You just finished a hard home exercise but don’t have time to wash to freshen your hair. When you open your cupboard to seek for your favorite dry shampoo, it returns empty spritzes.
What is a person to do in the absence of a product? Of course, you may rely on a tried-and-true dry shampoo substitute. Dry shampoo, as you’re probably aware, hasn’t been around forever. However, greasy hair has not. As a result, individuals all over the world have tried with basic pantry items, beauty treatments, and styling techniques to reduce the shine of greasy roots.
So, if you ever run out of your favorite dry shampoo, don’t freak out. We asked the professionals for their recommendations for dry shampoo alternatives, including board-certified dermatologist Dendy Engelman, MD, and hairstylists Kelly Harrison, Adam Campbell, and Marcia Lee. Continue reading to find out what they had to say.
GET TO KNOW THE EXPERT
- Dendy Engelman, MD, is a New York City-based board-certified cosmetic dermatologist and Mohs surgeon.
- Kelly Harrison is a hairdresser and BIOTOP Professional brand manager.
- Adam Campbell is a well-known celebrity hairdresser. Angelina Jolie, Liv Tyler, and Natalie Portman are among his clientele.
Jodie Turner-Smith and Natasha Lyonne are among Marcia Lee’s celebrity customers.
1. Corn Starch
Is there no dry shampoo? No worries. If you look in your pantry, you’ll probably discover a canister of corn starch. “Corn starch is a common home substance that is both safe and absorbent when used as a dry shampoo substitute,” Engelman explains.
“You may apply a tiny quantity of this to your hairline by hand or with a contour brush, and if you’re worried about leaving a residue, combine it with cocoa powder.” She claims that, in addition to removing oily roots, corn starch is odorless, so you won’t feel like you’re being trailed by a cloud of aroma all day.
One thing to keep in mind: If you’re picky about the items you use, Harrison warns that corn starch may include GMOs. “Even if it’s used on your hair and not swallowed, you’ll want to check if avoiding GMOs is essential to you,” she adds.
2. Baking Powder
Building on corn starch, Campbell suggests combining the substance with baking soda to reduce greasy roots. “Combine equal parts baking soda and cornstarch with a few drops of essential oil (lavender, tea tree, peppermint, etc.) in a dish,” he says, using tablespoon quantities. He recommends softly sprinkling the combination into the scalp once it has been blended.
“Leave it for a few minutes to absorb extra oils before shaking out excess,” he recommends. The only drawback? He confesses that on darker hair hues, this combination might occasionally leave a whiteish residue. “It’s truly only for emergencies,” he says.
However, if you discover that you truly appreciate the results, Lee suggests keeping a salt shaker of corn starch and baking soda on hand. Furthermore, she claims that using a hair dryer on the cold setting with a soft bristle brush will assist to really massage the product in, blow away any excess, and create volume in the process for an even more rejuvenated head of hair.
3. Baby powder
“Baby powder is recognized as a dependable dry shampoo alternative since it was used before dry shampoos became fashionable,” Engelman explains. She and Harrison both remind us that less is more for the greatest results.
“A teaspoon of baby powder applied to your hair and brushed through can absorb excess oil and leave your hair appearing fresher than before,” Engelman explains. But don’t just sprinkle it on top of your section. Instead, Harrison recommends sectioning your hair and using the baby powder sparingly between the layers to absorb throughout, rather than just on top.
When using baby powder for a quick hair repair, keep in mind that, unlike corn starch, it has a small aroma. Furthermore, due to the white tone of the product, Harrison claims that baby powder works best on blonde hair. “It also works best on thicker hair,” she continues, “since too much can leave fine hair appearing limp and lifeless.”
From a health standpoint, Harrison points out that most baby powders include talc, which may be dangerous if consumed. She suggests checking the contents list on your powder before adding it to your basket if you have a talc allergy or dislike to it.
4. Arrowroot Powder
“Arrowroot powder is a natural starch that is frequently used as a thickening factor in dishes, so it is excellent for absorbing oils,” Engelman explains. “It’s also really lightweight, leaving a pleasant feeling on the hair.” However, she admits that it can be messy, so she recommends applying it with a brush and then massaging it in for the full impact.
