Dry Shampoo: The Female Traveler’s Best Friend

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

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.

*We are referring to the powder versions of dry shampoo- not aerosols, which count as liquids.

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.

Cheap

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 >>

Written by Caroline

Caroline Eubanks is a native of Atlanta, Georgia, but has also called Charleston, South Carolina and Sydney, Australia home. After college graduation and a series of useless part-time jobs, she went to Australia for a working holiday. In that time, she worked as a bartender, bungee jumped, scuba dived, pet kangaroos, held koalas and drank hundreds of cups of tea. You can find Caroline at Caroline in the City.

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Sea to Summit – Of all the Sea to Summit products, our most recommended is the fits-in-your-palm, super packable Ultra-Sil Daypack.


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Nalgene Toiletry Bottles – These leak-free toiletry bottles and tubs come in all sizes – even super tiny, helping minimalists pack it all without bulk.

Turkish Towels – They’re thinner than most travel towels, and they actually cover your body! We can’t get enough of Turkish towels for travel.


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Speakeasy Supply Co. – They make the awesome hidden pocket infinity scarves that are perfect for stashing secret cash, lip balms, and passports.

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Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. Christine says

    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. sarah says

    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.

  3. Mari Zanini says

    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! 🙂

  4. Christie says

    Dry shampoos in aerosol cans are subject to same TSA rules as liquid. This post should be clarified to avoid any confusion. I traveled with a can that was above the limit and it was confiscated.

  5. Jacqueline says

    heyy !! I was just wanna ask, is dry shampoo in aerosol form allowed in your suitcase ? I’m going to travel this saturday, and I want to bring my dry shampoo, but not sure if it’s allowed. So, I hope you can give me an answer for my problem 🙂

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