Healthy hair

The best dry shampoos for midlife hair

Editorial Director Ellie Smith on why dry shampoo is a midlife must and the expert-approved formulas for fine, thinning or lacklustre locks. 

If there’s one thing the billion-dollar beauty industry excels at, it’s manufacturing problems and selling women the solution. Whether it’s the size of our pores or imperceptible changes to the texture of our skin, there’s always something new to worry about and a pricey product to lust after.

But there are some products that buck this trend. They are the beauty hacks, often developed by women for women, that promise to make life easier and not harder – this is the story of dry shampoo. The bright-coloured aerosol sprays we see on shelves today are a modern riff on the talc and clay powders that women have been using to delay washing their hair since the 15th century.

This is a beauty product that can deliver an extra half hour in bed and a miraculously refreshed blowout to boot.

How does dry shampoo work?

“Dry shampoo is essentially an absorbent powder that reduces the look of excess oils and pollutants in hair,” says Michael Lendon, creative director at Aveda. “It literally soaks up the oils and makes them appear more matte, while adding grip and bulk to the hair, so is great for finer hair types.”

Different formulas are better suited to different hair types, Michael adds: “Choose a denser powder for thicker hair types, and a finer ground powder for finer hair types.”

How can dry shampoo help midlife hair?

While some are blessed with luscious locks for life, 65% of women experience hair loss and thinning during midlife thanks to perimenopause. “Our hair-growth cycle is regulated to a great degree by hormones – most notably oestrogen and testosterone,” explains consultant trichologist, Anabel Kingsley. “Any time there is a flux in estrogen and testosterone, or a disruption to the balance of these hormones, we’re likely to see changes in our hair.”

Dry shampoo can help to cheat the appearance of thicker, fuller hair in midlife, says colourist and Schwarzkopf Professional Ambassador, Carly Zanoni: “Dry shampoo provides tons of volume and grit, which can give the illusion of density on fine hair.”

Hormonal changes during perimenopause can also accelerate the loss of bone density as well as muscle size and strength. This means we might wish to spend more time in the gym, building strength and resilience with weight-bearing exercises.

Once again, dry shampoo can lend a helping hand here – making it easier to squeeze workouts into a busy schedule. “It’s a dream for those who want to stretch their wash an extra day or who want to fake clean hair after a workout,” says Carly.

How to apply dry shampoo

If you’ve blindly spritzed hair with dry shampoos of old, you’ll know that careful application is key to avoiding tell-tale white patches.

Sam McKnight, hair stylist to the stars and founder of Hair by Sam Knight, recommends keeping a hairbrush and dryer on hand: “For a quick no-wash blow-dry reset, I mist some Lazy Girl Dry Shampoo into the roots before brushing through and blasting with a cool hairdryer.”

Carly recommends foam formulas, such as the BLONDEME Dry Shampoo Foam, to those worried about white residue: “These are a safe bet and won’t show, no matter what colour your hair is.”

Our favourite dry shampoos:

Percy & Reed Volumising Dry Shampoo | £18

This ultra-fine powder adds oomph to finer hair types while mopping up excess oils. Use code LIZLOVES for 15% off. 

Hair by Sam McKnight Lazy Girl Dry Shampoo | £22

Add cool-girl body and texture to hair while mopping up excess oil. We also love Sam’s biodegradable hair cleansing cloths (£17) for a post-gym refresh.

OSIS+ Refresh Dust Bodifying Dry Shampoo | £15.80

Hate the feeling of product in your hair? Try this Carly-approved formula: “It’s light and won’t make it feel like there’s any additional buildup on hair,” she says.

Batiste Dry Shampoo Original | £3.59

A cult classic for less than £5. It’s been saving British barnets since the 1970s.

Aveda Shampowder Dry Shampoo | £26

A bestseller that’s also a best-smeller – loved by beauty editors for its naturally-derived scent.

BLONDME Blonde Wonders Dry Shampoo Foam | £21

Avoid tell-tale white patches with this invisible volumising foam.

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