ESC, Dry Shampoo You're Doing it Wrong

Ask a group of girls which hair styling tool they simply wouldn't want to live without and a solid faction will point to dry shampoo. This holy grail of styling tools absorbs oil on the scalp and degreases strands, making an AM shower superfluous (and that extra 15 minutes of sleep blissfully real).

These magic sprays and powders also add lift to limp hair, making it a must-have styling tool for fine hair types and updos that stay. But for all the intuitive styling solutions that dry shampoos offer are just as many blunders in the making that come from using the stuff incorrectly.

Here are our tips for making the most of dry shampoos (and avoiding that powdered-wig look that hasn't been in vogue for, oh, 300 years).

Spare your part: When using powder and spray formulas, apply product to roots near—but not directly on—your natural part. This will allow the formula to absorb excess oil without causing hair to look grey at the roots.

ESC, Dry Shampoo You're Doing it Wrong

Pick the right formula: Dry shampoos are made in powder and spray formulations, each with their own benefits. Powders are likely kinder on the environment (and because they don't dispense a cloud of product, kinder on those you share a bathroom with, too). These iterations are often packaged in smaller, TSA-friendly containers. Acure Argan Stem Cell +COQ10 Dry Shampoo is packaged in a compact and spill proof bottle, making it a great choice for the road.

Spray formulas can offer more control. Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo, for example, dispenses in a mist so fine, it feels like a puff of air when applying. Finally, some formulas, like Alterna Bamboo Style Cleanse Extend Translucent Dry Shampoo, are made to apply clear, rather than white or darkly-hued.

Shake it up: After hitting the snooze button three (or seven) times, who has time for direction reading? We feel you. But here's the thing: when it comes to this seemingly simple product, the details matter. Many products must be shaken so the product dispenses correctly and so the intended consistency lands on your dome.

Use an arm's distance: Spraying too close to the root applies far too much product to the hair—and leaves a gunky mess along your scalp. Instead, hold the sprayer as far away from the roots as possible to ensure a light and even application.

Let it set: Resist the urge to brush hair seconds after applying powder or spray formulations. Allowing the product to marinate for a minute can erase visible signs of powder and prime the product to be dispersed throughout the hair with a quick brushing.

Hands off: It's only natural to compulsively run fingers through locks. But touching hair will not only powder-coat your fingers (and keyboard), but it can also re-grease your hair, thanks to natural oils found on fingers—which kind of defeats the purpose of shampooing the dry way, doesn't' it?

Use it on clean hair: Stop thinking of dry shampoo as a last resort. For fine hair types with sparse hair, dry shampoo makes a mean styling tool for clean hair. After spraying at the root with a texture and body-building formula, like Toni&Guy Casual Matt Texture Dry Shampoo, blow dry for maximum lift.

 Acure Argan Stem Cell +COQ10 Dry Shampoo $13; Drybar Detox Dry Shampoo, $22; Alterna Bamboo Style Cleanse Extend Translucent Dry Shampoo, $22; Toni&Guy Casual Matt Texture Dry Shampoo, $15

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