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5 Best Dry Shampoos for African American Hair

Pro tips for reviving your style

Woman in bathrobe
Inti St Clair/Getty Images

There's nothing like entering the week with clean tresses and a fresh do. Whether you're strutting into Monday with a silk press, or protecting your mane with styles like braids, your scalp and strands may need a refresh in a few days minus another wash session. The solution? Dry shampoo.

Debunking the myth

When celebrity hairstylist Tamara Johnson, whose clientele includes LisaRaye McCoy, NeNe Leakes and Trina, first began her career 25 years ago, dry shampoos were used mainly by those who were staying in hospitals and nursing homes, or were bedridden and couldn't get to a shampoo bowl. Furthermore, dry shampoos were not marketed as a textured hair-friendly product, and the notion that they revert straight styles or dry out the hair made Black women especially leery of them.

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Turns out, dry shampoo for textured hair, natural or relaxed, is a thing. Since textured hair doesn't require multiple washes throughout the week, using a dry shampoo makes sense on the days when you've worked up a sweat at the gym, or when your scalp is oily and needs a quick, lather-free cleanse.

Pro tip: Your mane will love the benefits of dry shampoo, but try not to use it more than twice a week. “A dry shampoo shouldn't [replace your regular shampoo] — [it's] more so a temporary fix,” says Johnson.

Here are some dry shampoo options to try:

(Left to right) Odele Dry Shampoo; Batiste Hydrating Dry Shampoo; Cantu Apple Cider Vinegar Dry Co-Wash; evo Water Killer Dry Shampoo; Moroccanoil Dry Shampoo Dark Tones
(Left to right) Odele Dry Shampoo; Batiste Hydrating Dry Shampoo; Cantu Apple Cider Vinegar Dry Co-Wash; evo Water Killer Dry Shampoo; Moroccanoil Dry Shampoo Dark Tones
Odele; Ulta Beauty; Walmart; evo; Sephora

1. Odele Dry Shampoo ($11.99, Target.com)

This plant-based dry shampoo can be just the thing your tresses need for that extra oomph midweek. It claims to work on all textures, including waves, curls, kinks and coils. And with plant proteins and extracts, it is said to be great for scalp health. Good to know: If you're sensitive to fragrance, you're in for a treat with this one, as it boasts a 100 percent natural fragrance that could lessen the risk of potential skin allergies. Extend any style by spraying it onto your scalp and massaging it in.

Pro tip: If dry shampoo makes your curls hard and brittle, Johnson suggests applying a leave-in conditioner spray afterward. For straight styles, blow-dry the hair after applying the leave-in conditioner and restyle as usual.

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2. Batiste Hydrating Dry Shampoo ($9.99, Ulta.com)

If you rock box braids often, dry shampoo can be a life saver. “People typically wear braids [for] four to eight weeks, and within that time frame, a lot of stylists will tell you not to shampoo your hair because your braids may slip out,” says Johnson. This hydrating powder-based dry shampoo gently cleanses and moisturizes your scalp without ruining your style. To get the most out of it, lift up your braids and spray the product directly on all areas of your scalp. After two minutes, massage the product into your scalp and towel blot your head.

3. Cantu Apple Cider Vinegar Dry Co-Wash ($6.37, Walmart.com)

For a more intense dry cleanse, Johnson recommends the Cantu Apple Cider Vinegar Dry Co-Wash. This part dry shampoo, part conditioner cleanser is designed to clean and condition your tresses simultaneously and promises to work well on any style whether you're natural, relaxed or wear extensions. Just lightly spray your locks and scalp evenly, wait for it to dry, and style as desired. For natural hair that has accumulated a lot of buildup, take it up a notch by sitting under the dryer with a plastic cap over your head for 15 to 20 minutes to let the product further penetrate into the scalp and hair.

4. evo Water Killer Dry Shampoo ($30, Evohair.com)

For the naturalista who loves big hair, this dry cleanser is known to deliver the volume. Spray the product evenly and let it absorb into your tresses before brushing through. “The product will come out white, but don't be nervous — it will absorb after two minutes,” says Johnson. Style as normal.

Pro tip: To ensure that dry shampoo is evenly distributed throughout your hair, shake the product well and hold the can eight to 12 inches away from your scalp.

5. Moroccanoil Dry Shampoo Dark Tones ($26, Sephora.com)

This foam cleanser works well on curly and straight styles and is especially suitable for women with darker hues as it won't leave you with that annoying chalky residue. Containing rice starch, this argan oil-rich dry shampoo is formulated to absorb excess oil and deodorize your mane. Put this product to work by applying it to your scalp and massaging thoroughly. For straight styles, brush the hair out.

Anissa Gabbara writes about beauty, health, lifestyle and pop culture. Her work has appeared in Sisters From AARPSesi magazine and Maple City Our Town magazine.