I Used Setting Powder As Dry Shampoo To See If It Actually Works

by Kim Carpluk

If you've got an oily scalp like I do, then dry shampoo is often essential. But what happens when you unexpectedly run out without a chance for replenishment? Well, I used translucent setting powder as dry shampoo because sometimes a girl's gotta do what a girl's gotta do.

During a recent discussion about our beloved Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder (my holy grail loose powder for keeping my oily skin in check), a fellow makeup artist informed me that you can use this powerful product in place of dry shampoo. He said that sprinkling the stuff directly at your roots absorbs oil from the scalp, just like it does your face, without making the hair feel gross and gritty. I lightly filed away this information to the back of my makeup encyclopedia brain for future use.

When I ran out of my favorite Batiste dry shampoo this morning, I decided to put this hack to the test. Before using my precious translucent powder on my scalp, I wanted to investigate a little further to determine whether this product would make a makeshift dry shampoo on strictly chemical level.

Batiste's major ingredients include Butane, Isobutane, and Propane, colorless gases used aerosol propellant, Oryza Sativa Starch, which is used as the absorbing agent, Alcohol Denat, which can be used as a cosmetic astringent and solvent that breaks down and strips oil from the hair, Benzyl Benzoate, which can is a solvent that can also treat lice and scabies, Distearyldimonium, a hair conditioning agent, Cetrimonium Chloride, a preservative, and various artificial fragrances.

Laura Mercier Translucent Setting Powder's ingredient list includes Talc, which absorbs moisture, Magnesium Myristate, an anti-caking agent, Nylon-12, a bulking agent, Caprylic/Capric Triglyceride, a skin conditioning agent, Zea Mays Starch, an absorbing agent and skin protectant, Sodium Dehydroacetate, an antimicrobial agent, Methylparaben, a preservative, Lauroyl Lysine, a hair conditioning agent, Polymethyl Methacrylate, a film former, Glycine Soja Oil, Tocopherol, and Methicone, skin conditioning agents, and various artificial fragrances.

So basically, both products include ingredients that act as absorbing agents and hair conditioning agents. Though Laura Mercier's powder does contain Zea Mays Starch, which absorbs oil, it does not contain any astringents that actually break down and strip the oil away.

After determining that using Laura Mercier's Setting Powder on my scalp won't actually kill me, I decided to give it a whirl.

I started with my four-days-since-being-washed hair.

At this point, my hair is super oily with a lot of product build up and a lot of loose glitter — because of course there's loose glitter involved.

After the first day of washing, my oily scalp craves dry shampoo every day until I wash it. Normally, I don't go longer than three days, but for this test, I made an exception. Though my scalp is oily, the rest of my hair is dry. The combination makes my hair look super thin at the top while the ends remain poufy.

I couldn't really figure out a super effective way to apply the powder without getting fall out all over my black shirt. I finally decided on tapping some into the cap, the same way I do for a full face application, and then picking up the product with my finger pads and working it through my roots.

Surprisingly, the result weren't terrible.

The technique didn't really leave much residue behind and it didn't leave a totally white cast like my Batiste Dry Shampoo. I'm shocked that it did make my hair look convincingly cleaner.

Then again, my hair didn't necessarily feel cleaner. It was time consuming to apply the powder effectively and was extremely difficult to get the back of my head. Just for the front of my roots at the crown of my head, I had to use twice the amount I normally use for my face, which can be a very expensive habit. Plus, if I looked closely, I could see a couple little specks of clumped up translucent powder. But only if I zoomed in with my camera, so who's to say that doesn't happen with regular dry shampoo as well.

So does this hack work? Totally, in a pinch. If I was traveling or if I had a desperate moment, I would definitely resort to using translucent powder as dry shampoo.

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