Dry shampoo hair loss

In recent years, it seems like every beauty blog and style site that mentions hair care and hairstyles has been advocating the use of one particular product with ever-increasing enthusiasm: dry shampoo. What used to be a niche product only a handful of beauty enthusiasts had encountered has now taken over store aisles, with all kinds of varieties promising to soak up grease and make our “second-day” hair look clean even after a trip to the gym. We’ve even heard stories of women stretching their time between shampoos to three, four, or even five days, so great is their faith in the power of dry shampoo to take care of the mess. Just one problem: while extended dry shampoo use might make things look clean and healthy, it can actually be doing the exact opposite. And one of the biggest issues with it is making the rounds on the Internet’s beauty rumor mill: dry shampoo causes hair loss.

So is it true? Is it just a rumor? Should we all chuck our dry shampoo bottles into the garbage right this second and add it to our list of products not worth the money? Here’s everything you need to know.

DOES dry shampoo cause hair loss?

The short answer? Possibly, but only when you use it to excess.

The longer answer? Like so many things, it depends on you: your skin type, your hair type, your scalp health, your dry shampoo use, and your regular shampooing routine. Dry shampoo is, at heart, an oil-absorbing powder, and build-up can irritate your scalp and weaken hair follicles which, in turn, can possibly cause hair to fall out. Dr. William Yates tells Refinery29:

In extreme circumstances and used excessively, dry shampoos could actually cause damage and thinning or balding Dry shampoos absorb the excess oil on the hair shaft produced by the sebaceous gland. If overused, it could cause the hair to dry and break more easily, leading to thinning and possible balding.

Basically, as long as you’re still regularly shampooing and cleaning your hair and scalp – the frequency will vary from person to person, but experts usually recommend at least twice a week – and not using dry shampoo to excess, you should be fine. How much is “excess?” Again, it’ll vary for each person, but generally, try not to use it more than twice a week, and use it only as a stop-gap guest in your routine, not as a replacement for correct shampooing.

apid via Deposit Photos

OK, so why is everybody freaking out about dry shampoo making people go bald?

The simple answer is that, in our ever-more-connected Internet age, it doesn’t take much for rumors to go viral and take on a life of their own, especially when it comes to our health and our beauty. This particular one seems to have started with a Facebook post by a U.K. woman named Nicole Baxter, which quickly started spreading across the social network. You can check out that original post here if you really want to, but the gist of it is that after being diagnosed with triangular alopecia, Baxter stopped using dry shampoo. When her scalp subsequently showed improvement, her doctor suggested her original problems stemmed from her dry shampoo use.

That’s it. So why did so many people take one woman’s individual experience and apply it to everybody? Part of it is that sometimes people just like to panic, but the OTHER, more important thing to know, is that sometimes dry shampoo use can make it look like your hair is falling out even when everything is normal. It’s all because dry shampoo is so sticky and because it builds up, making it look like your hair is falling out in one or both of two ways:

  1. You’re pulling out healthy strands when you brush.
    Sticky hair is tangled hair, and tangled, sticky hair is easy to pull out during a normal hair brushing. Hair that would normally and naturally – and healthily! – come out gets mixed up with a few extra strands, and the overall effect can make it seem like your brush is pulling out a ton of hair.
  2. Your shed hair is sticking to your scalp.
    We’re supposed to shed hair; it’s a perfectly natural process. The stickiness of dry shampoo, however, often means that those dead hairs are shed, but still stick to your scalp. They don’t actually come off your head until you wash your hair and remove the stickiness, and when that happens, it can seem like half of your hair is coming out in the shower. It’s NOT, though; you just had some build-up hair that would have otherwise come out gradually.

Combine those two common occurrences with an Internet rumor, and you can see why people bought into the “dry shampoo makes you bald” worries. The truth, as always, is a little more complicated.

Should we change our dry shampoo routines?

The ultimate verdict: Only use dry shampoo in moderation, and do not use it as a replacement for for regular shampooing. And friends? Wash your hair! It’s really that simple. If you’re shampooing regularly, you’ll wash away any dry shampoo build-up. We know there’s lots of debate over just how often one should wash her hair, but chances are you’re not doing as much damage as you think. Your scalp deserves regular cleaning and exfoliation, and a real wash is the way to get it. As dermatologist Francesca Fusco tells Refinery29, “The skin on your scalp is an extension of the skin on your face If your face was oily and dirty, you wouldn’t just powder it. You’d wash it.”

So that’s what we’ll do. Wash your hair, use just a pinch of dry shampoo just twice a week, and live your fabulous life. Your hair, and your scalp, will be fine.


