Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Dry Shampoo

Fueled by everything from overscheduled days to saving H2O, dry shampoo is back in a big way. Learn everything you could possible want to know about this waterless wonder of hair products!

infographic about dry shampoo

Dry Shampoo

A Comeback Caused By Convenience, Conservation & Cleanliness

While many forms of dry shampoo have been used for centuries worldwide, the idea wasn’t truly embraced by the people of the United States until the American Journal of Pharmacy published the first broad-scale mention of a dry shampoo and how it should be used in 1918. To support the growing demand, commercialization of dry shampoo began around 1940 and lasted into the 1970s. Recently, dry shampoo has experienced a renaissance with no signs of slowing down.

Our Growing Curiosity

With both interest and demand on the rise, people are searching online for dry shampoo more than ever before.

Nationally: Average Monthly Searches

  • 2014: 181,530 average monthly searches
  • 2013: 129,570 average monthly searches
  • 2012: 92,510 average monthly searches

In 2014, Americans have searched online for dry shampoo nearly 7,600 times per day. Californians have online for dry shampoo an average of 30,740 times per month.

States With Largest Growth: Rise in Interest from 2012 to 2014

  • New York: 97.2%
  • Texas: 83.1%
  • Illinois: 82.8%
  • Pennsylvania: 78.1%
  • Florida: 77.9%

So What is Dry Shampoo?

Dry shampoo is any hair product or treatment that is applied topically to absorb oils and control odors without the use of water. Nearly all dry shampoos come in a powder or spray form.

Released in 1940, Minipoo was the first commercially available dry shampoo.

Many early varieties of dry shampoo contained fuller’s earth, an absorbent and naturally occurring earthy substance commonly found in cat litter.

Using Dry Shampoo

With roots in convenience, dry shampoo offers you a way to refresh your hair that’s much quicker than the normal wash-dry-style routine. But it doesn’t end there. From encouraging hair health and preserving hair color to conserving water and improving long term care of the elderly, there are countless reasons to add dry shampoo to your hair care regimen.


  • before a night out
  • post-workout
  • bedridden
  • day trips
  • camping


  • reduce damage from heat styling
  • preserve hair nutrients
  • prevent color loss
  • conserve water
  • save time

How Does Dry Shampoo Work?

Dry shampoo works by absorbing the excess oils and debris on your hair and scalp while also absorbing (or masking, depending on the product) any odors. All you have to do is apply the dry shampoo at the roots of your hair, wait for a minute or so, and then brush your hair from roots to ends.*

  1. Step #1: Sprinkle or spray
  2. Step #2: Work in
  3. Step #3: Wait
  4. Step #4: Brush out

Some people swear by the cheesecloth method instead.

  1. Step #1: Wrap brush with cheesecloth.
  2. Step #2: Brush hair.

*Directions can vary by product, so please check packaging for best results.

What’s in Dry Shampoo?

Most simply, dry shampoo is a mix of (1) an oil-absorbing substance and (2) an aromatic or scentless freshener. As with most products, there is also considerable variety. No matter what you’re after or avoiding – from organic to non-aerosol (and everything in between) – there’s a dry shampoo for you.

Can Dry Shampoo Be Made at Home?

Much to the delight of the do-it-yourselfers out there, you can create your very own homemade dry shampoo. From cornstarch and oatmeal to baking soda and dry clay, the options are plentiful.

Simple Recipe for Light Hair:

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp baking soda

Simple Recipe for Dark Hair:

  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 Tbsp baking soda
  • 2 Tbsp cocoa powder

Pro Tip

In a pinch, you can even use talcum or baby powder as a dry shampoo. In dire situations, rice flour or all-purpose flour can also be used (very carefully).

You can add a few drops of essential oils to create a scented DIY dry shampoo.

What’s the Best Dry Shampoo?

So you’ve never used a dry shampoo before and want to try one. Where do you turn? Your friends? Your family? Your hairstylist? Well, many people turn to Google for ideas, as “best dry shampoo”, “top dry shampoo”, and several other related queries are frequently searched on the search engine every month.

Americans even search for “worst dry shampoo” an average of 30 times every month.

Are There Dry Shampoos For Different Hair Needs?

