If you’re living your life as a man should, you’re going to encounter a situation like the following:
- Getting home from work with either just enough time for a workout, but not enough time for a full grooming sesh, before you meet up with friends.
- Joining a lady friend (whom you’ve often wondered about being something more) on a whirlwind roadtrip in search of the real America.
- Spending a week in the wilderness with nothing but your tent, your journal, and your coffee percolator.
In other words, you’re going to end up in a situation that requires dry shampoo.
What is Dry Shampoo?
Forget any preconceptions you may have had about this grooming product; far from being a niche item, dry shampoo is an essential inclusion for any man’s Dopp kit. In use since at least the 1700s, when genteel men of status would use rice bran to keep their wigs looking spruce, dry shampoo is essentially a powdered starch that absorbs oil and other detritus to freshen up the scalp.
Today’s formulations often include botanical essences and salon-grade add-ins that nourish your hair as well as keep it clean.
When Should You Use Dry Shampoo?
In particular, dry shampoo is a godsend for active men inclined toward travel and the outdoors. If you’re a frequent camper, roadtripper or wilderness explorer, dry shampoo can and should be the only haircare product you pack.
The reason is simple: dry shampoo not only cleans your hair and keeps your scalp grease-free, but it uses your hair’s natural oils to make slicking, sculpting and all other forms of styling a breeze. Plus there’s the fact that it takes up less space in your backpack than shampoo plus conditioner plus pomade plus hairspray.
Should we put it in terms an outdoorsman would understand? It’s the freeze-dried lasagna of grooming materials.
Whether you’re driving across the country, hiking the Appalachian Trail, or spending a weekend off the grid, you never know if you’re going to have access to water (or enough of it) to get your hair as clean as you’re used to. So skip the drama and opt instead for one of our top picks for men’s dry shampoo.
Best Dry Shampoos for Men
Made from organically harvested oat milk, this ultra-gentle formulation is plant-based and sulfate-free, soothing your scalp even as it cleans and re-energizes your hair.
The one drawback with dry shampoo is its tendency to leave a white residue. Not so with this one—it blends seamlessly into dark locks while absorbing excess moisture.
Doing double duty as a styling paste, this dry shampoo is perfect for the guy who cares about his appearance even if he’s unlikely to see anyone else.
If you’re the type whose scalp gets greasy after just a jog around the block, this one’s for you. The Binchotan charcoal in this formulation cuts through buildup, while witch hazel removes nasty bacteria and biotin nourishes the scalp.
For that classic Old Spice smell and utilitarian workability (plus a price under $10), Old Spice’s dry shampoo offers the best bang for your buck in the no-water-needed cleansing category.
For regular shampoo options, check out all our favorites here.