  • The Atlantic
  • Refinery29
  • Glamour

Am I Losing Hair Because Of My Dry Shampoo?

Many of us probably still remember that post that went viral on Facebook a few years ago that immediately shook the dry shampoo world! A woman from the UK had posted a photo of her bald patch on her head blaming her aerosol dry shampoo. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, just google ‘dry shampoo horror story’ and you’ll see.

I remember the girls at the office and even my friends were all talking about it and trying to scare each other off from using dry shampoos ever again (it lasted for a short while, I know a lot of them still use dry shampoo today).

The Controversy

Is it true? Can dry shampoo cause hair loss?

Depending on how you treat your scalp, oh for sure it can definitely be a factor and cause many scalp issues. What I found was that many consumers are not really aware of how to properly use dry shampoo. I’ve heard horror stories of women using dry shampoo for 2 weeks straight, skipping shampoo the entire time and I silently squealed in horror. My silent squealing wasn’t from the fact they haven’t washed their hair, but because I was just imagining the amount of product buildup and their poor suffocating hair follicles!

Dry Shampoo is not intended to be a replacement for shampoo & water:

Here’s what you NEED to know if you use dry shampoo: if you’re spraying product and powders near your scalp, you must wash it out! Not 2 weeks later but one to two days later at the most. You don’t want to suffocate the hair follicle which can lead to dry brittle hair and possibly hair loss.

Dry Shampoo vs. Regular Shampoo: What You Need to Know

People assume that dry shampoo and regular shampoo are synonymous but each has a specific function. While regular shampoo works to clean your hair by REMOVING dirt and oil, dry shampoo works by ABSORBING OIL and refreshing your. Dry shampoo should NOT be used as a substitute to regular shampoo (ie. if you usually wash your hair 2x a week, you can’t wash your hair 1x and use dry shampoo and count that as 2 washes). The problem becomes when the dry shampoo powder + dirt + oil sits on your scalp for too long (longer than a day). This build-up not only irritates your scalp but it also clogs your hair follicles, suffocating and weakening the hair roots which can lead to hair loss and stunt hair growth.

Photo by Matthew Henry.

How to Extend Your Hair Wash Schedule

Listen, it’s 2019 and women are busier than ever juggling their careers, side projects, families, and everything else life brings. So believe me, I hear you when you say “Mary, I don’t have 30 mins in the morning to wash, dry and style my hair”. That’s when dry shampoo comes into the picture and can help prolong the days between your shampoos. For example, if you usually wash your hair on Mondays and Thursdays, you can use dry shampoo on Thursday and shampoo on Friday. Read more on how to extend your hair wash cycle here.

Tips to Know When Using Dry Shampoo

The rule of thumb should be, you use dry shampoo on the day or day before you plan on shampooing your hair. This will prevent product build-up and hair loss.

1. AVOID synthetic, aerosol based dry shampoos as these can have synthetic ingredients and fragrances that can increase the amount of scalp irritation and hair damage.

2. Use a NATURAL dry shampoo to avoid irritation. Use as needed.

3. Use dry shampoo to extend your hair wash schedule by 1 DAY not 1 week. For most people this means washing your hair every 2-3 days. Also use a diy clarifying natural shampoo to ensure you remove all the build up every time you wash.

4. I would even recommended doing a weekly scalp scrub to really make sure your hair follicles are free of product.

Using dry shampoo is the best time-saver and is a great way to help train your hair to need less washing, however just make sure you’re using it correctly and not causing product build-up at the roots!

A popular beauty product is under fire for allegedly making a woman’s hair fall out

The photo that Baxter shared on Facebook. Facebook/Nicole Baxter A dry shampoo company is under fire.

Nicole Baxter took to Facebook to warn her friends about Batiste Dry Shampoo, which she believes has made her her hair fall out, The Cut reports.

In turn, more than 30,000 other people have shared her post.

Baxter wrote about how she had been trying to diagnose a mysterious bald spot. To make things worse, she also claimed she had “wee red sores and blisters all over scalp and a terrible burning sensation all over head- to the point where would wake up several times a night due to the discomfort/pain.” A dermatologist diagnosed her with triangular alopecia.

She was going to need a scalp biopsy. The doctors instructed her to stop using any hair products. She stopped using dry shampoo, and the doctor said her hair looked better.

“The said it’s the best thing I could have of done for myself- if she had been at my initial appointment she never would have even prescribed the biopsy if I had dry shampoo in my hair that day and that a biopsy isn’t going to have any benefit because it can’t do anything for the bald patch. So I left the hospital with my scalp fully intact and a prescription for a bottle of T-Gel!” Baxter wrote.

