10 best dry shampoos that will save you from a bad hair day

Once just a standby for hair emergencies, dry shampoo has fast become a staple in our regular haircare line-up, thanks to next-generation formulas that are more than the traditional talc-in-a-can bottle.

No longer do we turn to dry shampoo just to cover up our greasy roots; it also brings a new lease of life to second-day styles (think those curls you finally mastered with your ghds) and makes it possible to fit in a sweaty workout in the middle of the day.

It makes a great styling product for texture, root-lift and volume, can conceal greys if you pick a tinted formulation and that’s not to mention all the time, energy and water you save washing your hair less often.

Most people don’t use dry shampoo the right way. To avoid any chalky marks, the key is to hold the can around 15-20cm away from the roots, so the product doesn’t become too concentrated in one area. And don’t blast it and leave it. You actually have to brush it out.

“The majority of people tend to rub in the dry shampoo and go on with their day, but they only leave the excess dirt, oil and product in their hair,” explains Simone Thomas,  hair loss specialist. “The best tip is you can also use a hair dryer to blow out and remove it.”

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To select our edit of best dry shampoos, we put the latest formulations on test, and in the interests of fairness always on second-day hair. Our winners had to do more than just make our hair look clean – they had to be quick and easy to use and not leave any dreaded white marks or visible residue after brushing. But they also had to go the extra haircare mile, leaving hair feeling fresh and healthy with no stickiness or gritty texture insight.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world and expert advice. This revenue helps us to fund journalism across The Independent.

The best dry shampoos for 2021 are:

  • Best overall – Sol de Janeiro Brazilian joia dry shampoo: £24, Lookfantastic.com
  • Best for dry hair – Alterna my hair my canvas another day dry shampoo: £19.99, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best for itchy scalps – Philip Kingsley flaky/itchy scalp soothing dry shampoo: £25, Lookfantastic.com
  • Best value – Batiste dry shampoo original: £2.99, Superdrug.com
  • Best for curls – Boucleme root refresh: £22, Cultbeauty.co.uk
  • Best tinted formulas – Moroccanoil dry shampoo: £15.45, Amazon.co.uk
  • Best for oily hair – Klorane oil control dry shampoo with nettle: £9, Lookfantastic.com
  • Best for post-workout – Living Proof perfect hair day dry shampoo: £20, Cultbeauty.co.uk
  • Best for volume – Redken dry shampoo powder 02: £17.55, Lookfantastic.com
  • Best for shine – Fudge Professional dry shampoo: £10.40, Hqhair.com

Sol de Janeiro Brazilian joia dry shampoo

Best: Overall

If you’re a fan of the brand’s cult favourite bum bum body cream or the hair repair treatment that launched earlier this year, you’re going to love their just-launched dry shampoo. It’s got the same now-iconic pistachio and salted caramel fragrance that we can’t get enough of; we found after a morning spritz the exotic fragrance would linger throughout the day like a perfume for the hair.

It uses Brazilian kaolin clay and rice starch to draw out impurities and absorb oil, as well as provitamin b5, known for moisturising and strengthening the hair. When a dry shampoo gets you excited to use it, it’s worth paying extra for. Try it for yourself with the full size or the mini version (£14, Lookfantastic.com) that we’re taking on our summer staycation.

Alterna my hair my canvas another day dry shampoo

Best: For dry hair

Part of a new vegan collection, we were impressed with how soft and manageable this dry shampoo left our strands. The featherlight texture uses white charcoal to absorb and balance excess oil, while the breezy fragrance leaves hair smelling like we’ve just stepped out of the salon. The secret ingredient is what the brand call a “botanical caviar”, which is in fact a green algae Asian super-food known for improving moisture retention and smoothing the hair cuticle. Expect your hair to still maintains its shine too.

Philip Kingsley flaky/itchy scalp soothing dry shampoo

Best: For itchy scalps

While it might be the best thing for those with dandruff, this trichologist brand (who have been looking after scalps since the 1960s so know a thing or two on the subject) recognise that it’s sometimes just not possible to wash and style your hair every day. So they’ve come up with this solution: a lightweight, barely-there, scalp calming dry shampoo. Aloe vera relieves mild itchiness, antibacterial zinc helps to balance the scalp and bisabolol derived from calming chamomile make up the cocktail of soothing ingredients. Finally, sensitive scalps don’t have to miss out on the magic of dry shampoo.

