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How to Use Dry Shampoo (and Why You Need It!)

I just met the man who single-handedly created the dry shampoo trend, and he thinks you're not using enough of it!

Fact: meeting celebrity hairdressers and makeup artists is usually more exciting (at least for beauty editors) than meeting the actual celebrities themselves. I know this is hard to believe and yes, getting to see the Beckhams or Christina Aguilera up close makes for a good story to tell your friends. But you know what? They're boring. It's all scripted. The people with the REAL dirt—or at least, really good tips that you can actually use—are the ones who do the hair and makeup.

Which brings me to the man I met this morning, Mark Townsend. Very unassuming, super-nice guy... who only styles the hair of everyone who matters in Hollywood. Seriously, let me just give you a client list: all of the Olsen sisters (including the adorable Elizabeth above), Jennifer Lawrence, Rachel McAdams, Reese Witherspoon, Cate Blanchett, Natalie Portman, Diane Kruger... well, I could go on but you get the idea.

Know what else is impressive about Mark? Well, I should mention he's the official celebrity stylist for Dove. And this is exciting: I figured out during the interview that he is basically responsible for the entire dry shampoo revival of the past few years. Except that he thinks you could probably use even MORE of it, and MORE often. So listen up!

But first, let's talk about the kind of dry shampoo you should be using...

Look for one of the new, "second-generation" formulas

If you're the DIY type, you'll find a ton of online resources recommending simple cornstarch, or even baby powder, as a cheapie dry shampoo substitute. Because yes, store-bought dry shampoo can be expensive. Remember three or four years ago, before all of the new drugstore-level options came out? You would have to fork over upwards of $30 for a can from Bumble + Bumble or whoever. Which is painful, especially if you're using the amounts of it that Mark encourages (which I'll get to in a sec). I don't care how good your formula is—it's just hard to part with that kind of money for a product that goes so fast.

But the problem with using cornstarch or baby powder, or any of what I'll call the "first-generation" dry shampoos, is the horrible white residue. Unless you're quite blonde, it's highly problematic. I mean, DUH—who wants to look like they forgot to go to the colourist and have white hair growing in at the roots? Even the option of brushing it out is sort of a pain. If you have to brush too much, all of that manipulating can breed frizz, and it really defeats the purpose, which is to GET texture—not remove it.

The better solution is to simply BUY smart. The new-generation dry shampoos that brands are coming out with these days basically go on clear. I've talked a lot already about a couple of clear formulas I like, such as John Frieda's:

(It's $11.99 at; free shipping in Canada with no minimum order.)

And Marc Anthony's:

(Also $11.99 at; free shipping in Canada with no minimum order.)

But I'm not just saying this, I like Dove's even better. Like, WAY better. It is the dry shampoo of champions:

It's also cheaper—hooray!—you can buy it from for $7.49 (free shipping in Canada; no minimum order).

Now, unlike the John Frieda and the Marc Anthony, it's not specifically labelled as a "clear" formula... but I have tested it and there is no white powdery gunk left behind. I like it the best because it smells freaking aMAZing, and seems to work a lot better than the others at texturizing (and, I suspect, at absorbing oil). I think the difference is that it goes on drier than the clear ones, more like a traditional dry shampoo. (The John Frieda and Marc Anthony feel more "wet" until they dry down.)

Plus, if it's good enough for the Olsens, it's good enough for me. Consider me converted.

A few other new formulas you might want to try are from LaCoupe...

(It's also clear and has the "wet" feel that I'm a bit less fond of, although it works amazing at bulking up your roots.)

And göt2b from Schwarzkopf. This one is also well-priced—$6.99 from (free shipping in Canada; no minimum order). Again, it goes on clear although it isn't labelled as such... and smells almost as good as the Dove one. I just felt like it was a bit less texturizing.

If you feel like splurging a bit, I would be amiss if I didn't inform you that Cake Beauty now makes their Satin Sugar Dry Shampoo & Body Powder in a translucent formula:

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From The Skincare Edit Archives

This is a bit different from the others in that you sprinkle, not spray... and apparently it has light-reflecting properties to make hair look shinier.

There is also the quite serviceable Redken Powder Refresh:

But enough about the prodz! Let's talk about how to use them.

On second- or third-day hair

So most of us are probably doing this already. But a few important points.... Hold your dry shampoo canister about eight to 10 inches away from your head and spray generously at the roots. (Mark says holding the can too close is one of the biggest mistakes people make with ALL hair products.) Let it sit for a minute or two before brushing it out a bit (but not too much).

If your ends are looking a bit dry and frizzy—mine definitely start looking frayed on the days I don't wash—then apply a bit of smoothing cream from the mid-shaft down. That way it won't weigh down the volume you've created at the top. Dove just came out with this Cream-Serum which should work on all hair types (even mine!). I'm afraid of normal serums making my fine, straight hair look oily... so this is perfect.

Another pro tip from Mark: if you, like me, tend to be a daily washer, try just standing under the shower and not using any product, just massaging the water into your roots with your hands. He says it should be enough to get rid of the oil and give you another day in between washes, and when you get out of the shower and dry your hair you can always add dry shampoo to extend your style even more. Just make sure you apply the dry shampoo to dry, not wet or damp hair.

But the most exciting development is to apply your dry shampoo...

On clean hair (yes, CLEAN hair!)

So here's one you probably weren't doing. I certainly wasn't! But holy hair gods, it makes such a HUGE difference that my meeting with Mark this morning just might have changed my life. (Again. These kinds of epiphanies tend to happen in beauty.)

Anyway, Mark made a grand sweeping statement that we all need to ditch our salt spray products. That's right. And here I just told you to use them last week! I'm sorry. But apparently, they're not so good for the hair—while they do work great at adding texture, the, er, salt totally dries out your hair. Oopsie!

Instead, the 2.0 texturizer of choice is dry shampoo. And seeing as Mark has been using it on the Olsens (among other clients) for years and years now, I think it's safe to say that he's the man behind the whole dry shampoo texture-y hair trend that's been going on as of late. (Although he says now that it's more of a brushed-out, not-so-crunchy look.)

So whether your hair is clean or dirty, it doesn't matter—dry shampoo is the key to looking very 2012. Seriously, give it a try—I showed up to our meeting with damp hair, as per usual, and as soon as I got home blasted my hair all over with the Dove.

Can you say instant supermodel hair? It's crazy. I might never use mousse or root-lifting spray again!

Another way you can/should use your dry shampoo is...

For an updo

In fact, it's KEY. You know how hairstylists always say it's better to do an updo on dirty hair so that it has "grip?" Well, that whole idea always struck me as being a bit gross. I mean, if you're doing an updo, then it's probably a special occasion—and do you really want to be going to a wedding or formal or black tie or whatever with dirty-ass hair? Gross.

Mark says he has a lot of clients who share my sentiments, and so dry shampoo, sprayed from roots to tips, is the way he creates texture and grip. That way, the hair both bulks up, looking bigger, AND holds better too. Since falling updos are basically every Hollywood hairstylist's worst nightmare.

(And believe me, Mark KNOWS updos. He's the guy who did Jennifer Lawrence's for the Hunger Games premiere, remember?)

Another insider tip from Mark is to spray your bobby pins with dry shampoo too, before you put them in your hair—it'll give them more grip. (Also make sure you're using TWO pins in a criss-cross method—no single pins as they'll just fall out.) Do these two things and your updo should last all night long.