The Best Benzene-Free Dry Shampoos & Alternatives for Refreshed Hair

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Shop Benzene-Free Dry ShampooPhoto Courtesy of Getty Images – Elena Medoks

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If you can’t imagine a life without dry shampoo, we’re right there with you. For so many, it’s a holy grail product that helps absorb excess oil so you can put off washing your hair for another day.

However, it’s important to note that several dry shampoos from a number of brands have been recalled recently due to reports of potentially harmful levels of benzene. But what is benzene, why is it bad for you, and what is it doing in your favorite dry shampoos? More importantly, what’s a girl to do when your holy grail hair product might interfere with your health? Let’s investigate.

What is benzene?

Benzene is an organic chemical compound that has been determined to be a known carcinogen, according to the CDC. High levels of exposure to benzene can lead to various health consequences, including cancer reproductive problems. 

Why is benzene in dry shampoo harmful?

Benzene is a known carcinogen that has been linked to various health problems, including leukemia, anemia, immune system damage, and reproductive issues. Because of this, it is generally recommended that you look for hair products, including dry shampoos, that are formulated without benzene.

Benzene is not an ingredient that is used to make dry shampoo, instead, it appears in products as the result of a chemical reaction that may occur in aerosol cans, which is why a number of spray deodorants and sunscreens have also been recalled for containing detectable levels of benzene. Essentially, the propellant used in aerosol cans can potentially create the presence benzene, according to a study.

Is dry shampoo bad for you?

The short answer is no. There are plenty of options out there that will give you refreshed, oil-free tresses, without putting your health on the line. There are several dry shampoos out there that you can count on to add life to your hair while extending time between washes. Best of all, you can trust these products to give you revitalized feeling and looking hair without exposing you to carcinogens. While some brands that sell aerosol dry shampoos have guaranteed test results show no detectable levels of benzene, the only way to ensure that you won’t be exposed to benzene is by using non-aerosol dry shampoos, which usually come in the form of powders.

What should I look for when shopping for benzene-free dry shampoo?

When it comes to benzene-free dry shampoo, you’ll want to look for a dry shampoo powder that does not come in an aerosol can. While dry shampoo powder may be more tedious to apply to hair than traditional dry shampoo, it’s worth it if you want to avoid exposure to benzene. Plus, a dry shampoo powder can be just as effective as its aerosol counterpart thanks to ingredients like tapioca starch and rice starch, which absorb excess oil without potential risk of benzene exposure.

Is benzene-free dry shampoo suitable for all hair types?

In terms of ingredients, benzene-free shampoos are generally safe for all hair types. However, there are various other unique factors to consider (e.g., hair porosity and scalp sensitivity), that it’s important to find the formula that works best for you. Nonetheless, looking for a dry shampoo formula that is free of benzene is a good place to start.

From Acure’s Dry Shampoo to Billie’s Floof Dry Shampoo and Verb’s Dry Shampoo Powder , read on for the best benzene-free dry shampoos starting as low as $9. Your hair— and health— will thank you!

K18 AirWash™ Dry Shampoo

This non-aerosol powder shampoo absorbs excess oil and eliminates odor for up to three days after application, all without leaving behind a white cast or causing build-up.

Verb Dry Shampoo Powder

This shampoo powder, which is free of benzene and talc, is not only made with tapioca starch to remove excess oil from your hair, but it also adds volume.

Geologie Co-Wash Cleansing Conditioner

If you haven’t heard about Geologie’s Hair Co-Wash, consider this your formal introduction. It’s a low foam hair wash that comes in two different one-step formulas that clean your hair and extend time between washes. I use the Co-Wash once or twice a week to reduce wash days for my thicker, curly hair, and the result is the same each time— gleaming curls that look and feel revitalized. The cooling tea tree, menthol, aloe, Squalane and Vitamin B5 ingredients regulate my hair’s oil production all while reducing frizz. The Co-Wash is a gamechanger! 

