Does dry shampoo work? Yes, but only if you apply it correctly — and most people aren't. The secret to first-day hair on day three or four is all in the application.
“Dry shampoo is really such a misunderstood product and people use it the wrong way,” says hairstylist Mark Townsend. “It’s a wet product on the inside of the can, even though it’s ‘dry shampoo,’ so it needs that millisecond of air to dry it before it hits the scalp.”
A simple solution to your "dry shampoo doesn't work for me" conundrum is to simply hold your hand farther back when you spray so the product has time to dry before it reaches your hair. Then, the alcohol and starches can soak up excess oil and grease, giving your hair a just-washed look and feel. Townsend recommends 10 to 12 inches (roughly the length of your forearm) between the canister and your head. And once you've given your roots a light dusting, go in with your fingertips or a brush to really push the product into your scalp.
Another option that minimizes mess is spraying the dry shampoo directly on a hairbrush. Mixed bristle brushes work best because their design allows the product to get really close to the skin. “It’s really going to attach itself to the boar bristle, which [are] the smaller bristles that really get closer to the scalp,” Townsend says. “The longer white plastic bristles just lift the hair up and push it into the boar bristles.”
One last celebrity hair secret from Townsend is to pick a dry shampoo based on how many days it's been since you last washed your mane. Powerful powders will suck up more grease and oil, while lightweight sprays will give your hair a more polished look. Basically, sprays are better for second-day hair, while powders will serve you well on day three or four.
Now that you're an expert at applying dry shampoo, you'll never have a bad hair day again.