5 Secrets of Smart Packers: A free gift for newsletter subscribers >>

Learn the Secrets

Top Top Menu

Dry Shampoo: The Female Traveler’s Best Friend


You just got off the night bus and haven’t showered in days, but your new hostel mates want to go out on the town. There’s not enough time to shower, but you look like you just woke up. What’s a girl to do? As I mentioned in the Low Key Traveler’s Beauty Kit, dry shampoo is pretty much the best thing you can bring with you traveling. It’s right up there with your passport in terms of importance, transforming your look in a matter of seconds.

Oscar Biandi Dry Shampoo

Oscar Biandi Dry Shampoo

Why is dry shampoo so great? I’m glad you asked.

Easy to pack

Dry shampoo comes in many sizes, so you don’t have to worry about taking up too much space in your luggage. You only need a sprinkling of it to do the job. It’s not like Lush Solid Shampoo in that you also don’t have to worry about it being wet in your bag.

Step 1: Brush Hair

Step 1: Brush Hair

Not subject to TSA restrictions

Since it’s not a liquid, you can pack as much of it as you want. You’ve got to love the TSA loopholes. While you may still want to bring wet shampoo and conditioner for a deeper cleanse, the dry shampoo won’t factor into your allotted ounces of liquid.

Step 2: Apply quarter-sized amount into palms

Step 2: Apply quarter-sized amount into palms

Aerosol or powder versions

I prefer the powdered kind because I don’t have to worry about it spraying all over my bag, but the aerosol has the effect of hairspray and can liven up your hair while the powder just keeps grease under control.

Step 3: Rub palms together

Step 3: Rub palms together

Keeps you from looking like a dirty backpacker

I will put my big bad female traveling secret out there: I don’t shower every day. Sometimes not even every other day. I know, I know. So embarassing. But I’m guessing neither do most people, especially when traveling. These are the people dry shampoo was created for. It soaks up the oils in your hair and leaves it smelling like you just washed it, rather than the aroma of stale cigarette smoke and falafel grease from the night before.

Step 4: Massage into scalp and roots

Step 4: Massage into scalp and roots

If it’s good enough for models

I recently learned that all those glamorous models in fashion magazines have dirty hair covered up by dry shampoo and hair spray. When your hair isn’t freshly washed, it’s easier to style, which is why dry shampoo is so handy and recommended by professional hair stylists.

Step 5: Make sure it's all scrubbed in.

Step 5: Make sure it's all scrubbed in.


While Oscar Blandi is my preferred brand, you can easily substitute baby powder or even find a knockoff brand at your local discount store for around $5. But you get what you pay fo, whether it’s $2 or $24r.

Step 6: Pat your scalp to remove any excess powder.

Step 6: Pat your scalp to remove any excess powder.

Works for many hair styles

Length, texture and thickness makes no difference because dry shampoo will work on any style. You don’t choose according to if your hair is color treated, dry or thin like you do with normal shampoos.

Step 7: Brush through one more time.

Step 7: Brush through one more time.

How to use it

Shake a coin sized amount into your palms, rub it into your hands and into your scalp as you would gel or anything else. Make sure to pat or brush it down so you aren’t left looking like you’re wearing George Washington’s powdered wig. If you’re using the spray version, hold it about four inches away from your head because if you get too close you will have one big white spot.

Step 8: You're all set!

Step 8: You're all set!

Other uses

It can also be used to soak up those oils in your face or decrease forehead and nose shine. Don’t cake yourself in it, but a light layer can help.

Brands I Recommend

  • Award Winning: Oscar Blandi Pronto Dry Shampoo, 2.5 oz, $21, also available in aerosol. BUY on Amazon >>
  • Cheapest: Pssst Aerosol Dry Shampoo, 5.3 oz, $5.72. BUY on Amazon >>
  • Best for Curly Hair: Tresemme Fresh Start Waterless Foam Shampoo, 6 oz, $4.49. BUY on Amazon >>
  • Best for Budget: Suave Dry Shampoo Spray, Beautiful Clean, 5 oz, $2.74. BUY on Amazon >>


13 Responses to Dry Shampoo: The Female Traveler’s Best Friend

  1. Christine May 28, 2012 at 3:04 pm #

    Yesssss I am such a dry shampoo convert! My fave is Batiste, an Aussie brand–I love it so much that I’m having an Australian friend bring me some over this summer! I can’t believe how much more limited the options are in the States–particularly for brunettes.

  2. Bonnie August 16, 2012 at 2:29 am #

    Stila makes a great one too. Wonderful fresh smell that still lasts well into the day.

  3. sarah December 2, 2012 at 7:18 am #

    Or you can make your own. All you need is cornstarch, and maybe a little cocoa powder to darken it if you have dark hair.

    • Brooke December 4, 2012 at 8:39 am #

      Amazing tip! Never would have thought of cocoa powder… you’ve done this? Would love to see a tutorial (with photos)

  4. gopika k menon September 8, 2014 at 3:57 pm #

    i loved this post! im gonna try this soon!!!!!!!!!!!!!


  5. Mari Zanini November 19, 2014 at 11:39 am #

    Gotta love the dry shampoo! I haven’t tried Oscar Blandi, but I specially recommend the Got 2b Rockin’it (available on any CVS store and on Amazon). It’s an aerossol version and smells amazing. I have oily scalp and usually don’t skip more than a day without washing my hair, but this dry shampoo works wonders and during my travels I can go for 2 or 3 days water-free! Jackpot! :-)


  1. Shampoo options for girls who travel | Her Packing List - June 26, 2012

    […] Read Caroline’s post on how to use the dry shampoo (plus find out her favorite […]

  2. How to Pack Light With Liquids - Travel Made Simple - August 24, 2012

    […] Dry shampoos and shampoo bars are available too, but you might want to try them out ahead of time to see how they work with your hair. […]

  3. Hitchhiking Europe Packing List - Her Packing List - April 29, 2013

    […] house every time, so we could wash frequently, but it depends on your hitchhiking style. I brought dry shampoo and never used it but again, if you are planning on camping along the way it might be a good […]

  4. A Fashionista's Packing List for 4 Months Backpacking Europe - Her Packing List - August 29, 2013

    […] Dry Shampoo […]

  5. Day 15: Explore Travel Size Hair Products - Her Packing List - September 16, 2013

    […] Dry Shampoo – Dry shampoo is not an alternative to washing your hair, but it’s a great thing to have for those in between showering or hair-washing days. It soaks up the oil in your scalp to make it look cleaner. Tip: Baby powder is an alternative for those with light hair. […]

  6. 15 Stocking Stuffer Gifts for Female Travelers - Her Packing List - November 14, 2013

    […] simple travel sized bottle of dry shampoo can bring joy to a female traveler. Dry shampoo is helpful on those tours in rustic Mongolia, cross-country train rides without showers, or just to […]

  7. Day 20: Health and Hygiene Packing Considerations - Her Packing List - April 29, 2014

    […] Dry shampoo– When your hair is looking dirty or if you’re in between showers, toss some dry shampoo into it to soak up the oils. […]

Leave a Reply