The beauty product that definitely changed my life: Dry Shampoo.

 

Photo: Getty Images Although I’m a beauty editor, there are days when no amount of curling, teasing, blow drying, or back-combing can save me from a bad hair day. But 99.9% of the time, blasting my head with dry shampoo can. It will make it a GREAT hair day, in fact, in about 30 seconds.

But what exactly is it? Think of it like this: Powder that has evolved to function like one of the best styling products ever created. It’s a mixture of oil absorbing powder, which is what “cleans “ up your hair, de-greasing the roots, and also adding fullness by lightly coating each strand for a nice, touchable volume (salon-speak, but it’s true) mixed with a light-hairspray-like fixative that helps the powder and polymers cling.

Referred to as both “dry shampoo” and “hair powder,” this magical substance intimidates many women because of its name. Will it get all over my clothes? Ruin my swag-look? Will it set my hair on fire (someone did ask me that)? I’m always shocked because dry shampoo is basically the secret to life.

Here’s why: It does everything, and right away. It’s a mini version of many things—shampoo, blowout, dark-root-fixer. It also functions like a little towel to dry up those roots that bust out when you’re on a crowded dance floor, and a nice little fragrance to cover up your friend’s cigarette smoke that stubbornly clings to your hair. If your brand new bangs are giving you problems, getting greasy-looking, perhaps? No problem, blast on the dry shampoo.

Yes. It’s amazing like that.  Not to mention, powdery dry shampoo has been around for centuries— it was used for Marie Antoinette’s crazy-wild ‘dos, revived coifs in the ‘50s under the name Mini-Poo, and for Farrah’s huge and bright ‘80s mane under the name Psst. 

A-lister stylists like Oscar Blandi and Serge Normant branched out to create their own lines and elevated dry-shampoo into, perhaps, the most versatile product on the market.

There are two types: the white powders and the clear, translucent ones. The classic white powders work best on blondes—they cover up roots like a dream and will turn a too-yellow head of highlights into a pale ash blonde in no time. Brunettes should look for formulas that are labeled dry shampoo and spray on clear, not white.

Katie Holmes recently partnered up with haircare company Alterna and the first rollout under her watch? Bamboo-infused dry shampoos. They smell delicious—Katie’s fave is the Mango-Coconut one—and works especially great on brunettes. Coincidence?