Hit The Snooze Button: The Dirty on 5 Dry Shampoos


Often, when I least expect it, I have flashbacks to my corporate days. Oh, I rarely think about my tiny cubicle, the 4pm meetings (who schedules 4pm meetings?) or the frequent travel – but I do think about the mornings. The mornings where, almost on a daily basis, I whacked the snooze button and began the internal debate of whether I could get away with not washing my hair.

You see, back in the mid-2000’s, there was exactly one dry shampoo on the market – Oscar Blandi – and it was ex.pen.sive. It still is! At $30 for just 2.5 oz, it’s a great option only if you’d rather drop hundreds a year on fake shampoo than drag your sorry ass out of bed.

(Of course, I can be rational about it now, because it’s not 6:00am and I haven’t slammed my alarm clock twice.)

Alas, since I wasn’t willing to invest in Oscar Blandi, I dragged my ass out of bed. And now, when I don’t need to wake up in time for a morning commute, of course there’s a plethora of affordable dry shampoos on the market. Isn’t it ironic, Alanis Morisette?

So, how do you choose the perfect dry shampoo? Well, the good news is that with so many options that won’t break the bank, you can afford a little trial and error. From my own personal experience, I can tell you there is no “one size fits all” miracle product. I thought I had found the perfect dry shampoo, until I tried another, and then another, and then another. And now I realize that dry shampoo is a very personal choice; one that changes with your hair’s length, texture, colour, styling habits, and of course, oiliness. Hence, without further ado, here are five new-to-market, affordable and readily available dry shampoos. I’ll start with Pantene’s trio of products, as they really do deserve separate mentions.

1. Pantene Original Fresh Dry Shampoo

The Pitch: With our dry shampoo formula, it’s now possible to wash your hair without the water. Cleanse, remove oil, and refresh your style even when it’s not convenient to shower. Fuses tapioca with Pro-V Science; leaves no excess residue; tapioca starch is solubilized in ethanol to provide minimal white residue; made without emollients for excellent oil absorption.

Pantene Dry ShampooThe Perfect Customer: Gals with slightly oily hair. The product smells fabulous and goes on relatively translucently, so for application, it’s a clear winner. However, it had a tough time whipping my limp, greasy locks into shape, even with repeated applications. Hence, this product is best used the first day after washing as a maintenance dose, rather than trying to repair already oily hair. But OMG the scent! *Love* it.

2. Pantene Blowout Extend Dry Shampoo

The Pitch: Want to keep your runway-ready style a little longer? Our new waterless formula helps extend your blowout, giving your style a fresh, clean look, even on the second day. Outstanding Oil Absorber technology featuring tapioca particles; quickly evaporates leaving the oil absorbers available to clean effectively.

The Perfect Customer: Just about any gal. Does a great job of protecting the integrity of a fabulous blowout, restoring hair to its full, bouncy state. Showed amazing promise after three daily applications, extending my hair washing cycle effectively and without too much build up. With a good blow out, your volume potential is almost limitless. Definitely my pick of the bunch. 

3. Pantene Root Reboot Dry Shampoo

The Pitch: It’s time to try it dry. The natural tapioca in this waterless formula absorbs oil to give you instantly refreshed hair without washing, and revive your look without weight—no rinsing required.

The Perfect Customer: Gals with super short hair. Yes, this product really works – but at a cost of filmy, sticky roots after repeated applications. Which come to think of it, is acceptable (if not valued) for short hair, because the stickiness can easily be brushed out while the hair benefits from extra volume. However, on long tresses, it can be difficult to work around the tacky roots after day two.

Herbal Essences Dry Shampoo4. Herbal Essences Naked Dry Shampoo

The Pitch: Refresh your look and experience lightweight clean hair, even on days you don’t wash with new dry shampoo. The natural tapioca formula absorbs excess oil, transforming lifeless, oily hair into fresh hair with the crisp essence of citrus and mint.

The Perfect Customer: Gals who like to be completely blown away… and then cry in frustration. No, seriously. I was completely in love with this product after just one use – fabulous scent, just the right amount of oil absorption, perfect texture following even a generous spray. But the dispenser on my bottle clogged, malfunctioned or something because the second time I tried to use it, it just shot out a spray of liquid.

I thought I had simply scored a lemon, until I read the first forty (yes, 40!!) reviews on the Herbal Essences website, and found that every single reviewer had the very same problem. So, defect in design? I’d like to think so. And, considering all the reviews are very recent, I’d like to think that Herbal Essences is working on a fix, and fast.

5. Vidal Sassoon ColorFinity Dry Shampoo

Vidal Sassoon Dry ShampooThe Pitch: Dry Shampoo Spray cleanses and adds volume to hair without washing. With lightweight refreshers, the formula helps eliminate unwanted oils from the hair without the unwanted excess residue. It also refreshes the look of your hair and protects the integrity of your color shade all in one step. Available in two shades.

The Perfect Customer: All gals – with caution. First, the good: ColorFinity Dry Shampoos are available in Intense Blondes and Rich Darks, which is an added bonus as we all know dark tresses do not take well to copious blasts of cornstarch. The texture is desirable and the scent is pleasant without being overpowering. I was able to extend my hair washing cycle by two days on the week I used this product, which is formidable in itself.

However, here’s a word of caution: I’ve used this product 3-4 times without any issues whatsoever… but I’ve found a total of five reviews of this dry shampoo online, and they all reference the very same design flaw as the Herbal Essences version – ie. “you pay for one spray”. So, fair warning: hang on to your receipt just in case the product bails on you after a few uses.

That’s my wrap-up! The good news? ALL of the above dry shampoos are priced under $10, and since you can purchase them at major retailers who mostly offer generous refund policies, you’re free to play around until you find the perfect dry shampoo for YOU. For the best value and performance, my money is on Pantene Blowout Extend Dry Shampoo. And now, excuse me while I enjoy the extra half hour I gained by not washing my hair.