girl with hands in hair against pink background
girl with hands in hair against pink background

The Best Dry Shampoos That Actually Keep Your Hair Clean

Dry shampoo can really save us if we skipped hair wash day. Here are the best to buy.

Some of the best dry shampoos out there can really make a difference to the condition of your hair. We’ve all been there. We may have skipped hair wash day by mistake, or simply couldn’t be bothered. On those days, you need to freshen up, and what better way than with some dry shampoo!?

Plus, some can be volumising and even refresh day or two-day-old hair. Some are specifically designed for blondes or brunettes (because a grey cast never looked good on anyone’s hair).

Let’s dive into the best of the best dry shampoos out there that’ll actually clean your hair.

What is dry shampoo?

Dry shampoo is made from corn,  rice starch and sometimes alcohol. It’s designed to soak up the oils in your hair to make it look a lot less greasy. They usually come in a spray bottle and can be found in most beauty and drugstores. 

Typical dry shampoos don’t do anything to clean your scalp, though. Your scalp is what produces oil and runs through your hair. Dry shampoo will simply help absorb excess oils and give your hair a “refresh”.

How does dry shampoo work?

Dry shampoos, as we mentioned, come in a spray bottle. You can however use alternatives like baby powder which you shake out of the bottle.

You spray it onto the greasy spots of your hair and let it soak up. Just be mindful of grey and white casts! Overall though, your hair will look much cleaner than it did before when used correctly.

How to use dry shampoo

Every bottle of dry shampoo has its own instructions, but they are essentially the same. By using it correctly you can prevent damage to your hair and scalp (yes, too much of a good thing applies).

  1. Part the hair you want to spray with dry shampoo
  2. Hold the can about 6-8 inches away from your hair and spray only as much as needed. Try short bursts to prevent build-up on one spot
  3. Massage your hair and scalp with clean hands to distribute the product to get any other spots and spread it out

Overusing dry shampoo can cause damage to your hair and scalp, so use it for no more than two days straight.

Be sure to pick up the right dry shampoo for your hair. For example, if you have blonde hair but give a brunette dry shampoo a go, you’re going to have temporary discolouration and dark spots on your hair! Play it safe by getting a neutral one.

Is dry shampoo bad for your hair?

The short answer is no. When used sparingly, it can help absorb moisture and grease to give your hair an instant refresh.

However, dry shampoo doesn’t actually clean your hair. When the product is left on your hair for too long or is sprayed over an over for more than two days, you can get a dry and itchy scalp which can feel very uncomfortable.

Here are other reasons to use even the best dry shampoos sparingly:

It doesn’t clean your hair

Dry shampoo shouldn’t be confused with actual shampoo. Yes, there are some dry shampoos that clean your hair and we’ll get into those in a moment, but even then, they’re only a temporary fix.

All dry shampoo does is absorb moisture. That’s it. It can even dry out the hair when used in large quantities, something you definitely don’t want. Whereas washing gets rid of dead skin cells on the scalp and grease. Some shampoos are even formulated with hydrating ingredients to restore moisture.

It can break your hair

Products in an aerosol can tend to have alcohol in them. Alcohol can be very drying when applied on the hair. So if you use dry shampoo more than you should, don’t be surprised if your hair easily snaps off.

Fortunately, our Olaplex dupes could save your hair (you can even use our LOOKFANTASTIC student discount to get money off the OP).

It can build up and damage your scalp

Overusing dry shampoo can block your hair follicles from producing sebum, a natural oil our skin produces to keep everything hydrated. This can cause itching, dandruff and even folliculitis if you don’t keep your scalp clean regularly.

Does dry shampoo actually work?

Yes, dry shampoo works in absorbing excess oils from your hair. It’s great to use when you’re in a hurry or need a style refresh. It’s also good for those who don’t have access to a shower as easily as they would do (e.g. at a festival). 

What is the best dry shampoo?

Best dry shampoo for oily hair

KLORANE Daily Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk for All Hair Types 150ml — £9.50

klorane best dry shampoo

Oily hair is really dry hair. It means the overproduction of sebum from your scalp.

KLORANE formulated this daily dry shampoo enriched with oat milk to absorb excess oils and restore moisture, both cleaning and moisturising your hair at the same time. It’s the best dry shampoo for oily hair by a mile.

Get a LOOKFANTASTIC student discount.

Foaming dry shampoo

Bouclème Foam to Dry Shampoo 100ml — £18

boucleme dry shampoo foaming dry shampoo foam to powder dry shampoo

While a little pricey, there’s a good reason.  This foaming dry shampoo is fantastic for those who want to ensure they get all the oily areas on their hair. Foam-to-powder makes this possible.

This foaming dry shampoo by Bouclème is infused with tapioca and cornstarch, plus Aloe Vera to help detoxify the hair. It’s also got spearmint and peppermint to neutralise any odours too (IYKYK). Dry shampoo mousse is the way forward!

Get a LOOKFANTASTIC student discount.

Best dry shampoo for fine hair

Batiste Dry Shampoo in Bare. Barely Scented Light Fragrance — £3.61

batiste sulfate free dry shampoo

This sulfate and sodium-free Batiste dry shampoo are perfect for those with fine hair. It helps keep moisture in and doesn’t weigh the hair down. This barely scented formula has lemon, freesia and rose, which sounds super sweet and fresh!

Get an Amazon student discount.

Dry shampoo for itchy scalp

Philip Kingsley Flaky/Itchy Scalp Soothing Dry Shampoo — £25.50

philip kignsley dry shampoo

While on the more spenny side, it’s for good reason. Flaky and itchy scalps need special care. This gentle formula is great to use when you don’t want to wash your hair too often, but still want it to look and feel fresh.

Get a Boots student discount.

What can I use instead of dry shampoo?

Baby powder

We love using baby powder when we can’t get dry shampoo in an aerosol can.

Add a little to your hands and rub it where needed. It can be a little messy, so make sure you apply it while wearing clothes you don’t mind having some fallout over. Make sure it’s massaged into your hair and scalp quite well as to remove any white marks.

Paper towels

Paper towels can be used to blot out excess oils. It’s by no means foolproof, but it’s better than nothing! Simply press the paper towels against your scalp and greasy areas of your hair for a few seconds at a time.


We don’t usually recommend stuff like this, but panic moments happen. If you can’t get hold of any dry shampoo, baby powder, translucent powder or a paper towel, use your perfume or deodorant at hand. 

Don’t spray it directly onto your hair, but spray it above and way and run into it. Yes, it’s daft, but it’ll add a little fragrance to your hair.

Sign up to Student Beans to redeem our beauty discounts across the range of dry shampoos we’ve recommended!