Batiste dry shampoo original

Best: Value

Mopping up our greasy strands for over 50 years now, there’s a dry shampoo for every hair type, colour and styling option from Batiste should you require it. Some beauty products are so classic they’ll always be hard to beat, including this original (if “clean” was a scent, this would be it). The iconic bottle has just had a bit of a makeover with its new design and fragrance that adheres to strands for longer. A hair icon that just got even better – and unbelievably, you still get change from a five-pound note.

Boucleme root refresh

Best: For curls

With curly hair types tending to have a more dry and fragile texture, this curl-care brand has come up with this alternative to dry shampoo that deodorises the scalp without drying the hair further. Enriched with probiotics to nurture a balanced scalp microbiome, anti-inflammatory aloe vera leaf juice and neroli water to soothe, we found this works brilliantly on irritated scalps just as much as dry. The spa-like fragrance makes a lovely odour neutraliser, perfect for the gym bag on non-curly hair types too.

Moroccanoil dry shampoo

Best: Tinted formulas

Yes, you guessed it: this one’s infused with argan oil just like the rest of the popular haircare brand. It might sound counter- intuitive putting more oil on oil, but this dry shampoo is surprisingly light and works well keeping hair soft, shiny and manageable whilst still absorbing the less desirable oils. There’s an option for blondes, enriched with violet undertones that banishes any brassiness, which our tester found worked a treat at brightening roots, and if you’re brunette there’s a clever dark tint for you too. Both have that signature Moroccanoil fragrance we all know and love.

Klorane oil control dry shampoo with nettle

Best: For oily hair

The inventors of dry shampoo as we know it today have been refreshing hair since the 1970s. We still love every bottle in the French pharmacy brand’s collection, but for grease-sapping, this is the one that packs the biggest punch, thanks to the nettle infused formulation that regulates sebum production. We found the brand’s advice to leave the product in for slightly longer, two minutes to be exact, game-changing, and will be doing so with all dry shampoo from now on so that it really has time to mop up excess oil. If you have darker hair, it comes in a tinted version for brown to dark hair.

Living Proof perfect hair day dry shampoo

Best: For post-workout

This formula promises to go above and beyond with its “triple-action” technology that not only makes hair look clean, but makes it feel and smell it too – and we have to say, it really lives up to its claims. It works wonders on a sweaty scalp, which we tested both after a hot summer’s day and a gym session, absorbing both sweat and oil. It makes hair feel fresh without any weird texture or roughness and the time-release light, clean fragrance ensures it stays smelling fresh all day long. We can see why this is a best-seller for the brand. There’s a mini version (£10, Cultbeauty.co.uk) available for this one too.

Redken dry shampoo powder 02

Best: For volume

Reach for this non-aerosol if you have fine hair that needs a little oomph or are looking for a dry shampoo that adds a natural root lift. It’s a lightweight powder that you sprinkle onto roots so there’s zero chance of weighing the hair down. Its star ingredient is charcoal, known for drawing oils out of the scalp, but it’s also great for relieving itchiness and building volume in limp styles. We were worried the grey powder would show up in our tester’s blonde hair, but once massaged through it disappears easily. We found you need very little product, so this is a bottle that’s going to last. A great value multitasker!

Fudge Professional dry shampoo

Best: For shine

Many dry shampoos can leave hair looking dull after a blast, but this invisible mist promises to absorb oil and not shine. It’s a difficult task to strike the right balance of, but it manages to do it well with pink clay to absorb impurities. It’s on the lighter side for those that don’t want too much product, but that also means if you suffer from excessive oil production this one’s not for you. We liked to use this one to create volume too, using the old-school trick of turning your head upside-down to let gravity, and the spray, work wonders.

IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.

Douglas Mateo

Douglas holds a position as a content writer at Neptune Pine. His academic qualifications in journalism and home science have offered her a wide base from which to line various topics. He has a proficiency in scripting articles related to the Health industry, including new findings, disease-related, or epidemic-related news. Apart from this, Douglas writes an independent blog and assists people in living healthy life.

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