Dry Shampoo Not Working – What To Do?

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Has your dry shampoo been letting you down lately? We’ve all been in those situations where we have to call upon our dry shampoo to save the day.  Whether it is a loss of water, lack of time or simply convenience, dry shampoo is a must-have when you’re in a pinch. What should you do if you find your dry shampoo is failing you in these pressed times? We are here to help answer that. We have done the research to lay out what you should do when your dry shampoo is not working and help you understand the reasoning behind it.

When you find that your dry shampoo is not working the first thing you want to do is ensure you are using your product correctly. It sounds trivial, but many of us having an undesired effect with our dry shampoo will find that we are applying it incorrectly. Moving on from the physical use of your product, check to see if your dry shampoo is the correct choice for your hair type. If you are set with instructions and the correct type of product, be sure you are giving your dry shampoo enough time to do its job. 

There are a few steps you can take after noticing your dry shampoo is not working. Read on as we break down how to use your dry shampoo correctly, how to unclog a dry shampoo bottle, and explain reasons why your hair may still be greasy.

A close up view at woman applaying natural dry shampoo on hair roots, Dry Shampoo Not Working - What To Do?

What is the best way to apply dry shampoo?

If you are using an aerosol or mist dry shampoo, the first step in your application is shaking up the bottle to evenly distribute the particles in your product. After your dry shampoo is thoroughly mixed, hold the bottle 8-10in away from your roots.  You want some distance between your roots and the bottle to evenly distribute your dry shampoo. This prevents you from soaking your roots or having too much product in one place. For this same reason, you’ll use a sweeping method when spraying your dry shampoo. Always keep your bottle moving, never staying in one section too long.

Beautiful young girl applying hair spray on her hair

Part your hair into sections and spray the roots of your hair one section at a time.

Once you have covered each section of hair, let your dry shampoo sit untouched for a few minutes. You want to give your product time to work. Allowing adequate time will give your dry shampoo the chance to bind to the oil and dirt that sits in your hair.

When these few minutes have passed, the next step is to massage your dry shampoo into your scalp. Start massaging at your roots and work over your head. This movement helps to activate your formula and furthers the distribution of your product.

Woman using a hot brush to straighten her hair

With your dry shampoo evenly applied and distributed, it is time to brush and style your hair. Use your fingers or a hairbrush to add some volume to your hair and get going with your day.

Watch this video below for a short tutorial on applying dry shampoo.

How long does it take dry shampoo to work?

It is easy to think dry shampoo works right away, it is a convenient product after all. Unfortunately, this is not true. Dry shampoo takes up to 5 minutes to settle into your hair and work.  After applying your dry shampoo, let the product sit in your hair untouched for 2-5 minutes. This time allows for the dry shampoo to bind to the oils in your hair and will ensure it won’t brush out.  You can fluff up your hair with your hands, blow-dry to add some volume, or use your brush to get out any leftover product.

You can find dry shampoo for color-treated hair here on Amazon.

Can I use talc powder instead of dry shampoo?

Yes, you can use talc instead of a commercial brand of dry shampoo. The main ingredient of most dry shampoo is typically talc. So, why doesn’t everyone use talc instead of buying these pre-made dry shampoos? Commercially bought dry shampoos contain fragrances and in some cases, additives that are specific to your type of hair. You can find dry shampoo products made specifically for colored hair, thick or curly hair, thin hair, and more.  It all comes down to preference.

Close up of a woman with itchy scalp

Talc is great to use if you are sensitive to fragrances or other ingredients found in dry shampoo products. This powder doesn’t have the frills of most dry shampoo products but should soak up the oils in your hair just the same.

How do you unclog dry shampoo?

Particles can often get clogged or block the opening to your dry shampoo bottle. If you find your spray is coming out in an uneven way or your bottle is completely blocked, don’t worry. This is an easy fix.

Simply take the nozzle off your spray and run it under hot water for a minute or two. This should break up any hardened product stuck in the nozzle and clear the way for your spray.

Amazon offers a dry shampoo for dark or deep brown hair here.

You can try to hold your bottle upside for a few minutes as well. This allows some pressure to build up in your canister. Flip your bottle right side up and try to spray with this added pressure, dislodging the clog.

Why is my hair still greasy after dry shampoo?

You may find your hair is still greasy after applying your dry shampoo. This can be frustrating but can be explained in most instances. There are some common mistakes made when using dry shampoo that will leave your hair in a greasy state. Let’s break down some of these mistakes.

Using too much dry shampoo can leave excess product in your hair causing this greasy look. Use only what you need. The amount needed depends on the type of hair and how much hair you are working with. Try experimenting with the amount of product you use. Start with small amounts and add a bit each time until you get your desired look.

Find a dry shampoo for curly or thick hair here on Amazon.

Are you washing your hair accessories and hands before touching them to your hair? Headbands, clips or other hair accessories can hold oils from your head and dirty hair, be sure to wash them before putting them back into your hair. Your hands hold even more natural oils than these accessories. It is important to wash your hands before rubbing in your dry shampoo or combing through your hair. Unwashed hands can leave you with more oil in your hair than what you started with.

Dry shampoo is a great product to freshen up between washes, but do not mistake or replace regular shampooing for this product. A common misconception is that using dry shampoo means you do not need to wash your hair. This is not true. Constantly using dry shampoo on dirty hair can keep your hair greasy and cause a build-up of product. Be sure to keep to a regular washing routine. Utilize your dry shampoo between washes, but do not replace a thorough wash with overuse of product.

Beautiful woman watching herself in the mirror

Looking for a more elaborate hair routine? Have a look at our blog post, “After Shower Hair Routine [4 Must Read Tips]”.

In Summary

It can be frustrating when your dry shampoo is not working as it is intended.  In most cases, you’ll find it is misuse rather than product failure. We hope this article helped you debunk why your product is not working for you and gave you some ideas on how to improve it.

Looking for more ways to take care of your hair? Read more on our blog post, “When To Apply Hair Serum [You’ll Want To Know This Answer!]”.

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