By now you probably know you shouldn’t be wash your hair every day. And while embracing no-wash days is better for your scalp health, some of us struggle with greasy hair after a day of no lathering, rinsing, repeating. Many of us turn to dry shampoos to keep our hair clean between washes, but some have tried less conventional ways to keep our scalps grease free. Enter: baby powder as dry shampoo.
If you’re like me, my hair is super fine and my scalp tends to get oily just hours after a good cleanse. I’ve tried countless dry shampoos over the years, but many of them left my hair still greasy, sometimes even sticky. When I finally tried baby powder it was a game changer for my hair care routine and my hair can last much longer between washes with just a little pinch. Not only does the baby powder absorb the oil on my scalp like magic, but the powder also gives my roots the texture and volume they desperately need.
Although this concept may seem new to you, people have long used baby powder, or like starches, as dry shampoo. And since it’s probably a cheaper alternative to most dry shampoos, we spoke to the experts to answer all your burning questions about this seemingly proven method. Below, our experts explain the key differences between baby powder and dry shampoo, the possible benefits of using this method, things to keep in mind regarding your scalp health, and how to use the baby powder to keep your hair clean longer. .
Baby powder vs dry shampoo
Dry shampoos are products that are applied to the scalp between washes to refresh the hair, says Brendan Camp, MD, dermatologist certified by MDCS Dermatology. “Dry shampoos work by absorbing oil and residue; they do not clean the hair. Many dry shampoos contain ingredients that absorb oil, such as alcohol, talc, starch or clay, he adds.
Baby powder is a talc- or cornstarch-based powder used primarily as a dry lubricant to absorb excess moisture and minimize friction on the skin, Dr. Camp says. “Some baby powders also contain fragrance. Baby powders are sometimes also used as a substitute for dry shampoo.
Dry shampoos are specially designed to absorb excess oil, dirt and residue on the scalp without washing it off, explains Marisa Garshick, MD, dermatologist certified by MDCS Dermatology. “Since the purpose of a dry shampoo is to absorb excess oil secreted by the scalp, this is why some people have considered using baby powder instead of dry shampoo because baby powder is notorious for absorbing excess moisture.”
However, keep in mind that while baby powder can be helpful for absorbing oil into the hair, it does not provide the same added benefits as dry shampoo such as fragrance, volume, or shine. hair texture, says Jennifer Korabhairstylist and owner of Renaissance Salon in Hillsborough, NJ.
Benefits of using baby powder as a dry shampoo
Baby powder can be used in a pinch if you’re unable to wash your hair or if you’re out of dry shampoo, says Dr. Camp. Some benefits of using baby powder include:
- tends to be more affordable
- often a bathroom staple
- absorbs oil
- has a sweet scent
Baby powder also has the advantage of not having any of the added ingredients needed in aerosol formulas, so they can be kinder to skin, notes Joshua Zeichner, MDDirector of Cosmetic and Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital.
Although it’s not technically a scalp product, using baby powder as a dry shampoo sounds like a beauty trick, says Dr. Camp. However, “the regular use of baby powder as a dry shampoo is questionable.”
Scalp and Hair Considerations
Before boarding the baby powder train, it’s important to consider any underlying skin conditions, including dermatitis, psoriasis, Or eczema, as the scalp can become more inflamed or irritated, says Dr. Garshick. “(Baby powder) can dry out so should not be used regularly as it can contribute to irritation.” For people with sensitive scalps, it’s best to use a fragrance-free product, she adds.
Some things to consider are hair color, scalp sensitivity, and residue, Korab adds. “Baby powder is usually white in color, which may be more noticeable on darker hair. If you have dark hair, it’s important to mix baby powder well or choose a tinted dry shampoo option to avoid to leave a white residue.To avoid scalp sensitivity and residue, be sure to brush your hair well, removing any extra powder, she notes.
Whether you use baby powder or dry shampoo, it’s important to use a traditional shampoo regularly to remove it, says Dr. Zeichner. “As powders, whether from baby powder or dry shampoo, combine with oil and build up on the skin, it can become problematic.” Not only can this lead to skin irritation, but it can create an environment for microorganisms like yeast and bacteria to grow, he adds. “Ultimately, this can result in irritation, inflammation, worsening of conditions such as dandruffor even lead to pimples.
Besides leaving a white cast and causing possible irritation to your sensitive scalp, there are also significant health risks. Talc, a popular ingredient in many baby powders, poses broader health risks, according to Mona Gohara, MD, dermatologist certified by Dermatology Physicians of Connecticut. According to Food and Drug Administration (FDA)there is a risk of contamination of talc with asbestos, a known carcinogen when inhaled, so to completely avoid the risk look for talc-free powders when you can.
How to use baby powder as a dry shampoo
Less is more when using baby powder as a dry shampoo, says Dr. Camp.
Start by sectioning your hair, says Korab. “Using a small amount of baby powder and applying it to your hair using your hands or a small makeup brush can be helpful.” Sprinkle a small amount onto your roots and use your fingers or a small brush to massage in well, minimizing any white residue.
Try to avoid powder lumps building up in any one area and do your best to evenly coat the oily areas of your scalp, says Dr. Zeichner.
Keep in mind that although baby powder absorbs oils produced by the scalp, it shouldn’t necessarily be the primary form of hair washing because it doesn’t actually cleanse the scalp, says Dr. Garshick. “If someone has a sensitive scalp, it’s best to avoid baby powder and remember that less is more to minimize dryness and irritation.” Regardless of using dry shampoo or baby powder, it’s always important to remember to wash your hair to rinse away buildup, she adds.
Magdalene, Preventionassociate editor of , has a history with health writing from her experience as an editorial assistant at WebMD and her personal research at university. She graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in biopsychology, cognition, and neuroscience — and she helps strategize for success across Preventionsocial media platforms.