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The latest dry shampoo recalls have spurred concerns for consumers across the country. First, Unilever voluntarily recalled several dry shampoo brands over fears that they contained elevated levels of benzene, a cancer-causing compound. Shortly after Unilever's recall, the independent laboratory Valisure found that 34 additional brands from various companies had disturbingly high amounts of benzene and petitioned the United States Food & Drug Administration to investigate. Resin Mica Pigment Powder
Benzene is a chemical that scientists identified as dangerous to humans over a century ago, and its presence in dry shampoo is unusual. According to a 1939 study published in The Journal of Industrial Hygiene and Toxicology, researchers noted that "exposure over a long period of time to any concentration of benzene greater than zero is not safe." The U.S. FDA currently states that 2 parts per million (ppm) of benzene is the acceptable daily limit for humans. In Valisure's tests, one dry shampoo brand emitted nearly 160 ppm in a single spray. With that much benzene concentration, just five sprays could contain one's yearly recommended exposure to the chemical.
The potential cancer risk is a major concern for consistent dry shampoo users, who view the product as essential to their hair routines. An alarming number of reviews for the recalled aerosol dry shampoos, which retailers have since removed from shelves, referred to the products' "nauseating" smell. Disturbingly, chemical safety literature characterizes similar scents as a hallmark of benzene. "Benzene has a sweet, aromatic, gasoline-like odor. Most individuals can begin to smell benzene in [the] air at 1.5 to 4.7 ppm," states the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
With so many aerosol dry shampoos testing high in benzene, many are wondering the same thing: which dry shampoos are safe to use now?
Everyone deserves access to safe beauty products, and any benzene content in your dry shampoo is unacceptable. We've been closely following the dry shampoo recalls, and the benzene-affected brands listed in both Unilever and Valisure's reports have all been aerosol dry shampoos. Because the story on benzene in dry shampoo is still developing, we chose to err on the side of caution and have not included any aerosol dry shampoos in our guide at the time of writing.
The dry shampoos included in this guide contain no propellant gases, which makes them safe from benzene contamination. Propellants like butane, isobutane, and propane are the first ingredients in many of the aerosol dry shampoos linked to high benzene content. Benzene contamination in cosmetics occurs during the manufacturing process of these gases. For that reason, experts are cautioning dry shampoo users to steer clear of these products. "The best advice I can give to consumers who are concerned is to eliminate aerosol usage," cosmetic chemist Kelly Dobos told The Washington Post.
We chose safe dry shampoos to use based on the quality of their ingredients, our personal experience in using them, and reviews from verified customers. Our guide to safe dry shampoos includes options for every hair type, need, and budget. Whether you're making the switch from aerosols or are simply seeking the best in natural dry shampoos, you're sure to find your next holy grail in hair care with this list.
Oily bangs and greasy roots? Don't fret: Bumble & Bumble's Prêt-à-Powder is a safe dry shampoo powder that quickly absorbs slick strands and smells positively divine. Its scent is an elegant take on the classic baby powder fragrance we know and love, with hints of musk and florals. "My hair smells like a spa, and strangers have leaned in for head sniffs," writes one reviewer. Now doesn't that sound promising, even if potentially a breach in personal space?
Prêt-à-Powder uses a finely-milled blend of tapioca, oat, and corn starches to tame excess oil while leaving hair soft and shiny. In addition to mattifying your hair and scalp, it can add incredible texture and volume. Best of all, it even comes in a convenient travel-sized version that can fit neatly in your cosmetic bag. For those who prefer their dry shampoo in a spray, Bumble & Bumble also offers the Prêt-à-Powder formula in a Post Workout Dry Shampoo Mist, which is perfect for a quick pick-me-up after the gym.
Purchase the Bumble & Bumble Prêt-à-Powder Dry Shampoo Powder from Sephora starting at $14.
