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The hair-raising growth of dry shampoo

April 9th 2013 / Anna Hunter

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The beauty industry is allowing us to be a little lazier with the growth of dry shampoo, writes Anna Hunter

We always mean to start the week as swishy, sparkly and shiny specimens, rising with the larks and eager to get back on the horse. The world is our Oyster (which, incidentally, we definitely didn’t misplace over the weekend) and we pre-planned our polished work outfit the night before. Monday will be GREAT and we will all be ball-breaking Beyoncés of business. The only hitch being that we forgot to set our alarms. In the olden days we may have dashed tube-wards in an unfashionably late manner trailing sopping hair more akin to soggy rats’ tails behind us, but thankfully, there has been a snooze-button revolution. The rat race game changer to credit is the humble dry shampoo.

Actually, dry shampoo in various forms has existed for quite a while now. Those savvy Victorians sprinkled arrowroot powder on the hair to absorb oil and grime, while exhausted new mums have been turning to the baby powder in times of grease-induced desperation for decades. Our BFF Batiste was invented in 1975 but it wasn’t until 2008 that dry shampoo began to clean up sales wise, with the introduction of new products, brands and formulations accounting for 1% of global shampoo launch activity according to Mintel’s Global New Products Database.

Since then our oil-slick saviour has captured 3% of this category and is expected to surpass this level in 2013. Although this statistic may appear to lack oomph, March’s Mintel data shows that the UK is far and away the biggest dry shampoo market, with nearly a quarter of women throwing in the towel and opting for a water-free hair wash.

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Mintel’s research showed that 17% of women use dry shampoo when they don’t have time to wash their hair, and we suspect that there are a fair few brothers, boyfriends and husbands to add to this figure. Apart from its timesaving and grease-sapping qualities, a spritz of the powdery stuff is guaranteed to impart volume and body to even the lankiest of locks. Hairstylist Michael Ashton, whose clients include gloriously groomed Adele and exquisitely tousled Elle MacPherson, always has a bottle of dry shampoo in his kit.

“If hair is too clean it helps to add body and grip to the hair shaft, yet also in turn if the hair or scalp has suffered an oil overload, dry shampoo is a fantastic product for absorbing the excess and allowing you to create shape and style without it dropping.”

In addition to being a stylist’s dream, we all know how kiss-the-ground grateful we’ve been to have it in our handbags/ backpacks/ gym kits in our unwashed hours of need. And as Michael points out, with va va voom sprays, powders and foams all available from your nearest chemist, “There is literally the perfect dry shampoo for everyone. It’s a matter of experimenting and finding the one that works best for you and your particular hair type, colour and lifestyle.”

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Amy Ziegler, a Mintel beauty and personal care analyst, also emphasises that the future is bright in terms of product formulation: “Shine, which is not normally associated with dry shampoo, is a top priority for customers and will therefore be a top priority for manufacturers.”

Until then, we suggest that you go easy on dry stuff; as with all of life’s shortcuts, you can’t cheat nature forever. Sooner or later the grease will get you, and a matte, slightly grey tinged barnet won’t be fooling anyone; use sparingly and everyone will believe you’re a snooze-defying early bird.

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