This story originally appeared on InStyle.com.
Over the last few years, dry shampoos have permanently settled in our beauty lexicon as a tool that helps camouflage greasy hair, get more of your blow-dry, and add texture to hair on the go. I’ve learned quickly—being an avid dry shampoo user myself—that not every dry shampoo is created equal. Some of the most hyped products I’ve tested over the course of the last three years haven’t performed for the price, leaving my hair looking oily and stained with white residue. Others seemed to make my tangle-prone hair even more difficult to brush through. Out of dozens of products, I managed to find not only a perfect dry shampoo that I’m currently using daily, but also four favorites that proved to offer extra benefits.
The Selection Process
On the path to finding the best dry shampoo for greasy hair, I conducted numerous studies that involved listening to recommendations from top YouTubers, looking at ratings on major online beauty stores, reading magazine articles, and taking into account the personal suggestions of my friends and colleague bloggers. Many of those resources were featuring the same brands, so I put those on my “to-test” list. To be fair to up-and-coming brands, I also sampled some newly launched products and included them in my experiment.
Out of 15 dry shampoos selected for testing purposes, I quickly eliminated three, as their quality was too low to even merit a mention. The battle against the remaining 12 was a difficult one as some of the top-rated dry shampoos were there for a reason—not only did they get the job done, but they exceeded my expectations. I list all the nominees in The Competitors list below.
Before we delve into the top five dry shampoos announcement, let me tell you why I am an ideal candidate for testing these products. Ever since I began exploring dry shampoos about three years ago, my entire life has changed. I used to wash my hair daily. I have fine, thin hair that gets greasy so quickly that I can’t even wear a bun the next day—it still looks untidy. In addition to an oily scalp, I experience problems with dry ends, which require oil treatments—and in return, these make my scalp even oilier. With the help of a good dry shampoo, though, I manage to go without washing for an extra day (or two, if we’re talking about a miracle product that tops the list).
For the purposes of this experiment, I used the same shampoo and conditioner every day. I washed my hair using Aveda Color Conserve Shampoo ($21;nordstrom.com) and Aveda Restructuring Conditioner ($29; nordstrom.com), followed by a blow-dry and styling with It’s a 10 Miracle Leave-In Product ($19;walgreens.com). At night, I brushed my hair and put it in a bun without applying any dry shampoo. The next morning, I brushed my hair, applied dry shampoo to the roots, and put my hair in a bun before taking a shower. This way, I allowed the product to better absorb into my scalp. If needed, I put my 1907 by Fromm Lightweight Hair Dryer ($75; amazon.com) on a cool setting and dried my hair for a few seconds. Then, I brushed my hair again.
I evaluated the effectiveness of the product three times throughout the day. I kept notes on how the product felt as I was applying it—whether it left any residue or had an unpleasant aroma. Then, I checked on my hair several times during the day to see if the hair close to my face was getting greasy, or whether my hair needed a dry shampoo touch-up. Finally, I conducted one last investigation while brushing my hair in the evening. I also kept track of any comments people around me made about how my hairstyle looked, and whether I felt like putting my hair in a ponytail (usually this happens when my hair doesn’t feel fresh).
Looking for a perfect shampoo for greasy hair, I didn’t want to settle on a “good enough” product. Since dry shampoo plays such an important role in my daily hair routine, I wanted it to be perfect: have a pleasant aroma, leave a refreshing feel when applied, work for at least half a day without the need to reapply, and add texture to my otherwise straight, fine hair.
Overall Winner: Amika Perk Up Dry Shampoo
I can’t say enough about this dry shampoo: it’s a Holy Grail product I can’t live without. Amika dry shampoo leaves my hair grease-free; it smells amazing, adds texture and volume to my hairstyle, and never stains my dark hair. It’s absolutely the best-performing product on the market. While other products in this list manage to prolong the life of my hairstyle for a day or two, this product keeps going until I feel like it’s been too long and it’s finally time to switch my hairstyle a little bit. We’re talking four or five days without needing to wash my hair, which sounds amazing, considering that I used to wash my hair daily.
I love Amika dry shampoo so much that I have both full and travel sizes at all times. I use a full-sized version before taking a shower, and have a miniature bottle in my purse when my hair is curled and I want to add additional volume when I’m on the go. I also have a few extra bottles on hand in case my friends are visiting—I got at least three people addicted by simply getting them to sample this life-changing dry shampoo.
Extra Volume Benefit: Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray
Technically, it’s not a dry shampoo, but a texturizing spray (the bottle says “a great alternative to dry shampoo”). However, it really gets the job done, camouflaging greasy hair and adding volume to a hairstyle. Thanks to its delicious and non-overwhelming aroma, the product feels very luxurious on your hair. In fact, some days, I don’t even apply perfume while wearing this texturizing spray—over time it leaves a tiny amount of fragrance in my hair that is so perfect in the summer.
One of my favorite ways to apply the product is by spraying it directly on my roots, and then spraying the product onto a brush then brushing my hair through. Oribe Dry Texturizing Spray isn’t one of the cheapest products on the market, but, in my humble opinion, it’s totally worth the splurge. Considering that it’s a two-in-one kind of product (perfume and dry shampoo), you’re actually saving money by introducing it into your beauty routine.