If you're in need of a good dry shampoo alternative for brunettes, look no further than Chagrin Valley. The brand's Dry Shampoo for Dark Hair in Fresh Mint is a carefully crafted herbal refresher made with high-quality, USDA Certified Organic ingredients. Chagrin Valley's styling powder features finely-milled arrowroot as its base and kaolin clay to help mattify and revitalize the scalp. Also included in the mix are its signature essential oils, like rosemary and lime, to invigorate the senses with a bright hint of fragrance. Ingredients we can actually read and understand are always a plus in our books!
Maybe you're concerned that natural dry shampoos won't work as well as your former aerosol-based brand. In that case, just read what Chagrin Valley users say about this gentle, benzene-free formula. "This is the best dry shampoo I've ever owned, including some expensive aerosol brands," states one reviewer. And if you have light-colored locks, don't worry. Chagrin Valley carries a wide variety of organic dry shampoos for all hair colors, and there's even one made for pets — you know, for if one ever needs it.
Purchase the Dry Shampoo for Dark Hair in Fresh Mint from Chagrin Valley for $19.
Some dry shampoos put in work without causing chalky residue or buildup. Created by haircare guru Taliah Waajid, Moisture Clenz is the answer for those seeking a clean, benzene-free dry shampoo. This minty blend is one of the most beloved Black-owned dry shampoo products, boasting overwhelmingly positive reviews from its fans. "It soothes itching, moisturizes the scalp, [eliminates] frizz or dandruff, and it smells great," one customer wrote. The invigorating formula uses a simple recipe of peppermint extract and green tea oil for fast relief from oily, itchy roots on non-wash days.
Moisture Clenz can undoubtedly benefit any hair type, but it's a dry shampoo designed with black hair in mind. Taliah Waajid states that the fresh-scented favorite is excellent for locs, braids, twists, and weaves. Fans of the residue-clearing hair solution couldn't agree more. "I have starter locs and cannot wash my hair in between my retwists. This product is a godsend," says one reviewer. Because of its cooling sensation, Moisture Clenz also makes for a pleasant hair mist during hot, humid weather.
Purchase the Black Earth Moisture Clenz from Taliah Waajid for $8.
Where do we start with this stellar dry shampoo? It smells terrific, has over 2,000 5-star reviews from happy customers, and is free from harmful additives. L'ange's Star Dust Dry Shampoo Powder has a refreshingly short ingredient list, mainly consisting of plant-based starches like tapioca, corn, and oat. It also contains diatomaceous earth, a natural powder made from silica-rich rocks. Fans of sprayable dry shampoos will appreciate its handy misting function. Thankfully, Star Dust doesn't use any propellants, so there's no risk of benzene contamination as is the case with so many other brands.
This powdered dry shampoo boosts volume and texture without adding buildup, and you can use it on wet or dry hair. Plus, it comes in an ultra-portable bottle that's perfect for jet setting. "It's great for using before you sleep to absorb oils overnight between washes," wrote one reviewer. Our one request is that L'ange releases an accompanying Moon Dust product so that Carpenters fans may live out dreams by sprinkling it in their hair.
Purchase the Star Dust Dry Shampoo Powder from L'ange for $25.
If you've never tried his line of holistic hair care before, you're in for a treat. Renowned stylist John Masters' eponymous beauty brand delivers an exceptional benzene-free dry shampoo formula using high-performance ingredients. John Masters Dry Shampoo with Kaolin & Palmarosa keeps it simple with organic plant powders and clay to reduce oil from the hair and scalp, subtly fragranced with rose geranium oil. It also features the sweet-scented palmarosa essential oil, which may help reduce acne-causing bacteria, according to a study published in Future Microbiology.
For those with oily hair and acne-prone skin, John Masters' dry shampoo could be an excellent choice to minimize blemishes. And naturally, Masters' approach to mattifying hair powder is a hit with reviewers. "[It's] probably the best dry shampoo I've tried. I have thin hair, and it works well," one customer writes in their review.
