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Is Dry Shampoo Bad for the Environment?

Dry shampoo is a lifesaver for those of us who hate the feeling of dirty hair. The good ones clean your scalp and give extra volume, which can reduce washing your locks as frequently as you might need to otherwise. But is dry shampoo bad for the environment?

But not all dry shampoos were created equal, and some contain harmful ingredients. There also may be environmental concerns with how they are packaged and carried.

We all know that dry shampoo is bad for your roots but is it bad for the environment? We already use so many harmful products on our bodies every day, from makeup to deodorant to body wash, that we needn’t create another problem for Mother Nature by adding dry shampoo to the mix.

Before you grab your next can, read this article for details on why you should avoid dry shampoo that contains harmful ingredients and how choosing the right kind of dry shampoo can be better for the environment.

How do dry shampoos affect our environment?

Bouncy Hair

Dry shampoo in itself is not necessarily bad for the environment. The issue is that many conventional dry shampoos contain harmful ingredients.

Some dry shampoos can also leave aerosol residue, which might be harmful to the environment or your lungs. These are things to consider when choosing between different kinds of dry shampoo.

When you use a product every day on your body, it’s important to know what it’s made of and how safe those ingredients are for you and the environment. Some dry shampoos have been found to contain harmful ingredients or leave behind residue that might be bad for your health.

One of the most common ingredients in dry shampoo is aerosol. Aerosols are a big concern, as they can contribute to smog, harm the environment, and hurt human health. They’re also very difficult to recycle.

Some dry shampoos can contain silicone, which does not easily wash out of your hair and is a potential irritant.

Be aware that many aerosol cans cannot be recycled at recycling facilities, so using a dry shampoo with an aerosol formula might create more waste for the environment.

Not all aerosols are bad for the environment. Some dry shampoos are completely non-aerosol, but still, leave behind residue that can be hard to remove from your hair.

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Safety concerns with aerosols

Spraying a woman's hair
Karolina Grabowska / Pexels

The main reason why many people choose not to use products with aerosol is because of safety concerns. Aerosols have been shown to contribute to smog, which can have serious health consequences and is bad for the ozone layer.

Possible dangers caused by smog include asthma attacks, respiratory problems, and low birth weights in newborns. Smog is also especially harmful to children.

The primary ingredient associated with smog is volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are derived from the products we use every day to clean our homes, and they contribute to smog when released into the air.

Another concern with aerosols is that aerosol particles can be easily inhaled as well as settle on food crops. The EPA has determined that many VOCs used in aerosol products are either suspected or proven carcinogens.

Using these types of products can make you more likely to suffer various chronic diseases, including cancer.

The use of aerosols can also contribute to poor indoor air quality. The effects of poor indoor air quality range from bad odors and headaches to dizziness, asthma attacks, and even death.

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How does dry shampoo affect wildlife?

Woman brushing and holding her hair outdoors
cocoandwifi / Pixabay

Dry shampoo can also potentially affect local wildlife. Aerosol particles that settle on food crops and waterways can be ingested by animals and filtered down into the water supply.

Additionally, some dry shampoos contain ingredients that are harmful to animals such as bees.

Similarly, aerosols may contain ingredients that increase the risk of respiratory problems for wildlife in your area.

The impact of dry shampoo on the environment is still unclear, but it’s best to err on the side of caution and choose formulas that are non-aerosol and biodegradable when possible.

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Aerosol vs non-aerosol dry shampoos

Using Hair Product

There are different kinds of dry shampoo formulas. Aerosols are the most popular because they’re easy to use and spray directly onto your scalp without the mess.

The other kind is a powder that you have to apply with your fingers or a brush.

Powder forms of dry shampoo are usually completely non-aerosol. However, it’s important to read the label and make sure your dry shampoo doesn’t contain any aerosol ingredients that might pose a risk to human health or the environment.

Another concern when choosing between different kinds of dry shampoos is which kind leaves behind residue after use. Some dry shampoos leave behind a white residue that can be hard to wash out. This is often the case with aerosol formulas.

Many non-aerosol dry shampoos, such as powder and cream formulas, don’t cause this problem since they’re not typically made with the same kind of propellants or other ingredients found in aerosol products.

