Dry shampoo may be a lifesaver on days when you don’t want to wash your hair or need a fast refresh after a hard exercise. The beauty classic has an extraordinary capacity to absorb virtually any evidence of perspiration or oil from your strands while also increasing volume. It’s also available in a variety of forms, from powders and sprays to foams and gels. As a result, you’re bound to find at least one formulation that works for you.
However, you may have heard certain rumors around the beauty world that dry shampoo is truly harmful to your scalp’s health, and you want to know the truth. Following, experts discuss the popular product and its possible consequences on your scalp and strands, so you can finally know if dry shampoo is terrible for you.
Is Dry Shampoo Harmful to the Hair and Scalp?
The answer is that it depends on how frequently you use it.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, dry shampoos often contain absorbent substances such as alcohol and starches to soak up perspiration, grease, and oil from your hair. While dry shampoo may give your strands a cleaner, fresher appearance upon application, it does not truly clean your hair or scalp (unlike true shampoo), according to William Gaunitz, a licensed trichologist, and creator of Advanced Trichology.
Dry shampoo, in other words, absorbs perspiration and oil without really eliminating it from your scalp. Dry shampoo may produce leftover crud (dirt, oil, etc.) and product buildup over time, which can “clog the hair follicles,” according to Penny James, a certified trichologist and proprietor of Penny James Salon.
This can cause inflammation and “irritation, which can lead to dangerous scalp conditions,” according to Gaunitz. Based on Cleveland Clinic, if those blocked hair follicles become inflamed, you may get folliculitis, a disorder that looks like acne and is characterized by itchy, painful skin.
According to Gaunitz, excessive usage of dry shampoo can create inflammatory scalp issues such as seborrheic dermatitis because the substance traps fungus. According to the Mayo Clinic, seborrheic dermatitis is an inflammatory skin disorder that mostly affects the scalp and causes scaly areas, red skin, and obstinate dandruff.
Product accumulation, as previously discussed, may also impede hair development. When you leave styling product on your scalp for days without washing your hair, the “product buildup becomes so dense, it blocks the opening of hair follicles, limiting the number of strands that can get out,” according to David Adams, an Aveda colorist and the owner of Fourteenjay Salon in New York. “This implies that a follicle that was previously sprouting three or four strands may now only sprout one or two.”
According to James, in addition to potentially slowing hair development, overusing dry shampoo can have an influence on the look and feel of your strands. According to the Cleveland Clinic, alcohol — which, as previously said, is a frequent element in dry shampoo — can dry up your hair, leaving it more vulnerable to breakage and looking dull.
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So, how frequently should you use dry shampoo?
Don’t throw away your dry shampoo just yet. According to James, dry shampoo is safe for all hair types when used in moderation. It’s fine to use the dry shampoo once or twice a week, but anything more than that may cause scalp and hair issues, according to her.
Meanwhile, you may want to take measures to prevent accumulation, such as exfoliating your scalp on a regular basis. To eliminate any leftover muck, apply a scalp scrub once or twice a month, or once a week if your scalp is irritated.
You can take it a step further by rubbing the scrub into your scalp to ease stress, which “further improves follicle health,” according to Kerry Yates, trichologist and CEO of Colour Collective.
While dry shampoo is beneficial and safe to use, it should not be used on a regular basis or in place of shampoo. “To maintain regular scalp health, you must wash your hair with water and a moisturizing shampoo and conditioner at least once to twice weekly,” Gaunitz adds. While using dry shampoo between washes is perfectly OK, make sure you use it sparingly.