Hello my name is Erica and I’m addicted to dry shampoo. Anyone who knows me knows I use dry shampoo slightly less than oxygen. I’ve shared dry shampoos before, but per reader request, I wanted to break it down specifically to share some favorites for my fellow brunettes.
Us brunettes used to have it hard in the dry shampoo department. Namely because everything was, well, light. While white powders might blend in better with blondes, they tend to stand out on dark hair. I, for one, was always left with a case of missing to brush something out or failing to fully blend in, and then walking outside looking like I’ve prematurely gone grey. HA. Somewhere along the line someone in the industry got smart and concocted some dry shampoo for brunettes, but not all were created equal; some have left my hands looking like a scene from Annie, covered in soot, if you touch your hair throughout the day thanks to the dark drown residue. So, here are a few of my favorites when it comes to dry shampoo for brunettes specifically! (A past dry shampoo post from two years ago is here with other options for all hair colors, too!)
BUT FIRST, quick reminder on what is dry shampoo + why dry shampoo is important for anyone new to the topic. And a disclaimer: I used to wash my hair every other day. I used to feel like I “needed” to, because I would wake up with greasy-looking hair shortly after shampooing. It was frustrating, and I just thought it was how my hair was.
Here’s the science: Your body produces oil as means to “hydrate” when something feels too dry. Of course, oil ends up making everything look, well, oily instead of clean and hydrated, so that’s typically no bueno. When you shampoo your hair in the shower, you’re stripping your scalp of the natural oils there (hence why it looks “clean” and NOT greasy afterwards – ha!). To overcompensate for that, your scalp starts producing more oil. So washing too frequently essentially tells your body it needs to produce more oil, and the nasty cycle begins.
You have to actually “train” your hair + body to produce less oil in order to get away with washing less. No one is just magically born with unicorn hair that doesn’t require frequent washing. Practice makes perfect. 😉 So in the training process, you WILL have a few gross days. Baseball cap it is. 😉 But it can be done!!! Now, I typically wash my hair about twice per week max; the longest I’ve been able to go between shampoos was just recently at 8 days. (!!!).
While that might sound gross to some, it actually makes your hair healthier + stronger in the end because the less you put your hair through, the better. It ends up being less tension, less heat, less styling tools – the works! I 100% recommend. And enter, dry shampoo.
I use dry shampoo on any day that I’m not shampooing in the shower. It’s typically a spray-on or puff-on powder that you apply at the hair root to absorb excess oils and naturally clean sans water. It’s important to apply at the hair root ON THE HAIR and not directly to the scalp, to avoid excess product buildup there. You can apply before bedtime and let it soak in overnight, or you can apply alongside your styling routine and brush out with a boar bristle brush before styling as usual. Some not-so-great dry shampoos are super flaky and chalky and messy, and I’d prefer to not have that gunk all over my pillow come morning. So more often than not, I end up spritzing on right before styling. Sometimes, I’ll leave it in while I do something else to get ready before brushing it out! Either way, I’m obviously brunette. And I’ve had waaaaaay too many horror experiences with doing my hair in bad lighting and leaving the house with a greyish haze on my head. TBH…one time I had to photoshop my hair in blog photos because there was a giant grey section that apparently NO ONE NOTICED. Really?!?!
SO. All that to say, let’s look at some of the best dry shampoo for brunettes specifically.
- Living Proof Perfect Hair Day – This is my FAVORITE dry shampoo – and has been for years! It’s unique in that it actually cleans your hair instead of just soaking something up; it’s got this Triple-Action Cleaning Technology inside, and then a Healthy Hair Molecule to help easily remove the powder after it cleans. No silicones, parabens or phthalates, it’s cruelty-free AND safe for color and chemically-treated hair. Also smells AMAZING. I recommend for ALL girls, brunette or not! Have shared it in probably every single dry shampoo roundup I’ve ever done??? Ha!
- Ouai dry shampoo foam – OK OK this one is different in that it’s not a powder like most dry shampoos – it’s a foam. It’s got a handful of bad reviews on Sephora because of folks saying it left their hair feeling greasy or didn’t work on finer hair, but I have fine hair myself and think it’s moreso about correct application than anything else! It takes a hot sec to get used to application; I apply, then work it through my hair with my hands, with my head upside down. It’s meant to increase volume at the roots, too! No parabens or sulfates. Might not be for everyone, but smells amazing and works for me so I figured I’d include – also NO residue because it’s a clear finish! Another one I shared back in 2018, as well.
- Drybar Detox CLEAR – Emphasis on clear because I’m not a fan of Drybar’s brunette-specific dry shampoo! That one leaves me feeling like a Mary Poppins chimney sweep with the amount of brown residue on my hands and ears and forehead by the end of the day, so hard pass. But the Clear Invisible detox dry shampoo does the trick! It’s got potato starch inside to absorb oils, sweats + odor, kiwi extract to remove residue from hair, and then amla oil for light nourishment.
- Garnier Fructis Pure Clean – This is a GREAT drugstore option!!! And I linked it the cheapest place I could find – it’s 50 cents cheaper there than on Amazon even. And SO MANY near-perfect reviews!! It’s a silicone-free formula that’s designed to not leave texture or grit or residue after. Definitely one of my favorites when it comes to dry shampoo for brunettes.
- Pantene Never Tell – Another drugstore winner!!! This is a newer formula, too. It’s sulfate and paraben-free, not even 7 bucks, and available for NextDay shipping! Has Pro-Vitamin B5, wild mint, and tapioca inside. This is the one I sprayed on my hair above – it comes out pretty white, but it brushes out SO WELL with no residue behind. I was mind-blown and very pleasantly surprised!
- Klorane with Oat Milk – Formulated with oat milk to soothe your hair + scalp, and corn and rice starches to cleanse. Paraben and sulfate free, vegan, hypoallergenic, free of sodium chloride and colorants, etc. Also used to add texture! And was apparently a 4x Allure Best of Beauty award winner, so hollah. A still-favorite that I shared back in 2018, too!
- Hask Chia Seed Volumizing – Another great drugstore option!!! It’s new-to-me but I picked it up on a whim to try – it’s another that’s not clear upon application BUT brushes out well, so is a worthwhile option as a dry shampoo for brunettes still. Free of sulfates, parabens, phthalates, aluminums and dyes, cruelty-free, and has chia seed inside for oil absorption + a light floral tea scent. Actually cannot believe that it’s UNDER $5!!!! Absolutely pick up a bottle. Another one worth checking out regardless of your hair color!
Have you tried dry shampoo? Any particular favorite dry shampoo for brunettes for any of my fellow dark-hair babes?
If you’ve got one you lovelovelove that I didn’t mention above, LET ME KNOW – I’m always testing new dry shampoos to find new favorites worth sharing with you!