Purchase the Dry Shampoo with Kaolin & Palmarosa from John Masters Organics for $10.
Some dry shampoos go above and beyond. At first glance, Crown Affair's The Dry Shampoo is all about luxury, as visible by its elegant packaging. Looking more like a high-end mineral foundation than a hair styling product, The Dry Shampoo contains impressive ingredients to match its exterior. For one, it isn't often that persimmon powder has a starring role in haircare formulas. According to Crown Affair, persimmon is "a natural deodorizer that leaves your hair smelling as clean as on wash day and refreshes the way your hair feels overall." Research in the nutritional journal Nutrients also shows that persimmon has promising antioxidant properties, which could be beneficial for healthy hair and skin.
Not willing to rest on its laurels, The Dry Shampoo also includes powerhouses like saccharomyces, a probiotic yeast, and camellia (Tsubaki) oil, a nourishing ingredient found in many K-beauty products. So, how does it actually perform? "I've tried them all, and this works best," stated one customer in their review. Many agree that it's the best dry shampoo — ever — in terms of performance. Other reviewers note that its featherlight scent is safe for those prone to migraines, which is a definite plus.
Purchase The Dry Shampoo (With Kabuki Brush) from Crown Affair for $36.
If you pride yourself on selecting health-conscious hair and skin care, you may already be aware of the Giovanni brand. Giovanni's products offer impressive results without questionable ingredients, and its Powder Power Dry Shampoo is no exception. This dry shampoo blend is vegan, safe for color-treated hair, and cruelty-free. Powder Power contains gentle corn and oat flours paired with kaolin clay to help refresh the hair and scalp. Other beneficial elements include vitamin B-5, ginseng, grapeseed, and lemon extract. What's more, Giovanni's dry shampoo uses a non-aerosol, old-fashioned spray pump to mist the hair, so there's no risk of benzene exposure.
"It's really inexpensive compared to similar products, and I love that Giovanni is cruelty-free and has no dyes or scent," one reviewer writes. Other customers concur that this dry shampoo has little to no fragrance, making it a top choice for those with sensitive noses.
Purchase Giovanni's Powder Power Dry Shampoo from Amazon for $13.
Acure has made a name for itself over the years as an established producer of natural hair and skincare products. The brand's aptly-named Dry Shampoo is part of the Conscious Beauty collection at Ulta, as it's certified vegan and cruelty-free and even incorporates sustainable packaging. Currently, this organic dry shampoo holds a 4.4-star rating at the beauty retailer, and users are raving about how well it works. "I was searching for a dry shampoo [without ingredients] like butane or propane. This is the best dry shampoo out there," one customer wrote.
Moreover, its oil-absorbing blend is relatively straightforward. It contains cornstarch, arrowroot powder, clay, and baking soda to freshen roots. The only other ingredients are organic rosemary and peppermint oils, both well-known in holistic circles for their ability to liven up tired tresses. "Rosemary oil can help promote hair growth in some individuals with age-related hair loss, such as androgenetic alopecia," Dr. James Y. Wang tells Shape.
Purchase the Acure Dry Shampoo from Ulta for $10.
Next time you're grabbing groceries at TJ's, you might want to take a look at their spin on dry shampoo. Trader Joe's beauty products have gone viral in the past, thanks to their masterly formulations and reasonable prices. And at only five dollars per bottle, Trader Joe's Dry Shampoo is one of the most affordable dry shampoo products around, natural or otherwise. Judging by its ingredients, it's not that different from other clean dry shampoos on our list. In fact, this dry shampoo's contents are curiously close to those found in Giovanni's Powder Power. The main difference is that you can grab it while impulse buying snacks and seasonal goodies at the popular grocery chain.