I Dew Care Dry Shampoo Powder

This benzene-free, ultra-fine dry shampoo powder is an ideal choice for those who want to freshen up their hair without harsh chemicals or fragrances. It’s formulated with root-boosting powder, black ginseng, and biotin as well.

One Amazon shopper raved, “After searching far and wide, this is the only dry shampoo that I will ever use! I’ve tried countless brands and spent so much money searching for the perfect dry shampoo. This one has the least harmful ingredients and the most noticeable results! I apply it at my roots and brush through right before going to bed. In the morning, my hair doesn’t look oily at all! By the third day there is a noticeable texture from the product, but that personally helps me style my hair to stay in a cute messy bun. This is the only dry shampoo I will ever recommend!”

Handmade Heroes Non Aerosol Dry Shampoo Volume Powder

This dry shampoo powder is crafted from 100% natural, plant-based ingredients, and it’s made without benzene, synthetic fragrances, parabens, or artificial preservatives. The powder is super easy to apply and blend out, and it also delivers a volumizing effect for optimal styling.

According to one shopper on Amazon, “This is hands down THE BEST dry shampoo I’ve ever used! I’ve tried just about every brand on the market and I decided to give this one a try after I ran out of my usual not your mothers dry shampoo, and I’m so glad I did! The scent is light- barely even notice it.. oil instantly absorbed, & it gives your hair a nice boost of volume. 10/10 would recommend”

Kristin Ess Hair Fragrance Free Dry Shampoo Powder

If you’re sensitive to scents, check out this fragrance-free dry shampoo powder from Kristin Ess. The lightweight formula revives volume at the root while soaking up excess oil for a flawless finish.

One Ulta shopper wrote, “Stop with the heavily scented aerosol dry shampoos. Give this a try and I promise, you won’t go back. Don’t get me wrong, I have loved my coconut vanilla scented dry shampoo for well over six years. But when I tell you, I tried this one time and fell in love, it is the honest truth. I also feel better about not damaging my hair with so many chemicals and fragrance. I use a kabuki brush to work it in as I have very dark hair and it works wonders on my oily roots!”

Billie Floof Dry Shampoo

This Billie Floof Dry Shampoo is a non-aerosol dry shampoo powder that incorporates biotin, baking soda and rice starch to give you volume and an oil-free look. It dissolves into your hair as you work it into your roots, so you don’t need to worry about any leftover powder.

One user writes, “Loved that it blended to my hair. No white residue mess! I have super greasy roots and it works so well for me! I focus on about 2-3 inches of my roots, sprinkle and then massage in. Will be buying again.”

Acure Dry Shampoo

A dry shampoo that actually works and is priced so affordably is a rarity, which is why you should try out this Acure dry shampoo that is currently on sale for $9. It works on all hair types, and is easy to apply either directly to your scalp or on a brush for a smoother application.

One review writes, “Getting dry shampoo in anything other than an aerosol can was strange but I really like this product! Someone said don’t open it all the way if you don’t want a lot to pour out so that’s how I did it. This product leaves little to NO build up in your hair. I’m now able to go longer between washes.”

Act+Acre Fulvic Acid Volumizing Dry Shampoo

This plant-based dry shampoo from Act+Acre has so many positive reviews for its clean ingredients and absence of benzene. The unscented dry shampoo is perfect to extend time between wash days while cleansing and volumizing your hair.

One review writes, “This is the first dry shampoo that does not make my scalp feel itchy— or turn into a scaly rash. I have very sensitive skin and this product does not irritate it whatsoever. Huge plus: the packaging is sleek and it’s super easy to transport. Highly recommend!”

Bumble and Bumble Prêt-à-Powder Dry Shampoo Powder

Bumble and bumble has been my go-to hair care line for years now, and their dry shampoo powder is no exception! It adds volume and texture to my hair while cleansing my roots effectively without weighing my curls down. For a mess-free application, powder the product over a brush and then apply to your roots.

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