The 30-Second Review

The best dry shampoo gets straight to your roots and absorbs oil cleanly, without leaving behind chalky residue. We interviewed two scientists, one product developer, a chemist, and three hair stylists to find out what makes the best. For convenience, it’s hands-down an aerosol; but powders have gentler ingredients. After testing the 37 most-loved dry shampoos on multiple hair colors and types, we found the ones that’ll tempt you to skip a wash, but won’t dry your hair out long-term.

Best Aerosol

A lightweight formula that leaves hair clean and hydrated, with a natural-looking sheen. And since it doesn’t require brushing to banish residue, it works for every hair type. ($20)

Runners-Up

Great options if you want to shop around for scent, price, or feel.

- Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo ($32)
- Batiste Dry Shampoo ($6)
- Dove Refresh + Care Volume & Fullness Dry Shampoo ($4)
- Klorane Dry Shampoo With Oat Milk For All Hair Types ($20)
- Evo Water Killer Dry Shampoo ($27)
- Moroccanoil Dry Shampoo Light Tones ($23)
- Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo ($24)

Best Powder

The rare gem among powders, it doesn’t leave behind residue and comes in a travel-friendly brush. That packaging allows for accurate root-targeting without any mess. ($15)

Runner-Up

Bare Republic® Eco-Active Hair care UV Protecting Dry Shampoo
A powder with the same advantages of the Cake brush, just in a less-convenient package. Since it goes on less evenly, it requires a little more rubbing to make it disappear. ($13)

  • February 2, 2018 - We've updated this page to check out some new products and bring in a team of testers to evaluate all our finalists. Our previous top pick, Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk, got pushed out of the top spot by Living Proof Perfect Hair Day's impeccable results. But since dry shampoo comes down to application and scent preferences, we included several options for both aerosol and powder products that we're confident will give your hair a refreshing touch up between washes.

The Best Dry Shampoo

Aerosol dry shampoos provide far and away the most convenient and clean application, and there are plenty of great options to choose from. We're convinced the best dry shampoo for every head of hair — curly or straight, light or dark, oily or dry — is Living Proof's Perfect Hair Day ($20) dry shampoo. It achieves the ultimate trifecta: It yields softness and renewed volume without leaving behind any gross residue, is easily tousled out with no hairbrush needed, and has conditioning ingredients to offset the inherent over-drying of aerosol products. We found seven runners-up that check most of those boxes and made testers happy, but none of them quite beat out Living Proof’s results.

Powders tend to have a bad rap for leaving your scalp and roots with white residue that can make it feel dirtier than before (one of our testers actually had to take a shower after using Verb). But two powders stood out for making hair look and feel refreshed, clean, touchable, and soft. Cake The Rush Brush Dry Shampoo Powder Brush ($15) is our top pick for its novel, convenient packaging and multiple color options. Not only does the brush make it simple to get the right amount of powder on your roots every time, the “medium” tone powder will blend perfectly into both blonde and black hair (you can also get “light” and “dark” powders). Testers loved that the compact brush is the perfect size to tote with you in a purse or carry-on. Bare Republic Eco-Active Hair care UV Protecting Dry Shampoo ($13) comes in a powder pump which holds much more powder, you’ll just be sacrificing the convenience and precision of a brush — Bare Republic’s pump has a tendency to leave spots of powder that need extra rubbing in. But, while you’ll have to go online (to sites like Amazon and Ulta) to find Cake’s brush, you can pick Bare Republic’s powder up in person at Target.

Our Picks for The Best Dry Shampoo

Best Aerosol
Living Proof Perfect Hair Day (Phd) Dry Shampoo
Living Proof
This spray made testers’ hair feel truly cleaner, and we love that it doesn’t come with a risk of over-drying your hair and scalp.

There are a lot of great aerosol dry shampoos out there. A whopping nine out of the 13 aerosol contenders we tested got perfect marks for hair feel from our testers, giving them locks that felt cleaner and looked freshly washed, no suds necessary. When the race is that close, we get to be picky. Enter: Living Proof’s PhD Dry Shampoo. Not only does its formula include water (one of only two aerosol products we tested that did), which helps offset the drying effects of the denatured alcohol in its formula; it also includes an extra conditioning ingredient (cetrimonium chloride). What really put it over the top was that testers found it took minimal effort to get rid of any residue it left behind.

Living-Proof-for-Dry-Shampoo

Living proof goes on like a translucent spray paint: In an even, clean, and uniformly wide strip. And it doesn’t lose steam gradually when you stop putting pressure on its nozzle: It’s 100 percent spray or 0 percent spray with this one, with no risk of applying too little in one area and not enough in another. Like all aerosol sprays, it does a fine job getting product to its destination — your roots — quickly and accurately.

