Who Needs Water? The Official xoJane Dry Shampoo Awards

PLUS: The secret that makes every dry shampoo perform 7,000 times better. It’s so simple, you’ll cry that you weren’t already doing it.

Oct 3, 2013 at 1:00pm | Leave a comment

I just realized that all I ever do is talk to you guys about how much I love Texas and how obsessed I am with my hair. Not only do I happen to be in Texas right this minute, I also have my very own vintage hair dryer chair, which lives in my dining room. (I’ve gotten my color done with it a dozen times -- it totally works!) 

The rule in Texas is “the bigger the hair, the closer to heaven.”  Which is so very true -- except it doesn’t apply to me, as my hair is anything but big.


My hair is flat, thin, pale and prone to greasiness. I wash it with special water and am always trying endless combinations of shampoos and conditioners, sure that THIS TIME it will be the magic mix. But somehow, by midday, my hair starts to look limp and stringy, so I keep some sort of dry shampoo in my bag at all times. If I’m going to a big fancy event, I cut to the chase and powder my freshly washed and dried hair with dry shampoo to give it some extra oomph before I style it. It’s amazing what a combo of perfectly clean hair + cosmetically manufactured grit can accomplish.

I polled our xoJane and xoVain peeps for their favorite dry shampoos (and also included the 5 different dry shampoos I currently have in rotation) -- all in the name of presenting you with the first-ever, highly unscientific "xoJane Dry Shampoo Awards"! Go ahead and sit a spell, because I'm of the belief that there really is a dry shampoo in here for EVERYONE. 


I use 4 different hairbrushes every day, so why not 5 separate dry shampoos?

Blondes obviously have an advantage when it comes to dry shampoo, as most brands have a whitish color to them that won't show up on fair hair. Sadly, this is sometimes an issue if you are a brunette or redhead. Some dark-haired girls I know use actual cocoa powder as dry shampoo (or add a bit into an existing powder-based dry shampoo) but I've obviously never tried it.

My all-time favorite dry shampoo is Klorane’s Gentle Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk. It’s a little on the expensive side, so it’s not my everyday dry shampoo, but it works like nothing else has ever.

The aerosol can sprays a very controlled mist that doesn’t clump in your hair and makes it easy to target specific areas. It's kind of cooling to your scalp and manages to soak up the grease without drying out your hair. 

Here's my big secret to properly using dry shampoo -- I furiously brush my hair with a natural bristle brush after applying to get all the excess product out. (This obviously might not work for those of you with curly hair!) I apply whatever dry shampoo I’m using according to the directions, rub it in vigorously with my fingertips to soak up the grease, and then give my whole head (with special attention to where I applied the dry shampoo) a firm brushing with a natural bristle brush -- preferably a boar’s hair one. 

The gold standard boar's hair brush is made in England by Mason Pearson -- it's one of the 4 hairbrushes I use every single day. I’ve given them as wrap gifts to every costume girl I know, and they all tell me they love me for it. (Pro tip: the child’s size Mason Pearson is plenty big, and costs about half what the full size brush does.) 


Mason Pearson child size brush, $71.00. Mason Pearson full size brush, $160.00. (I always buy the sensitive bristle version, and you should too -- unless you have a scalp of steel!)

Obviously Mason Pearson isn’t the only natural bristle brush around. Spornette makes a 100% boar bristle brush that works about 75% as well as the Mason Pearson, and sometimes in life, 75% is pretty darn good odds.


Spornette DeVille boar bristle paddle brush, $10.14. (Kudos to commenter fiat_lux for finding the price chop!)

I was initially excited to try the Bumble & Bumble spray dry shampoos -- as they come in 4 different colors. I was stunned when I saw the price ($19.00 for the 1 ounce trial size??) and thought “well, it must be AMAZING, right?!” 

But I was really disappointed -- it was very chalky and sticky and way too wet on my baby-fine hair. It could just be that I have the wrong type of hair for their formulation, because my pal that has thick, dark hair SWEARS by it. 

Madeline’s favorite dry shampoo is also Hannah's favorite (when she's not just using straight baby powder!) It’s made by Batiste, costs just $8.00 and comes in a dozen different versions -- including tinted ones for blonde and dark hair. (Madeline is partial to the blush scent, which is a light floral.)

The Batiste is a real winner when it comes to aerosol based dry shampoos -- it comes closest to the properties of the Klorane I love so much and for exactly half the price.

Here's a good rule to remember when using aerosol dry shampoos -- spray on half as much as you think you need, rub in, brush out, wait 2 minutes, then apply more if needed. It's way too easy to spray too much and find yourself in a worse spot than you started out in!

My favorite powder-based dry shampoos are made by Oscar Blandi and Shampoolio. The Oscar Blandi is great because the nozzle is pointy, allowing you to aim the powder exactly where you want. It has a fresh, lemon-y scent that’s not overwhelming. (It’s also Mandy’s and Daisy's favorite dry shampoo, for the record.)

The Shampoolio dry shampoo is made by Julio Romano, my favorite LA-based hippie hairdresser. He makes his own all-natural hair care products in the bathtub of his salon on Melrose Avenue. They contain no chemicals and most are made with 3 ingredients or less. The Shampoolio dry shampoo contains no talc, only food grade ground corn and essential oils.

Both the Oscar Blandi and the Shampoolio powders are super cost effective -- I alternate using one or the other almost every single day, and I’ve had both containers for over a year. 

Another great option is Shampowder by Buttercream Cosmetics. It comes in a handy brush format so you can dab it directly on your hair. It also comes in black/grey, blonde, and brunette/red shades. OH, AND DID I MENTION IT SMELLS LIKE VANILLA CAKE?

The Shampowder is great for dusting on freshly washed hair. It's quite light -- just the right amount of grit to give your hair some extra oomph.

I've used the Lulu Organics hair powder with great success in the past when I want some boss-ass super messy texture. I find it gives the best 'grab' to your hair, specifically if you are attempting an updo. (It's Louise's absolute favorite, too.)

The Lulu Organics powder is unique, as it comes in 4 different scents: Lavender + Clary Sage, Jasmine, Patchouli + Amber, and Vetiver + Black Pepper. It's a good choice if you don't like the super sweet scents of classic dry shampoos. The container is not so great for traveling, as it's basically a salt shaker, but it's beautiful in a retro sort of way and looks lovely on your bathroom counter. 

My fellow Texan Annie over at xoVain has decreed the very best powder dry shampoo to be BloPro's "faux dry"

I can’t imagine the crazy mess all that poufing would leave on your bathroom floor, but Annie hasn’t steered me wrong yet -- and Texan girls know hair. The BlowPro is totally unscented and formulated specifically for oil removal.

So there you have it! An arsenal of dry shampoos and a good stiff natural bristle brush are pretty great things to have on hand when your alarm goes off and you smugly hit the snooze button, knowing you’ve got what it takes to fake freshly washed, luxurious movie-star hair. 

I’m on Twitter: @IveyAlison