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Cut Back on Shampoo. Use These 6 Products Instead

Dry shampoo, oil-control conditioner, hair powder and more.


The secret has long been shared: You shouldn’t wash your hair every day since shampoo dries out the hair and scalp. Overwashing only trains the scalp to produce even more oil, which perpetuates the problem instead of mitigating it. It also makes the hair brittle, hard to tame, and strips it of its natural, healthy shine. Besides, those oils in your scalp are a good thing, since they condition the hair and keep it looking healthy. You shouldn’t want to eliminate it; you should instead tame it and work with it. You’ll have a healthier scalp and hair as a result, and it’ll cooperate with your styling products, finally.

You should still shampoo, of course, but scale it back to every third day, or every week, if you can. The path there may be gradual; just start with every other day and build a buffer over time. Here are six products that you might want to pick up along the way, which will help you control the oil production without obliterating it. It’s all smooth sailing from here.

Dry Shampoo Spray

Oribe Gold Lust Dry Dry Shampoo

On the days you don’t shampoo, when things are a little more oily than usual, you can spray your roots with dry shampoo. It soaks up the excess oil that has collected around the base of the shaft, and in turn volumizes your hair by allowing it to stand up instead of being weighed down by said oil. It also texturizes and defines the hair, for a breezy surfer-esque effect. Oribe’s dry shampoo gives you a healthy luster too (but nothing beyond a natural shine), whereas many other dry shampoos can make your hair look exactly that — dry.

Buy Now: $46

Dry Shampoo Stylers

Hanz de Fuko Quicksand Styler and Redken Dry Shampoo Paste

Some hair products also come with oil-absorbing ingredients, which makes them similar to a dry shampoo spray. Some of them add grit, like Hanz de Fuko’s Quicksand, which contains pumice-like granules that soak up oil and produce a texturized, volumized look. It thickens the hair, too, and gives you density and strength, unlike anything you’ve felt. Redken’s paste, on the other hand, produces a smoother result, with pressed powder mixed into the styler. It gives you touchable, restylable hair for the entire day.

Buy Now: $23 (Hanz de Fuko)Buy Now: $20 (Redken)

Oil-Control Conditioner

Living Proof Perfect Hair Day Conditioner

Even if you scale back your shampooing, you need to maintain a daily conditioning regimen (or migrate towards one if you haven’t already). However, the conditioner you choose should be one that acknowledges this lessened shampoo regimen, and in turn, balances the oil production in your scalp. This will help “train” the scalp to produce less oil, though your body will gradually adjust to the infrequent shampooing and naturally produce less oil on the scalp to account for the fact that it’s being washed less. As for a good conditioner to invest in, Living Proof’s Perfect Hair Day contains the brand’s proprietary formula that helps tone the scalp and ensure smooth, style-ready hair on the daily. (Their whole Perfect Hair Day assortment is a win, including the shampoo, which will now last you half a year or more.)

Buy Now: $17

Hair Powder

Aveda Pure Abundance Hair Potion

Hair powder is another common form of dry shampoo, often containing an absorbing ingredient like kaolin clay. Sprinkle it into your roots and massage it in, and the product absorbs oil on contact, and often softens and smooths the hair in the process. Many of these products change form on contact, too, like Aveda’s “potion,” which starts as a powder and turns into a hair-thickening lotion once it warms in your hands. Just target those roots so it does its main job. You can even apply it in tandem with your usual cream or paste styler so that you can accomplish everything in one fell swoop.

Buy Now: $25

Scalp Treatment and Oil

Briogeo Scalp Revival Treatment with Charcoal and Tea Tree Oil

If you shampoo less, you might worry about things like bacteria and dandruff. The truth is, conditioning and rinsing daily will manage most of your problems, since most stylers are water soluble and since conditioner hydrates and nourishes the scalp as much as it does the hair. However, you can’t avoid all obstacles. It’s a smart idea to add a tea tree treatment or charcoal-infused product to your regimen, for a couple reasons: Charcoal soaks up grime and dirt from deep within the skin (which is why it’s so effective as a face mask, too), and it allows each hair follicle to grow healthier and uninhibited. It, in turn, improves scalp health, too. Tea tree oil, on the other hand, is an antimicrobial essential oil that also reduces irritation. (Never apply pure tea tree oil to your skin, though, since it can be harsh when it is not properly mixed. Always buy a trusted formula.) Briogeo’s hair treatment contains both pro-scalp and pro-hair ingredients, and also includes biotin to promote hair growth, as well as witch hazel to further balance oil production.

Buy Now: $22

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