I'm a Huge Failure and I Can't Quit Dry Shampoo

I tried to go dry-shampoo free for five days. This is what happened.
Publish date:
March 10, 2016
beauty advice, hair care, dry shampoo, dry scalp, greasy hair

It's not a big secret that I'm a fake blonde (shout out to Will Francis at Sally Hershberger Salon for giving my hair life. I do still protest that my natural hair color is dark blonde, but who am I fooling, the platinum tones of my current strands are in no way found in nature. That's why, in order to keep up my Margot-Robbie-in-Wolf-of-Wall-Street-meets-Elsa-meets-Courtney-Love blonde, I have to shampoo my hair pretty infrequently. You can guess what this means; I'm a head-over-heels devotee of dry shampoo.

During a regular week I wash my hair 1-2 times on average, which means I apply dry shampoo almost every single day. I have bottles and cans of dry shampoo stashed in every purse, cupboard, and suitcase, just in case I notice the dreaded greasy feeling that I know means my roots are gross. The only other beauty product I love as much as dry shampoo is Chapstick and that is saying quite a lot.

However, as with my chapstick addiction, there definitely is such a thing as too much of a good thing. John Barrett Stylist Halli Bivona explains that you definitely don't want to use too much overuse dry shampoo because too much can cause buildup which can ultimately suffocate your scalp and hair follicles, leaving you with some unpleasant scalp conditions AND possibly stunted hair growth. Halli recommends using dry shampoo no more then 2-3 days in a row.

So yeah, that's a lot less than the 8 days in a row I rocked this month, right? Whoops.

Because I knew that I had an unhealthy usage level of the dry stuff, last week I decided to pitch a story in which I went without dry shampoo for a whole week (to force myself to actually do it). The rules were simple (and self-imposed) — I could wash my hair up to 1-2 times like normal, but I couldn't use any incarnation of dry shampoo at any point throughout the week. That means no refreshing spray, dry conditioner, texturizing dry shampoo hybrids, or baby powder. I was excited. I was about to break a habit like a real adult. I was about to be free.

Well... this is what happened.

Day One

In order to start the week off on a positive note, I got a blowout from Art & Autonomy Salon in Soho to give my hair a fresh slate to start from. My hair felt great. My life felt great. I didn't need dry shampoo. It was a beautiful Sunday, and I was an independent woman who had R-E-S-P-E-C-T for myself.

Pictured: First day selfie. My hair looks long and fluffy without a trace of grease. Everything is good.

Day Two

I rocked a fishtail side braid to work and I felt ever-so-slightly greasy, but still okay. I wasn't thrilled with the results of sleeping on my blowout without any dry shampoo or refreshing spray to wake my hair up in the morning, but I was soon distracted by work and forgot about my strands momentarily.

Pictured: My messy fishtail selfie. Oh, and my office.

Day Three

Because I had a few pictures to take for some other articles, the lovely Halli Bivona gave me another blowout. Yep, that's right. I washed my hair twice in the first three days of my experiment. I sometimes am not the smartest cookie in the crayon box (or.. something like that). However, after that first blowout, my memories of the mildly uncomfortable first 2.5 days sans dry shampoo faded away. My hair was clean again, and I was happy.

Pictured: Me with freshly styled (and cut!) hair by Halli.

Day Four

Day four was a rough one. I was super stressed out at work and though I'd left my hair down because it looked alright in the morning, I was constantly touching it (and my face) due to the fact that I was stressed AF all day. By the end of the day, my roots were really greasy and my hair just felt dirty. It still looked decent, but I wasn't loving the emotional turmoil it was making me feel.

Pictured: Me on night four. My hair was messier, but still slightly manageable.

Day Five

Sigh. This day continued the stress spiral that was day four. My work was killing me and my hair felt (and looked) disgusting. I tried pulling it back into a ponytail but that only seemed to aggravate it's grease-filled appearance. I looked horrible. I was exhausted. When I finally made it home from work and stepped into the shower with my hair in a bun, I caved.

I debated lying and saying I was so tired that I absentmindedly put my hair under the shower, but the truth of the matter it is far more routine for me to shower without washing my hair, so that mental lapse would be a lie.

I caved. I washed my hair.

Pictured: Me, and my greasy roots from hell, and my sad eyes, before I lost all of my will power and failed everyone on xoJane.

So, what did I learn?

I learned that stressful work weeks are not the weeks for me to attempt to drastically alter my routine. Also, after my huge failure, I reached out to Halli for some strategies to curtail my excessive use of dry shampoo without going cold turkey. According to Halli, the best way to avoid dry shampoo buildup is to section your hair and make sure you only use one spray of dry shampoo per section (so basically, use moderation). Additionally, you should massage the powder or spray into your hair after you've applied, just like if you were using wet shampoo, and avoid spraying it directly on your scalp. By not placing dry shampoo or other refresher product directly on your scalp and only focusing on the mid-length of your hair shaft you avoid buildup and keep your hair looking fresh longer.

So, I'm a huge failure and I just can't quit dry shampoo, but I'm resolved to being less aggressive with my application in the future.

Photo Credit: Nick Wiesner (except for the selfies... I took those.)