Trader Joe's Dry Shampoo even features the same four botanical and vitamin extracts as Giovanni's, from ginseng to B5. The major difference between the two products is that Trader Joe's version does not include certified organic ingredients. Still, customers are pleased with the chain's effectual offering. "I've used Pantene, Aussie, and Batiste [dry shampoos]. And [Trader Joe's] is way better," wrote one Redditor.
Purchase the Dry Shampoo from Trader Joe's locations for $5.
Although Odele is a newer face in the natural beauty scene, this woman-owned and operated brand is already making waves with shoppers. Based in Minnesota, Odele's Dry Shampoo has amassed thousands of fans and a nearly perfect five-star rating thanks to Target customers. "It feels so nice in my hair, doesn't look dull like some aerosol [dry shampoos] do, and the smell is not overpowering," one reviewer writes.
Unlike other dry shampoos, this styling formula contains seaweed extracts from brown algae and green chlorella, which can help to thicken hair and nourish the scalp. There's no synthetic fragrance in Odele's dry shampoo, but it does contain notes of ylang-ylang, oak moss, and cucumber from natural sources. Thanks to its genius design, those who struggle with powder application will have no problems adjusting to Odele. The benzene-free dry shampoo releases a targeted "puff" of powder to the desired area with a simple pump.
Purchase the Odele Dry Shampoo from Target for $12.
If you're on the hunt for a dry shampoo alternative that's also impossibly cute, try I Dew Care's Tap Secret Dry Shampoo Powder. Made in Korea, this dry shampoo even comes with a generous powder puff. "The puff applicator on this product is amazing, and I love that it's so compact and portable," writes one reviewer. It's tiny enough for inconspicuous touch-ups, and the winking-faced packaging is particularly adorable. Other customers point out that the haircare staple is lightweight, blends well into dark hair, and has a very mild fragrance.
Tap Secret's ingredients are fairly clean: in lieu of plant starches, the K-beauty product uses two ultra-light minerals, silica and mica, to mattify excess oil without weighing hair down. The small-but-powerful powder also contains antioxidant black ginseng and biotin extracts to improve hair and scalp health. Those with sensitive complexions can rest easy knowing that Tap Secret won't irritate delicate skin. Plus, it's free of both soy and gluten. Furthermore, Tap Secret is one of the only Korean dry shampoo brands with a benzene-free formulation explicitly designed for use with hair, and we all know that K-beauty has taken the world by storm. So, why not give it a try?
Purchase I Dew Care's Tap Secret Dry Shampoo Powder from Amazon for $19.
By far the most economical option, homemade dry shampoo is a snap to create. Most powdered dry shampoo formulas consist of a plant-based powder to absorb sebum paired with a light fragrance or essential oil blend. You can certainly use a pinch of plant-based starch, like Bob's Red Mill Tapioca Flour, for oil control in a hurry. But you'll want to add a few more ingredients to make a version that rivals store-bought dry shampoos. We recommend starting with one to two ounces of arrowroot, tapioca, or cornstarch as the base of your DIY dry shampoo recipe. If you have dark hair, you can fix a brunette-friendly dry shampoo by adding a few parts of cocoa or charcoal powder to your desired tint. Cocoa will add a pleasantly sweet scent, and charcoal can help to detoxify the skin.
Essential oils provide both fragrance and therapeutic effects for the hair and scalp. Rosemary oil is popular for encouraging hair growth, but you can include other oils depending on your needs. One little-known gem is helichrysum (or immortelle) essential oil, a healing flower extract that demonstrates antimicrobial activity, according to research published in The Saudi Pharmaceutical Journal. If you'd like to try this wildflower-derived oil in your formula, Aura Cacia Helichrysum in Jojoba Oil is an economical blend that's perfect for cosmetic use. Once you've selected your favorite essential oil, carefully add one to five drops to the dry shampoo powder and stir. With the right dry shampoo, you can skip wash day without worries.
Clear Colored Glass Marbles Purchase Aura Cacia Helichrysum in Jojoba Oil from Amazon for $14.