But certain non-aerosol formulas might still cause residue that can be hard to remove from your hair, especially if it contains silicone.

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What dry shampoos are considered safe for the environment?

Woman spraying dry shampoo
Alan W / Unsplash

As you could probably guess, using products with ingredients like aerosol and silicone aren’t the best choice for the environment. They’ll do more damage than good.

However, there are green dry shampoos that can be considered safe for the environment. These products do little to no damage and may solve your smog problems.

Many green dry shampoos are completely non-aerosol and contain natural ingredients, so you don’t have to worry about VOCs or other ingredients that pose health risks.

Some green dry shampoos are actually DIY recipes that you can make at home with ingredients like apple cider vinegar, cornstarch, coconut oil, peppermint oil, and baking soda.

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What are natural dry shampoos, is it safe for the environment?

Combing Golden Locks

To understand natural dry shampoo, it’s important to know what dry shampoo is. Dry shampoo is a product that helps absorb excess natural oils from your hair, making it look clean and refreshed.

There are different formulas, but most types consist of dry shampoo powder made out of ingredients like rice starch, organic arrowroot powder, or silica. This dry shampoo powder provides a similar function as aerosol formulas, but they’re not typically made with the same kind of propellants or other ingredients found in aerosol products.

Because dry shampoo is meant to be used on your hair, it’s important that any natural dry shampoo you use doesn’t contain harmful chemicals like sulfates or aerosol.

Sulfates are detergents that can be found in products like shampoo, body wash, and toothpaste. They’re useful because they help absorb excess oil, but they should never be used on your hair or scalp. Studies show that sulfates can damage hair follicles over time, which leads to permanent hair loss.

Dry shampoos made with detergent sulfates can be damaging for your hair. It’s best to opt for dry shampoos that don’t contain sulfates, silicone, or parabens.

Silicone is an ingredient that keeps hair looking smooth and clean much like how sunscreen will protect your skin from the sun. While silicones aren’t necessarily bad for your hair, it’s important to use them in the right amount.

If your dry shampoo contains too much silicone, your hair will take on a greasy look. This is especially true if you have thin or fine hair.

Harsh sulfates and lots of silicone aren’t always natural ingredients, even though they technically are. This is why it’s important to recognize natural dry shampoo when you see it and if can cause damage to your hair.

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Use natural dry shampoo instead of chemical dry shampoo

Woman using a hair care spray while on bed
Polina Tankilevitch / Pexels

Dry shampoo is used by many people for their hair care routine, to help them get through the day without washing their hair. It’s meant to be used in small amounts, but some products may not be safe for everyday use.

There is a dry shampoo that should never be used unless you want to damage your hair and prevent hair growth. These include formulas that contain harmful chemicals like sulfates or silicone.

A dry shampoo that doesn’t include these ingredients may be safer for the environment, but it’s also important to evaluate how much damage it can do to your hair.

Natural dry shampoos are an option if you want something safe and healthy to use on your hair. However, this type of dry shampoo mustn’t contain harmful chemicals like sulfates and silicone.

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Dry shampoo is bad for the environment because it’s an artificial chemical, and these chemicals can contaminate or pollute soil, groundwater, surface water, rivers, and streams. Plus aerosol cans add up to excess non-recyclable garbage.

This article provides an example of just one way that dry shampoo became a bad thing for the environment. It was discovered to be negatively impacting fish living near sewage treatment plants in Israel.

Similar effects have been documented elsewhere as well. And that’s not all – dry hydrogen peroxide products also release the synthetic hydrogen peroxide into aquatic habitats via wastewater effluent discharge to air-borne deposition during their application process onto the hair.

Regardless of where they are released (to groundwater, rivers, or lakes), they could potentially cause adverse environmental effects by reacting with other naturally occurring chemicals.

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Final Thoughts

For many of us, hair care may be one of the most important parts of our daily lives. Taking good care of your hair is an essential part of every lifestyle, whether you’re on a budget or not.

Your hair can tell people a lot about who you are and what kind of person you are. And it’s important not to neglect your hair and the environment for the sake of saving a few bucks. We can always look for better options.

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