She blames it all on the dry shampoo. “Moral of the story- Dry shampoo caused me to now have this bald patch on my head (which I still have and it may or may not grow back, but nothing can be done) and a terrible scalp for ages. Just wash your hair people!” she wrote.

Batiste released the following statement to Business Insider: “Batiste Dry Shampoo is committed to producing quality products which are used every day by millions of loyal customers globally. We would like to assure our customers that all Batiste Dry Shampoo products comply with all government regulations. As with any beauty product, use only as directed and discontinue use if any sensitivity occurs.”

This isn’t the first popular hair product to be blamed for hair loss. Just a few months ago, hundreds of women accused shampoo solution Wen of causing hair loss.

And for those plagued by the question of how frequently they should wash their hair (with regular shampoo), the answer remains tricky; it depends on a variety of factors, including your hair’s texture, skin type, and your hairstyle.

Here’s Baxter’s full Facebook post:

Post by Nicole Baxter.

Can Using Dry Shampoo Damage Your Hair?

The short answer is that occasionally using dry shampoo is safe for most people. But using it too often, or for extended periods, could damage your hair and cause scalp problems.

Dry shampoo doesn’t clean your hair

Dry shampoo isn’t shampoo at all. The sprayed- or sprinkled-on starch and alcohol product absorbs the oil in your hair, making it less noticeable. It doesn’t remove oil and dirt the way a scrub with shampoo and water will.

It can lead to hair breakage

Aerosol hair care products often contain alcohols, which can be drying for your hair. When your hair is dry, the individual fibers can crack and snag on each other when you comb or style your hair, leading to breakage.

Overuse can clog hair follicles

Using dry shampoo too often or leaving it in your hair for prolonged periods without washing it out can lead to a buildup of the product on your scalp.

An accumulation of styling products can make your scalp itch. It’s possible the buildup could also lead to folliculitis. This is a bacterial or fungal infection in the hair follicle.

Infrequent hair-washing can cause dandruff and scaly skin

While there aren’t any studies that indicate dry shampoo directly causes dandruff, doctors at the Mayo Clinic say an overly oily scalp can cause dandruff. So, if you’re leaving dry shampoo on your scalp, you’re also leaving the oils it’s absorbed.

Oils also feed on a strain of fungus known as Malassezia, which can cause a red, scaly scalp condition called seborrheic dermatitis.

The potential link to cancer

Some commercial dry shampoos contain talc. Talc is a mineral that, in its natural state, can contain particles of asbestos, a known carcinogen. Today, talcum powders made for cosmetic use in the United States aren’t allowed to have asbestos in them.

Recently, concerns have emerged about a between asbestos-free talcum powder and ovarian cancer. Research has focused on talc in products intended to be used in the genital area.

There’s no known risk of cancer from dry shampoos that contain talc, but the American Cancer Society encourages people who are concerned about the risk of cancer to avoid using the products until more research has been done.

Photo: Getty Images

My thrice-weekly hair washing is a huge production. The actual cleansing, which involves two vigorous shampooings and a deep conditioning mask, isn’t even the worst of it—it’s the styling process that I’m forced to plan my weeknight (and early Saturday afternoon) schedule around. Between the 45 minutes it takes to wait for my hair to get 70 percent dry, the blow drying with a round brush, and then going in with the Beachwaver ($199, sarahpotempa.com), my styling routine isn’t just long and grueling, it’s also terrible for my fragile hair.

Suffice it to say that dry shampoo is much more to me than a cool, time-saving invention to be used during emergencies, when I’ve slept through my alarm or run out of hot water. It is my lifeline. My roots get oily pretty quickly, and because I want to spare my highlighted hair (and my constitution) the daily wash/dry/style grind, I find myself reaching for the dry shampoo morning, noon, and night. You can only imagine the rate at which I go through bottles of the stuff.

A few months ago, I started noticing that my scalp was… itchy. Really itchy. All of the time. This led to a lot of intense scratching, which led to the discovery that I had developed what looked like dandruff. There was a ton of buildup on my scalp, which wasn’t exactly surprising—I mean, when you wash your hair infrequently and use a lot of product, particularly near your roots, buildup happens. I figured it was nothing that couldn’t be fixed by a good washing with an anti-dandruff shampoo, but it wasn’t enough. I would shampoo twice, then go to dry my hair and find that it looked no less dirty than before. And the texture… the texture can only be described as “gummy.” It was gross.

