Whispers of the dangers of dry shampoo have recently taken the second-day hair world by storm. (It causes bald spots! It does damage! It will give you dandruff!) But before you start stocking up on shampoo and gearing into suds overload, our cosmetic chemist settles the rumor—and explains the science behind how your strands really react to the ingredients in this go-to product—once and for all.
MYTH 1: A common ingredient in many powder forms of cosmetic formulas, talc, contains asbestos.
“As with many things floating around the web, this fear is unfounded,” cosmetic chemist Kelly Dobos explains. “Talc is a mined mineral and special care is taken in mining and refining grades used in cosmetics and personal care products. To address concerns, the FDA even conducted a study of both talc as a raw material and in finished goods utilizing two analytical test methods. They could not detect asbestos in any of the samples by either method. And in most cases, dry shampoos rely on starches derived from rice for absorbing oils from the scalp and hair.”
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MYTH 2: Dry shampoos clog the hair follicle and cause hair loss or alternatively cause dandruff.
This is another case of unproven concern. “The particles of starch are easily brushed out of the hair,” Dobos says, but does stress that shampooing is still the best way to cleanse the scalp because dry shampoos typically don’t help remove the buildup from styling products effectively. “So, prolonged use of dry shampoos may result in extra flaking of polymers and film former from product. The average person loses something like 80 to 100 hairs from their scalp per day, so dry shampoo users may notice more hair ending up in their brush rather than going unnoticed down the drain during hair washing. And with regards to dandruff, this is a condition that is related to an imbalance of the micro flora on the scalp, specifically a fungi called Malassezia furfur; the condition is not related to the use of dry shampoo.