Dry shampoo has long been the blowout-prolonging, cool-texture-supplying patron saint of my haircare. But despite having used it day in and day out for years, I recently came to the realization that I had no idea what I was doing. Like, none.
Don't get me wrong—it transformed my limp, stringy strands into fluffy, Brigitte Bardot-esque bedhead, but beneath the surface, things were getting a little gnarly. One day I even got a slap on the wrist from a hairstylist for my noticeably uneven 'poo application and too much powdery buildup/residue, which as we know can be super unhealthy for your scalp.
Following this come-to-Jesus moment, I asked my friends and colleagues if they had any kind of strategy when it came to applying dry shampoo, and sure enough they were just as clueless as I was.
To take the guesswork out of it once and for all, I looked to Lizzie Arneson, NYC hairstylist (and unofficial benefactor of Cool Girl Hair), for an easy-as-pie breakdown.
1) Spray the Hairline
Starting with dry, dirty hair, begin by spraying your hairline around the face, ensuring that you've got *at least* a couple of inches between the tip of the dry shampoo can and your face. Plus, you're not depositing too much product—a couple of seconds should cover your entire hairline.
Side note: I'm loving R+Co Death Valley Dry Shampoo (and not just because of the California-cool feel), but because one of its key ingredients is silica, which is super-lightweight and won't leave that dry, ashy residue. It also smells really good.
2) Separate Hair Into Sections
To give your hair an all-over, shower-fresh feel, you must divide and conquer by parting the hair into sections. The key is to let your pointer finger be your guide by aligning it with your ear, then separating your hair into the back and front parts.
3) Show *All* Your Roots Some Love
Take 1-2 inch sections parallel to your natural part and spray your roots. Continue towards the back, taking horizontal sections, then flipping them to the other side of your head, and stacking them on one another. The goal is to spray all of your roots, but again, without depositing too much powder. Ideally, it appears translucent on your strands.
4) Blend, Shake It Out, and Flip
For added volume and a more fluid set, flip your hair upside down, then use your fingers to blend the powder, shake out your roots, and allow the dry shampoo to move towards your ends.
5) Brush to Perfection
As you can see above, when you finally flip your hair over, it's going to need a bit of smoothing out. To do so without flattening the hair, gently glide an oval, mixed-bristle brush (I swear by Spornette's Luxury Cushion Hairbrush) through your strands from roots to tips. For that coveted, lived-in vibe, finish things off by lightly running your fingers through your strands one last time. But after that, hands off! The less you touch it, the better it looks, says Arneson.