11 best dry shampoos that will save you from a bad hair day
Banish grease and add texture to your locks with one of these lifesavers
Dry shampoos are a minefield. Most of us are looking for the same thing: a nicely scented spray that we can blast into our roots on day-three hair to make us look more beachy than greasy. But with a saturated market it can be hard to know which product to opt for.
They come in a variety of formulas, packaging and finishes, but there’s certainly a dry shampoo out there for anyone who likes to push the boundaries of acceptable hairwashing interludes.
The right ones will absorb oils so that no remnants of greasiness remain, and add texture to the hair, making it easier to hold a style. Crucially, we want to see no dandruff-like white flakes or overly matted scalps.
We tested each dry shampoo out on days where hair needed a refresh, using each product on both the roots and the length of the hair to test for immediate results as well as longevity of their effects.
We wanted to find the standout options for oil absorption, volume and styling. Here are our top picks.
Percy & Reed Radiance Revealing Invisible dry shampoo: £12.50, Percy & Reed
A great all-rounder, this dry shampoo will meet everyone’s needs. It’s a fine invisible mist, which sprays beautifully into the roots, leaving no residue even on the darkest locks. It gives a good amount of lift and seems to absorb oils and add texture while feeling undetectable on the hair, and the effects last all day. It also comes in a handy travel size, which is perfect for freshening up on the go, and the packaging is pretty enough to feel like a luxury item to carry around while offering an affordable price tag.
Love Beauty and Planet Citrus & Camellia Volume and Bounty dry shampoo: £6.99, Asos
For those with finer or less naturally textured hair, this product offers volume by the bucket-load. A little goes a long way and a light spritz provides a maximum impact with no residue, with a lovely fresh scent to boot. The effects won’t last all day, but it’s quick to top up and doesn’t give the feeling of build-up on the scalp. It’s also an eco-conscious brand which offers vegan products in recyclable packaging.
Tints of Nature dry shampoo: £9.99, Tints of Nature
If you want to feel good about what you’re putting in your hair, Tints of Nature offers the perfect product. It uses 99.5 per cent natural and organic ingredients, packaged in a small, non-aerosol bottle, making it more environmentally friendly and much easier to travel with. The spray nozzle takes some getting used to but once you get the hang of it it’s just as simple to use as a traditional spray.
It works well to absorb oils in the roots and has a smooth but slightly powdery finish. It doesn’t give as much volume or texture as some aerosol products, especially as it’s hard to apply across the length of the hair, but if you’re looking for something simple to freshen up with, without adding too much drama to the look, this is perfect. An added bonus is that it has a naturally sweet, slightly spiced scent which lasts hours on the hair, and despite its small packaging it seems to last well compared to larger alternatives.
A’kin dry shampoo: £12, Feel Unique
This natural beauty brand’s dry shampoo contains natural bamboo and rice powder to absorb grease and argan oil to add a healthy-looking shine to the hair. Its effects are subtle but effective, giving the hair a just-washed look and feel with minimal residue. It smells fresh without being overpowering and it’s 100 per cent vegan and cruelty free. The hair feels soft and not at all powdery or gritty, which means it can be used repeatedly without risking an unpleasant build-up. We did notice you need a little more of the product to get the desired results than some other options though, so you might go through the can slightly faster – but it’s worth it.
Innersense Refresh dry shampoo: £22, Cult Beauty
This is pricey but if you’re looking for a unique formula that’s convenient and highly effective, you won’t be disappointed. The product is dispensed as a foam which you then apply to the scalp with the fingers, making it easy to target the areas where you want the most volume. It’s not the best at absorbing oil, but it works incredibly for volume and texture, and gives the hair a new lease of life on the flattest of days. Our hair didn’t feel chalky at all, but had a lived-in yet clean look to it. All the ingredients are ethically sourced and it has a natural, slightly citrusy scent which is subtle and doesn’t linger. If you want the perfect just-rolled-out-of-bed volumised look without the back-combing, this is the one.
Colab dry shampoo: £2.33, Boots
That this product was created by model-turned-influencer Ruth Crilly might suggest it has the potential for being overpriced, overhyped and unimpressive. In fact, this has become the gold standard of dry shampoo. It’s incredibly affordable, vegan and cruelty-free, and comes in a huge range of scents and styles – from the unicorn fragrance, which is sweet without being overpowering, to a fresh-scented active version, specifically for post-workout.
