Dry shampoo: the beauty essential of fitness-loving ladies everywhere. Hair experts recommend against washing your hair every day. But if you’re sweating up a storm on the regular, this creates a bit of a hair problem. Dry shampoos can serve as a stop-gap to keep your hair from getting completely gross until you’re due for your next full hair washing. But which ones actually work for sweat-session-loving ladies? I bought and tested a few popular dry shampoos to see which ones were worthy of a spot in my gym bag.
My shampoo testing methodology
Normally, I wash my hair every other day and use a shower cap the other days. I have thicker than average, uncolored, somewhat oily hair. My individual hairs aren’t especially thick, but I have quite a lot of them. When you add sweaty workouts to my already oil-prone scalp, things can get a bit slimy.
For the purposes of test-driving these dry shampoos, I let my hair go to a third day without washing. For example, if I washed my hair on Sunday, I would test the shampoo on Wednesday morning (or earlier if things got really out of hand). By the time day #3 rolled around, my hair was visibly oily and limp. This way, it would be obvious if these products really made my hair look and feel cleaner.
I applied each product according to the instructions on the bottle, though sometimes I did multiple applications. I didn’t wear any other hair products so that I could most accurately assess the effectiveness of each product. And lastly, I tested each product at least 3 times so I could make sure that the results I got–whether good or bad!–were consistent and repeatable.
Without further ado, here’s how they stacked up…
It takes a couple of layers to get the level of oil-reduction I was looking for, but the end result was very nice. It has a fresh, clean scent coming out of the bottle, but it fades quickly and isn’t too overpowering. It left my hair feeling soft and fresh once I got enough layers on, I just wish it took fewer layers to get there.
This formulation is a powder that’s packaged to look like the sprays. You twist the top to the opening, then squeeze the bottle to “spray” out the powder. It was a little bit hard for me to control the amount of product that came out and it tends to erupt in a small cloud of powder. The powder is mostly light in color, with some earthy flecks. It left a slight light-colored residue on my hair when I initially applied it, but it blended in and brushed out easily.
Once on the powder is on your hair, it has a really pleasant, natural smell. This is the one and only product where my husband commented that my hair smelled good. The powder itself was very effective. It cut all oil and was outstanding at adding volume back to my hair. That said, it did leave a chalky, stiff texture. So while it’s very effective, it’s not the best option if you want soft, touchable hair. If your hair is dry, it may make that issue worse.
The other downside with Rahua’s product is that the price tag is quite a bit higher than the rest. That makes the product hard to justify when others can achieve a similar effect at a lower price. That said, it’s a pretty large amount of powder, so it should last quite a long time.
This product is the second powder in the lineup. This powder is white, but I didn’t have problems getting it to blend in. It doesn’t take a ton of powder for the product to work. Just a thin streak on either side did the trick. It managed oil very effectively and left my hair voluminous and soft. There’s no significant smell. Unlike the Rahua bottle above, the packaging on this one makes it very easy to apply and easy to avoid explosions of powder. The clean application is a big plus since I don’t have to be as worried about inhaling product.
I bought the travel size, which is the perfect size to throw in your purse or gym bag. As you can see, it’s considerably smaller than every other product here, most of which are also travel sizes. That said, I’ve used this one a lot and there’s still tons of product left. Basically, despite its smaller packaging, you aren’t getting fewer uses.
Also, because there’s no aerosol, it’s ideal for airplane luggage since it doesn’t have to be in your liquids bag like the aerosol products. I took this one with me when I traveled for Christmas and I loved how little space it took up.
This formulation was the only one offering different options for different colored hair. They have two versions: one for lighter hair and one for dark. I opted for dark. As intended, this product did not leave any trace of white cast to my hair. There was no noticeable smell after I finished applying. That said, even after many layers, I didn’t get a great oil-fighting result from this one. Any freshening of my hair was no longer visible by the afternoon.
Sadly, this was my least favorite, due to the fact that I just could not get the results I wanted with it.
The Amika shampoo has a perfume-y smell, but it fades after a bit. This one didn’t leave much of a white cast on my hair, and what little there was blended easily. It took several layers to get the clean effect I was looking for, and this one didn’t add a lot of volume. Overall, this one was another middle-of-the-road performer.
As its name suggests, the Detox shampoo was pretty effective even with just one layer of application. It left a white cast on my hair initially, though I was able to blend it in pretty well. If you have very dark hair, you might have a harder time getting the white cast to blend in. It left my hair feeling soft and clean.
The biggest downside with this shampoo is that it has a strong, salon-ish kind of smell. I applied all these dry shampoos in the morning, and by the time I went to shower, I could still smell this one in my hair. This was definitely the strongest smell of the bunch, which for me was a negative.
Living Proof’s formulation is one of the best-rated dry shampoos, and it’s pretty clear why. It was very effective for me after a layer or two. It left my hair feeling so soft, like it had really just been washed. I didn’t notice any white cast to my hair after a little bit of blending.
The smell was noticeable but not overwhelming, similar to other Living Proof products I’ve tried. There was a slight smell that lingered throughout the day, but fortunately it wasn’t as strong as the Drybar shampoo.
And the winners are…
Out of the seven I tried, I would most highly recommend the Living Proof and Bumble and Bumble products.
Which one you choose depends on whether you prefer an aerosol or a powder, and whether you are ok with a little shampoo. Out of all the products, these are the ones I am most likely to buy again. Even on days where I wasn’t doing product testing, I found myself reaching for one of these whenever I wanted a little extra boost in my hair.
I still have lots more on my list, like Ouai, Lush, Verb, as well as less expensive drug store brands. Let me know in the comments if you have a favorite you think I should try next!
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P.S. My other hair secret weapon: a silk pillowcase. My hair is so much softer and straighter with this!