Dry shampoos have benefits for people of all ages, but they’re especially advantageous for seniors. Applied as a fine powder, these products eliminate oil, cleansing the hair and scalp in a matter of minutes.
To be clear, dry shampoo doesn’t fully replace wet shampoo, as it’s incapable of providing the same level of cleansing. Over time, even well-formulated dry shampoos may cause a residue to build-up on the scalp, which will need to be washed off. Still, a decent dry shampoo can reduce the frequency of wet shampooing, greatly improving comfort for both seniors and their caregivers.
Here’s a rundown of the top-rated dry shampoos on the market and the factors that set them apart. If you’re having trouble deciding between these products, we’ve also included a detailed buying guide at the end of the list.
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The Best Dry Shampoo
Batiste Dry Shampoo, Original Fragrance
Batiste has been the top dry shampoo brand in the United Kingdom for over 30 years, and their original formula is still one of the best options available. It has a subtle scent with notes of lavender and musk, and the vegan-friendly ingredients absorb oils without leaving hair looking dry or dull.
It’s an excellent option for all hair types, but it’s particularly effective on fine hair, so it’s an ideal product for senior caregivers. It does tend to leave behind a light white powder, which mostly dissipates after styling; be sure to shake the can thoroughly prior to application to limit the mess. Reviewers note that Batiste dry shampoo tends to run out quickly, which is one of the few downsides to the time-tested formula.
- Light scent with notes of lavender, powder, and musk
- Vegan-friendly formula that applies easily
- Ideal for all types of hair
- Variety of buying options
- Brand: Batiste
- Model: AD1162
- Size: 6.73 fluid ounces
- Pleasant, light fragrance
- Vegan-friendly formula
- Eliminates grease and adds volume to all hair types
- Contains denatured alcohol and other ingredients that may cause irritation for some users
- Leaves behind some white residue
- Not much shampoo in each bottle
Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak Dry Shampoo
Clean Freak has an ingredient that eliminates odors, and while it still has a noticeable scent—and hey, that’s true of nearly all unscented products—it doesn’t have strong, irritating fragrances. Whether that’s an advantage or disadvantage will depend on your personal preferences, but if you’re looking for a simple product that strips out unnecessary irritants, Clean Freak delivers.
Be sure to let it sit for 30-60 seconds after shaking; some reviewers said that skipping this step made the shampoo noticeably less effective. While Clean Freak works well for fine hair, it can leave long, wavy hair looking frizzy.
- Contains no strong fragrances
- Ideal for fine hair
- Absorbs oils without leaving much residue
- Variety of buying options
- Brand: Not Your Mother’s
- Model: B083F52J23 (Amazon Serial Number)
- Size: 7 ounces
- Unscented formula includes an odor eliminator
- Formulated for sensitive scalps
- Perfect for thin or oily hair
- Not ideal for long, curly hair
- Fragrance-free formula might not be preferable to some users
- Requires careful application
Hair Dance Volumizing Dry Shampoo
Most of the dry shampoos on this list use aerosol delivery systems, which makes sense; propellants help to ensure even application, limiting residue. Unfortunately, those propellants—typically butane or propane—can sometimes irritate sensitive skin.
Hair Dance’s non-aerosol dry shampoo is an effective alternative, though there are some drawbacks to the propellant-free formula. To apply, twist the top of the bottle to widen the nozzle, shake out some of the dry shampoo, and massage it into the scalp. Getting the proper amount is tricky, but the formula works just as well as the aerosol sprays.
- Lavender and grapefruit fragrance options
- Non-aerosol formula with no talc, parabens, or phthalates
- Adds volume without potentially harmful chemicals
- Brand: Hair Dance
- Model: B015G7PPR4 (Amazon Serial Number)
- Size: 1 ounce
- Non-aerosol delivery system
- Gentle organic ingredients
- Light, refreshing scent
- Slightly tricky to apply
- Packaging could be improved
- Can cause irritation when applied excessively
Dove Refresh+Care Dry Shampoo, Volume & Freshness
Dove’s Refresh+Care dry shampoo is a relatively powerful aerosol spray, so it applies quickly and doesn’t leave behind much of a powdery residue. Give it a few quick sprays, brush it in, and you’re ready to go.
The main downside is the hefty ingredient list, which includes aluminum starch octenylsuccinate (an anti-caking agent), butane, propane, denatured alcohol, and silica. Some of these ingredients can be irritating for sensitive skin, so for best results, start with a small amount. With that said, Dove Refresh+Care is one of the most popular dry shampoos on the market for a reason: It works remarkably well.
