it dries completely, and brush out the excess with the tips of your fingers or a boar bristle brush. The brush’s closely packed fibers will grab and redistribute any lingering dry-shampoo powderiness better than your fingers or a wide-tooth comb.
Runners-Up for The Best
Klorane Dry Shampoo With Oat Milk is a beloved dry shampoo that delivers fast results to virtually all hair textures. But these runner-up dry shampoos would be a great secondary option. Each is popular among stylists and laypeople, and will soak up oil and smell without leaving strands too dry or stiff.
Nearly our top pick, this stellar dry shampoo lost points only because it made some of our tester’s scalps feel slightly dry after repeated applications. Otherwise, this product is a winner. Its citrus-y smell is delicious and not overpowering, and it successfully made our team’s hair shiny and fresh-looking. New York Magazine also named this its top pick in a 2012 testing roundup.
A salon staple, Moroccanoil products are known for their brilliant blue bottles and distinctive argan oil aroma. This dry shampoo is no exception to the beauty line’s success. Available for both light and dark hair tones, it sprays on evenly and, within minutes, gives hair a silky-smooth, run-your-fingers-through clean between washes.
This dry shampoo performs incredibly well, especially considering it sits safely in the sub-$10 category. It scored 4 out of 5 stars on Beautylish, and the large can lasts and lasts — long after some of the smaller, more expensive options give up the ghost.
Although it’s slightly more expensive than our top pick, this dry shampoo — which was recommended by Refinery29’s editors — creates bountiful volume that makes it worth the price tag. Its delicious smell adds another plus mark in its corner.
Find the Right Dry Shampoo for You
In addition to our five overall winners, several dry shampoos emerged as standouts in individual categories. So if certain considerations — like price, hair color, or hair type — are major concerns, these picks might be the best fit for you.
Best Drugstore Dry Shampoo
An under-$10 drugstore favorite (which earns 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon), this has been around for decades with good reason: It freshens and volumizes hair effortlessly, without leaving residual stickiness or chalkiness.
Best Dry Shampoo for Dark Hair
This powder-based spray — rated 4.4 stars out of a possible 5 by discerning Birchbox customers — wins raves from those with dark hair (as well as from Vogue and Allure), for its ability to add volume and remove oil without leaving a ghostly white pallor behind.
Best Dry Shampoo for Oily Hair
It’s able to stand up to even post-exercise greasiness and leave hair bouncy and clean-feeling. Best of all, it leaves behind very little residue to weigh hair down or make it feel starchy and dry.
Best Volume-Building Dry Shampoo for Fine Hair
While it’s certainly pricey at about $40 a can, this is far and away the best at building touchable, believable volume without adding excessive gumminess to hair. It also smells fantastic, and we’re not the ones who thinks so — at its customers’ urging, the company created a perfume based on the fragrance of its haircare line.
Best Dry Shampoo for Coarse/Curly Hair
This product comes through for those blessed with thick, curly hair — unsurprising, since it was developed by a salon that’s become renowned for its prowess with curls. Deva’s dry shampoo preserves moisture in dry, coarse hair, and eliminates oil without the use of harsh chemicals: It contains no sulfates, parabens, or phthalates. Since it dries clear, it works well for those with dark locks.
What We Learned While Researching Dry Shampoo
Several members of our team had used dry shampoo previously and had positive experiences. But there were also a few skeptics who felt like all dry shampoos were essentially the same and that they would not work effectively.
After researching and testing the best products, we found that there is definitely a difference among the top options, and most importantly, that there are several dry shampoos that can work wonders. We also found a few alternatives to dry shampoo that the budget-conscious DIYer might want to test out.
There’s a difference between aerosol and powder.
Dry shampoo comes in one of two forms: spray or loose powder. The powder can be shaken directly onto the hands and worked through hair, while the sprays are typically aerosol-based products that are spritzed into the hair’s roots.
The experts we spoke with were divided on which delivery method was best. “I don’t recommend the powder ones for anyone,” says Jacquelyn Walent, senior stylist at DevaChan Salon in New York City, “because they dull the hair and dry out the hair and the scalp. The majority of them out there are really dehydrating.”
But Amy Schiappa, owner of New York’s two Fringe Salons, says she believes there’s a time and a place (and a hair texture) for powders. “Powder can be great for fine hair,” she says. “I use one that has a little bit of clay in it, and it gives fine hair texture. But someone with super-thick hair might want to use a spray.”
When using a powder dry shampoo, be sure to apply it correctly. “I always rub it onto my hands first,” says Schiappa. “You cover your whole hand, then rub your hands together. Then, work your hands up underneath the hair at the back of the hair, and then put it right into your hair’s part and your bangs, if you have them.”
We ask a lot of our dry shampoo — it should work well with as few chemicals as possible.
In meeting these criteria, a good dry shampoo should be simple to apply (and not messy). If it’s an aerosol, it should also dry quickly and leave hair manageable and clean-looking. A high-quality dry shampoo shouldn’t give hair a white, powdery look or cause irritation or dryness. A dry shampoo is even better when it’s reasonably priced and easy to find in stores or online.
Many of us also want a dry shampoo that’s free of chemicals like parabens or hair-drying sulfates. Walent advised us to avoid talc, too, which has been proven to cause tumors in laboratory studies. “You want the least amount of chemicals possible,” she says. “You want something where you can recognize the majority of the ingredients. Personally, if I can’t recognize something, I don’t want to ingest it or put it on my body. Our skin is super-absorbent, and once we absorb a product into our skin, it’s going into our bloodstream.”
Despite their perks, dry shampoos have limitations.
Dry shampoos are unbelievably handy, but they’re not a long-term substitute for actual shampoo. Both the stylists we spoke with cautioned against using the products too many days in a row, as dry shampoo builds up on hair and a sticky or gummy residue can develop that can weigh it down, negating any volumizing effects.
And, of course, there’s the matter of these oil-absorbing products being, well, drying. “I don’t think it’s meant to be used as a regular thing, as an alternative to avoiding flushing through the hair often enough,” says Walent. “It’s not something to replace a cleanser; it’s just something to benefit a lifestyle that’s on-the-go.”
There are DIY options for the thrifty and patient.
Plenty of easy-to-find products can be used as makeshift dry shampoo: baking soda, baby powder, arrowroot powder, cornstarch, and even cocoa powder for darker hair. These DIY options are usually a lot cheaper, but they can be pretty messy and, in our experience, they’re less effective than the formulas you can buy.
- Stop washing your hair so often: Even with the best shampoos and conditioners, washing everyday damages your hair. While dry shampoo shouldn’t replace cleansing altogether, it does give you a few more days between washes, which will help keep your hair healthy.
- Test a couple products: The great thing about dry shampoo is that there are several effective products that are reasonably priced. Testing out both an aerosol and powder option likely won’t break the bank, and will give you a better chance of finding a product that really works for your hair.