Dry Shampoo. Sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it? But, lately it’s all my friends and I have been talking about–mostly because most of my natural hair girls are product junkies and a lot of our discussions are centered on creams and butters and puddings…(SN: You ever compare your hair diet to your personal diet? Like what would happen if we only ate creams, butters, puddings? I feel a post developing here….) Ok, back to dry shampoo. Here are the basics.

Dry shampoo is essentially a powdery substance or liquid spray that you apply to the scalp, allow to sit for a few minutes, maybe even massaging it into the scalp for cleansing effect. Finally, you comb or brush it out. It soaks up oil and buildup without the use of H2O with alcohol or talc powder are the key ingredients.

I’m blessed to have strong resolve (Read: I ain’t got the money for all that!) when it comes to hair products. I am also blessed to have one particular bestie who can’t control herself in Sephora, Ulta, or Walgreens. And yes, I?ve had to talk her into emptying her online carts more than a few times. So, I nearly always get to try the latest goo without breaking the bank, or at least I get a review I can trust.

This time though, I’m going in solo. ‘Cuz, I’m curious aaaand because there is a fine line between mooching and sampling. So, it’s my turn to be the guinea pig…

Of course, it’s best to start off with a little research. My girl, Andrea Pezzillo is a phenomenal stylist hailing from the Paul Mitchell Beauty School, with a thick clientele book and credentials that make you say “Oooh.” (No… literally, that’s what I said when I read her bio.) Recently, she’s relocated to L.A. to follow her dream of styling for commercial and video shoots. When I asked her about her experience with kinky-curly hair, her eyes lit up and she showed me a few iPhone pics with both natural and straightened styles. Then she immediately gave me a lecture on the importance of healthy, moisturized hair. And that dearies, was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. I tapped Andrea for dry shampoo knowledge for kinky-curly hair, which she willing gave. “Dry shampoo is a miracle in a bottle; this one product can make dirty hair clean and give clean hair body and texture.” she blogged earlier this year.

What I learned is dry shampoo is a fantastic go-between when you are trying to avoid washing your hair as much, but don’t want the product build-up. Andrea recommends using it, but never as an constant alternative to good old-fashioned soap and water.

“The curlier the hair, I recommend keeping as many natural oils in your scalp as possible, but if you work out a lot and need the feeling of a clean scalp, than dry shampoo will be a great help in between your shampooing.” So for those of us who don?t want to shampoo a lot, the idea seems great. No water, no fuss, no breakage. But Andrea says the reasoning behind not using the poo frequently is this the same reason it works so well. Because it’s drying, it [dry shampoo] can dry out your hair if used too much because of the alcohol in it. So how can you pick a good one? Look at the label. Apparently, the best dry shampoos have nutrients in them, in addition to alcohol. Andrea recommends Kevin Murphy Fresh Hair Dry Cleaning Spray, which has vitamin c, ylang ylang oil, and burdock root–known for improving scalp condition and promoting hair growth.

We’ve also heard really good things about Marc Anthony True Professional Clear Dry Shampoo , IGK Jet Lag Invisible Dry Shampoo, Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Dry Shampoo, Psssst! Instant Dry Shampoo Spray and Bumble and Bumble A Tint of Brown Hair Powder.

She also recommends Rene Furterer Naturia, saying, “This is my fave of all! It has oils that balances out the scalp, and though it soaks up the excess oil, it’s also nurturing. This product leaves the least amount of residue.”

Eww! Residue? I thought it was supposed to clean your hair. I asked Andrea about this, and she confirmed that all leave a little residue, and all brands are not created equal. So this is why you will find dry shampoos in different shades and hues. But she also said that if you have hair that is dyed, using a tinted shampoo can actually over your roots a bit, at least until you wash (with water) again. Now that sounds interesting! Hmm, but how much residue is what I’m concerned with…but I guess I won?t know until I try one.

Interesting, right? Off I go to find a fabulous nurturing, color-friendly, dry shampoo worth my — and your — dollars and cents and we’ll be reporting back with our results.

— Andrea Johnson

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