- Two-pack with bonus travel bottle
- Applies quickly, adding volume while removing oils
- Relatively inexpensive option from a well-known brand
- Brand: Dove
- Size: 7.3 oz, 1.15 oz travel
- Applies easily and quickly
- Absorbs oil while adding volume
- Fragrance complements other Dove Refresh+Care products
- Contains isobutane, propane, aluminum, and other potentially irritating ingredients
- Has a fairly strong scent
- Can leave a residue over repeated uses
Klorane Dry Shampoo With Oat Milk
Klorane’s dry shampoo formula adds avena sativa (oat) kernel oil, which purportedly soothes and nourishes the scalp. Corn and rice starches provide the cleansing effect, though the ingredient list gets slightly more complicated from there; this is still an aerosol spray, so if you’re helping a senior with especially sensitive skin, you might want to keep looking.
Still, this is an especially effective dry shampoo that eliminates dirt and oil without leaving behind a strong synthetic scent. It’s dermatologically tested, vegan friendly, and free from parabens and silicone.
- Skin-friendly formula with nourishing oat milk
- Free from preservatives and silicone
- Ultra-fine powder with an invisible finish
- Brand: Klorane
- Model: PRF0898
- Size: 3.2 ounces
- Free from silicone, parabens, triclosan, and preservatives
- Fine powder formula won’t leave a thick residue
- Dermatologically tested
- Fairly expensive compared to other options
- Skin friendly, but still an aerosol spray
- Fairly small bottle for the price
Moroccanoil Dry Shampoo (Light Tones)
Specifically formulated for light colored hair, this dry shampoo from Moroccanoil is infused with argan oil, which keeps hair somewhat hydrated after cleansing. It doesn’t leave behind much residue at all, as the ultra-fine rice starches break down fairly quickly after application.
Like other Moroccanoil products, this dry shampoo has a strong fragrance with floral notes and “spicy amber aromas” — if you’ve used any of the brand’s other products, you’ll know the scent. It’s pleasant enough, though if you’re looking for an unscented option, this certainly doesn’t qualify.
- Formulated for light colored hair
- Infused with argan oil for extra hydration
- Helps protect against UV damage
- Brand: Moroccanoil
- Model: 7290015629454
- Size: 1.7 ounces
- Does not leave much residue
- Great for people with light hair colors
- Has the signature Moroccanoil scent
- Relatively expensive
- Has a fairly strong fragrance
- Doesn’t have “refreshing” smell
Beauty By Earth Organic Dry Shampoo Powder
Beauty By Earth’s volumizing powder uses only natural, USDA-certified organic ingredients. That doesn’t necessarily make it safer, but if you’re concerned about chemicals with hard-to-pronounce names, this product’s limited ingredient list will give you some relief. Corn starch, arrowroot powder, baking soda, and lavandin oil provide a thorough cleansing with a light, fresh fragrance.
As is the case with other non-aerosol formulas, Beauty By Earth’s dry shampoo powder can be slightly difficult to use. Apply a small amount around your senior’s hairline, then comb the powder through their hair.
- USDA-certified organic ingredients
- Separate formulas available for light- and dark-colored hair
- Manufacturer offers a money-back customer satisfaction guarantee
- Brand: Beauty By Earth
- Size: 3 ounces
- Simple formula with certified organic ingredients
- Non-aerosol formula
- Options for different hair colors
- Application can be tricky
- Expensive compared to aerosol options
- No fragrance-free option
Dry Shampoo Buying Guide
When you’re purchasing dry shampoo for a senior, you’ll want to research ingredients carefully. Here are a few key factors to consider.
Aerosol Propellants and Other Ingredients
Most dry shampoos use propellants like butane and propane, which allow for easier application. You can avoid these chemicals by choosing a non-aerosol formula, but propellants aren’t the only potential irritants. Some contain talc, silica, and other minerals with rough edges that can cause redness, itchiness, and other symptoms.
If your senior has skin sensitivities, look for simple formulas with limited ingredients. Consider non-aerosol formulas; they’re not quite as easy to apply, but they’re just as effective.
Most dry shampoos have fragrances, which can cause irritation to some users. A strong fragrance can also make a dry shampoo less desirable for regular use, so consider your senior’s preferences when ordering. When in doubt, look for unscented formulas or choose light floral scents that won’t be too obtrusive.
Dry shampoos are available in a variety of tints for different types of hair. Some tints can complement dyed or natural hair color, but the real reason to choose an appropriate tint is to minimize the appearance of residue. Dry shampoos start as a fine powder, and while the powder mostly dissipates during application, some residue may be visible after repeat applications; matching the tint to your senior’s hair color will limit this effect.
Once you’ve chosen a product, read the instructions carefully. Most dry shampoos won’t cause excessive irritation with short-term use, but if your senior has any allergies or sensitivities, start out with small quantities. Gradually increase the application as necessary over several days. A dry shampoo also pairs well with a no-rinse body wash to help keep your loved one or client clean and fresh head to toe.
As we noted earlier, dry shampoos can’t completely replace their liquid counterparts, but they’re an excellent tool for extending the time between full cleansings. They help seniors look their best while minimizing discomfort from regular wet washing—and as every caregiver knows, comfort-enhancing hygiene products are well worth the investment. When it does come time for an actual wash, check out our review of the best shampoo basins to make the process as simple and comfortable as possible.