5. Setting Powder with Translucence
Although you may not want to waste your valuable face setting powder on your hair, hair color specialist Seamus McKernan claims it works quickly. “Translucent setting powder can be a terrific on-the-go alternative,” he explains. “Use a clean blush brush and tap it in rather than brushing it across to enable extra oil to soak.” Brush through the surplus powder after application.”
Warning: While many hairstylists and dermatologists recommend powders and starches for oil absorption, trichologist Gretchen Friese warns that these treatments might become cakey and create build-up.
As a result, they should be used sparingly and followed with a clarifying shampoo rinse in the shower. (Spoiler alert: R+Co co-founder and design director Howard McLaren claims that current aerosol dry shampoos were invented due to the possibility for cake.)
6. Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is a popular skincare component due to its ability to control oil production, and Engelman claims that the substance can also assist with oily hair. “A few drops of apple cider vinegar mixed with water in a spray bottle and spritzed over your hair will work miracles,” she adds. “This method is very useful because it leaves no residue, unlike other dry shampoos or alternatives.”
7. New Hairstyle
If you’ve been on TikTok recently, you’ll know that not all dry shampoo solutions are product-based. When you don’t have dry shampoo, one of the finest things you can do is change up your hairdo.
“A sleek bun or braids not only provides a pleasant and low-maintenance look, but it may also conceal grease on the scalp and hair.” “Harrison adds If you enjoy accessorizing, she suggests that using a wide headband might help take attention away from an oily scalp.
8. Blotting Sheets
Blotting sheets are another beauty tool that might help with greasy roots (particularly bangs). “Normally used to dab up oil on the face, blotting sheets can also be used on the hair,” Engelman explains. “These are fantastic because they’re tiny and portable. Simply take one sheet and dab the top of your head where you see oil residue persisting, resulting in a drier appearance.”
9. Texture Enhancement
Are you a fan of a sleek bun but not in the mood for one? Teasing and back-combing your hair are two more quick and easy techniques to hide greasy strands, according to Harrison.
“Not only do they provide volume, but they also disperse oil and push your hair up from the root, making it difficult to notice the oils on the scalp,” she says. “This is an excellent choice for an updo-style occasion.” Tease your hair and then comb it into the desired style.”
10. Other Hairstyling Supplies
Of course, if you’re not into DIY haircare, you can always switch to a different sort of style product. While McKernan advises hairspray (particularly Nioxin’s Niospray Strong Hold Hairspray, $18) for its oil-absorbing alcohol component, celebrity hairdresser Andrew Fitzsimons advocates repurposing greasy tresses with a texturizing spray, such as the Andrew Fitzsimons Apres Sexe Texture Spray ($14).
Do you wish you had time to shower because nothing beats it? Campbell recommends Unsubscribe No-Rinse Hair Wash ($24). “It’s wonderful for those who work out a lot,” he adds, noting that two to four pumps are all that’s required, which can then be air-dried or blow-dried. “It’s a washing foam with enzymes that fight smells while also strengthening the hair.””
Another possibility? A hair refreshing water, such as Kristin Ess’ The One Signature Hair Water ($11), can dampen your strands, making it easier to re-heat your style. Fitzsimons advises using Kristin Ess’s Style Assist Blow Dry Mist ($15) and Dry Finish Working Texture Spray ($14) to take your greasy hairdo to the next level.
“The wonderful thing about these products is that they… work for practically any hair type while providing exactly the appropriate tool to what each hair type is asking for, whether it’s shine, volume, or texture,” he explains.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, everyone has greasy roots, and it’s nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. “Embrace normal human development,” adds Lee of scalp sebum. “This is required to preserve and moisturise the hair and scalp.” So use that opportunity to play with your [hair].”
When it comes time to wash your hair, Friese recommends using a clarifying wash, especially if you’ve been relying on dry shampoo alternatives (or the real deal). She recommends focusing on products that are extremely absorbent, such as those loaded with charcoal or the BosleyMD Anti Dandruff Shampoo ($28). She says, “It eliminates oils and product buildup from the hair and scalp without stripping or drying the hair.”