The Reluctant Groomer: Dry Shampoo

If you really want to hone in on an ideal personal grooming routine, you have to be willing to step outside of your comfort zone and try something new occasionally. In the spirit of discovery and humility—and just a pinch of sadism—we send our fearless writers to the outer limits of the grooming-verse to gather intel about new, exciting, and extreme products and practices. In this installment of The Reluctant Groomer, BB Man correspondent Nick Fauchald tries dry shampoo for the first time.

When I first heard about dry shampoo, I thought it was a punchline. It reminded me of that old Steven Wright joke about powdered water: “I didn’t know what to add…”

I found out, however, that dry shampoo is a very real product. These oil-absorbing agents (delivered via spray can or a powder sprinkled directly onto hair) are used by millions (mostly women) to keep hair non-greasy and volumized in between (wet) washings. It’s also used as quick hair refresher for when time doesn’t allow for the long, arduous process of washing and drying long hair.

But was I ready to try it? My recent experiences as a grooming guinea-pig have shown me that products that seem like a stretch—or in the case of dry shampoo, a complete oxymoron—are often the most effective. As someone who’s lackadaisical about shampooing, any product promising to keep my hair looking clean—without actually having to clean it—seemed worth trying. Perhaps my "reluctance" is slowly fading.

During my dry shampoo trial, I went all out and spent the better part of a week without washing my hair. Instead, I aimed a canister of blowPro at my head every morning and gave it a squeeze. "Poof!" A cloud of fine powder hit my head. I wasn’t sure how much to apply, so I decided that a few squeezes should suffice: "poof, poof, poof." Following the package’s directions, I then worked the powder through my hair with my fingers.

I have thick and short-ish hair, so a good deal of the powder didn't take hold and fell, dandruff-like, to my shoulders. My poor aim with the powder also resulted in some sneezing fits. As tough as styling was (during that week of dry shampooing my hair was stuck in a permanently unmanageable bed-head style), my unwashed hair wasn’t egregiously oily. I'll give dry shampoo that—it totally kept excess oil in check. The biggest downside was that my hair missed the daily rinse that allows me to style it into something presentable.

Of course, dry shampoo isn't meant to be used to the exclusion of regular shampoo (as I was using it). I learned this from the extremely knowledgeable women of Birchbox after the fact. The stuff probably works great if you've got long hair and use it in between washings (as opposed to what I did). And of course longer hair would have helped too. Had I been blessed with the locks of a heyday Michael Bolton, the dry spell would likely have left my coif manageable and fresh-looking.

Nick Fauchald

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