Written by Grove Collaborative

Natural dry shampoo basics: How to keep hair fresh between washes

Last Updated: October 1, 2020


Refresh your hair in minutes without exposing yourself to harmful chemicals by choosing a natural dry shampoo.

Here at Grove Collaborative, we’re big believers in the power of natural products — both for ourselves and for the planet. But we know making the switch can be daunting, especially if you’re accustomed to conventional products and are new to the world of natural, eco-friendly alternatives. That’s why we’ve created Beginner’s Guides to Natural. Each week, we’ll give you a primer on the ins and outs of transitioning to a natural version of a common household item, plus a few of our favorite brands for making the switch. Let’s get to swapping!

When your hair needs cleaning but you don't have time for the washing and drying routine, dry shampoo is a fast and easy alternative. This leave-in product absorbs oils near the roots, making your hair look clean and adding extra volume. Dry shampoo is water-free and convenient to use at home and on the go — it’s great for those mornings when you’re running late, and it’s a lifesaver when you’ve got to make a public appearance right after your workout.


Is dry shampoo bad for you hair?

Overwashing your hair can strip it of its natural oils, leaving it dry and frizzy and causing split ends and dandruff. Washing your hair with wet shampoo fewer times a week — and supplementing with a dry shampoo between washings — can protect your scalp and keep your hair shinier and more manageable.

What ingredients should you avoid in dry shampoo?

Some of the worst ingredients found in conventional dry shampoos include talc, propane, butane, and isobutane. Choosing a dry shampoo made with natural ingredients is always a healthier choice than one with harsh chemicals. It’s important to choose a natural dry shampoo that’s free of harmful ingredients that can affect your hair — and your health. Must-avoid ingredients include:

Talc: Many brands use talc to absorb oil, but it has recently been linked to cancer.

LPGs: Getting the formula to spray out of an aerosol can requires liquid petroleum gases (LPGs), including propane, butane, and isobutane. Not only are these terrible to breathe in, but they destroy the ozone layer.

Alcohol: Alcohol can dry out your scalp, leading to flaking and dandruff. It can also block pores in your scalp and cause long-term damage to your hair.

Etrimonium chloride: Used in many brands of dry shampoo to help combat static, cetrimonium chloride is irritating and allergenic. If you ingest it, cetrimonium chloride can even be lethal.

Silicones: You'll find silicones in many beauty products, but they can clog your pores and inhibit the natural sweating process.

Grove tip

Is baby powder bad for your hair?

While not designed for hair, some people swear by baby powder as an inexpensive alternative to dry shampoo. But there are some concerns about talc, a primary ingredient in many baby powders. Inhaling talc can cause throat irritation and chest pain, and some studies and the American Cancer Society have linked talcum powder to cancer and lung disorders. You’re better off sticking to natural ingredients such as cornstarch or arrowroot.

What are the best natural, sulfate-free dry shampoos?

Fortunately, there are quite a few natural dry shampoos on the market that are safe and effective. Natural products will steer clear of the LPGs that allow aerosol cans to propel shampoo, opting for healthier alternatives instead. Corn starch, arrowroot, rosemary, kaolin clay, tapioca starch, and citrus peel oil are just a few of the healthier alternatives you'll find in natural dry shampoos.

Acure Dry Shampoo

Acure Dry Shampoo's powder formula is easy to use and absorbs oil quickly without the need for water. Suitable for all hair types, it has a subtle rosemary and peppermint scent, thanks to essential oils. Natural ingredients include corn starch, sodium bicarbonate, and kaolin clay.

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Innersense Dry Shampoo

This Innersense Dry Shampoo foam-to-powder formula is easy to apply, and it adds body as it renews the hair. The natural formula includes tapioca starch and witch hazel to remove oil, and organic honey adds body and shine. This dry shampoo is ideal for all hair types, textures, and colors.

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Beauty by Earth Dry Shampoo

Beauty by Earth's dry shampoo is specially formulated for brunettes, helping those with darker locks avoid an unsightly gray cast. Natural ingredients like kaolin clay and organic arrowroot powder combine with organic cocoa powder for a dry shampoo perfect for darker tresses.

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Sustainability tip

Make it a clean sweep

Make every part of your hair-care routine free of harmful chemicals by choosing natural shampoo, conditioner, and other hair care essentials. They’re better for your health, your hair, and the environment.

How to use dry shampoo

1. Section hair

Separate your hair into a section with a comb or your fingers. Don't worry about making a perfect part — you'll be flipping your hair around later.

2. Apply dry shampoo

Hold the shampoo four to six inches away from your head, and spray it directly at the roots. Repeat with new sections until your roots are covered.

3. Work it in

With your fingers, massage the dry shampoo into your roots and scalp. To get extra lift, flip your head upside down while you work in the shampoo.

4. Brush & style

Brush your hair as usual. Blast cool air from the blow dryer at your roots to build volume or change the direction of your hair — or style with your hot tools.

Common dry shampoo questions

Is it better to use dry shampoo or to wash your hair?

Dry shampoo is not a permanent alternative to washing your hair, but it is a great way to extend the clean look of your hair so you can wash it less frequently. Try washing your hair two or three times a week, and use dry shampoo as needed between washings.

Can you use dry shampoo every day?

You probably won't need to use dry shampoo on the same day that you wash your hair, but you certainly could if you needed a refresh after, say, a long run. Dry shampoo is not intended to replace washing your hair. Rather, its purpose is to give your scalp a break between washes. Try using it every other day or every third day.

Is it ok to sleep with dry shampoo in your hair?

If you know you're not going to have time to wash and dry your hair in the morning, spray it with natural dry shampoo the night before, and allow it to soak up the oil overnight. In the morning, all you have to do is style your hair and go.

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Looking for more cleaning how-tos and other sustainable swaps you can make at home? Grove has you covered with our buying and cleaning guides. And let us know how if you have any cleaning questions (or share your own tips using #grovehome) by following Grove Collaborative on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

If you're ready to take on natural dry shampoo and other sustainable hair swaps, shop Grove Collaborative's hair care selection for the natural products that make switching easy.

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