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Is dry shampoo bad for your hair?

Dry Shampoo like Batiste is becoming very popular. While you rinse normal shampoo off when you wash your hair in the shower, dry shampoo can sit on your head for days. It comes into direct contact with your scalp, meaning the chemicals it contains are sitting on your scalp and perhaps absorbing into your bloodstream. But is it bad for your hair or your health?

Here are the ingredients of the popular dry shampoo brand Batiste:

Butane

Butane is a colourless odourless gas. The CIR Panel have found that when used in shampoo it is safe. It was a concern for some that thought butane may have an anaesthetic property on humans when used in cosmetics but when it was researched in 2006, it was found to be safe and actually only comes into contact with the skin for a matter of seconds and vaporizes very quickly.

Isobutane

Another colourless odourless gas, very similar to butane, again this was found to be safe in human cosmetics and vaporizes very quickly when used. In 2002, the CIR Panel rechecked this and found it to be safe.

Propane

Similar to butane and isobutane, propane was rechecked by the CIR Panel in 2002 to see if it was safe. Used as a propellant and vaporizes when in contact with the skin.

Oryza Sativa (rice starch)

Tested by the CIR Panel and found to be safe. It was noted that some of the pesticides used to grow the crop could be found in the product. Therefore, a required limit was put onto the product ensuring that it does not exceed a certain amount of pesticide when used in human cosmetic products. However this fact remains the same for all cosmetic products that contain ingredients farmed using pesticides (the vast majority). The only way to avoid this is to use an organic shampoo or organic conditioner.

Alcohol Denat

Safe for human use and is a useful antifoaming/antimicrobial agent.

Perfume (Fragrance)

Fragrance is used to make products smell better. It works to cover the scent of other ingredients, which may have strong chemical scents.

Coumarin

A crystalline and it smells like vanilla, or nuts. It is safe to be used in human cosmetics. The FDA has said it is not OK for food, however.

Distearyldimnium Chloride

Not known to pose a risk to human health.

Cetrimonium Chloride

This has been found to be safe for use in rinse off products. When used in leave in products it is only recommended to use 0.25% concentration.

Although you wouldn’t want to eat any of these ingredients the first three are safe because they are unlikely to come into contact with your skin long enough for them to be absorbed. The last three ingredients are considered safe at these levels.

Is this a problem?

All of these chemicals have been certified as safe for use in leave-in cosmetic products. They don’t pose any known danger and there are no official reports of health problems being caused by dry shampoo.

Let’s compare those ingredients with the ingredients in the Body Shop Rainforest Volumizing Shampoo. The Body Shop market their products as non-animal tested and 100% natural.

Inside the Body Shop’s Rainforest Shampoo is:

  • Certified organic lavender hydrosol (Lavandula officinalis)
  • Certified organic saw palmetto (sarenoa serrulate) (may help reduce DHT in the scalp)
  • Aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) (may help reduce inflammation in the scalp)
  • Cetyl alcohol (from coconut)
  • Vegetable emulsifying wax
  • Certified organic sunflower oil (helianthus annuus)
  • Certified organic wheat protein (Triticum aestivum)
  • Biotin and Niacin (vitamin B complex)
  • Certified organic jojoba oil (Simmondsia chinensis)
  • Panthenol (pro-vitamin B5)
  • Vegetable glycerin
  • Zinc gluconate
  • Citric acid
  • Methylpropyl parabens
  • Grapefruit

When you compare these ingredients to the ones in the Babtiste Dry Shampoo you can see a clear difference in quality and nutritional value.

Conclusion

So is dry shampoo bad for your hair?

The answer is yes and no. Because dry shampoo absorbs oils, it may have some benefit because it could possibly help keep the scalps pores clear. If it doesn’t, then it just sticks the absorbed oils to your scalp. However, that is a big if.
The problem I see with dry shampoo is that you spray it directly into the roots of your hair and rub it into your scalp.

I would really advise against rubbing the chemicals in dry shampoo into your hair and scalp and leaving them all day and sometimes for several days and nights. It’s fine to do this from time to time, but if you’re leaving those ingredients on your scalp several days a week you’re increasing the chances of scalp skin pores becoming blocked and the chemicals absorbing into your skin. While these chemicals are perfectly safe in small doses, with day in day out use for prolonged periods there may be issues. It could potentially affect your skin if it is irritated by the chemicals, your hair and even your health.

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