The product itself is entirely translucent, with no visible white residue even on the darkest of hair. It absorbs oils, mattifies and adds texture immediately while requiring minimal effort. You can use it for a few days in a row without your scalp getting itchy or the hair becoming coarse. While the packaging may be a little cutesy for some people, it’s worth overlooking, and the aerosol itself dispenses a nice mist of product, which feels gentle and doesn’t dispense too much in each spray – one bottle also lasts well given you don’t need much per application.
Ouai dry shampoo: £20, Cult Beauty
Ouai was created by Jen Atkin, celebrity hairstylist responsible for the enviable locks of the Kardashians, among others. The branding and packaging is spot on with a sleek white bottle and simple minimalist lettering, and the product really does live up to the hype. It’s a light dry shampoo, which disappears into the roots almost as soon as it’s sprayed, with minimum rubbing or teasing. Any white cast also disappears within seconds and it seems to stick to the hair, keeping it styled for the entire day without feeling itchy or gritty. If you’re looking for a luxury product and ease of use is key, it’s definitely worth the money. If you’re just looking for a bit of extra texture a few spritzes would do it, meaning a bottle should easily last two to three months.
Moroccanoil dry shampoo: £15.45, Look Fantastic
Moroccanoil is known for products that add shine to the hair, so it’s surprising that they’ve created such a great dry shampoo to do the opposite. It comes in a “light” and a “dark” formula, although they both seem to come out almost clear and have minimal residue, so if you’re worried about those white flecks that can sometimes appear from other products, these avoid that, easily blending into the colour of the hair. It’s not the most absorbent of dry shampoos, but it’s great for fringes or tips that need a bit of mattifying. It also has a pleasant, clean scent, fresh with a hint of sweet citrus, which lingers on the hair nicely.
Captain Blankenship Mermaid dry shampoo: £24, Naturisimo
On the whole, we would argue that an aerosol is the best thing that’s ever happened to a dry shampoo, but if you prefer a loose powder, this is the one. Not only is the packaging absolutely stunning – and much more environmentally friendly than the standard aerosol, as it’s made from recyclable materials – but the product works well. It seems like it’s going to be messy and powdery, like putting talcum powder in your hair, but actually there’s minimal fallout and the whiteness does disappear fairly quickly.
This is more work than a standard spray but it also allows for more efficient placement of the product exactly where you need it. As the jar is smaller than a lot of others, it’s actually very travel-friendly. You wouldn’t want to apply this without a mirror though, and the potential for disaster if you don’t close the cap properly means it’s probably not the best option for on the go. You can also buy this product guilt-free: the ingredients are all natural, organic, paraben-free and not tested on animals.
Batiste Dry Clean & Classic Original dry shampoo: £4.99, Boots
We would be remiss to discuss dry shampoos without mentioning Batiste, the first product of its kind that we – and many others – ever tried. To its credit, it’s affordable, comes in a variety of scents and travel sizes and the brunette version is a dream. This product serves one purpose: to mask the grease when your hair really needs a wash, and it does this incredibly – there’s no such thing as too much grease to mask when Batiste is involved. Think music festivals, newborn babies, broken showers or droughts. It does build up and if you try and re-apply it more than once, your hair will be a matted, itchy mess, but it’s one worth keeping in the cupboard for emergencies.
Philip Kingsley One More Day dry shampoo: £17, Net-A-Porter
For blondes, we can see this one being a keeper, but if your hair is on the dark side, then beware – this has a lot of whiteness in it so you’ll need to spray from a distance and really work it in. The name would suggest it’s primarily an oil absorber, but it impresses for its volumising properties. If you’re hoping to achieve a beehive, quiffed look, a couple of spritzes into the roots will make your hair defy gravity like never before, which is particularly pleasing given that it claims to have benefits to the hair and scalp too.
The verdict: Dry shampoos
We love the Percy & Reed dry shampoo for a great all-rounder that will give you some volume while absorbing oil and leaving the hair looking natural and residue-free. For a more dramatic look, Innersense’s foam formula will give unparalleled volume, while for subtle looks that just need a bit of reviving Moroccanoil is the one. If you’re looking to avoid the aerosol, Tints of Nature is as easy to use as they come. For natural beauty lovers, you can’t go wrong with A’kin.
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