Living-Proof-for-Dry-Shampoo

Living Proof is one of the only aerosol products we tested that doesn’t list brushing it through your hair as a requirement for even application, so curls that frizz at even the mention of the word “hairbrush” won’t be subjected to disturbance. Simply massaging and shaking at roots with fingers does the job (unlike rubbing in Ouai’s aerosol mousse, which was akin to working fingernails across a chalkboard.) Even before giving their hair a light tousle, testers with dark and light hair alike said there wasn’t any residue visible whatsoever. Living Proof doesn’t leave behind a trace of itself, apart from a high-end “fresh from the salon” scent that lasted the day but didn’t overwhelm. Aerosols from other brands, like Amika, require a good brushing before they’ll disappear, which, unless you have straight hair, probably means frizz.

We’re not the only ones who love Living Proof. On Ulta alone, it’s got an average of 4.6 out of five stars from 886 reviewers; on Amazon, it earns an average of 4.1 out of five stars from 370 reviews. With such a gleaming a reputation, it’s no surprise that it crossed our finish line first.

The $20 salon price tag is about average among the dry shampoos we tested, and you can find Living Proof at salons, department stores like Nordstrom, or online retailers. The best dry shampoo for you, though, will come down to personal preference for smell, feel, and application experience. For more options, take a look at our star studded cast of runners-up.

Aerosol Runners-Up

The competition among aerosols was tough, and seven great products were just edged out by Living Proof’s perfect results and unmatched invisibility. We think anyone will be happy with Living Proof, but if there’s another price, availability, or smell that looks more up your alley, any of these are worth a try. For more insight into how strong each product's scent is, check out the scent intensity chart at the end of this review.

Aerosol runners-up for Dry Shampoo

Here they are, ranked according to scores they received on hair feel, residue, and overall effectiveness (from highest to lowest):

Requires brushing Smell Availability Price (Amazon)
Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo No Sweet Amazon, beauty retailers, department stores, Drybar locations $32 for 3.5 oz.
Batiste Dry Shampoo* No Clean Amazon, drugstores, beauty retailers $6 for 6.7 oz.
Dove Refresh + Care Volume & Fullness Dry Shampoo No Clean Amazon, drugstores $4 for 5 oz.
Klorane Dry Shampoo With Oat Milk For All Hair Types Yes Floral Amazon, beauty retailers, specialty stores, Walmart (online) $20 for 3.2 oz.
Evo Water Killer Dry Shampoo* No Clean Amazon, salons $27 for 7.6 oz.
Moroccanoil Dry Shampoo Light Tones Yes Clean Amazon, beauty retailers, salons $23 for 5.4 oz.
Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo Yes Floral Amazon, salons $24 for 5.3 oz.

*Natural Hair Picks: We found Evo Water Killer and Batiste on at least three “best of” lists specifically for natural hair. While any of the dry shampoos on this list that don’t require brushing should work just fine, we recommend either of those two picks for natural hair, specifically.

Note: We originally included Carol's Daughter Monoi Conditioning Dry Shampoo for dark tones among these ranks (it’s one of the only ones that doesn’t include a simple alcohol in its formula), but it’s currently unavailable on both Amazon and the Carol’s Daughter website. Keep an eye out for it though, especially if you have dark, curly hair.

Best Powder
Cake The Rush Brush Dry Shampoo Powder Brush
Cake
A leave-no-trace powder that doesn’t need brushing out, in the only powder packaging that makes using it easy.

If finding the best aerosol was the final episode of American Idol, finding the best powder was the first round of auditions. In a field of dusty residue and repackaged baby powder, The Rush Brush stands out for its blendability for every hair type and packaging that makes it quick and simple to achieve even application.

Powders are especially prone to leaving behind chunky, dandruff-like residue (ahem, Verb) that compelled testers to immediately jump in the shower — the exact opposite of what a dry shampoo should do. Cake stood out for offering natural-looking volume, a cleaner-feeling scalp, and hair that looked freshly washed. Most other powders yielded pretty disappointing (read: dusty and gross) results — like Beautiful Life The All Nighter Styling Powder, which left a tester’s hair “untouchable, gross, dirtier than before, and covered in a chalky residue.”

The Cake’s brush is attached to a store of powder, which makes getting an even spread as simple as using a glue stick — if that glue stick let off little powder clouds every time it made contact. In fact, it was the only powder that competed with aerosols’ sky-high ease-of-application scores during testing. Overall, testers rated brush-based products as more convenient than any other powder packaging. But the pot-and-brush products, like La Tierra Sagrada, left some testers with more powder on their countertops than in their hair. By simply merging the powder and brush into a single compact tool, The Rush Brush cut way back on the mess factor. And at just a little bit bigger than a tube of mascara, The Rush Brush’s size makes it a natural fit for purses and carry-on travel, where aerosols over 3.4 ounces aren’t allowed.

