The Difference Between Dry Shampoo Powder & Aerosol, Plus When to Use Each One

If you’re like me, you love to go a day or two between washes, and without a doubt, dry shampoo was a gift from the hair gods to help you achieve just that. I used to have long, thick hair and would religiously follow a daily wash and style schedule. *I know, annoying* Since I started to use dry shampoo, I can go days without having to wash my hair. That’s right—days! No worries if you don’t have my hair type though because there’s a dry shampoo for literally everyone. It’s just a matter of finding the right product, and to do that you have to first know the difference between dry shampoo aerosol and powder. 

Now, I know dry shampoo spray and dry shampoo powder may seem like they do the same thing, but the two actually have different effects on your hair. If you have fine or thin hair types, hairstylist Teddi Cranford told Vogue to use an aerosol dry shampoo. Not only does it instantly lift your ‘do, but the alcohol or starch in the product soaks up any excess oil and grease. It gives the impression of cleaner and fresher hair. The spray is extra fine so there won’t be as much residue as a powder could leave behind. According to Bustle, many dry shampoo spray products can now texturize hair for easier styling and to neutralize odors for long-lasting freshness. For the best results, beauty blog B-glowing says you should section off the hair, spray about 6 to 8 inches away, and massage or brush it into your roots. If you spray too close to the scalp, you could create a build up and won’t be able to evenly distribute the product. It could look super crunchy and stiff, which isn’t always the best look. With sprays, I’ve found that you sometimes play a game of target practice, hoping you get it exactly where you need it. If you get spray happy, you could make your hair look dull and discolored. So be super aware of how much you use and the placement of it. But the true benefit of an aerosol dry shampoo is that it does dry fast, so all you have to do is spray and go. 

For those with a ton-o-hair or oiler hair, Cranford recommends a loose powder formula because it’s “drier and more concentrated.” Powdered dry shampoos allow you to distribute it exactly where want the product to be, and you only need at least a dime size amount to get all your roots. Most of the products contain simple ingredients, including a type of starch and other natural ingredients for some fragrance and to help mattify your hair, Stylecaster reports. These type of products are perfect after grueling and sweaty gym workouts because you can spot treat oiler areas of the hair. They’re also great for those who are sensitive to strong odors or for those looking for a more natural, chemical-free alternative. All you have to do is divide your hair into sections and tap the powder onto your scalp or onto really oily areas. Then, you need to rub it in to make sure your hair doesn’t look dusty or discolored. Unlike an aerosol spray, you have less of a chance of making your hair feel crusty and crunchy, and it gives you precise product placement. The powder should hopefully zap away the grease and add a bit of texture and volume, so you’ll be ready for a long day at work, a chill day at the beach, or a night out at the bar. 

Here are two products for each dry shampoo type that I recommend for the best de-grease results. 

  1. 1. Dove Refresh + Care Volume & Fullness Dry Shampoo

    It will not only absorb oil but also add texture to your hair, so you'll be looking fresh and new. 

    Shop now: $4.89, target.com

  2. 2. Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Dry Shampoo

    This is one of the dry shampoos that are my ride or die products. It's super light and absorbs all of the excess greases from my hair. Did I mention it also smellings flipping fantastic? Because it does. 

    Shop now: $24, sephora.com

  3. 3. Bumble and Bumble Prêt-à-Powder

    Perfect for any hair type or texture, this is an amazing dry shampoo and volumizing product. The product does claim to extend the life of any curl or blowout while looking nearly invisible on the hair. *It’s also another one of my ride-or-die dry shampoo products* 

    Shop now: $28, sephora.com + $13 (travel size), ulta.com

  4. 4. Big, Sexy Hair Powder Play

    This product is more of a spray powder texturizer that will still add volume, texture and absorb oils in between washes.

    Shop now: $15.99, target.com

Both dry shampoo types definitely do a great job at mattifying your hair, but as you can see it all comes down to the minute details. So, go ahead and sleep in tomorrow because you won’t have to worry about showering now in the morning.