What’s in Your Dry Shampoo?

by Kitschy Inc. on September 09, 2021

When we don’t wash our hair enough we run into problems like greasy and limp hair. Enter dry shampoo! It refreshes hair between washes and adds volume to limp locks. No wonder it’s become a super product in our daily routine. It’s hard to imagine surviving without it today.

The old-fashioned version of dry shampoo was plain baby powder. But, if you’ve been reading the news, you know that Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder was linked to cancer. In fact, a Los Angeles jury awarded one woman $29 million when she credited the baby powder with causing her cancer. The carcinogenic ingredient in baby powder is talcum powder, commonly known as talc. It’s a mineral produced from mining rocks and has been used in the cosmetics industry for its ability to absorb moisture. Impure talc contains asbestos however, which contributes to lung and ovarian cancers.


Unfortunately, current dry shampoos are not much better in terms of their ingredients. Some may claim to be talc-free, but the majority of them are packaged in aerosol cans. When sprayed, aerosol cans release colourless, odourless gases such as butane, isobutane, and propane. These are liquid petroleum gases that contribute to air pollution and the depletion of the ozone layer. Aerosols not only harm the environment, but also your lungs. The gases released replace oxygen making it difficult to breathe, which can lead to headaches and nausea. Although a quick spritz is convenient, it’s really not worth the contribution to air pollution and the risk to your health.

Alcohol denat is also used in dry shampoos. It is a combination of ethanol and a denaturing agent. Benzyl alcohol is also mixed in to make in undrinkable. The purpose of alcohol denat in dry shampoo is to draw moisture and oil away from the scalp. It is a well-known fact that alcohol is very drying, which can contribute to, or worsen, dandruff, dryness, skin irritation, blocked pores, and conditions such as eczema and rosacea.

Another common ingredient in dry shampoo is cetrimonium chloride. It is used in hair care products to inhibit the buildup of static electricity and the growth of microorganisms. It also helps water mix with oil and dirt in order to be rinsed away. According to the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Assessments and Association of Occupational & Environmental Clinics, it is also a known skin toxicant.

Benzyl benzoate is a solvent and is often used in fragrances. A single fragrance can include up to 300 ingredients! Many of these ingredients are not tested for safety. Some are even known to causes disturbances with hormonal health. Benzyl benzoate in particular is a possible human immune system toxicant and may be associated with disruption of the endocrine system.

Healthier dry shampoos that use natural, non-toxic ingredients are available on the market. For example, NIUCOCO’s Non-Aerosol Dry Shampoo contains ingredients like zea mays starch, kaolin, tapioca starch, dehydrated coconut milk, aloe barbadensis leaf juice, and organic fragrance composed of only natural aromatic compounds (not synthetic). Here is why NIUCOCO has selected these ingredients for your hair:

Zea mays starch is made from corn (non-GMO corn in this case). According to the Cosmetics Ingredients Review, it functions as an absorbent, skin protectant, and increases the viscosity of beauty products. We use it in our dry shampoo to absorb moisture from the hair and scalp. It’s a safer, healthier alternative to alcohol denat and benzyl alcohol. 

Kaolin is a fine-powdered aluminum silicate mineral. It is derived from a white clay found all over the world and is often used in paper, pottery, and medicine. Kaolin is ideal as a beauty product ingredient because it mixes well and is safe for sensitive skin. You will find it in face masks and facial scrubs. It was selected for our dry shampoo because of its ability to detoxify hair and remove oil while maintaining natural moisture. 

Tapioca starch is a natural alternative to talcum powder. It is derived from the cassava root, a plant native to Brazil. Green beauty products use it to thicken their formulas as well. Not only have laboratory tests shown it is a safe ingredient to use, it is even more absorbent than talc! Tapioca starch absorbs oil from the scalp leaving skin feeling refreshed. It gets rid of that heavy, greasy feeling you get after a couple days without washing your hair.

Aloe barbadensis leaf juice comes from the aloe plant that is also used to make the Aloe Vera gel that soothes burns. The leaf juice has a pH similar to that of hair, making it an ideal ingredient for hair products. It has a high water content and contains lots of vitamins and minerals. Like the Aloe Vera gel, aloe barbadensis leaf juice has anti-inflammatory properties, which promote healing and fight off bacteria that cause infections and bad odours.

Last but not least, dehydrated coconut milk. It comes from our signature ingredient: coconut. It soothes dry skin and most importantly, smells amazing! Bonus: it’s high in protein and promotes the health of your hair!

So how is it dispensed? NIUCOCO’s dry shampoo comes in a non-aerosol container. When you squeeze it, a fine mist of dry shampoo comes out and is easily applied to the roots. It’s the same convenience of an aerosol bottle without the damage to the environment. So, next time you choose a dry shampoo, check out the ingredients before you buy.