When it comes to morning-rush saviors, nothing is a bigger boon for getting us out the door on time than dry shampoo. Whether you go the time-saving spray route or keep it old-school with loose powder, this top-shelf essential has probably made an appearance in your daily routine more times than you can count. Well, we have some bad news: You should start counting.
According to Dr. Mona Gohara, a dermatologist at the Yale School of Medicine, you should never use dry shampoo for more than two days in a row — no matter how busy you are. “My general rule of thumb is two times a week max for any leave-in product that doesn’t involve washing the hair, unless it’s a hydrating oil,” Gohara told Real Simple. But that’s just a guideline, right? Well, weigh the benefits of five more minutes in front of the mirror against what could be very real consequences for your tresses.
Think about how dry shampoo works-- it’s adding product to your already-greasy hair, for one thing. “[Dry shampoo] deposits substances to coat the follicle that can build up,” notes Sonia Batra, a dermatologist in Los Angeles, when queried on the topic. “The resulting inflammation can weaken the follicles and increase shedding.” In layman’s terms? Hair loss.
While a fair number of internet-viral “I went bald from dry shampoo!” horror stories have been debunked for all those but the most sensitive-scalped, there is a fair chance that your regular, healthy shedding can spike to unusual levels with overuse of dry shampoo. “These products can also cause hair follicles to stick together, so that a hair that would normally shed during brushing may take two or three strands along with it,” explains Batra. Noticing more hair on your brush than usual? Dry shampoo could be the culprit.
So does this mean you need to toss your dry shampoo for good? Not necessarily. As long as you limit your usage to about twice a week (dermatologists disagree on whether two sequential days cause more harm than non-sequential days), and your scalp doesn’t show any signs of irritation (a likely cause of the more gruesome horror stories we’ve read), you should be safe.
But also keep in mind that, as with all beauty products, some picks are safer than others. Celebrity stylist Sunnie Brook Jones notes that it’s a good idea to avoid any dry shampoo that lists alcohol as one of the first few ingredients, as alcohol can dry out the scalp and cause irritation (the same principle behind why we avoid it in facial toners).
Similarly, talc is a huge no-no ingredient, according to CNN — in fact, it’s currently being investigated for ties to cancer. Our suggestion? Invest in an all-natural dry shampoo for the days when you absolutely need it, and skip the rest… a dirty-hair updo never hurt anyone.
[H/T Instagram / @acquaquebec]