dry shampoo composition

Dry shampoo has become a staple for pretty much everyone who has a lazy bone in their body. This magical hair product has me wondering exactly what this helpful product is made of.


the composition of dry shampoo - Cosmetic Composition

how dry shampoo works

The ingredients in dry shampoo all act as great absorbers of oil, which makes it perfect for eliminating greasy hair. Spraying this product about 6 inches allows it target problem areas and let your hair last a few days longer without washing. However, it is important to note that using dry shampoo as opposed to actually shampooing is not healthy for your hair. Using shampoo helps deep clean and wash away dead scalp cells to maintain a healthy head of hair. Making this even more complicated, shampooing your hair daily can strip it of natural oils that are healthy, so make sure you have a good balance of dry and normal shampoo.

dry shampoo composition

Originally dry shampoo was essentially just baby powder that helped absorb the oil in our hair to help lessen the looks of un-showered tresses. However over the years as this product has gained popularity the formula has advanced quite a bit.

Dry shampoo is “a powder based aerosol spray” that can contain two or more kinds of powders that help absorb the sebum (oil) produced by our scalps. The science behind powder cosmetics can become quite technical when you have to consider the particle size, colorant, absorbency, adsorbency, mixtures, texture, etc. However, there are 6 commonly used ingredients. All of these ingredients are not used in every formula, combinations of them all appear most often.

  • The first and one of the easiest DIY ingredients is cornstarch. This common kitchen staple “binds to sebum’s fatty-acid chains through weak electric interactions called van der Waals forces”. This allows the sebum in our hair to be absorbed into the cornstarch molecules and be held there until washing.
  • A commonly used ingredient from China, kaolin, is a very versatile clay that has an impact on hair at a molecular level. Kaolin is a hydrous aluminum silicate that “coat[s] hair strands, reducing their reflectivity and creating a matte look”.
  • Laminaria saccharina extract is an extract from brown algae and essentially acts as a sponge for sebum.
  • An ingredient that can help dry shampoo build in the hair well is magnesium stearate 
  • One of the most commonly used ingredients in dry shampoo and hair spray is denatured alcohol. This ingredient is typically a mix of ethanol, methanol and few other alcohols that act as a solvent for cornstarch and kaolin. Denatured alcohol blends allow the particle to stay suspended in the solution (bottle) until released where they evaporate after having contact with hair due to the body’s temperature.
  • Finally, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), became the alternative standard for aerosol spray propellant force after industry stopped using chlorofluorocarbons in the 1970’s. However, it’s important to note that this substance is extremely flammable and should never be used near an open flame.

dry shampoo advancements

As dry shampoo has gained popularity it has advanced from floral scents to fruity and non-scented as well. Recently companies have come out with colored dry shampoos to help make it easier for the non-blondes to use the product without worry. These dry shampoos contain colorants such as titanium dioxide and iron oxides.  Additionally, there are now dry shampoos on the market that claim to contain vitamins and minerals that are healthy and beneficial for our tresses.

My current favorite is Living Proof’s PhD dry shampoo, what is your favorite? Any questions or comments? Please share below!

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