Dry Shampoo Versus Hair Wash


 - By Kailey Bradt

Dry Shampoo Versus Hair Wash

Dry shampoo or hair wash powder? Aren’t they the same? They are both dry. They can both be powder. So, what’s the difference? Let’s chat about what a dry shampoo is first.

Dry shampoo is a product form that originated in the 1940s despite its popularity today. In the 1940s, dry shampoo was commercially sold as a powder through the Minipoo brand. Although it wasn’t exactly the same formula that you will find commercially today, Minipoo had the same functionality as a modern-day dry shampoo.

Dry shampoo’s primary function is not to clean your hair, despite what it may sound like. Dry shampoo is actually a styling product that has two main functions:

Dry shampoo:

  1. Makes hair look clean
  2. Makes hair smell clean

Dry shampoo does not clean your hair.

So, how does dry shampoo work?

Dry shampoo contains highly absorbent ingredients that hide oil and make your hair look clean. In addition to eliminating the appearance of oil build up, there is usually a fragrance that masks odor and makes your hair smell good, too.

The first dry shampoo, Minipoo, was made up of three ingredients- talc, magnesium carbonate and fragrance. With its modern-day revival, dry shampoo rarely has talc, as talc can be contaminated with asbestos. Talc that contains asbestos has been classified as “carcinogenic to humans” by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).

Common oil-absorbing agents in dry shampoo today include:

  • Corn starch
  • Silica
  • Tapioca starch
  • Kaolin (a type of clay)
  • Aluminum starch octenylsuccinate
  • Oryza sativa (rice) starch
  • Avena sativa (oat) kernel flour

The list goes on.

Fragrance is still very much a common ingredient found in dry shampoo products. Additionally, dry shampoo has a few more form factors than it did in the 1940s. You can now find dry shampoo in the form of an aerosol spray, an aerosol foam and even a paste.

Aren't there powder dry shampoos?

Yes. Dry shampoos can come in many different formats today. You can find dry shampoo in powder formats, which are more environmentally friendly than their aerosol alternatives. Credo Beauty offers dry shampoo with clean ingredients and eco-conscious packaging. Though there are powder dry shampoos available, the aerosol sprays and foams, like those found at Sephora, are still more popular than the environmentally-friendly, powder format dry shampoos.

So what is Hair Wash?

Short answer- not a dry shampoo.

Longer answer, but still short- Hair Wash is your liquid shampoo, delivered to you without the water.

Longest answer- in 2016, before Hair Wash had its name, there were a lot of different product descriptions we played around with. Since "dry shampoo" already had been defined in the market, there were challenges around the perception of a powder shampoo that activated with water to become a liquid shampoo. It is a liquid shampoo, delivered in a different form. We tested terms like “powder shampoo,” “dehydrated shampoo,” and “waterless shampoo.” The difficulty we faced with these terms was that they still did not imply the product actually cleaned the hair. “Hair Wash,” however, says it like it is!

There is already face wash and body wash, so we thought why not hair wash? It just made sense to us.

Hair Wash does not contain any oil absorbing ingredients. Hair Wash’s ingredients list includes surfactants, just like you would find in a conventional liquid shampoo. Primary surfactants in a shampoo formula are the ingredients responsible for the cleaning properties of a shampoo. You can read more about the ingredients that go into a shampoo bottle here.

Read the Details:

Minipoo, The Original Dry Shampoo
Talcum Powder, by The American Cancer Society
Inside the Bottle: Shampoo

Image: 22 Tigers for Susteau