Is Dry Shampoo Bad for Your Hair?

Listen, we love dry shampoo as much as the next person, but recently there has been a lot of confusion about whether or not it’s actually harmful for your hair. While it would be easy to just label it as bad and something to be avoided altogether, the answer isn’t actually that black and white. Dry shampoo itself is pretty harmless; it’s how you use it that can be problematic for some.

When used properly, dry shampoo can actually be an incredibly helpful tool for boosting volume and texture—especially for people with fine hair that tends to fall flat easily. The key is to use it the way it's intended (which we’ll get into below), as well as, make sure you don’t skip the aftercare.

Is Dry Shampoo Good Or Bad? And Does It Really Cause Hair Loss?

If you’re using dry shampoo often and not washing your hair properly in-between, you’ll end up with a buildup of residue on your scalp and strands. Buildup can clog your follicles, which can stunt new growth over time. (Plus, it’s incredibly dulling.)

To prevent this from happening, make sure you give yourself a proper cleanse several times a week depending on how thick or oily your hair is naturally. (Most stylists we’ve talked to recommend doing a double-shampoo and emphasize the importance of massaging the back of your head, the nape of the neck and behind your ears, as these spots are often neglected.) Again, really use the pads of your fingertips to work the shampoo in and make sure to rinse away the remaining suds thoroughly.

With proper application and cleansing after each use, dry shampoo is not, in fact, harmful and can actually serve as a nice addition to your styling regimen.

How Exactly Are You Supposed To Use Dry Shampoo?

1. Apply It Mostly to Your Hair Strands, Not the Scalp

Think about how you normally apply dry shampoo. You likely spray or sprinkle it in (if it’s a powder), rub it into your scalp and call it day, right? In order for it to be most effective, you actually want to concentrate more of the product on your hair rather than your scalp, and you also want to give it some time to absorb any oils before brushing out the excess.

2. Let the Dry Shampoo Sit

This is typically where most of us go wrong: We don’t give it time to do its job and we don’t usually brush it out after applying. That leaves us with extra product that sits on the surface of our strands and weighs it down, rather than give the intended boost. 

3. Don’t Use Too Much of It

Another common mistake we make with dry shampoo is that we use it excessively. (It’s become a full-on addiction for some of us.) However, it’s really only meant to be used in a pinch—for those moments when you don’t have time to shower or need a quick pick-me-up before, say, an event or important meeting. Instead, many of us have come to rely on it daily as a way to cut down on shampooing altogether. This is where things get a little hairy.

Jenny Jin Headshot Vertical 2023

Beauty Director

Jenny Jin is PureWow’s Beauty Director and is currently based in Los Angeles. Since beginning her journalism career at Real Simple magazine, she has become a human encyclopedia of...