Is Dry Shampoo Safe? Potential Damage & Usage Recommendations

Dry shampoo is a product designed to freshen hair between showers or traditional shampooing – but Is dry shampoo safe for regular use? 

Dry Shampoo is an alcohol- or starch-based substance.

For some people, dry shampoo is beneficial during camping trips or traveling where daily showers are not always available. For other it is just a convenience to avoid washing hair quite as often. This is good if you have hair that needs more moisture or after menopause when hair is less oily.  It can give a boost for an extra day or so between washes.

Dry shampoo is safe to use on an occasional basis but if overused, it can damage hair and even cause problems with the scalp. That will result in hair breakage, clogged follicles and even hair loss. Physicians recommend that it be used for no more than two days in a row.

Proper usage is also important. Holding the canister about 6 inches from the head, spray only the hair, not the scalp. Use it only on oily areas like the temples or crown, where the oil is more noticeable. Using a comb or your fingers make sure any accumulated spray is moved from the roots and distributed evenly over the oily areas.

Dry shampoo is not a cleaning agent. It is just designed to absorb extra oil. It has no effect on dirt and really doesn’t even remove all of the oil.

Is Dry Shampoo Safe: Potential Damage

Some of these hair care products have alcohols that will dry out hair and when you comb or brush your hair, it will snag on the comb or on each other and then break off. If you leave the dry shampoo on too long, it will build up on the scalp which can cause the follicles to clog or even develop a bacterial or fungal infection.

Related: Neon Yellow Pee – What Causes It?

Dry shampoo does not seem to directly cause hair loss, but hair that grows from a follicle damaged by the fungal or bacterial infection is not very well anchored and is more likely to fall out. The scalp is covered with follicles that not only grow hair but produce a natural oil called sebum. Sebum softens the scalp, gives hair texture, and protects the skin.

Cancer Link

Some of these dry shampoos are made from or contain talc. In its natural state, talc is composed of asbestos particles. Products produced in the US or imported for use are prohibited from the use of asbestos because of its carcinogenic qualities. 

You may have read about the possible link between talcum powder (non-asbestos) and ovarian cancer. There is no known link between that condition and the use of dry shampoos but the American Cancer Society recommends avoiding talc-related products pending additional research.


Of course, the best thing is to keep your hair clean and well conditioned.  There are shampoo and other products that are organically made.  There are also some home made versions that use cornstarch and rice starch.  Add a few drops of essential oils and you are ready.

So the take-away is that if you want to use a dry shampoo, do it in moderation and avoid those products made with talc.  

We discuss products we think are useful to people. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission. Remember to check with your personal physician to see if a product recommended is right for you.

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