Ensure Your Hairstyle Lasts Even Longer with Dry Conditioner
This is part of our weekly series Test Drive, where our team of beauty experts demystify products and tools, and explore new techniques IRL.
For years, the MVP of my hair routine has been dry shampoo. Its oil-absorbing, cleansing properties are the quick fix my hair needs after morning workouts. I love any chance to skip washing my hair, a process that takes way too long from beginning to end. Between my wash sessions, I notice that while dry shampoo helps keep my hair clean, the ends of my hair feel dry, and my hair starts to get super frizzy and knotted. The solution? Dry conditioner.
According to Leigh Hardges, stylist at Maxine Salon in Chicago, a dry conditioner is basically just an aerosol version of your daily conditioner. They both make your hair soft and shiny, but one of the biggest differences is that dry conditioner does not need to be rinsed out afterward. "Dry conditioner is a mix of oils, emulsifiers, and alcohols that provides moisture between shampoos," Hardges says. It also helps tame frizz, prevent static, and provide the softness and slip needed to detangle hair. Some dry conditioners can even be used as a heat protectant for restyling your hair.
My Favorite Dry Conditioners
When I use a dry conditioner, I notice that it's easier to brush through my hair without tangles. It also keeps frizz to a minimum, which is perfect for the mornings that I don't have much time to restyle my hair. When I'm running short on time, I just spray some dry conditioner on the bottom half of my hair and then brush as normal; it redefines my waves and curls, and my hair looks like it's been freshly washed and styled.
Using a dry conditioner between washes is great, but it shouldn't replace your regular conditioner on wash days, says Hardges. Regular conditioner seals the cuticle and hydrates the hair from the inside out. Since you don't wet your hair when using a dry conditioner, it only hydrates the surface of the hair.
Hardges recommends using dry conditioner after dry shampoo when dry styling your hair. To apply dry conditioner, spray it on the mid-strands through the ends of your hair, using short bursts to prevent using too much product (which might make your hair look oily). "You can use dry conditioner two-three times before the hair gets too weighed down or oily and needs to be washed," Hardges says.
With thick, long hair, I can usually get away with using a dry conditioner three times before it feels (and looks) like it needs a wash. If you have fine hair, you might have to wash your hair more frequently, so your hair never looks stringy or dirty. If you're looking for an easy solution to keep your hair soft, shiny and frizz-free between washes, I recommend trying a dry conditioner. It has completely transformed my wavy hair routine, and it can do the same for you. Shop three affordable picks below. Your hair will thank you!