Skipping wash days has gotten easier thanks to the rise in the popularity of dry shampoo. These time-savers are capable of absorbing grease and adding volume to oily roots, but, while thousands of reviewers love the effectiveness of aerosol formulas, they may be wary — several aerosol products have been found to contain benzene, a carcinogen.
“People have studied this for over a hundred years,” says Christopher Bunick, MD, PhD, a board-certified dermatologist and professor at Yale School of Medicine. “They know benzene is a really, really strong cancer-causing agent.” In fact, it’s comparable with lead and asbestos as a health hazard, he says.
Keeping yourself safe doesn’t mean you have to forego dry shampoo altogether, though. Consider aerosol dry shampoo’s less-talked-about but equally effective sibling: powder dry shampoo. This alternative is typically free of benzene and leans on ingredients like plant-derived tapioca starch and bentonite clay to vacuum up grease from your roots, even adding volume, removing odors, and extending the life of your style with every application.
“I’ve actually always preferred dry shampoo powder to aerosol,” says New York City-based hairstylist Mia Santiago. “I feel it’s more absorbing. Plus, it’s made with fewer ingredients.” For best results, she says, add products to your roots and wait two minutes before massaging it in; that really helps to activate the ingredients.
Below, we’ve rounded up the best dry shampoo powders. These effective formulas are free of benzene, boost bounce, and will help you conquer second- (or third- or fourth-) day hair with ease.
Cramming everything into a carry-on can be tough, which is what makes the compact I Dew Care Dry Shampoo so convenient. And we mean compact — like, it can easily fit into a tiny purse for touch-ups. Plus, this 2022 Best of Beauty Award winner is cleverly designed with an oversized makeup puff that makes concentrated application a breeze.
Oat milk isn’t just for your morning latte — it’s the hero ingredient in Klorane Dry Shampoo, a boon for soothing your scalp (as opposed to causing further irritation). This French favorite also follows the application method preferred by its aerosol competitors, i.e. it’s designed with a spray nozzle that lets you apply product directly into your roots.
Briogeo Scalp Revival Dry Shampoo contains Binchotan charcoal, a powerful ingredient for removing product build-up and drawing out excess grease. And if your scalp is prone to irritation or flaking, you’ll want this in your medicine cabinet, stat — coconut oil, panthenol, and tea tree oil provide nourishing moisture without making your roots look oily.