Cake-Application-for-Dry-Shampoo

While other powders smelled strongly of essential oils or baby powder, Cake smells only of sweet candy and was faint enough that testers didn’t get a whiff once it was on their scalps. They couldn’t see it, either, with the light tan tint of the “medium” we tested blending seamlessly into the scalps of testers with black hair and blonde hair alike (that said, it also comes in “light” and “dark”).

Cake-Application-for-Dry-Shampoo

Even in its compact package, the powder will last you longer than some aerosols in the long run since you won’t lose as much product in the air every time you apply. Plus, it’s available online for five dollars less than either of our top aerosol picks, at $15. Check out our runner-up if you’re willing to sacrifice the brush or want to buy your powder at Target or Walmart; it packs in more powder, but is just less convenient to use.

Runner-Up Powder
Bare Republic Eco-Active Hair care UV Protecting Dry Shampoo
Bare Republic
A powder with just as many positive effects as our top pick, but in a less convenient package.

Bare Republic fell to Cake’s The Rush Brush because of its pump bottle design, which requires you to aim and “shoot” the puffs of powder at your roots. But its results are equally impressive: clean hair and no residue. It also the only one of our top picks that’s not salon- or online-only, meaning you’ll be able to pick it up at Target.

Powder-Demonstration-2-for-Dry-Shampoo-

The results you’ll get from Bare Republic are identical to Cake’s; the powders even have the same faintly sweet smell. Once the tan powder is worked in, hair looks like it was just washed. As one tester (with dark, thick hair) eloquently said, it “successfully simulates the not-so-shiny-it’s-dirty, not-so-dull-it’s-dead look of clean hair.” Alongside Cake, it was the only other powder dry shampoo we tested that didn’t leave a white, powdery trail in its wake.

Bare-Republic-for-Dry-Shampoo

Our one complaint about Bare Republic, and the reason it’s our runner-up, is the packaging. Its shooting pump can leave you with an uneven application; some spots may be heavily powdered and others totally untouched. That means you’ll have to work it through your hair a bit more with your fingers before the tan powder blends into your scalp. Users with natural hair, or curly hair that’s vulnerable to frizzing, should take note of that extra work; you’ll be better served by The Rush Brush. All that said, testers still rated Bare Republic’s pump format as easier to use and more accurate than the more common salt-shaker designs of Beautiful Life, Acure, Captain Blankenship, and Farmaesthetics. Most importantly, once the rubbing is done, you’re left with soft, clean hair and no residue.

How to Choose the Best Dry Shampoo for You

Sample until you find what’s best.

As much as we wish there were piles of research on the effectiveness of dry shampoo ingredients, the experts we talked to made it clear that there’s not much — if any — being done. In fact, Dr. Trefor Evans, the Director of Research at Textile Research Institute (TRI) Princeton, has been in the hair care business for almost 25 years and told us, “they’re a bit of a niche product in a way, and to date haven’t attracted much attention in the hair research world.”

The other experts we spoke to echoed Dr. Evans, concluding that at this point in time you can only know what works best for your hair by trying it yourself. For aerosols, at least, if you’re having trouble deciding, we suggest buying the mini sizes to see for yourself what works best with your hair and what scent you prefer. Travel sizes of both our top pick and runner-up are available online and in stores like Sephora and Ulta.

Make sure you like your pick's scent.

In online reviews, the smell of dry shampoos is one of the most talked-about topics. If the one you buy has a scent, you need to love it enough to walk around with it on your head all day. But we can’t tell you what “the best” smell out there is — some people love rose, others like that citrusy Lemon Pledge vibe. In a blind smell test, we had five people describe the scents of all the dry shampoos we’re asking you to consider. Their findings grouped the contenders into three distinct categories (floral, sweet, and clean), but the strength of the scent may be what counts. We summarized their verdicts on all 14 products that got good results below:

Scent Intensity Chart

Powder dry shampoos are typically much less fragrant than aerosols.

No matter what you use in between, it can’t replace a good wash.

Many people we spoke with attribute the rising popularity of dry shampoo with the rise of people’s skepticism when it comes to really shampooing. The “No Poo” method that’s been gaining steam for the last few years is built on the idea that washing your hair with traditional shampoo and water strips your hair of its natural oils.

Experts we talked to advocated on behalf of traditional shampoo and washing your hair regularly, rather than letting dry shampoo become a direct substitute. Director of Research at TRI Princeton Dr. Trefor Evans even went so far as to say “The ‘No Poo’ movement is a bunch of poo, basically.” He told us that while dry shampoo soaks up oil, it won’t do much to break down the polymers that styling products leave behind.

And there might be other reasons to avoid using it more than is recommended. You may have read the horror story that was all over beauty websites in 2016, in which a girl shared a photo of the hair loss she attributes to using dry shampoo. We hear about those stories because they’re rare, but it’s a good idea to follow expert advice on how often you should be using dry shampoo as an alternative to really washing it.

Our Dry Shampoo Review: Summed Up