To combat the matted, greasy feeling my hair had even after washing, I kept using—you’ll never guess—more and more dry shampoo. It got to the point where I would shampoo my hair, blow-dry and style it, then hit it with half a bottle of dry shampoo before it looked presentable. It was bad. I knew I had to do something about it, but I didn’t know what. Then I caught wind of the existence of Alterna Caviar Clinical Exfoliating Scalp Facial ($36, sephora.com), which sounded to me like manna from heaven. I was one step closer to recovery.

The morning before I tried out the scalp facial, four days after my last wash, I stood in front of the mirror and enveloped my head in a thick cloud of dry shampoo. “One last time,” I thought to myself before tossing the now-empty canister into the trash. That night I did what I usually do before my hour-long shower ritual: Put on a robe and warn my roommates. Then I hopped in, wet my hair, and did as the bottle instructed.

Using the scalp facial isn’t exactly complicated, but it is a little tricky to get the hang of at first. When squeezed, a scrub-like formula, complete with exfoliating beads, comes out through the bristle applicator. I found the bristles to be quite stiff, so I started by dispensing the scrub into my hands and massaging it into my scalp with my fingers so that I could get a better idea of where I was applying it. Once I had my entire scalp covered, I used the brush to really get in there—it’s recommended that you use it to scrub in circular motions to physically loosen buildup.

I followed up with a clarifying shampoo and slathered on Moroccanoil Intense Hydration Mask ($54.40, moroccanoil.com). After rinsing, I wrapped my wet hair in a towel to absorb moisture, watched an episode of “Game of Thrones,” then went to examine the results before blow drying. I could tell immediately that the top of my hair looked cleaner and shinier than….maybe ever before? There was no trace of the dull, sticky look I’d grown accustomed to, and my head actually felt lighter, like I’d been carrying around five pounds of extra weight in my hair follicles.

The Exfoliating Scalp Facial all but fixed my scalp buildup problem, but that doesn’t mean I won’t be using the treatment again. It’ll come in handy for clearing up residual dryness and dullness in the weeks to come as I wean myself off my dry shampoo addiction. I can’t picture a world in which I wash my hair every day, or even every other day, but while my bad habit has saved me time and effort (definitely not money), it’s exactly that: A bad habit.

Read more: You’re Doing It Wrong: Dry Shampoo


I know, I know: dry shampoos are so convenient, they save time, energy and add a nice gritty texture to your hair. In a pinch, a dry shampoo can be a life saver, but using them regularly as “shampoo” really won’t support keeping your locks full, thick and healthy in the long term.

Oil, dirt and pollution accumulate naturally on a daily basis and need to be removed from the scalp and hair so the follicle remains clear, balanced, breathing and growing. But dry shampoos don’t remove impurities — they only smother the follicle in the interim. Attempting to mask dirt and pollution with a dry shampoo only adds more grime and oil to your scalp and hair: like attracts like, so that build up you’re adding to with dry shampoo is only going to get worse.

The point of dry shampoo is to absorb excess oil, but just like on the rest of your body, your scalp and hair needs oil. While an oily hairline isn’t something most people covet, it’s a natural function of your body and one that’s integral to the health of your hair. So when you apply dry shampoo, it sucks up any oil on your head but it also stays put, leaving a dry shampoo/oil combination to sit on your follicle and, over time, sink in.

After a while, the buildup of this combo will be so severe that it’ll completely clog the follicle, leading to possible hair loss and ultimately stunting growth.

Say you use a dry shampoo weekly for the next 20 years. Consider how many days of dirt, grime and buildup constantly sit on your scalp, weakening your follicle and slowing hair growth. As you age, you’ll notice your hair doesn’t have the same healthy, shiny qualities it once had and you might wish you’d taken better care of your hair (by not using dry shampoo!).

And I can promise you’ll want all the hair you can get in your later years!

Even if you’re using a natural, non-toxic dry shampoo, you’re still doing damage. Yes, natural is better for many reasons, but it’s still not “healthy” for the follicle or hair shaft in the longterm. If you’re using a conventional, synthetic version, it could also be depositing a mixture of highly questionable synthetic chemicals and fragrance to the mix of buildup already there.

So how do you deal if you’re a die-hard dry shampoo user? There’s no easy answer, but my recommendation is this: hair needs to be cleansed of excess dirt and oil daily to maintain optimal balance, and water is the best way to do this. Dirty hair covered in dust and pollution (and dry shampoo!) doesn’t reflect light and shine like clean, hydrated, well-moisturized hair.

Honor the long-term health of your hair and and shampoo daily with the right natural, totally organic shampoo that retains your natural oils!