Oribe | $44
Non-Spray Formula: Bumble and Bumble Pret-A-Powder
Even though I am a spray-dry-shampoo kind of person, for the purposes of this experiment I also tested some loose powder-based versions. Despite the fact that they remind me of baby powder, powder dry shampoos are actually a better solution if you have a super-oily scalp. It can get a bit messy when you apply it, but once you develop that skill, a powder formula will drastically change your hair regime. My favorite way to use this shampoo is by applying it at night, right before I go to bed. At that time of day, I don’t really mind if there is any white residue from the product on my hair—it goes away overnight and I wake up with volumized and clean-looking hair.
The best thing about this particular dry shampoo is that it smells delicious. While testing other powder-based products for this review, I noticed that some smell like baby powder—not exactly the aroma I’m looking for in a dry shampoo. Bumble and Bumble’s aroma, though, reminds me of a perfumed setting powder. It has a similar consistency and absorption level—you might see it on your hair the moment you are applying it, but it’s completely translucent once you’ve brushed your hair.
Bumble and Bumble | $27
Drugstore Gem: Batiste Dry Shampoo
With such an enormous variety of dry shampoos available at pharmacies, it was difficult to make up my mind and choose just one affordable dry shampoo option. Putting Batiste Dry Shampoo shoulder to shoulder with its main competitor, Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Dry Shampoo, I ended up picking the Batiste Dry Shampoo for its slightly longer effect. None of the products lasted the entire day (I reapplied each of them around 4:00 pm), but each of the products featured a really good formula that was totally worth the price. Another thing about Not Your Mother’s shampoo was that my dog seemed to avoid me every time I applied it. It might be a very subjective criterion for picking a perfect drugstore dry shampoo, but it was a big enough deal for me. What if I don’t have the time to wash my hair for three days and apply a dry shampoo instead? Who would come to walk my dog?
All joking aside, I loved the refreshing feel Batiste Dry Shampoo left in my hair. I noticed that many of the more expensive options do not provide such a finish, which is sad news. Personally, I believe that a touch of minty finish helps me feel on an emotional level that my hair is fresher—just the way my mouth feels when I brush my teeth with peppermint toothpaste.
Batiste | $6
Invisible Warrior: Klorane Dry Shampoo With Nettle
While all of the above-mentioned dry shampoos are virtually invisible after you brush the product into your hair, this one is absolutely the best for dark hair. It’s also one of the fast-absorbing ones, which is why I keep it in my gym bag for days when I need a quick after-workout fix. Another great use of this product is to apply it a few hours prior to curling your hair, especially if your hair is straight and fine like mine. The product’s texture creates a perfect base for curling your hair and keeping your curls oil-free at the same time.
Klorane | $20
High-End Alternative: Living Proof Perfect Hair Dry Shampoo
While conducting my research and testing the best dry shampoos on the market, I found a few additional great products that are worth your attention.
Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo is the runner up in the high-end best dry shampoo category. It’s one of the longest-lasting options available on the market, but the product requires some intensive shaking prior to applying. Considering that one of the main purposes of dry shampoo is to save time, those required extra moves relocated this overall great product from the top five into the best dry shampoo short list.
Living Proof | $22
High-End Alternative: Elizabeth And James Nirvana Black Dry Shampoo
Elizabeth and James Nirvana Black Dry Shampoo is one of the most delicious-smelling dry shampoos around that adds texture to your hair and creates an Olsen-sisters signature ‘messy hair’ effect. If you can afford this perfumed dry shampoo, it’s an absolute must-have, but in terms of long-lastingness, it was just a step behind its competitor.
Elizabeth and James | $36
High-End Alternative: R + Co Death Valley Dry Shampoo
R + Co Death Valley Dry Shampoo provided a long-lasting anti-grease effect, but I felt that the scent was a bit overwhelming during the first hour after application. I would say this dry shampoo works best for those who don’t mind richly scented formulas.
R+Co | $29
Drugstore Alternative: Not Your Mother's Clean Freak Dry Shampoo
Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Dry Shampoo is the runner-up in this category. It provides great, invisible coverage, and leaves the scalp refreshed and grease-free. As a side benefit, it adds volume and texture to hair, but in our beauty trials it proved to be a bit less durable than the winner in the drugstore category.
Drugstore Alternative: Got2B Rockin' It Dry Shampoo
Got2B Rockin' It Dry Shampoo is another favorite because the product’s handy applicator allows it to be quickly distributed all over the scalp. This dry shampoo does discolor the hair a bit if used regularly, but it’s still an attention-worthy product if you’re on a budget.
Got2b | $8
Drugstore Alternative: PSSSST! Instant Dry Shampoo Spray Original
PSSSST! Instant Dry Shampoo Spray Original is one of the most popular drugstore options, and really gets the job done. It’s gentle enough for fine and curly hair, smells delicious, and adds volume. It’s also one of the best options to use overnight as it might leave a slight residue if you apply too much of the product.