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The New Lazy-Morning Essential For Your Hair

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For years, dry shampoo has been the thing for those who want to go an extra day or two without a wash and blowout. So it was only a matter of time before dry conditioners hit shelves. While it may sound a little ridiculous, it’s actually kind of life-changing. Like its predecessor, dry conditioner usually comes in the form of a lightweight powder, often in an aerosol-type dispenser, and you use it without getting hair wet.

By now you all understand the magic of dry shampoo: it absorbs oils and refreshes dry, unwashed locks so that you can skip the suds and blow dryer without looking like a greasy nightmare. But dry shampoo has its limitations. It’s easy to overdo, and some formulations leave your hair way too matte, dull-looking, and in the worst cases, even white and powdery. They also don’t do anything to address dry and damaged ends that can advertise the fact that you’re rocking second- or third-day hair.

This is where dry conditioner comes in. You use it after your fave dry shampoo to rehydrate and tame any ragged-looking ends—or spritz it on a previous style (even an updo or topknot!) to make it look polished and smooth again. From what I found, it’s ideal to pair most dry conditioners with a dry shampoo, especially if you have oily hair. I got the best results by avoiding the roots (which can lead to greasiness), and instead aiming my spritzes onto the mid-lengths and ends. After a few seconds, you can run a brush through it, but if your hair is already styled you don’t have to. When I sprayed it over curls, I ran my fingers through; when I used it on a top knot, I didn’t do anything—generally, it works right away.

You might be wondering if you can actually replace your dry shampoo with a dry conditioner. The short answer is yes—certain dry conditioners absorb dirt and oil while moisturizing and adding body. So with those, you can probably get away with skipping dry shampoo, but experiment to see what works best with your hair. Some (like Pureology’s) are even formulated with antioxidants and minerals to help extend the life of color and protect against environmental damage.

Though still relatively new to the market, we expect to see more and more dry conditioners taking over shelves in the coming years. In the meantime, here’s a closer look at a few that are available now.

Serge Normant Meta Revive Dry Conditioner $25

Best for: thin or finehair that falls flat quickly; works better paired with dry shampoo

If you never felt quite right about leaving the house without a fresh blowout, this is your new best friend. It feels weightless on, and won’t make locks lose body. However, it doesn’t remove oil and works better following your favorite dry shampoo for an added boost. Right after applying, the scent of alcohol is noticeable, but it fades away after a few minutes, leaving argan oil to hydrate and soften hair.

Pureology Fresh Approach Dry Condition $24

Best for: thick, all-one-length, or color-treated hair; works better paired with dry shampoo

If you’re in serious need of moisture, try this spray! Paraben– and mineral oil–free, it’s packed with pure ingredients to condition and cleanse. The pros: it has a crisp, floral scent (seriously, it smells amazing!), lends a nice shine, and contains an antifade complex designed to make color last longer. The cons: Although the product is supposed to be dry and lightweight, it’s slightly wet and heavy when you spray it on, and it left my layers sort of stringy and weighed down, especially after being flatironed. Because of the latter, again, this one is best paired with a dry shampoo to balance out how hydrating it is.

Oribe Soft Dry Conditioner Spray $35

Best for: Everyone! Thick, thin, and anywhere in between; no dry shampoo needed

After spritzing on some of this miracle worker I fell in love (and you will, too!). The argan and neem oils left my hair feeling softer and silkier than even a traditional conditioner alone would, and instantly de-frizzed my ‘do. I’d use it to smooth out locks even on a wash day! And because the formula contains oil-absorbing ingredients (zeolite and silkening powders), it leaves locks totally refreshed even without the help of dry shampoo. It’s the perfect all-in-one travel item because it could take the place of dry shampoo, thermal protectant, and shine spray—definitely worth the investment!

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