You bet there are. There are clear or tinted dry shampoos for dark or color-treated hair. There are dry shampoo sprays for thick hair. There are unscented dry shampoos for allergies. There are travel-size dry shampoos for when you’re on the go. You know your hair, body, and priorities best, so be sure to pick a dry shampoo that matches your hair type, hair color, hairstyle, sensitivities, and itinerary.

Where is Dry Shampoo Found?

Luckily for you, dry shampoo is likely available at any nearby supermarket, pharmacy, or drugstore. If you’re not feeling like making a trip out of it, your dry shampoo options are far greater with online retailers.

Did You Know?

  • Looking through a worldwide lens, there is evidence that people in Asia have been using clay in their hair for centuries.
  • During the late 18th and early 19th centuries, powdered wigs were popular in Europe and the United States. While the powder was used primarily to color wigs, it also acted as a deodorizer. This is the period when the term “big wig” originated, as the size and cost of wigs were related.
  • Wet-dry spray shampoos use a quick-evaporating liquid (like rubbing alcohol or vodka) to deliver the ingredients to your hair. It should go without saying that applying near an open flame is a bad idea.
  • 1 in every 517 people in Washington, D.C., search for dry shampoo each month, the most of any major metro area.
  • Since it’s part of the astronauts’ regular hygiene activities, you will find dry shampoo on the International Space Station.

Dry Shampoo Hacks

  1. Keep curls from clumping. For piecey and imperfect curls, spray a starch-based dry shampoo all over your hair after you curl it.
  2. Style your brows. To tame unruly eyebrows while also adding thickness, sprinkle or spray a bit of dry shampoo on your index finger and apply.
  3. Boost volume. Lean over so your head is upside down, apply the dry shampoo at your roots, and then apply it lightly all over.
  4. Add dimension. For subtle, natural-looking highlights or lowlights, apply a tinted dry shampoo from mid-shaft to end.
  5. Lock in your backcomb. Especially when creating an updo with backcombing, spray a bit of dry shampoo as you style to hold the tease.
  6. Create bedhead style. For those with short hair, style simple bedhead hair by applying dry shampoo all over before running your hands through.
  7. Add grip to pins. To keep bobby pins and barrettes from sliding, spray them all over with dry shampoo before using to give them some grip.
  8. Cool off. Because dry shampoo soaks up surface oils and moisture, it can be used in a pinch to control perspiration.
  9. Add subtle hold. Dry shampoo offers a little hold, and you can apply it like hairspray to create a look that’s still touchable.
  10. Clean your carpet. Because the concepts are very similar, you can remove oily carpet stains with clear dry shampoo, time, and your vacuum.
  11. Keep your bangs from sticking. Spray dry shampoo under your bangs to keep your fringe from sticking to your forehead.
  12. Reverse your style. For those who want to switch styles from one day to the next, simply spray dry shampoo all over your hair, brush it through with a paddle brush, and style as you want.
  13. Dry hands. To cool, dry, and add grip to your hands (yoga, anyone?), simply spray or rub a little dry shampoo into your palms and fingers.
  14. Hide dark roots. If you’re trying to cover up dark regrowth, opt for a powder dry shampoo that will impart a bit of white powder onto your roots.
  15. Deodorize shoes. For curing a case of stinky sneakers, just spray them with a clear dry shampoo, leave overnight, and then brush off any residue.


All data is based on 176 dry shampoo-related queries searched via Google and Google search partners in the United States.

To improve data relevance, branded keywords, as well as keywords with the following modifiers, were excluded from the research: animal(s), auto, car(s), carpet(s), cat(s), dog(s), fabric(s), furniture, horse(s), interior, leather, mane, pet(s), truck(s), upholstery, wiki, wikipedia.


You & Dry Shampoo

Have we sparked your interest in dry shampoo? Learn more about this hot hair product from the talented hairstylists, students, and staff at one of our hair salons or beauty schools. If you’re ready to try it out, find the dry shampoo for you today!

Are you passionate about all things hair but especially about hair health? Do you love sharing hair tips and tricks with friends and family? Cosmetology could be for you! Find more information about our cosmetology program today and get excited for a potential future in a career filled with creativity, passion, and innovation.