Dry shampoo is a beauty game-changer for everyone who’d rather hit the snooze button and grab an extra twenty minutes in bed than waste valuable sleeping time doing battle with the hair dryer. But could this lazy girl staple actually be damaging your hair, or even – yikes – cause bald patches?
It’s a questioning we’re asking thanks to the cautionary tale of Nicole Baxter from Belfast, whose dry shampoo horror story has gone viral after being shared over 30,000 times on Facebook.
Nicole’s post explains how she made an appointment with her GP towards the end of last year, after finding a bald patch which kept getting bigger. She also describes how ‘[her] scalp was also very itchy and flaky,’ with ‘red sores and blisters all over [the] scalp and a terrible burning sensation all over my head.’ She would wake up several times in the night due to the pain.
After a hospital appointment in February, she was diagnosed with triangular alopecia, and was told to return for a scalp biopsy. Nicole writes that ‘the doctor asked had I anything on my hair at the minute, I said just dry shampoo. So she advised when I come back for the scalp biopsy to come with nothing in my hair and to make sure it was clean.’ She then decided to stop using dry shampoo altogether.
When she returned for the biopsy, Nicole’s doctor told her that doing so was ‘the best thing [she] could [have] done for [her]self.’ For Nicole, the ‘moral of the story’ is that ‘dry shampoo caused me to now have this bald patch on my head […] Just wash your hair people! It is not worth having this awful patch that I might be stuck with on the side of my head all because I can’t be arsed to dry my hair.’
But can dry shampoo really make your hair fall out? We asked Anabel Kingsley, trichologist and haircare expert at Philip Kingsley.
‘If you regularly swap out ‘real shampoo’ for dry shampoo, it may adversely affect the scalp environment. Just like the rest of the body, the scalp needs to be properly cleansed on a frequent basis,’ Anabel explains.
‘Dry shampoos do have a place in hair care as long as they are not used too often as a replacement for shampooing. If you leave more than 3 days between washes, the scalp can get flaky and itchy – and flakes are known to worsen hair shedding in certain individuals.’
‘If you are too rough when you massage dry shampoo throughout your hair, you might cause breakage. This can be particularly obvious around the temples and front hairline as strands are more fragile here and the scalp tends to be rubbed more in these areas.
While this isn’t true hair loss from the follicle, it can still thin the appearance of the hair over time. However, very vigorous rubbing of the scalp may pull hairs out from their follicle – and if done consistently, patches of hair loss could occur.’ Yikes.
While this is just one cautionary tale in a sea of success stories, it’s definitely worth opting for the ‘everything in moderation’ approach when it comes to dry shampoo. And maybe, you know, actually washing our hair properly once in a while…