If I had to pick a single beauty product to be stranded on a desert island with—aside from sunscreen, because, duh—it would be dry shampoo. I’ve written extensively about my love of the stuff (as well as my intense hatred of washing my hair), and I’m fully willing to admit that I spend at least four mornings a week treating my scalp to a dry shampoo shower. So, when a dry conditioner came across my desk a few weeks ago, care of Batiste (the brand behind my favorite $8 dry shampoo), I actually yelped with joy. I had no idea what the heck it did, but I was already obsessed.
Before I doused my hair with what I was sure would become my new favorite beauty product, I turned to the pros to find out what it was all about. “While dry shampoo absorbs the oils and excess product from your roots and scalp, it can be a bit drying on the rest of your hair and leave the mid shafts and ends feeling gritty—that’s where dry conditioner comes in,” says Daniella Vassallo, a colorist at New York City’s Antonio Prieto Salon. “Dry conditioner restores shine and moisture back into the hair and leaves it with a soft, velvety finish.”
Sold! After hearing the hype, I decided to give dry conditioner a try one afternoon when I was rocking some serious third-day hair. I’d given my strands a once-over with dry shampoo that morning and despite the oil being gone from my roots and was left with the powdery finish that was a dead giveaway I hadn’t sudsed up. Per the instructions from a stylist, I spritzed my lengths, beginning four-inches below my scalp to the tips and gave it a quick comb-through with my fingers. My hair was much smoother and shinier than it had been pre-spray, to the point that a coworker actually commented on how good it looked. I could definitely sense that there was product in my hair, and while it didn’t look as good as when it’s freshly washed, it was a vast improvement.
Aside from helping make my $40 blowouts last for as many days as humanly (and sanitarily) possible, dry conditioner can also make hair softer and shinier, sans shower. “Almost like a quick conditioning in between shampoos,” says Amy Bradbury, a head stylist at Kennaland Studio in Brooklyn, adding that it works wonders for dry, fine hair that may not be able to tolerate heavy oil. “It can help extend the life of your blowout by de-frizzing and adding shine, especially in the winter when hair feels like it could use a bit more conditioning.” Both stylists note, though, that you should still plan on conditioning your hair in the shower—the dry stuff won’t make up for a good, old fashioned rinse and lather.
My dry conditioner officially lives on my desk now (that is, until I have to take it to a desert island), but here are five options worth putting off a wash for.
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