But if you’re still thinking about staying on the dry shampoo bandwagon, make sure you’re using an all-natural, organic product in small quantities and not every day. Comb the product through your hair — don’t just let it sit on your scalp where it’s sure to do more longterm damage than short-term good.

(If you’re still unconvinced, at least use a shampoo that will totally remove the buildup when it is time to wash your hair, like this DIY baking soda version.)

Is Your Dry Shampoo Making You Go Bald?

Another day, another controversial beauty horror story. This time, it involves two things very close to many women’s hearts: hair and dry shampoo. A woman in the U.K. by the name of Nicole Baxter is making headlines after she claimed she developed a bald spot from using dry shampoo. She posted a lengthy status update about the incident on Facebook, which quickly went viral. “Anyone who uses dry shampoo, please continue to read…” she starts out. And, seeing as the post has upward of 30K shares now, a lot of people tuned in. Baxter goes on to explain that she went to her doctor at the end of last year after noticing significant hair loss. “I had wee red sores and blisters all over my scalp and a terrible burning sensation all over my head — to the point where I would wake up several times a night due to the discomfort/pain,” she writes. Upon visiting a dermatologist, she was diagnosed with triangular alopecia. Her doctor informed her that she would have to get a scalp biopsy and forgo using any hair products — which included her dear dry shampoo. Fast-forward a couple months after the initial diagnosis, and her scalp improved significantly. ” compared my scalp today to the pictures that were in my file from February, and asked what had I done differently in the last six to seven weeks that may have helped it,” she explains. “I told her I’d stopped using dry shampoo and that was it, nothing else different. You thought a lightbulb went off in the woman’s head. She said it’s the best thing I could have done for myself.” She ends the message with this statement: “Moral of the story: Dry shampoo caused me to now have this bald patch on my head (which I still have and it may or may not grow back, but nothing can be done) and a terrible scalp for ages,” she writes. “Just wash your hair, people! It is not worth having this awful patch that I might be stuck with on the side of my head, all because I can’t be arsed to dry my hair.”

UK woman goes bald after suffering rare reaction to dry shampoo

“Hair dye is a really common cause for contact allergy,” Dr Kuchel said.

“Paraphenylenediamine, or PPD, is a chemical commonly found in salon and home dye products.

It is recognised around the world as causing eczema in some people.

“Don’t lose any sleep over using dry shampoo. In this case, although I don’t know the history of the patient, her baldness probably had nothing to do with dry shampoo, and have more to do with dye products.”

As for an allergic reaction to the ingredients within dry shampoo, Prof. Sinclair said the woman should have tested an area on her forearm to see if it caused a similar response.

“Dry shampoos are mostly made up of corn or rice starch, although they often fragrant them,” he said.

“She should test it on her forearm and see if she reacts to it, because 3-7 per cent of all shampoo used are dry shampoos.

“You wouldn’t want to decimate a whole industry based on one patchy report, where it’s not clear what caused it, because it’s quite possible her condition has nothing to do with the product.”

Australian dermatologists doubt the baldness was caused by dry shampoo, such as Batiste. Picture: Supplied.Source:Supplied

Hairdresser Joh Bailey, who owns three high end salons in Sydney, says women now use dry shampoo as a styling product, not just to keep their hair clean.

“We do blow-dries now and put it on straight after the blow dry. There are now hybrid products — like half hair spray, half dry shampoo — that are act as a cleanser and a styler,” he told news.com.au.

“It’s kind of like talcum powder, it absorbs all the oils. If your hair is limp and you spray it on the roots, it can give you great texture and body,” he said.

Mr Bailey believes the kind of reaction Ms Baxter had is “extremely rare”.

“I don’t think you’d get that with normal use. You’d have to use it lots over an extended period of time,” he said.

News.com.au has contacted Batiste for comment.

“UK’s Cosmetic Toiletry & Perfumery Association states that dry shampoo products including Batiste are subject to strict European safety laws to ensure they are safe to use. As with any beauty product whether it be on the hair, body or face we recommend that users follow the usage guidelines and stop using it if sensitivity occurs.”

A spokesperson for Batiste said: “As the UK’s number one dry shampoo brand for over 30 years, Batiste is committed to producing quality products which are used every day by our millions of happy customers.

“We would like to assure our customers that all our products are analytically tested for compliance to European Regulations. Independent laboratories conduct in-depth safety assessments and clinical patch tests for all products prior to launch. All our products have been certified as safe.

“As with any beauty product whether it be on the hair, body or face we recommend that you follow the usage guidelines and stop using it if sensitivity occurs.”

This story comes after it was revealed the secret to thicker hair is to rub onions on your locks.