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You Might Throw Out Your Dry Shampoo After Reading This


8 Min Read

By Dr. Kali Olsen, ND2020-07-24

Medically Reviewed by


Dry shampoo is a summer staple for wicking away oil and keeping hair fresh on no-wash days, but many dry shampoos contain a host of ingredients that can hamper healthy hair growth. 

The main culprits in dry shampoo are paraben-laden fragrances, butane (yep, the kind you light your outdoor grill with), and talc. These ingredients can affect hormones and cause irritation that interrupts the hair growth cycle, which we try to keep a “do not disturb” sign on at all times. Here’s the good news: clean dry shampoos do exist and a supplement like Nutrafol can support your hair against the effects of overstyling. 

Read on for some dry shampoo ingredient education and to learn how to keep your hair fresh, clean, and growing long and strong all summer (and beyond).

The fragrance trap

Commonly labeled as “perfume” in dry shampoo and other products, fragrance is a blanket term used to hide a number of problematic ingredients — including hormone-disrupting parabens and phthalates. How do hormones affect hair growth? For starters, balanced estrogen levels help keep the hair growth cycle in the growth phase, while thyroid hormones are responsible for telling our hair follicles to keep growing. Hormone-disrupting chemicals found in dry shampoos can interfere with normal hormone functioning, resulting in downstream issues with your hair growth cycle.

Fragrance ingredients are also connected to allergic reactions and causing toxicity to your immune cells. Octinoxate, another common ingredient, is linked to throwing off our hormones and triggering allergic responses, as well as causing damage to cells and their DNA. Allergies and immune issues might seem far removed from growing hair, but they can increase inflammation, irritate the skin your hair follicles live in, and interfere with the cell-to-cell communication hair follicles rely on to do their job properly.

Why is there butane in my dry shampoo?

While some concern with problematic ingredients is their direct contact with your scalp and hair, there’s also alarm for inhaling questionable ingredients. Butane and isobutane, used as propellant to spray dry shampoo into the air, are connected to potential allergies and irritation to the skin, eyes, and lungs — which isn’t great news for a product being sprayed in the airspace of your face and mouth. This is compounded by concerns for these ingredients’ contamination with the known carcinogen butadiene. You can avoid butane by choosing a dry shampoo in a non-aerosol container.

The truth about talc

Commonly used as an absorbent, talc is another inhaled irritant that comes with concern for contamination with the known carcinogen asbestos. Cosmetic grade talc has been shown in animal studies to cause inflammation and damage to the lungs and upper respiratory tract. With this ingredient, it’s not a “one exposure and done” sort of danger; it’s about consistent exposure that adds up and leads to long-term, negative impacts on both your hair and general well-being. 

Dry shampoos that are so fresh and so clean

To avoid potential concerns connected with propellant ingredients, non-aerosol dry shampoos are ideal, as well as looking for products using fragrance derived from natural sources. Commonly, clean dry shampoos rely on plant starch and clay minerals to absorb unwanted oil and add volume, as well as essential oils to leave your hair smelling fresh. Popular essential oil ingredients also come with added hair-support benefits, such as peppermint oil’s support for boosting hair growth and lavender oil’s support for optimizing your scalp health.

Rice starch and a few drops of essential oil makes an excellent DIY dry shampoo.

DIY dry shampoo is another great option offering full control over the ingredients that come in contact with your scalp and hair. DIY dry shampoo can be as simple as mixing rice starch, corn starch, or arrowroot powder and a few drops of essential oil. A clean makeup brush can be used to apply your powder creation to your roots and any oily areas in need of a refresher.

The best way to support your hair

Did you know you can combat oil buildup and the effects of overstyling from within? Certain nutrients, such as vitamin D, can aid in balancing oil production. And the botanical saw palmetto helps to naturally inhibit the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT), a hormone that can overstimulate oil-producing glands. When it comes to undoing the damage of frequent overstyling, ingredients like vitamin C, resveratrol, vitamin D, and tocotrienols have been shown to help support cells against environmental stressors and damage. 

Conveniently, all of these ingredients can be had in their proper doses by taking Nutrafol, a clinically effective supplement for hair growth and hair wellness. Because fuller, thicker, stronger hair starts from within.

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These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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